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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine System Livestocking 1

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Related FAQs: FOWLR Livestocking 2, FOWLR Livestocking 3, FOWLR Livestocking 4, & FOWLR 1, FOWLR 2, FOWLR 3, FOWLR Set-Ups, FOWLR Lighting, FOWLR Filtration, FOWLR Skimmers, FOWLR Maintenance, FOWLR Disease, LR Lighting, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Marine System Plumbing Biotopic presentations

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

Stocking Question FOWLR     10/3/06 Hello and thanks in advance for the help. <Greetings!> You site has been an incredible resource for a long-time freshwater hobbyist moving into the saltwater arena! <WWM was a great help to me oh so many years ago when I transitioned from fresh to salt.> I'm cycling a 90 gallon FOWLR with 60 lbs of Fiji LR, LS, 20g Fuge and an Aqua-C Protein Skimmer. <60lbs of LR may be on the low end of the spectrum unless you find a way to make a lot of caves/hiding spots/territorial areas with the rock you have. Also, if you are using a Remora skimmer then the surface prefilter is a must have.> Been doing much thinking on the stocking list and (big surprise) have changed it about 200 times.  I believe I'm close, but thought I'd get some final advise to make sure I'm not overstocking, a few tough choices and tank addition order: <Only 200 times? I'm sure the last time I built a new tank there were at least 201 iterations.> Yellow Watchman Goby <Good choice at adding the goby first, but try to add the pistol shrimp at the same time. see below.> Longnose Hawkfish <May take a chance on a freshly molted shrimp.> Coral Beauty Angel True Percula Clown (Pair) Bicolor Blenny <see below> Yellow Longnose Butterfly or Foxface or Yellow Tang (Your thoughts) <The tang will grow large and may become a bully. The butterfly should be introduced early. The Foxface would be my choice out of the group for its demeanor and utility.> Black Cap Basslet or Orchid Dottyback (Your thoughts) <May run into aggression issues with the similarly shaped blenny and goby. I would suggest leaving these out.> Pistol Shrimp < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alpheidshrpfaqs.htm > Cleaner Shrimp (3) Fire Shrimp (Not Sure) <see above> Assorted snails and Hermit Crabs <Stocking is a touchy topic, but it's easy to avoid headaches with a conservative approach. I would say you have a good starting point minus the possible "problem children". Keep reading and stock at your discretion, but remember to observe and take action if needed. I just know you will be quarantining all these new arrivals before they are introduced to the 90 right? :)> Thanks so much, <You are most welcome. I hope your tank works out well! - Emerson> Scott

New Marine Setup...Confirmation of Parameters, gear check   10/2/06 I have been reading you web site for months.  It's been a great  resource.   So, I would like to run my new setup by you guys (or gals as the  case may be) and just make sure that I seem alright before I transfer my fish  from my old 55 gallon.  The new tank will be a FOWLR set up and I doubt  that corals will ever be placed in the system (we will see).  So here it  goes. First, the tank is a 125 gallon glass tank (purchased second hand).   We started the cycling about 5 weeks ago.  It has about 1-1.25 of mixed  50/50 Gray Coast (new) and aragonite (from current 55 gallon).  Then there  is ~60 lbs. of dead live rock with ~30 lbs. of live rock on top of that.   There will also be about 15 lbs. of live rock placed in the tank coming from the  old 55 gallon.    As for equipment I have two ~275 GPM power heads now and  a third one  to go in when I break down the old tank.  There is a Magnum 350 (for water polishing purposes), a twin panel back-filter (from Wal-Mart) and a Fluval 204  (for carbon and polishing purposes) that will come from the old tank.  I  have been juggling my Remora Pro w/ pre-filter between the two tanks during the  cycling process and of course it will be placed in the new tank.  The  heaters are a new Jager 250 watt unit and a 200 watt unit from the old  tank. The lighting is still a bit up in the air.  At this time our budget is  a bit limited.  I have a line on a used 72 power compact fixture with  four 96watt bulbs and moon lights for under $200.   Supposedly it is  less than a year old.  It sounds a little too good to be true but we will  see.   If this one does work out then we will be set as far as I can  see (understanding that the bulbs will need to be replaced soon of  course).  If this does not work then I will go one of two routes.    The first system I was contemplating was two 36 standard fluorescent dual fixtures (for a total of four Aqua-Ray 9350K bulbs).  The other option is  two single 96watt bulb 36 power compact fixtures.  I also have the  original 72 standard light fixture with two new 24 standard florescent bulbs  that I was going to use with   either setup for a bit of the deep sea  look.  Any thoughts?  My initial budget for lighting is the $200  range.    As of today my water tests with the following:  Ph-8.1; Ammonia-0;   Nitrite-0; Nitrate-trace, but less than 10ppm; SG~1.022; Temp~78deg F.  It  has held steady at this for about a week now.  My LFS seems to think all is  good to go water wise. Our current 55 gallon tank has 7 Monos (3-Sebae; 4-Argentus).  These  guys will be added last, if possible.  Our current wish list for the new  tank is as follows: 1- Lawnmower Blenny;  1-Coral Beauty; 1-Koran Angel;  1-Naso (Lipstick) Tang, <Will need more room> and maybe 2-3 Mexican Rainbow Wrasse.   Any  huge issues with this mix? <The Koran will get too large for here as well> Also,  the more I read the more I think that I should be removing the   bio-rings from the Fluval.  Yes...no... maybe? <I'd leave them>   How about eliminating  the back-filter.  Again, yes...no.. maybe? Any other equipment issues that  you can see?   <There are better modes of filtration, but these will/can work> So there it is.  Any general recommendations would be great.  My  wife is very eager to get this tank stocked.  As I see it, we have plenty  of time.  I certainly do not want to rush things.  I did that on my  first tank and do not want to repeat that situation again.  Thank you in  advance for you information. Eric <Mmm... I'd keep reading re your possibilities: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm as you seem not totally sure... though, as stated, what you currently have can work. Bob Fenner>

Predator Tank  9/15/06 Afternoon, <AM in this place/time of spin> Given a 200gallon tank, 50gallon sump, aggressive protein skimming, about 200lbs of liverock... I am looking at the following critters in the order of importance as far as wants: Snowflake Moray Zebra Moray Russell's or Volitans Lion Angelfish (not sure which...) Regal Tang Jeweled Damsel Dogface Puffer Given my wanted list, would I be overstocking my tank? <Mmm, likely not at first... these animals could grow to beyond reasonable physiological, and psychological crowding here though>   Really, I only have 5 fish that would be out n about....  Your thoughts?  I do want the two Morays but would keep only one if it would mean being able to keep two other fish instead. <These two Muraenids are of relatively low metabolic activity... can/could stay> I realize that I have some messy eaters on my list, would u <you, please...> recommend fine aragonite sand so food particles don't get trapped under crushed coral particles? <A good choice all the way around>   I'm looking at getting a skimmer fit for 250 - 300 gallons, my water volume <"The bigger the better"> in my tank/sump should be steady around 225gallons.   Would you recommend a number of powerheads? Or a WaveBox and powerheads as needed? <Either... or even better, an externally pumped manifold...> Is there any critter that would help with processing the waste that wouldn't be eaten?  An urchin or sand star perhaps? <Mmm, too easily a "pin-cushion" here for the eels... Perhaps a comical species of Goatfish... my first choice> Lastly, I already have the jeweled damsel in my quarantine (for the past 4 weeks)... he'll be the first fish in my new tank that arrives tomorrow (obviously after I have cycled new liverock, etc).  I got him because he was cheap, hardy, and is apparently one species of damsel that will grow to about 6" ??? <Can, yes>   Right now, he's about 2.5"... do you happen to know approximately how long it would take a jeweled damsel to obtain about 6" in length? <In this size system... 2-3, 4 years or so>   I'll have to hold off on the lionfish, as I understand it only takes about 18mons for them to reach full size? <Mmm... likely about 70-80% of ultimate growth here in this time frame> Last note that perhaps I don't believe... but someone recommended perhaps 3 or 4 small blue-yellow tailed damsels to cycle my tank and then just keep them. <Mmm, not me> Furthermore, said they'd be ok in the tank given my wish list because they are faster and smarter than the Lionfish. <No... ultimately consumed> it is really only the lionfish that we'd be concerned about eating these guys, right?   The yellowtailed damsels only get about 3" though, don't they? <About this> Oh... my last last note...   for this type of tank my lighting only needs to be what I'm happy with for viewing, right?  No light dependant critters in here... <Some parts of the LR...>   I'd think these guys would prefer pretty dim tanks wouldn't they? Regards, Dave Brynlund <Relative to what folks obviously (and erroneously for the most part) believe in practice re "reef systems", yes. Bob Fenner>

FOWLR stocking question  - 09/14/06 Hi WWM crew,    <Chaidan>   I currently have a 200 gallon Oceanic with a lone dogface puffer.  In 3 weeks I will be replacing the 200 with a 600 gallon Tenecor (96Lx48Wx30H) <Neat!> that I have been planning for a few years now.  What is your opinion on my stocking list:      First in tank:  3 Addis butterflies.  Second in tank: 6" adult red sea imperator, 4" asfur and 4" Chrysurus angel. <Mmm... if started at this size, likely all these angels will be fine>   Third in tank:  Australian harlequin tusk.  4th in tank:  3" blue tang, 5 inch blonde Naso tang (red sea), 5th in tank: pair of crosshatch triggers.      What is your opinion from a compatibility and stocking level standpoint? Thank you for your time and opinion and keep up the good work.      Chaidan <This will be a spectacular display... I would quarantine the incoming livestock in order. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility question 8-31-06 Hello crew. <<Hello>>   Thanks again for being a great resource for aquatic information.  I am in the process of setting up a 125g FOWLR tank.  I will be relocating from another tank an Arabian Picasso Trigger, Niger Trigger and a Tuskfish and wanted to add a Blue Caribbean Tang to the tank.  Just to be clear I plan to add the Tang first and transfer the other three after the Tang has a few days to acclimate.   <<Good idea.>> Any concern about the mix of fish?   <<Not really.>> From my research on your website and other sources, this Tang seems to be a good choice in terms of size and hardiness for a 125g tank with the added benefit of some algae control. Thanks again. <<This is the smallest tank I would suggest for this fish. It is only acceptable due to its 6 foot length. Try to keep rock work open and allow for long runs for the tang to swim. Travis>> <Troubles with this mix in the future... the Triggers going after all... RMF>

Compatibility and Crowding in a 72 Gallon Tank - 08/11/05 I just sent this e-mail but did not include my e-mail address. Here it is:  xxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxx.com <<No worries Yana, when we do a "reply" the server picks up the email address of the sender...no need to include it in the text of the message>> My question is what do you think of the following combination for a 72gal FOWLR? Flame Hawkfish, 2 1/2 " Yellow Watchman Goby, 2" (Tiny) Regal Tang, 1" Red-Tailed Filefish, Pervagor melanocephalus, 2" Flameback Angel, 3" Please let me know which of those above are likely to not get along. <<All are likely to "get along" though the filefish may become a "nipper"...the bigger issue to me here is which species are/are not suitable for this size tank.  The Regal Tang is a big and "beefy" fish, which "requires lots of space/swimming room" (150+ gallons for this fish) and is prone to sociological/psychological development issues when kept in "too small" systems.  I highly recommend you return this fish...the others you list should be fine>> Thank you!!!! Yana <<Happy to help.  EricR>>

Stocking/Over-Stocking a 125 FOWLR - 08/11/06 As always this is the best site for accurate information. <<Thank you for the kind words>> Thanks again for the valuable information you provide. <<Is our pleasure to help>> I will be setting up a 125 gallon FOWLR tank and would like to get your thoughts on the fish compatibility and order of addition for an Arabian Trigger, Niger Trigger, Tuskfish, Naso Tang and if there is space a Yellow-Bar Angel. <<Mmm, if I have this right the Arabian Trigger is Rhinecanthus assasi and the Yellow-Bar Angel is Pomacanthus maculosus...both from the Red Sea...and both likely to be pricey!>> Do you think I am pushing the limit of the tank with the Yellow-Bar? <<Honestly mate, I think this tank is too small for all but the Arabian Trigger and the Tuskfish (and a few other "smaller" fishes).  Of the other three the Niger Trigger has the "smallest" adult size of 18-inches.  They might do fine for a short time as juveniles, but eventually this mix of fish will require a system twice the size of yours, or more...even without the Yellow-Bar Angel.  You really should rethink this stocking plan.  Perhaps choose one of these as a "center-piece" fish and build/stock around it with smaller species>> Thanks again. <<Regards, EricR>>

Thinking Small With A Large Tank!   8/2/06 Hey Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I am Getting a 180 on Friday. I can't Wait !!!!!!. <I'm stoked for you!> I am upgrading from 55 FOWLR. I am Going to play it safe and cycle it For 6 to 8 weeks. Is this to long or not long enough? I am planning on putting 5 or 6 Large fish in it in this order. 1  small Niger Trigger 1 or 3 medium Blue Hippo Tang <I'd only go with one...really! They get large, and even a 180 may be a bit tight for a fully-grown Hippo!> 1  Imperator Angel ( Or Majestic Angel)? <Another fish that gets huge. I have seen them at 12"-15"! They need a lot of room and are used to huge territories in the wild. I seriously have reservations about keeping this fish in anything less than an 8 foot tank> 1  Harlequin Tuskfish <A good fish with the right tankmates.> 1  Yellow Tang <A fine choice for this sized tank, IMO.> What's your Ideas on the angels? <Gosh- I'm a real "buzz kill" sometimes. My thinking is that just because we keep a large tank, we don't have to keep large fishes. I'd rather keep smaller angels, like Centropyge species. In theory, you might be able to keep a trio of smaller ones. Do some homework and see which species appeal to you. I feel that most of them are better suited for captivity than the larger guys. Think about it.> Could I do both? And could I do 3 blue hippo's or just one? <Stick to one, in my opinion. These are all large fishes that you are considering, and when you have to think about the "end game"; how large they will eventually become. I am a strong advocate of keeping smaller fishes, which can be comfortably housed for their entire lives in a tank if this size. Large tanks don't always mean that you need to keep large fishes. If you like a variety, think of smaller fishes, such as Wrasses, Blennies, Gobies, Centropyge Angels, etc. Lot and lots of cool choices in the 2"- 4" range, many of which can live long, comfortable lives in your 180.> I am only 13 Years old and been at marine for 8 months But Fresh For 6 years. Read your site every night. Keep up the good work. Thanks! Chad <Glad to hear it, Chad! Do think about the smaller fishes, and I'll bet that you'll enjoy your 180 even more! Regards, Scott F.> Stocking and QT Question...Out Of My Way, Charlie   7/10/06 Hi <Hello Albany> First up, a quick question about stocking density. I have a 55 gallon aquarium with live rock and: 2 tomato clown 1 eibli angel 1 royal Dottyback 2 tri color Anthias 1 bi color blenny 1 Copperband Would it be Ok to add one more Anthias and a flame hawk? I also want to add a pair of sleeper gobies to aerate the sand. <You have too many fish in the 55 to begin with.  Some recommend 1" per 5 gallons of water, I like 1 cubic inch of fish per 5 gallons.  The girth of the fish is just as important as length.  If you go by 1" per 5 gallons, that gives you about 11 total inches of fish that can be housed, and that is based on actual water volume, not tank size.> I have noticed one of my Anthias showing symptoms of Ich. I have set up two 7.5 gallons QT tanks and I intend to remove all the fish from the display tank for a month and separate the fish into the 2 QT tanks. <This is going to cause additional problems, a 7.5 gallon would be too small just to house the Tomato Clowns.  Need larger QT's to do this.> My questions is the best combination in which to separate all my fish to minimize aggression. Should I separate the Anthias from the Dottyback and the clowns from the eibli? <If the clowns are not mated, there may be aggression between them in small quarters. If they are mated, I'd keep these isolated from the other fish.  The rest of the fish should get along OK providing the QT is 30 to 40 gallons.  Do read here and related articles/FAQ's on QT systems.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm> Also, just want to confirm that I should be doing daily water changes and siphoning the waste products from the QT tank bottom. <Yes, you will need to control ammonia levels by water changes.  Effective Ich treatments will usually destroy beneficial bacteria.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

A Clown Trigger in a FOWLR? - 06/26/06 Hi guys, <<Don't forget we have some really sharp gals here too!>> Having become bored with the petty squabbling and incessant bickering that I associate with so called "peaceful" reef fish, I am finally seeing the folly of my efforts in "reef" keeping and think I will return to the ruff and tumble world of FO. <<Ay...to each his own>> I have come to the conclusion that you lose more animals, more sleep, more money, more time, and more effort messing around with a reef that you have no time to actually enjoy it. <<Maybe for you this applies...but as a "generalization", I disagree>> At least with "big" fish you either have them or you don't - they either live peacefully, or they don't, and that is about the extent of the decisions one has to make. <<I hope this is truly not your attitude towards the life in your care..."they either live peacefully, or they don't,"..."and that is about the extent of the decisions one has to make."!!!  Reef tank or FOWLR, you still have the responsibility to provide acceptable living conditions/tank mates for these animals...which means researching and choosing proper specimens for the environment in which you plan to keep them and providing proper care re.  Perhaps this is where you failed with your reef?>> So ...... now that I have that off my chest, I am considering taking all the livestock (except the LR) back to the shop.  I am then thinking of something centered around something big, mean and nasty, like a clown trigger - which is at least honest in that it is a wolf in a wolf's clothing! <<Agreed...and should be the only fish in the tank...else it will be before too long>> I would buy a decent size juvenile clown trigger - 3 or 4" maybe, and grow him on. <<A good size to purchase>> My tank existing reef tank is a 180, so basically I would be looking at keeping him, and maybe one or two other decent sized tankmates, and that would be it. <<The tank size is suitable, but I urge you to reconsider adding "other" tank mates.  Either keep this beast on its own, or choose a different animal>> Any suggestions what these tankmates might be?  I was thinking along the lines of a lunare wrasse or passer angel, or maybe both. <<Eventual trigger food in my opinion>> If I were to introduce all three fish, all at the same time (don't forget the tank is mature a few years), all at the same size, what would you think the odds would be of peaceful co-habitation - or is it likely that the clown trigger just murder them all...... <<Ah, yes...murder it would be.  Maybe not right away...but is inevitable>> I was sort of hoping that the wrasse would be too quick, and the angel too smart, and that there would be a good enough differentiation between species to diffuse any real battles (in terms of diet, geographic origin, colour, shape, size, and behavior). <<In the expanse of the wild this may hold true...but not in the confines of a 180 gallon tank>> I would really like your thoughts on this matter. <<Indeed...you have them>> Thanks, Regards, Matt <<Cheers, EricR>>
Clown Trigger in a FOWLR? II - 06/27/06
Hi Eric, <<Hello Matt>> Thanks for the reply. <<Your welcome>> I think you got the wrong impression from my previous email, and I just wanted to assure you I take the welfare of my animals very seriously and have a huge respect for any animal that has been torn from its natural environment solely for my viewing pleasure. <<Ah...is good to know>> I think you got the wrong vibe from my email so I just wanted you to know that I go to great lengths to ensure the well being of the animals in my care - I will be relying quite a lot on you guys (and gals!) over the next couple of months, and I would hate you to think you were wasting your efforts on some twat who had no real care for his little fishy friends. <<Thank you for this my friend.  And while I never consider this a waste of time (is seen, reflected upon my many), it is reassuring to know you are not so "cavalier" about our wet-pet's well being as I initially surmised>> I can see how you would miss read "they either live peacefully or they don't"..... I meant that to read that if you put say an angel and a tang together, you will know in no uncertain terms if they get on or not <<Indeed>> - and in my view constant fin flaring and displaying is as bad as an out and out fight, <<Agreed...stress>> and not acceptable in my view....... so if they don't get on, you clearly know - and can easily separate them - read as "catch a 6" angel in a FOWLR is a lot easier than a 2" flame angel in a reef"...... <<Mmm, yes indeed>> I didn't mean to suggest if they fight, just let the best fish win, and the other perish.......I suspect you interpreted my mail that way. <<I did...thank you for the clarification>> I wouldn't say I have failed with my reef as such; I have just grown weary......  I have had a so called peaceful sixline wrasse murder a royal Gramma and a blenny. <<Ah!  I think if you were to search/ask around the reef forums (RC, Reefs.org, etc.) you would find that a sixline wrasse is generally considered anything "but" peaceful>> I have had a flame angel maim my clown fish. <<Again...Centropyge sp. is known to be pugnacious...as are the clown fish.  I have to say, your choice of fish thus far sounds "less than peaceful" to me.  Granted, in a large enough system I would expect them to "get along"...but I would not consider any of them as "peaceful">> I have a "peaceful" mimic tang that terrorized my regal tang (both small 3" specimens)..... <<But...this would not be considered unusual or uncommon...very often "luck of the draw">> and so on...... conversely, when I kept FO, so called aggressive species, I lost a goby, and that was it - and he jumped out..... I kept FO for 5 yrs, and reef for about 3.  But truthfully, I am a very 'conscientious marine aquarist' thanks in no small part to Bob, the wet web media founder. <<Has helped/enlightened many...>> I have stayed up many nights until 3 or 4 am to rescue fish, despite getting up for work at 7am, I have driven an 8-hour return journey to my nearest LFS <<Yowza!>> to return a sixline, despite him murdering two of my fish - and didn't even get a credit note for a $20 fish that cost me about $60 in petrol! <<I'm sorry Matt, the character you used to denote your currency was not interpreted correctly by our email server.  I'm not sure of your country of origin based on your email addy so I'm inserting dollar signs ($) instead>> And generally, I typically take about a year between getting deciding I want a fish, then actually going out and getting one. <<And researching thoroughly in the interim I hope <grin> >> Anyhow, suffice to say the clown trigger is out. <<Really best if you want more than a single-fish display in my opinion.  Balistoides conspicillum is a spectacular fish and it is easy to see their attraction for hobbyists (myself included). But their nature/personalities demand much respect for how they are housed.>> I like the idea of two or three larger characterful fish.  I know its a broad question, but would you have any suggestions? <<Hmm, let's see... Since your partial to triggers, I would consider one of the Rhinecanthus species...much better temperament for a FOWLR/FO tank in my opinion.  In your 180 this species of trigger would likely do fine with the Passer Angel you mentioned, but a better choice of wrasse over the Lunare might be from the genus Halichoeres.  Much research/decision making ahead...>> About the only big fish I do not like are rabbit fish. <<Really?  I have a 7"-8" Siganus uspi (Fiji Foxface) in my reef system.  I find them to be very personable and "peaceful" fish>> Thanks for reading, and sorry if I gave the wrong impression in the previous email. <<No worries mate, all cleared up now <G> >> Regards, Matt <<Cheers, EricR>>
Clown Trigger in a FOWLR? III - 07/01/06
Hi Eric, <<Hello Matt!>> Further thoughts, suggestions, etc from your good self and other fishy friends...I have been giving thought to my proposals for my 180 and come up with the following: <<Alrighty>> I would really like to keep a couple of Volitans lions, and would like also to add a few tank Mates for color and activity. <<Mmm...I like the idea of the lionfish...but lionfish and "active" tank mates isn't the best way to go...in my opinion.  Also...be sure to provide areas (overhangs?) of subdued lighting for these fish.  It is not uncommon for them to suffer blindness from being kept under "too bright" lighting>>> With a view to minimizing the risk of bullying against the lions I thought maybe a few Butterflyfish would be nice, and thought maybe a pair of Semilarvatus would go well with them.  Other thoughts were a Maculosus angel, or a trio of Falcula b'flies. <<Aha!...me thinks someone has been doing their research!  All good choices for a FOWLR/FO system...with the right tank mates...  Let's take them one at a time.  1- The Semilarvatus butterfly is a spectacular fish (wish I had a place to put a school of these myself).  But...(don't you hate it when I do that <grin>)it does get large (plate size).  A pair may be "too much" with a pair of Volitans in a 180.  2- Another hardy and gorgeous fish, the Maculosus angel.  But this too gets large (to 18"), and will likely be a "bruiser"...not the best to house with lionfish I feel.  3- Chaetodon falcula is your best option of those you listed I feel.  Though three in a 180 (don't forget you will have two large lionfish in there) may also be too much.  Overcrowding these fish will likely result in territorial disputes>> One other thought (and reading through the FAQ's spurred this one) was for a peaceful trigger.  One of your wet web counterparts suggests that only Crosshatch, Bluechin or Sargassum triggerfish be considered - could a Pinktail be included on that list? <<I feel it could, yes.  I also think it would be a better choice than the Sargassum triggerfish>> So likely combo's might be: 2 lions, trio of falcula 2 lions, pair of Semilarvatus, Maculosus 2 lions, 1 Semilarvatus, 1 falcula, Maculosus 2 lions, Maculosus, trigger, 1 b'fly do you see any problems with any of the above combo's? <<I do...for reasons already stated.  I would like to suggest - the two lions, one Falcula butterfly, and a Bluechin/Bluethroat trigger.  But obviously, the decision is ultimately up to you my friend.  Research, research, research...>> Thanks, Regards, Matt <<Be chatting, EricR>>

Overstocked FOWLR System   6/24/06 Hello, Sorry to bother you, I know you get several stocking questions. <No bother at all> I have been terribly mislead by LFS regarding tank stocking. <Utto> I purchased a 75 gallon with intentions of FOWLR. After researching (too late) your website I realize and feel horrible that my tank is grossly overstocked. When I asked the LFS about future size of these fish they told me they wouldn't get that big in a 75 gallon and I would be fine. <Wow, that's too bad. Time to find another LFS to do business with.> Alright , here goes. I have a 3" porcupine puffer, 2" Picasso trigger, 2" hippo tang, 3" Koran angel and 3" lunar wrasse. I guess my question , if you haven't already sent the fish police after me, is what should I do?   <Since you turned yourself in we won't send the fish police out after you, so no worries there. I would suggest you either begin planning a much bigger tank or call ask your LFS if they will take the fish back for some sort of credit, if they won't perhaps another LFS will take them.> Who can I comfortably keep? <All but the Lunar Wrasse will eventually out grow your tank.> I have approx. 40lbs live sand, 30-40 lbs live rock, SeaClone 150 skimmer, tetra 500 hang on power filter, cascade 1200 canister filter with Chemi pure in it, 2 -270 gph powerheads and a turbo twist UV sterilizer. Please guide me in the right direction. Do stores take fish back??? <Some will> Thank you so much in advance. <Your most welcome, Leslie>
Overstocked FOWLR System, continued Part 2   6/27/06
Hello again , thanks for quick response. So how long would you say these guys can get along with the 75 gallon? <Hey there, Leslie here with you again. Hard to say. It really depends on how often, how much you feed and water quality> I have a 46 gallon reef with fish for a little over a year and the fish haven't really grown all that much. I am so discouraged because I got the 75 because they said it would comfortably hold these fish but the puffer may outgrow it.  In the marine fishes book they have at the store it said minimum tank size was 75 gallon. Do you think it's a overloaded at this point with the size they are? They would probably be OK for a short time.> Do you think my filtration is sufficient? <Probably for the time being.> What would you suggest for stocking this tank FOWLR? <Not sure what you mean by this.> How large would I have to upgrade to??? <Well you have a couple of active fish there that require a good amount of swimming space as well as a few with some potential size in their future. That Hippo Tang can get to be up to 10+ inches  given optimum conditions. They need a lot of swimming space. Recommended tank length is about 6 feet and not less than 125g. Check this link for more info on these fish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracsysfaqs The Korean Angelfish grows to 13 inches and also needs quite a bit of swimming space with a minimum tank size of 135g. The Picasso can reach 7 to 10 inches easily also requiring room for swimming. Most recommend 150 to 180g for these Triggers. The Porcupine Puffer can attain football size with optimal tank size ranging from 100 to 300g depending on whom you read. They are also big and messy eaters, which means more waste. I would error on the side of bigger being better where these fish are concerned.> Would I have to buy all new equipment or could I use the same for a larger tank. I love all these guys and would like to keep them. <You would need a considerably bigger tank which would require new equipment.> The only one I have trouble with is the puffer he eagerly awaits food but grabs it off stick and spits most of it, if not all of it out and he is getting skinny.  It's like he vomits or something. I spent all last night looking at your site with all the other people with the same problem. I have tried shrimp, scallops, clams , mussel, fresh fish, silversides and many store bought marine frozen foods. Garlic, Zoe and Selcon also. I think he is starving to death. ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It seems he can't eat although he wants to. I wait until lights are on moon and feed him because everyone else will eat food before he does. <Well there are a few possibilities if he is actually taking the food in and spitting it out maybe he does not like what you are feeding but typically they are pretty good eaters. If he is having trouble getting the food in his mouth he could have sustained an injury to his jaw, have a locked jaw or over grown teeth. Thyroid disease and dietary deficiencies have been associated with "lockjaw" in fish.  A couple of the remedies I have seen recommended are iodine, 1 drop/2gal, mixed in water before adding to the tank, treat for 2-4 weeks and B Vitamins directly added to the tank or tube fed. Depending on the puffers age, his teeth may have grown together... puffer teeth grow constantly and without a diet of appropriate foods, their teeth grow unchecked. There is a way to file the teeth down... if this is the problem. If he can't eat you could try "force feeding" your puffer with meaty seafood ground up to a hamburger like consistency. The addition of some vitamins maybe helpful, some B vitamins and VitaChem. Hold the fish underwater with a damp towel, using a plastic turkey baster or a syringe with some airline tubing attached to the end slowly, carefully and gently insert the tube into the Puffers mouth squeezing the bulb of the turkey baster or pushing the plunger of the syringe releasing some of the food inside the puffers mouth.> They all sleep, except angel .Oh , and I thought hippos were passive Mine is rather on the aggressive side. <They are the least territorial member of their family. Here is a quote from Bob's article on this species,  which can be viewed here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracant.htm "Though they will "posture" and "shake their caudal spine" in a threatening way to challengers to their favored hiding or swimming route, Paracanthurus are wont to actually inflict any real damage to conspecifics or other tankmates."≥ Sorry this is so long , got carried away. Thanks <No worries, your very welcome, Leslie>

Tang Frenzy - 05/07/2006 Hi crew, <Chad> I am starting a 250 gallon 10 ft. long FOWLR tank. Do you think these are good stocking plans in this order? 1 Blue Hippo tang 1 Naso tang 1 Sohal tang <Too big and mean, the Naso and Sohal are not very friendly with other tangs> 1 Powder Blue tang 1 Achilles Tang (LFS sadly keeps them in stock regularly) <Do not survive long and are hard to get healthy specimens, do be careful here in getting a good healthy one.> 1 Imperator Angel <will try to rule the tank, may fight with the bigger tangs.> 1 Brown Band Bamboo shark <Too big, and wrong type system for this fish.> 1 Australian Harlequin Tuskfish 1 Yellow Tang You think this Is going to be way to much fish for this size tank? I am only thirteen years old and am fairly new to salt water but am already obsessed with it. <Yes you have quite a wish list.  Most tangs DO NOT get along well with each other in smaller systems (a 250gallon is a small system for this many tangs), and will probably not do well.  pick one or two that you really want, and research here on WWM to see if they are compatible in diet and aggression.> Thanks, I live off your Site. Great job . Chad <Try when stocking to find one fish you really want as the main fish in the display, then find fish that are compatible with it.  Mixing too many fish that do not get along can be very bad for all the fish.  -Justin (Jager)>

Beginning To Stock - 05/07/2006 Dear WWM Crew <Hello> My Husband is in the process of setting up a FOWLR tank.  He is fairly new to the marine life and since starting his very expensive hobby a year ago I've not seen a lot of him so I've decided to become as involved as possible. <Heehee, this is a common story among wives and family members of marine fish tank men.> He has said I can choose the fish which will eventually reside here. I have been researching but cannot find all the answers! In my quest for knowledge I have come across your site which gives such valuable information, I have been too terrified to communicate in case you think I was wasting time but have decided to bite the bullet! <Well we will help the best we can.> The new tank is 150 gallon (6ft x 2ft x 2ft) with approx 60 to 70kg of live rock it has a variation on a eco-sump with aragonite, live rock, miracle mud, weed, <<Woah, dude, you keepin' stonerfish?  Sorry, couldn't resist that.  -SCF>> bioballs and a V2 1000 protein skimmer. It will start with our striped puffer (Arothron manilensis) who needs to be moved away from our over enthusiastic cleaner wrasse. <This fish alone is 15" max size, not too many other fish you can add here> It will also house our tang (not able to identify yet was sold by LFS as vampire tang but doesn't look like pictures nor does it have the teeth). <That is probably the only other big fish you can keep in that tank with the puffer.> I was wondering if I could keep an Emperor Angel (Pomacanthus Imperator), a Dragon Wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus), a pair of Diamond Gobies ( Valenciennea puellaris) and if possible some sort of Trigger (like the look of Picasso- Rhinecanthus aculeatus). <The gobies, sure, but all the other fish you list get big (12-15" and the dragon wrasse gets Huge.> Do you think these fish are compatible with each other and if so would the tank support this number? Thank you for your time in this matter. <Unfortunately they are not likely to get along nor will the tank support their mass, please keep just the tang and the puffer in the tank as the only big fish, and look into clownfish or smaller wrasses and gobies.  Damsels and Hawkfish and many others which only get 6 inches or less.  these would be good candidates for adding to that tank.> Rache Hill <If you have the scientific name of the fish you are interested in, or even a good common name I point you toward www.fishbase.org as the place to check sizes and dietary needs, so you can see whether it will be a good choice.  Please feel free to write back if you have other questions.  -Justin (Jager)>

Adding Fish to a 45G FOWLR    4/20/06 Hi WWM crew, <Hello Alex> I have a 45G tank with about 45lbs of live rocks. Currently I have one Spotted Toby (Though I'm not 100% sure, I believe it is a Canthigaster solandri, a bit more than 2 inches), one Striped Damsel (Dascyllus aruanus, about 1 inch), and one Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula, around 2 inches) in it. I am wondering if there is room for me to add just one more fish to this tank? If so, can you suggest me a few good choices? Would a small Hawkfish be a good choice? <Both the Sharpnose puffer and damsel grow to 4-5 inches.  Your tank will soon be overstocked.  Wouldn't recommend adding any more fish.> Thank you! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Alex

Stocking/Marine Adding Inverts and Fish together    4/12/06 I am (still) in the process of setting up my 30 gallon reef tank.  My tank will have 35 lbs. of live rock, Aqua C skimmer, Eheim hang on filter, 2 powerheads, 192 Watts of VHO light, and 1/2 inch of live sand. Many thanks to Bob, S. Dog, and Adam C, for your help with this.  <Your welcome.> I plan on housing 2 clowns, a scarlet hermit crab and 6 small snails (Nassarius and Cerith).  There aren't any local fish stores near me that sell livestock so I will be purchasing online.  Can I introduce these inverts and the 2 fish all at the same time once the system has cycled?  <Yes.> I have read on the site that these inverts would not add much as far as bio-load.  <Correct.> I want to do what is healthiest for all the creatures but would also like to avoid the expensive cost of shipping everything separate if it is not necessary.  As always...thanks much. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Eric B.

Marine livestocking   2/2/06 Hello!  I was hoping to run my ideas for stocking my tank past you - I don't want to over do it, but I'm not sure what my tank can support.... I have a 55 gallon tank with about a 3-4 inch live sand bed and 75+ pounds of live rock. Currently, it has two tank-raised false Perculas in it.  I'm not looking to get a lot of fish, but want some color. I was hoping to be able to add 1 Royal Gramma Basslet and 2 yellowtail damselfish. In addition, and a while from now, I'd like to add a sea star - probably a Fromia milleporella, based on recommendations I'm seeing online.  Do you think a 55 gallon can support this, or am I overcrowding? <Should do fine here> Thank you so much for your time and your help! Erin <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

55 Gallon, FOWLR Stocking Arrangement  - 01/24/06 I currently have a 60 gal. fish only tank. (sea clone 100 protein  skimmer, maxi-jet 900 power head and a Emperor 400 bio filtration system  and standard hood light system). There is about 25 lbs of live rock, 3 damsels  and 1 yellow Tang in the tank now. <Filtration while not my personal choices can be made to work, fish arrangement, may be okay for now though eventually the damsels will show aggression (depending on species) and the tang will outgrow the tank.> The tank has been cycling from 1  1/2 months. Test show that everything is going well. <Sounds good, though in the future do be specific with test results.> In about 2 more weeks I would like to add a Yellow Stripe Maroon  Clown, Dwarf Zebra Lionfish and maybe two or three other fish. By the way the  damsels will be taken back to the LFS as I am sure the lion fish would  probably eat them. <A dwarf lion may not be quick enough to catch a trio of damsels, though for the sake of your tank mates I would remove the damsels anyway. As for the lion itself, it will outgrow a 55 gallon tank eventually, though it is a dwarf, it grows large (7") and will eventually need a tank in the 75 gallon+ range.  A 55 gallon is about the limit for a large female maroon clown, should be fine, though be aware they can be quite aggressive. With this assortment of fish you will eventually need to find them new homes or upgrade.> What would you suggest as other tank mates that I can add? <Personally, I would rather have a display consisting of an assortment of smaller specimens than just 2 or 3 large ones. I would look into smaller animals such as cardinals, blennies and gobies; that is of course if you decide against the lion.> Is there a certain order that I should add them to avoid conflict? <I would add the maroon last if you are set on one, and be sure to remove the damsels before anything else.> Should I add more live rock? <Depends on how porous (surface area) you current rock is. Even though you only have 25 pounds I would not want to add too much more as the tank mates you have chosen need the swimming room.> Thanks for your help. <No problem, anytime. Adam J.> FOWLR Feature Fish  1/20/06 Good Morning Crew! I am looking for a "feature fish" for a FOWLR tank.  My goal is a long-lived, interactive pet that we can spoil rotten for years to come. I have a standard 90 gal (48") with about 1" oolithic sand, 60 lbs LR and 30 lbs LR rubble that is running nicely, and is currently "vacant". Filtration is protein skimming followed by DSB refugium with Chaeto used primarily for nutrient export.  I am willing to keep it solo in order to minimize aggression, tank volume limitations, etc.  I would prefer some star-quality, but am willing to sacrifice looks for personality.  My current "short list" is topped by an Aussie Tuskfish, followed by any suitable trigger, but I am concerned about my tank size.  I want to provide a suitable long-term home.  I love the look of p. Volitans, but am curious if they show any interaction.  They seem rather indifferent to me. <Almost all are> I have had great success with small reef/invert tanks, but I have never kept a larger marine fish before.  I am open to any/all suggestions.  PS, I am a long-time reader , thank you folks for what you do! Sincerely, G-Rak        Perhaps a Tiera or Orbic Batfish... Either a great "aqua dog". Bob Fenner>

FOWLR tank additions   1/17/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello again.> I currently have a 150 gallon FOWLR tank. <Cool.>   There are two percula clowns, two pajama cardinals, one maculosus angelfish, one blue sided fairy wrasse, and one Soldierfish - I've had him for years but he's only 5 inches. <Hmm - at 5" you would think he would still be "taking some shots" at the cardinals or clowns. Keep an eye on him, they do have a much larger potential size…and mouth.> I want to purchase 3 Heniochus acuminatus.  Is this too many fish for my tank? <Given the adult size, and possible aggression of the angel, I think so.>   I have read that these fish do better in groups, <True, but fish that are normally in schools in the wild can often adapt, just fine, in captivity going solo.> but if three is too many fish for my tank, would two work, or would one be best? <I would try one maybe two at the most.>   Thanks very much, DB <No trouble, Adam J.>

Stocking A 180 - 12/03/05 Hello, <<Hello>> After successfully running a 90 gallon reef tank for a couple of years I am going to be starting up a 180 gallon FOWLR tank next week. <<Ah...and so it begins. <grin> >> My show fish that I plan on getting will be a Niger Trigger. Yes, I know it will be a challenge! <<Maybe...maybe not...>> I was wondering what tank mates would fit in with him and have a few in mind.  I was thinking of an Antennata Lionfish, Snowflake Eel and/or an Emperor Angelfish. <<Mmm, might be pushing the limit with the angelfish...but if your filtration is sufficient, it might work.>> I have read conflicting advice, likely due to the Trigger's off and on reputation I guess.  Would any of them work with him? <<With appropriate landscaping/adequate hiding places for the eel it could.  And do keep an eye out that the lion doesn't become a target of aggression.>> Would all of them be too much for a tank that size? <<Possibly in the long term.  Might do better to find a smaller alternative to the Emperor Angel.>> Also, since they are all fairly aggressive fish is there a good order in which to add them? <<Hmm...eel, lion, trigger, angel...if it were me.>> Thanks in advance for your advice. Pete <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Stocking A 180 - 12/14/05
Hi Eric, <<Hello Pete>> Thanks for the advice. <<Welcome>> I questioned the Angel myself so I think I will go with the Eel, Lion and then Trigger in that order. <<Ah, very good...all will be better for it in the end, though the addition of a smaller fish (by comparison) might be fine too.>> I will watch each addition for a couple of months to ensure they are safe and happy. <<Excellent>> I forgot to ask.  I will not sacrifice any living animal, coral etc. for no reason.  Would an anemone fit in with the mix of the three creatures I am looking at? <<Not in my opinion...    Anemones really should be kept in theme/specie tanks designed just for/around them.  Though the fishes you have chosen are not likely to bother the anemone, the fact that they are (or soon will be) large messy feeders makes water quality an issue for the anemone.>> I wouldn't think it would attack the largish sized fish but would the fish go after it?? <<Doubtful with these choices (assuming the angel has been excluded from the mix), but a FOWLR tank is really not a good choice for keeping anemones.  Regards, EricR>>

Colorful add-ons for a FOWLR Aquarium  12/13/05 Just inherited from my neighbor a 75 gallon tank. Cool! I inherited one of those from a friend a few years ago!> It sits tall rather than long, and it came with zebra moray. <I have one of those as well.> They didn't take good care of the tank (divorce) so I decided to buy new live rock, and totally clean everything.  Also, bought a Rena filter and have a protein skimmer. <Sounds good. Please do keep an eye on your water parameters.  Depending on just how well you cleaned, how much and what type of rock you replaced the old with, the tank could possibly go through a cycle of some sort.> My question is what type of fish can I put in here?  I was thinking about a niger trigger, yellow tang, and maybe 2 others. <As long as the fish you get are small and you plan on upgrading to a larger tank later those fish should be just fine. However I would not add them right away. You want to be sure the tank is not going through another cycle due to the thorough cleaning.> If I have to upgrade to a larger tank within a year or so, it's not a problem.  I just want a colorful addition to my living room. <Some colorful additions and favorites of mine for an aggressive FOWLR aquarium include Harlequin Tuskfish, Flame Hawkfish, Maroon Clownfish, one of the colorful wrasses like the Rainbow Wrasse or perhaps a Rabbitfish.> Thanks for the time. Rob <Your most welcome. Best of luck with your new tank! Leslie>

Cool fish for a 55 FOWLR? 12/11/05 Hi. I plan on setting up a 55g FOWLR system. I have 2 Penguin 350B Power Filters, 1 Visi Jet Protein Skimmer, two powerheads  and a heater. I am at a loss what to add to this fish tank. I know that I really want a flame angel and a tomato clown and maybe a purple tang but am not sure the tang will work out. Am trying to be really careful with stocking levels, so could u recommend any other fish I could add? <The purple tang isn't one that I can recommend for a 55 gallon aquarium. The fish gets much too big and much too aggressive. Flame angels are a great fish, after a thorough QT it should do well in your particular system. However, I would avoid adding the tomato clownfish. First off, they can be quite territorial. Secondly, real estate is at a prime in your 55 gallon tank. You will already have one absolutely gorgeous 'red' fish (flame angel), why add another red fish? The fact that they most likely will show constant aggression towards one another should help convince you to take the tomato clown off of the list. A pair Solomon Island Percula clownfish or Orange skunks may be a better clownfish option. A nice brilliant purple orchid Dottyback and a yellow Coris wrasse would make nice eye-catching, hardy and relatively peaceful additions to your system as well. Ali>     

Stocking a 330 gallon Saltwater Fish/Invertebrate Tank 12-01-05 Hi. <Hola> My family is currently installing a 330 gallon saltwater fish tank. <I am already jealous.> Being the prime caretaker, it's also my responsibility to choose the stock for the tank.  <Ah, the fun part!!!> It has halide, UV, and moon lights, a large protein skimmer, wet dry filter, UV sterilizer, and a approximately 25 gallon refugium. There is about 125 lbs of live rock and plenty of live sand (maybe an inch or two deep). The couple of questions I have were concerning stocking. What is the appropriate bioload for this tank? <That depends on if this tank will be a coral reef tank or a fish only with live rock.> The fish and inverts I was planning on introducing were 4-5 green Chromis, 1-2 Banggai Cardinalfish, 1-2 red Firefish, a Blackray Shrimp Goby with a pistol shrimp, 1-2 yellowhead Jawfish (I plan on making an area of the sand bed deeper to accommodate them), a few neon gobies, a sailfin tang, possibly a Fridmani Pseudochromis, the usual cleaning crew, cleaner shrimp, some type of crab (an arrow or Mithrax), a Coral Banded Shrimp (my brother insists), some soft corals, and maybe a dragonet in a year or two.  This list mainly depends on what's available at my LFS, and the bioload. I've read the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and have the Guide to Marine Fishes and the Guide to Marine Invertebrates. I have already looked a the compatibility a fair amount but I am not sure about a couple of things. First of all, will there be conflict if I have the Pistol Shrimp and the Jawfish? <Could be, but they should be able to find their own area in a tank that large.> I know they won't pair up, but I'm worried the there will be problems. Second of all, will the tang, crab, or Coral Banded Shrimp become a problem? <The crabs could cause issues by eating good critters in your rock and sand. The shrimp can be nasty to other shrimp and may limit you to only that single shrimp. I personally enjoyed keeping my coral banded for 5 years, but I like the other shrimp species (ex: blood shrimp) too so I would not get a new coral banded.> Please give me your opinion on this list. Thank you. <Good luck and enjoy, Travis>

Tank Upgrade: Marine FOWLR (Equipment and Stocking)  11/30/05 Hello, <Hi Scott.> I had a quick question about stocking. <Sure.> I currently have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank. My wife and I love the blue tangs so we purchased a very small one with the idea of upgrading to a larger tank this summer to fit its growing needs. The tank that I will be upgrading to is a 90 gallon that is 48 x 18 x 25. <If space and resources permit I would much rather see this specimen in a 60" tank, something in the 125 U.S. gallon range.> It is acrylic so I plan on drilling it and using my 55 as a sump. <Good idea.> I currently have all H.O.T. equipment. My first question is, can I use the H.O.T. equipment and just hang it on the sump or do the filters and things need to be in the sump? <You can but in general in sump equipment (thinking of protein skimmers really here) are on average much more efficient. And there is another thing to consider…is your current equipment efficient enough to handle the larger volume of water?> My second question is, when considering stocking rates, do I take the capacity of the sump into account?  <Somewhat, a sump increases your water volume and your ability to control nutrients but it does not increase the physical space within your tank.> I currently have the small blue tang, 3 small Chromis, and a small percula clown. About how many more fish would I safely be able to stock?  <Really hard to give out a number, a tang will take up much more space than say a small goby. With your current list I would look into smaller peaceful fish such as small wrasses, cardinals, blennies and gobies.> Thanks for your help.  <Quite Welcome.> Sincerely, Scott Smith <Adam Jackson.> 

75 gallon FOWLR stocking  11/9/05 I was wondering if this was a good set-up for a 75 gallon tank: 1 yellow tang <Would be okay for a juvenile but an adult would appreciate something slightly larger as far as room to swim.> 2 percula clowns <Get tank-raised specimens if available.> 1 bicolor blenny <Good choice.> 1 starfish <What type?> 2 blue damsels <Quite aggressive, I would add last...if at all.> Some feather dusters 1 saddle puffer 40lbs live sand 50lbs live rock Also if I could keep any other fish let me know. And the puffer might be aggressive but I heard he doesn't get too large for puffers. <The Toby would probably be okay, just keep an eye on him as some are known to be fin nippers.> Thanks Mark <Adam J.> 

Marine F.O.W.L.R. Stocking list 10/25/05 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Actually, Adam J here tonight.> I am going to set-up a 75 FOWLR tank and here is a list of fish I like: 1. Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) 2. Black Percula Clownfish ((Amphiprion percula) <Not a good idea to mix species of clowns, I would choose one or the other.> 3. Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) 4. Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica) 5. Kaudern's Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kaudneri) <Please attempt to get a tank-raised specimen.> 6. Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula) <Be sure to add this when the tank is mature, at least six months, preferably a year.> 7. Blue Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) 8. Foxface Lo (Siganus vulpinus) <The above two fish could be okay as juveniles but both have a potential around 12", so both would need new homes as they age, whether it be giving them to another aquarist or upgrading. Both need at least a five to six foot tank as adults. As for the Paracanthurus they are sensitive shippers and it seems like they always bring Cryptocaryon irritans into a system, so be sure to quarantine it.> 9. Blue Neon Goby (Elacatinus oceanops) <Awesome choice! Good first addition.> <<Can add multiples of this tiny beauty, known to perform cleaning duties as well, add little in terms of bioload.  MH>> What do you think? Are these good choices?  <All are "keep-able" species aside from the clowns and the eventual size of two of the tang and rabbit fish, very good choices.>  What order should they be introduced? <The m ore timid fish such as the cardinal, Firefish and neon goby should be allowed to establish first. The tang (if you still plan to add it though I would reconsider) and the angel should be last.> Thank You, John <You are welcome Adam J.> 

Stocking a 60-gallon FOWLR round III - 11/5/05 If I get rid of the Picasso, would the antennata work with maybe one other fish? <Compatibility-wise any larger slower moving, on aggressive fish (other ambush predators) can make good tankmates. But as far as tank size, you current quarters will not even be able to house the lion long-term. I for one would rather you continue with removing the trigger and find other smaller, equally as entertaining fish to go with your smaller tank mates such as the blenny. This will be a much better long term arrangement, Adam J.>

Livestock Choice, 55-gallon Marine/Mixed Invert. Tank  10/19/05 Good Morning, <Hello its almost midnight now.> Once again, I'm spending all my free time looking over your question and answers and learning tons! <Great!> I have a question concerning Compatibility. I have a 55 gallon tank with 50 pounds live rock and sand. Contents of tank right now are:  yellow watchman goby, flame angel,  percula clown, CBS, bubble tip anemone.  I'm looking to add another 2 fish, maybe three. My list includes bicolor blenny <great Choice.>, Foxface rabbit fish, <To Large for this tank.> purple tang (tank maybe too small for this one) <Correct.>  royal Gramma <Hardy and comical.>, six line wrasse. <Another good choice.> What do you think of that list?  <I would choose two out of the six-line wrasse, Gramma and blenny, definitely leave out the other two.> And is there any others that  I should consider in your opinion? <A neon goby would be a good choice as well (Elacatinus oceanops).> Thank you very much <You're welcome.> ...............now back to more FAQ <Have <<End of line. Tron/Bob>>

Adding To The Crowd (Stocking Plans)  09/13/2005 Greetings, Oh Wise Ones! <Yikes..."Wise One"- too much pressure for me! "Wise _ _ _", maybe! Scott F. here today!> In my main display of a 7-month old 90 gallon FOWLR and Inverts (no refugium), I am considering a few "fishy" additions with which I would like your opinion.  I will eventually be adding a 520 watt PC light fixture to this tank to turn it into a reef tank sometime in January! <Sounds cool!> Current parameters: 90 gallon AWA tank w/ overflow Mag-7 return from sump through 1/10 HP chiller Closed Loop Manifold w/ Mag-24 2 x 600 gph powerheads (1 in each back corner) 22 gallon sump w/ Aqua-C Urchin Protein Skimmer 120 pounds live rock 150 pounds live sand (4" DSB) Ammonia:  0 Nitrites:  0 Nitrates:  1 ppm temp: 80 salinity: 1.023 pH:  8.1 (I don't currently test for calcium/alkalinity but the shrimp/crabs molt about every 3 weeks so it all *seems* well there...I'll be getting a test kit for it before it turns "reef") <Good...> Current Inhabitants: 2 x Amphiprion Percula - (very obviously mated pair at 2" & 1 1/4" - they remind me of my husband and myself when we argue - she always wins!*grin*) <Consistency in all things is good!> 1 x Amblygobius Semicinctus (4") 1 x Zebrasoma Flavescens (5") ~25 Nassarius snails 3 small Blue-Legged hermit crabs 1 Emerald Crab (very cute - 1 inch) 1 Red Serpent Sea Star 1" center (I'm not measuring the legs, thank you very much) 1 Skunk Cleaner shrimp 1 Coral Banded shrimp 1 Peppermint shrimp <Nice mix of neat animals. Do keep an eye on the Emerald Crab, as it may become not so cute when it develops an interest in its tankmates!> I currently have the main tank fallow for now following an outbreak of Cryptocaryon, thanks to a non-quarantined Halimeda my husband put into the tank to surprise me - he's been smacked rather hard and is on hospital tank water change duty for the next month.   <That will teach him! A good reason to embrace quarantine for EVERYTHING placed in the tank!> My Regal Tang and my Royal Gramma succumbed before I was able to get it under control. <Sorry to hear that.> I was devastated and my husband actually cried, he felt so badly. <As long as he learned, the fish did not die in vain. It's an unfortunate part of the learning curve. He won't make that mistake a gain- I guarantee it!> He learned a nasty lesson the hard way about quarantining EVERYTHING! <Amen!!> Everyone else looks fine, is eating fine, and has shown no signs of the disease.  They will remain in quarantine for another four or five weeks, I think.  I do NOT want to do this again!  *sigh* <Good work. see it through!> Okay, that was a lot of information, but probably necessary for background.  I love the very rich blue of the Paracanthurus Hepatus but was thinking that a hardier reef-safe species that carried a deep blue color may be wiser at this point. <Also, think about the "end game" with the P. hepatus. It gets very large, and will require a substantial aquarium to be happy for extended periods of time. A nice, smaller blue fish would be a Pseudochromis flavivertex, the "Sunrise Dottyback", or the Blue Assessor, Assessor macneilli.> In that regard, when everyone goes back into the display tank in another month and a half (end of October), I was considering the addition of a Chrysiptera Parasema (yellow-tailed blue damsel, I believe?).  The question is:  will it reside in relative peace with the clowns, or will terrible, nasty fighting break out because they are all damselfish? <That possibility exists. Damsels; beautiful though they may be, carry a well deserved reputation for nastiness!> I have no fears for the goby - he's pretty territorial already, as is the Yellow Tang (aside from being the big guys on the block!).  But the Clowns I worry about.  If not, do you have another suggestion? <As above.> Also - how close to "capacity" am I?  I'd like to stay under-stocked if I can... <I'd suggest adding maybe 3 or 4 small fish from the recommendations above (or similar species), but that's it.> Thank you for your valuable insight and help/encouragement along the way for those who are trying to learn. Bekah Rogers <My pleasure! Do consider many smaller fishes from the Blenny, Wrasse, and Goby groups that are available regularly. You have a great philosophy about stocking, and it will reap dividends down the line! Read up on lots of potential choices right here on the WWM site! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking an aggressive tank  9/7/05 Hi all, thanks for your continuous help. I'm currently stocking new 1000l (cca 220gal) aggressive FOWLR tank. There is a pair of 6y old Clarkii clowns (12 and 15cm) and next week one Sohal tang (15cm) and one Clown trigger (also around 15cm) will arrive. My question is if this tank (2m long) could house any more fish on the top of mentioned four. My dream setup would also include Bluespot stingray which I gave up after reading some books , but I'm still dreaming about adding either Radiata lionfish or E. nebulosa moray eel. What is your recommendation ? Do you think that large carpet anemone could survive Clown trigger's raids? many thanks Roman from Slovakia >>>Greetings, The stocking level of your tank at this point will be determined by your maintenance regime. Ask yourself how often are you willing to do water changes? I've been able to get away with stocking densities in the past that eclipse your proposal by a wide margin - but I did 20% water changes bi-weekly. Keep in mind as well, there's no guarantee that your clown trigger will work long term with ANYTHING, regardless of tank size. It's a gamble with this species. Forget the anemone for sure, and I say this for a myriad of reasons. Good luck Jim<<<

Inverts in new copper free FOWLR 8/25/05 Greetings, I have big plans, and of course many questions.     My current situation: I have recently purchased a new 110g unit with a built-in overflow after selling my FOWLR 90g tank and filter.  My fish (sailfin tang, blue hepatus tang, majestic angel, juv. French angel, <These last two will get too large individually for this system> 2 yellowtail damsels, 2 percula clowns, cling fish, <Neat!> Pinktail trigger, and a hermit crab) are temporarily in a 40g WLR, while I patiently, and properly setup my FOWLR 110.  I realize the fish are crowded, I am being very cautious with their care. <...?>     In the past: The old system utilized a ProClear 150 Wet/Dry filter which had an insufficient built-in skimmer.  I also had a Coralife 9W UV sterilizer running on a loop off the sump and a 4x65W compact fluorescent light.  The tank had ~50lbs. of live rock and a 2" live sand bed.  All of the coralline algae on the rock died as a result (I presume) of using SeaCure copper treatment to .15ppm. <This will do it> I also had issues with a lot of green algae spots on the glass.  My biggest frustration was the dark reddish brown algae or coating that enveloped the rocks and was unaffected by AntiRed and another treatment.  From my readings on your site I realize that the copper certainly did not help the bacteria in the tank as well.  I never had ammonia and nitrite issues.  For the most part the copper was very effective in disease control along with fresh water dips at the first sign of distress. <But always a struggle, worry>     My intentions:  I want to eventually have all of my current fish in the FOWLR 110g. <For what livestock you list you need about three times this volume, minimum> I would like to have shrimp,  a starfish, an anemone and a couple hardier corals. <... not good chances...>   I don't know if there are any corals out there that could make it in this situation, or that the angels and trigger wouldn't see as lunch. <You are correct... along with vacillating water quality due to crowding in such a small volume> I will still have the same light and I hope the coralline will flourish.  I will get ~50lbs of new, copper-free, live rock from Walt Smith Int. and use a 2" live sand bed.  I have decided to not use copper any longer.  I will buy a RO unit to purify the water, any budget-conscious product recommendations? <Yes... I use the cheapy units from Home Depot, Lowe's... they produce "good enough" water at minimum cost> I intend to use a ProClear 175 wet/dry and use an AquaC EV-180 skimmer in the sump.   I am using the larger skimmer to accommodate any future tank volume increase.  Should I even bother with the wet/dry, do you recommend another filter type for this situation? <Up to you... I would switch out the angels, trigger... use a sump, refugium, RDP, DSB...>   I could make a sump from a 20g I have. I've read your thoughts on UV's, but I already have it.  I guess it will be implemented again.  Finally I will use a QT, this will still have copper in it.     Please tell me if I headed in the right direction? Shane F. <Your message shows signs of intelligence, patience and much learning on a first-hand basis... I would study a bit further for now... re your options for (re)stocking, filtration... Bob Fenner>

FOWLR tank with anemones? Dear Blundell: Many thanks for your rapid response and advice. I mis-typed the number of hermit crabs and turbo snails - there are actually 20 of each - so I guess I need only an additional half ton of them! Will add them post haste. < Sounds good. >  From your response I assume that adding a majestic angel (an emperor will no longer be considered) and a gold rim tang is the recommended route. I had no intention of converting from a FOWLR to a reef tank, but understand that adding the two anemones is a step in that direction. If the tank is of sufficient size to accommodate the fish population I desire, i.e., the addition of the majestic and the tang, as well as the coral and/or polyps you suggested, then I will continue to complete the conversion. Is it, and, if, so what do you recommend adding and in what order?  < I would add inverts before fish. Other than that I don't think the order matters much. > Thanks again for your advice and am looking forward to your further guidance.  < I hope I help. > Regards, Dick Duffee < Blundell >

Starting a new tank I have a few questions about starting a new tank. Some of these questions have been answered by you FAQ in part, but I wanted to get a firm answer to be sure. I am in the process of starting a 90Gal Marine tank. I am working toward making the  tank FOWLR tank. The current setup that I have is a Magnum 350 Deluxe and lighting. This week I was planning on adding a protein skimmer for filtration and a powerhead to bring the water flow up to about 900gph. My first question was regarding the filtration, I was told by my LFS not to get a BioWheel for a marine tank, because it harbors too much bad bacteria. Is this true?<Not true> After doing some research it seems that the bio filtration could be handled by the appropriate amount of live rock,<It can> but I was looking at buying the Bak Pak dual protein skimmer, to ensure that I was covered in that area. If I do not need the added bio filtration I would like to go with the Remora Pro,<This would be a better choice> as it seems to be a better skimmer. It also seems that I have put the cart before the horse and added my substrate too soon. I would like to purchase about 45 - 75 lbs of live rock<If you want to use the rock as the biological filter you will need more than that.  I'd go for a 120lbs and go from there> and cure it in my new tank, but my substrate is already added. Is this a major issue?<No> Also, I have read a ton of posts stating that with the marine Bio-Spira you can add your fish immediately. What are your thoughts on this?<Patience my friend. Let the tank cycle naturally without help.  The curing process for the live rock (using a skimmer) can take three to four weeks> Does it have any advantages to being used while cycling live rock, maybe shortening the cycling time? <<Yes. RMF>>The fish I will be adding to the tank eventually  are: Ocellaris Clown Fish (Can you add more that two of the same species?)<Yes>1 Blue Tang, Flame Angelfish, Royal Gramma Basslet (Maybe) I would have liked to get a puffer, but I am  afraid he will eat my small fish (Clown fish etc..). Does this fish combo sound ok?<Puffers just don't fit in with the rest of your selection> I also plan on purchasing a UV sterilizer<not what I would do with a tank with live rock.  Any larvae etc that develop from the rock are zapped when they go through the sterilizer and the live rock just doesn't "grow" as fast> at a later date. Finally my LFS told me not to vacuum the substrate, is this correct as well? <Yes and no.  If your using a DSB, then you need sand sifting stars, Cukes, etc to stir up the bed.  By vacuuming you will probably suck up critters you want to keep in that bed. Good luck.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank You,

FOWLR Hey guys, great site, very informative.  I find my self all over your site and I am looking for some tank size specific info. I've have African cichlids for 12 years and am starting a 45 gal FOWLR with a All Glass 36" compact florescent (w 2-55W bulbs). Space limits my width to 36".  My filters are as follows: 25lbs live rock, emperor 400(for mechanical and adding carbon-I am going to try this without a wet/dry, small tank and fear of Infamous WET/DRY TIME BOMB), Aqua C Remora PRO HOT.<sounds pretty good>   Could you suggest the optimum fish setup for this tank size.<as long as you keep up with water changes this setup should be fine>  I would like reef friendly, hardy, colorful fish without having to have all blennies and gobies. <ok>  I like the color of the yellow tang but I am afraid of the ick issue. <if you qt him for 4wks he should be fine> I want a pair of clowns for sure. <ok> Could a lemon peel work for this size?<it could, but they are not as hardy as some Centropyge angels>   Also, what would be a complementary reef invert. setup? <well if I had a 45 gal aquarium- I would have a Pseudocheilinus ocellatus (mystery wrasse), golden pygmy angelfish, blood shrimp, and some scarlet cleaner shrimp along with like 50lbs of LR, etc> Will the 2-55W bulbs work with the 22" depth of the 45 gal on mushroom corals and others?<you could do this. but you should research before you purchase them>  As I am prepared for the additional maint. of a salt setup I would like all to play well together and not eat or destroy and of the costly reef inverts. <agreed, do read more about corals on the WWM site>I am looking to increase my success by compatibility on all levels.  Thanks for any info you can provide.   Randy-Chicago <good luck, IanB>

FOWLR tank stocking Hi guys, my name is Clay Smith and I have a 55 gallon tank that has been up and running for a year and a half already. <Hi Clay, and welcome!> It has a 35 gallon sump, 15 gallon refugium that has an opposite photo period , 600 gph pump running the overflows, canister filter, and 3 VHO fixtures.45 pounds LR and a 2 inch sand bed. <Sounds good> Up until now this ahs been strictly a predator tank with a few corals to add some color.  I would like to remove the predatory fish and have a more peaceful tank. I was thinking     1 pair clownfish( either maroon or blue stripe)     1 mandarin dragonette     1 royal Gramma     1 Blueband goby 3 purple Firefish. I am wondering if this would be a likely set up. Any info would be great. Thanks guys. <The only potential problem I see is the mandarin. Many, many of these fish simply starve to death in captivity. You need to have a very high population of pods and such in your tank to support these guys. Good luck with your new setup, Don> Clay Smith

-Invert bio-load?- I have had a 100gl marine tank for about three months now and want to  start stocking with fish.  My question is, if I already have 30 blue legged hermits 3 emerald crabs and 30 turbo snails, will this bio-load of inverts effect how many fish I will be able to stock? <If you have ample liverock, and some sort of substrate on the bottom of the tank, and it's efficiently filtered, you probably couldn't crash the tank if you tried (ok, well maybe you could, but the answer is no, they don't count unless they require much additional food).> If yes, how much? Is there a general rule of thumb like there is for fish,1/2" per gallon", on stocking? <Ew, as far as I'm concerned there is no 1/2" of fish per gallon rule. If that was true, does that mean you can toss in 50 1" green Chromis?>  If so what is it? <I'm sure somebody has come up with a X grams of hermit crab biomass per gallon, but it has much more to do with available food and crab-crab aggression that decides how many crabs the tank can support (same deal w/ snails).> I have not been successful in finding any information on this topic from the books I have been reading. <Glad to hear it. Basically, at this point, you'll only need to add any snails or hermits if they're not keeping up with algae growth (which would mean that you are having a nutrient control issue as well). Stocking the tank with fish is more about making sure everybody gets along and that nobody's cramped. The way we set up tanks (come to think of it, I don't know how your tank is set-up...) these days with plenty of live rock, sand, and a good protein skimmer, bio-load is really not an issue if nutrients are properly controlled. The tank finds its max "bio-load" by personality conflicts :) > I really enjoy this site for all the information it has to offer and the expertise/experience you guys share.  Whenever I get stuck I can always find an answer here, even if it's not the one I want to hear," see ICH Cures". <Hehe, excellent! Good luck, Kevin>  Thanks again

-Stocking a 30 FOWLR- Hi,  am in the process of setting up a 30 Gallon marine tank (this is the largest tank we can have unfortunately). I have read many articles and believe that as a fish only setup I can have about 15" fish in total. <Ew, toss that cheesy 1" of fish per 2 gallon rule right out the window. Your final stocking level will necessarily be much lower than that.> I will be using liverock, skimmer and an external canister for filtration. I would like a pair of clownfish, but I am stuck as too what other fish would be suitable for my system. I'd rather have more smaller fish than one or two large fish <Not the tank for large fish, keep them under 3" full grown.> , your recommendations would be very much appreciated. <I'd suggest picking up Scott Michaels Pocket Guide to Marine Fishes, it has some pretty good minimum tank size recommendations for most of the common fish you'll see in the trade. I'd look into neon gobies, shrimp gobies w/ pistol shrimp, Pseudochromis, and Cardinalfish for starters. If you'd like some sort of guide as to how many fish should be in this tank, I'd say 4-5 small, peaceful, lil buggers. If there is any question of particular fish being too large for the tank, please don't hesitate to ask. Good luck! -Kevin> Regards, Ian Barnett

- Coral in the FOWLR, and More -  Hi,  Thanks for all the information you provide on the website. I am a newbie and have two questions. My first question is is it possible to add some type of coral to a fish only system? <Sure.> I currently have regular lighting that came with the tank. I would like to add something other than live rock and fish. <Well, then start by improving that lighting just a tad - perhaps up to power compact fluorescents... then consider some Gorgonians - very nice, and very bad tasting so your fish won't bug them.> My second question is I am building a refugium and should I put the skimmer (Euro-reef CS6-1) before the refugium or after? <I'd go before.> I currently have a 90gl system.  Thanks again for your website, it is a dictionary of information. <Glad you find it useful.>  Jose  <Cheers, J -- > 

- Coral in the FOWLR, Follow-up - Hi and thanks for the quick response on my questions, I really appreciate it. <My pleasure.> In regards to my sump/refugium, the order of water flow will be the following: <??? Nothing followed.> Do you have any recommendations that I should consider. <Without knowing your plan, no...> I am planning on buying the PC's as you recommended and I will have a couple of reef safe fish (1-Fairy wrasse, 2-percula clowns, 1-royal gamma).  I was also planning on purchasing some saraxanthiums (Sorry for the spelling). <Not sure at all what coral you might be misspelling... do look around on the invertebrate section of our site and see if you can identify it a bit more specifically. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm > I currently have a 90 gal with Live Rock.  If there is additional info you might need, please let me know and I will reply. <None that I can think of.> Thanks again for all your hard work and assistance, Jose <Cheers, J -- >

Live rock first or fish first? Hi ,       I am setting up a saltwater tank and I'm almost finished putting all the live rock in. Can you tell me if I can put in a fish before all my live rock is in.<you can but make sure to add the liverock slowly...around 5lbs at a time, you don't want your aquarium to cycle again> My tank is all done cycled I  just need some more live rock and fish. I am just adding 2 more pieces. Would this be ok. <yea you should be fine, good luck, IanB>     Thanks

Inverting a FOWLR  Hello all, <Just one man today! Ryan with you>  I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with a protein skimmer ( Sea Clown), Emperor 400 , 2 MaxiJet 900 powerheads and about 40lbs live rock.<Okay> The water parameters are as follows as of yesterday and since it cycled 6 months ago,. amm=0 nitrites = 0 nitrates=10 ppm, salinity=1.023, pH= 8.2 I have recently just started getting into inverts as I have had fish for years and wanted to go the next step. <Great> Right now this tank has no fish, 1 cleaner shrimp, some snails,2 large feather dusters, hermits and a few live rock hitchhikers including a small (1/2 inch across) sea urchin ( who may take a ride back to the LFS when he is not so cute and tiny). <Not a bad idea, he'll also eat coralline> I have been slowly buying polyps and inverts over the last month. I have some button polyps with a small Blastomussa on the rock and these polyps are doing fine and very reactive to motion and touch (from the shrimp). <OK>so have some fluorescent orange polyps that seem to be doing well also, not all are open, but the ones that are, are pretty big and intense looking. I also have a Ricordea that seems to be doing fine as it  shrinks a little each night and then reopens in the morning to it's full size. <Normal behavior> My 2 questions are this:  I have some rocks with yellow polyps on them, approx. 30-40 on each rock. the first few days I had them ( I bought them last week), they were fully opened but then most of them closed with the exception of 2-3 on each rock and have not opened since. The opened ones seem fine and are even sprouting little buds on the sides of their stalks, but overall most are closed up tight and don't seem to be in any hurry to open. Is this normal? <Would need to know the Latin name of this specific animal to be certain> Also I should mention that I have a Coralife 260 watt pc and all the above mention inverts are about 1/2 to 2/3rd the way up the tank and get slight to moderate current ( except for the Ricordea which is in a low current area 2/3rd the way up). <I would say that some of the colony has been damaged; New growth will be stronger and even more beautiful in time.>  The other question is this: I noticed the brown polyp rock I have had for a few weeks and seems to look fine was doing something strange yesterday. each polyp seemed to be ejecting long, stringy brown material from the center of each poly. It  lasted for about 20 minutes then they stopped. Is this their symbiotic algae being ejected and if so why do they do that? <The amount of available light is less than their previous environment, therefore creating an excess of Zooxanthellae. Must be expelled, or it will die inside the animal's tissues, causing major problems.> The only changes to the tank since my last 10%water change 2 weeks ago ( I change 10% every 2 weeks at least if not more) was in that I changed a filter cartridge in my Emperor the day before and I feed the "tank" some Cyclop-eeze for the first time on the advice of my LFS ( who are very good and trustworthy, IMO, as they won't sell Nudibranchs or other impossible to keep creatures just to make a buck, and who give honest advice even if it means loss of a sale). <It's in the best interest of all saltwater shops to conduct business in this fashion- repeat business is what pays the rent.>   I also added Reef complete from Seachem as the LFS said it would help the tank overall especially when and if I eventually get into "true" corals. <It's pretty good stuff> I should also mention that all the inverts I bought were originally in a tank with a metal halide light. <That explains the expulsion of Zooxanthellae.>  Anyways, I was just wanting to find out if I should be concerned about anything in my tank at this point and if so , what to do about it. <Leave it alone, allow things to adapt>  Overall I get the impression that everything is fine in the tank and I don't get that feeling we have all had that something is just not right ( every aquarist's 6th sense), but I am new at the invert level and just don't know enough to feel confident in my ability and knowledge, though I have spent many hours on this website learning and researching. Great website, keep up the good work and sorry for the long E-mail, but I know it helps you guys to have as much detail as possible. Thanks <You're on your way to a great reef- just take it slow, and let the natural processes work their magic. About 20 pounds of live rock could help give your filtration a little extra kick. Good luck, Ryan>  Jean

FOWLR Stocking Plan Hello <Hello, Ryan with you today> almost 3 weeks ago I set up my tank, I have a Pro Clear Aquatics skimmer and a same brand Wet Dry. <Cool> I am using the hood that came with the tank and a fluorescent bulb of 6000K, 40 watts. The tank is a Oceanic, I have put live rock and the tank has been cycling for these weeks without any fish. Today I bought 0ne damsel to see if it survived and it did so I am going to buy 3 more to do the cycle. But how do I  know when the cycle is completed I have the test kits, <cycle is completed when there are no more traces of ammonia or nitrite.> but after adding the fish what do I  do? Wait for a month and a half? <About right> to add another fish. I want to add later on lion fish, puffers, a shrimp, parrot, trigger and angels and a tang. <Whoa.  OK, this is unrealistic.  Parrots aren't even an option in 75 gallons.  Puffers eat shrimp like popcorn.  Triggers are far too rambunctious for a 75 gallon tank unless he's kept alone- And even then it's dependant upon the species.  Angels require highly established tanks- At least 6 months old.  There may be some dwarf angels that would work for you.  One Yellow Tang would be acceptable in a 75 gallon tank.> Would these fish be able to live together and with the live rock?, <See above> I have been reading about the quarantine tank I would like to know more about this?. <What would you like to know? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> When I have more knowledge I want to upgrade to a Reef Tank what things should I do right now so in a future I can do this?. <Learn how to keep water quality high, get a part time job ;)  (Reefer humor.) > I am not using a chiller should I have one? <Only if the water in your tank is getting over 85 degrees during summer months.  If things stay under 85, you can use a fan to keep things under control.>  I have no powerheads just a pump in the sump with one jet in the tank. Is this enough current for these fish I want to add later on? <No, you're going to need more.  See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm> Thank you very much I would like to here some replies soon. <Thanks for writing in! Ryan>

Stocking at 125 FOWLR tank. Hi!  << Blundell here. >> I am trying to get some information about stocking/aquascaping a 125g. FOWLR tank.  We are still setting up, researching, etc. - don't want to have to solve problems later - and need some advice on what to put together.  The tank has a little giant in-line pump which turns the tank 9x-10x an hour, a 40 gal. sump, a Turboflotor 1000 multi protein skimmer in its own 10 gal. tub (fed by its own overflow directly from the tank).  We will have around 150# of live rock and about a 2"-3" sand bed (live sand recommended?).  Right now we are still fine-tuning the plumbing, so we decided to also zone in on what kind of fish to add.  We have a 2" Juv. clown trigger doing fine in a 40 gal. set up right now, and he will be the 'star' of the 125 gal when it is up and running.  In trying to decide who would make a good tankmate, as opposed to dinner, (keeping in mind that bioload for aggressive, meat-eating fish will limit # in a 125 gal.) for 'Spike'.  I am going to throw out some of what I hope are possibilities (from most to least desired) and see how it goes. :)  Sohal tang, Dragon Moray, Harlequin Tuskfish... I'm afraid the trigger and the moray alone might overpower the system. << If you don't fall victim to the "I need to feed my fish" syndrome you should be fine.  Too often hobbyists with aggressive fish tanks over-feed those systems and that is where they have problems.  Otherwise, this sounds okay. >>  Also - I have been looking over the FAQ's about aquascaping and should I be able to have the moray, I am concerned about the stability of the live rock (since triggers love to re-arrange). << Yes that is a concern. >> I would hate to lose such interesting (and expensive) creatures due to lack of foresight. << I would recommend using a long drill bit and drilling holes through all of your live rock.  Then you can make live rock shish ka bobs by skewering them with acrylic rods.  It allows for a lot design abilities, and also prevents (or at least helps prevent) rocks from falling. >> Another question - I have read in a couple of places about the great Fiji live rock from Walt Smith International - any clue as to how to find a retailer in my area? << Wow, I thought every store sold Walt Smith rock.  I would just ask any LFS to get his rock for you.  It is great stuff.  If none of them do so, well then I guess I would order online. >> Most seem to deal only in Tonga branch and Caribbean... Last question (I promise) - I have a 55 gal. I can also set up - one of the good LFS in my area has a lacy Scorpionfish (Rhinopias aphanes?) that is absolutely beautiful (sm. - only about 1 1/2 - 2 in.)!  I have read that although rare they tend to be moderately easy to keep.  Should I call and have them hold it?  I have heard that Rhinopias normally don't last long in the shop (bought quickly) and once gone are rarely seen again... << I would put it on hold.  I would want to wait a couple weeks before buying one, and I'd make sure it is eating before I purchased it. >> Thanks for all of your wonderful help and information!  I really enjoy reading the experiences of others and I have learned so much! Lisa <<  Blundell  >>

FOWLR Philosophy... First let me start by letting all of you know that you provide a great deal of service to those of us who are beginning in the hobby or are still learning, so, thank you ahead of time. <Hey- we all are! I learn something new every day! (and screw something up every other day- so I think I come out ahead of the game...). Scott F. with you tonight>      My background: 50gln with two maroon gold band clowns, cleaner wrasses, yellow tail Coris wrasses, juv. majestic, Auriga butterfly, and  a clean up crew of crabs and snails with approximately 60lbs of live rock.  <Lots of life. really, too much life, in there!> I am moving up to a 125gln this month, however, I am so confused at this point I'm stalled on what to do. <Glad that you're moving up...good> My wife and I love the color and motion of coral and movement of fish. My LFS is leading me in the direction of  a fish only tank, no live rock and bedding layer of and inch or less, reason being in case of disease or illness its easier to treat. <Well- yes and no...I still hate treating fishes in the display tank...just too difficult to maintain therapeutic doses of medications, in my opinion, along with other potential problems> Up to this point I've not had a Q-tank, I bought a 13gln yesterday, point being I've been treating the tank with limited success  which I now know is not optimum. <Nope-get that Q tank and you'll be so much more successful-trust me on this...!> The "professional" says that in the case of a fish only tank I could just add copper ( Ich outbreak for example) and not worry about the inverts. <Well, yes- but again- there are some difficulties that I think make this an undesirable approach> I know that even quarantine is not 100%, so you see my dilemma. <True. But you will enjoy much greater control and success at preventing and intervening against potential diseases if you employ this approach.> Is there a logical answer to my question that I am overlooking? It seems to me since we are trying to duplicate nature we would want both but since we are operating on a closed system and a much smaller scale things change. <I understand your dilemma, but I think that the FOWLR approach is the best way to set up a "fish" tank, if for no other reason than the fact that it relies on biology and natural materials and processes, rather than technical props to achieve the results that you want. If you take a "holistic" approach, I think that you'll be fine. Run that FOWLR tank with the same diligence and careful management as you would an SPS reef, and you'll win every time! Your guidance is very helpful, Thank you. Suniga <And thank you for stopping by! Good luck with your new system! Read and learn on the WetWebMedia.Com site about the many approaches to "fish-only" systems! Regards, Scott F.

30G FOWLR    Hi Guys!     <Right back at you Dave, Don here today> Thanks again for your expertise in the past. Nowadays time is money, and you at WWM donate a ton of time answering our questions day in, and day out with no compensation. I just wanted to tell you that we appreciate it. Not to mention the amount of aquatic life that appreciates the less lethal living conditions! <Whew, Thanks for the kind words.> My inquiry today is in regards to a new marine setup I'm trying to put together. It's a 30L, I wish to use live rock as my primary bio - filtration. I would like to have a flame angel, a yellow tang, a yellow - headed Jawfish, and possibly a trigger. I think the trigger might be too much for this small tank, do you agree? I plan to buy a wet/dry trickle filter with a 75Gal capacity and an AquaC Urchin skimmer. Should I start the tank without bio - balls, or should I remove them down the road when/if my nitrates start climbing? Also, as far as the live rock is concerned, (my LFS has great stuff) will my lighting be sufficient to sustain any soft corals riding along? I have a twin - tube NO setup, with two 36" 50/50 bulbs (half full spectrum/half actinic blue). I guess not, although the tank is only 16" tall. I plan to use sugar fine aragonite sand for my substrate, is 4 inches sufficient for the Jawfish? Do you recommend any specific brands? How about GARF Grunge, and their cleaning crews? I want to have enough life in the tank to supplement feedings for my herbivores, will this cleaning crew 'sanitize' my aquarium? Thank you at the crew for your time again, and any suggestions would also be appreciated. I know I'm taking advantage of you by putting 6,000 questions together all jumbled in one, but I'd rather find out now, than harm innocent marine life! <OK, Dave, here goes. A 30G long as in 36"x16"x12". Sorry, cannot advise the addition of any tang to this setup. Minimally, these fish will hit 8-10" up to 24" depending on species. Kinda like living in a closet, eh? I sure wouldn't want to. The trigger won't fair much better. I would stay away from these fish. The flame angel may be OK size wise, but most angels like to be able to stretch their fins and go full bore, peddle to the metal and 36" is not much room to do this. I would stick with compatible fish up to about 4" in size. You could wait and remove the bio-balls later, but personally, I would not use them from the beginning. IME cleaning crews are best bought as individuals. You can customize the makeup and get just what you want. I would think a diverse mix of snails will do you well. For pods and such, maybe you can get a cup or two from a friend or LFS and then inoculate your tank with that. You will still have some manual maintenance. Siphoning gunk that accumulates, water changes, etc. But the cleaners will help. Aragonite is aragonite, I would recommend the sugar fine as you stated. Your lighting will support low light needing mushrooms and maybe polyps with the same needs. Hope all this helps. Don> P. S. Great book Bob! --- Dave A

- Mixing Fish and Inverts - Hello again, I had other questions I forgot to ask. <Ok.> Can you keep any of these fish:  Heniochus, long-nosed butterfly, or a flame angel in a tank with some inverts, including cleaner shrimp, feather duster, brittle star, hermit crabs and turbo snails? <A few of those inverts, like the cleaner shrimp, brittle star, and hermit crabs would be fine - others, like the feather duster, would eventually get picked at eventually.> I thought that you couldn't, but in the Conscientious Marine Aquarist there are pictures that show these fish with some of those inverts. So what is the story, would any of those fish be better than the others for housing with the inverts I mentioned?  My main concern would be my shrimp because I love him the most. <The shrimp should be fine.> Thanks a lot, Kylee Peterson <Cheers, J -- >

INVERTS ONLY? 3/24/03 Is anybody doing Invertebrate Only display tanks (IOWLR?)?   <many aquarists... more so Europeans> Is that too boring for most?   <good heavens no!!! There is an unbelievable amount of life forms that sprout from live rock that never would otherwise with grazing and predatory fishes. Its a surefire way to grow an incredible macroalgae/plant tank from scratch> Would the "pods"/infauna overrun the tank for lack of predators, or would a wide variety of inverts balance itself out? <depends on if you mean "corals" by inverts... if so, yes. They will eat very well <G>> Maybe this is answered in the new book, but it isn't shipping yet :( Regards, Rich (never more anxious for a book to arrive!) <me too my friend <G>. Great question, best regards... Anthony>

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