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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine System Livestocking 5

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

FOWLR Stocking Question -- 11/19/2009
Hi there, Thank you for helping me out so I don't make a beginner's mistake.
<Is what we hope to achieve here!>
I'm going to get a new fish tank that's hopefully either 125 or 135 gallons.
<A good size -- I tend to preference towards longer and lower tanks myself, such as both these typically are.>
I currently have a 90 gallon tank with a bird wrasse, porcupine puffer, and a zebra moray.
My question is would I be able to add a Niger triggerfish, a Koran angelfish, or both without problems along with the other fish I have?
<Hm... I would fear aggression from the Niger trigger, though these are typically some of the more easy-going triggerfish -- though easy-going for a trigger fish is a very relative term. Both these fishes have ultimate
sizes over 12" in length -- combined with your current stock (all of which will easily breach 12" as well)... I would not, personally, though you may be able to get away with the Koran Angel here.>
I was also thinking of adding a tang, either yellow or Sailfin.
<This would likely be a bit better than either of the other choices -- I would bypass the trigger altogether, and look more into the Tang/Angel possibilities.. your chances, in my humble opinion, are better this way.>
Thank you so much for your help, you guys have saved me numerous times in the past.
Sincerely, Alex.
<Glad to hear we've helped! Do let us know if you have any further questions! -JustinN>

Question, New tank stocking/Setup, FOWLR  11/18/09
Good morning,
I've had a few questions building up and I've been looking at your website for some answers but can't find the specifics I'm looking for. I've found partial answers and tons of useful information but anyways here's my questions. I've been taking care of my sisters saltwater tank while she's been away the last couple of weeks and I've also been wanting to set one up for myself. My question comes from her tank though as after all my research I think she's pretty overstocked. She has a Longnose butterfly, blue tang, scopas tang, Foxface fish all about 3-3.5". Then she also has 3 blue/green Chromis (small), Coris gaimard (juvenile) and Sixline wrasse in a 40 gallon tank with 2 HOB filters (Aquaclear 50's), Coralife 65 protein skimmer, 2 Koralia Nano power heads, 35 lbs liverock and a couple inches of crushed coral substrate.
<Would agree she is overstocked and has inappropriate fish for that sized tank.>
She's had these fish for a few months at least but I'm concerned they're overcrowded. Can they live for awhile in this tank?
<For a while, may start to see aggression before long, or strange behavior, especially from the tangs.>
I'm trying to push her to get a bigger tank but she said she'll probably just exchange them when they get too big.
<Hopefully they will let her, often stores don't want the fish back.>
So I'm considering setting up a bigger tank myself and taking some from her as they get bigger. What size tank would suit these fish?
<For multiple tangs, with the other large fish, I would think you are probably looking at least at a 120G tank, but bigger the better.>
Also I've read conflicting information about hob filters for saltwater. Should she have the foam/carbon in them or just let them run for water flow?
<I run mine without foam and carbon, but can be done as long as the filters are cleaned often, ideally weekly.>
She has them both running carbon and foam. When I went to clean them out there were little bugs/shrimp creatures all over the carbon is this ok?
<Yes normal crustaceans that found a nice safe place to multiply.>
Sorry if I've asked too many questions or if this information was on your site.
<No problems>
Thanks for the help,

Re: Ick Guard by Jungle Labs 10/22/09
Thanks Neale for the helpful information.
<You are most welcome.>
In case I lose this fish (I will do my best to save it).
<Good luck.>
Once I sterilize the QT and all of the components used in it, are there some tough, hearty, beginner fish under $50.00 that you recommend that I can try that will get along with my Yellow Tang and my one Ocellaris
clownfish in my 55 gallon fish/invertebrates main tank?
<I'm not an expert marine fishkeeper, so Bob may want to offer some advice and/or direct you to the appropriate part of WWM. But in the meantime, I'd suggest you look at some my particular favourites for "easy care" marine
aquaria -- Hawkfish, especially the lovely Oxycirrhites typus; the Basslets, particularly Gramma loreto; and the "watchman" gobies such as Ctenogobiops tangaroai and Cryptocentrus cinctus. These are species I've found do consistently well in those marine aquaria I've helped people put together.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Doomed?/Stocking Level 10/16/09
Hey Gang,
<Hi Rodney>
Love the website!
<Thank you, glad you enjoy.>
Got a 45 gallon (36" wide) tank. Good skimmer, good filter, good circulation, 35ish lbs of rock, 3+ <?> sand base, average light, Aquaclear 110, HOB refugium. It's about 3 months old, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are always at delicious levels. Rock's starting to get darker with some purple coming through. Feeding many types of good food, lots of soaking in garlic, started Selcon 1x week, 30% water changes every other week. First time saltwater, 10+ year freshwater, not a moron. Even modded my Superskimmer 220 so there isn't a single micro bubble; Nothing to sniffle at (two weeks of cursing finally paid off).
2 ocellaris clowns (1.5 each)
1 scooter dragonet (2.5) (target fed)
1 small Blue Tang (2.5}
Neon Goby
cleaner shrimp
Pencil Urchin
some crabs (less than 8, two are emerald).
Added them in gradually (if over 3 months even counts as gradually).
Everyone in the tank gets along FAMOUSLY. No one looks stressed. The Blue Tang had a tiny bit of ich and nervousness initially (normal) but is all good since. Sometimes I'll find everyone hanging out within a few inches of each other which seems uncommon.
<Not necessarily.>
I am guilty of over feeding, but have stopped as of last week. Some brown spots on the back of the tank, easily wiped every so often. Seems to be worse where the powerheads are aimed. Also have one unit <?> of Aiptasia that is resistant to my sucking it out- but I'm on it once it stops hiding.
I realize that Blue Tangs should only be kept in large tanks (125 gal minimum). I was told it could be fine for the next few months (4-12).
Question: Am I doomed for failure?
1) Can I keep the Blue Tang for another few months if I remain vigilant, before upgrading to a 60+ wide 125-150 gallon tank?
<Yes, but I wouldn't add anymore fish to the system and would change the filter media in the Hagen on a weekly basis. Would also be a good idea to add a few more pieces of live rock creating more caves/crevices and would increase your biological filtration capacity.>
2) Has the overfeeding and slight overstocking set the foundation for massive algae/other problems over the next 6 months? If so, should I panic?
<Easily controlled by prevention methods. Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm>
3) Is the fact that everyone gets along so well completely irrelevant and am I a complete doofus? Be honest
<Mmm, let me see....Doofus - Someone who hasn't got a clue!
They live in blissful ignorance of the world, fashion, personal hygiene and social skills.
Nah, I don't think you are one of these. You just chose compatible tankmates.>
Sorry for the long email and thanks in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
PS Do you know what the f <the "f" isn't necessary> that ¼" tall red with white thing is in my second
attachment? It hides in one of those small white tubular pieces in the live rock. Feather duster maybe? Looks healthy despite the weak pic.
<Tubeworm/Polychaete of some type, desirable.>
Rodney Engelberg

Tank and stocking questions, NO3, and lg. SW sys. stkg. f's  9/6/09
Hello. Here is the info I sent to Mr. Fenner last week. I thought it might be helpful:
<Morning John>
Hey Mister Fenner thanks so much for your help. It is most appreciated as always. I have another question for you, or whomever is there if you have the time. I read all your sites posts on Nitrates but I am still confused at why I keep having this problem. My 450 is stocked with about 500 pounds of liverock. 300 pounds originally and another 200 of lace rock
<Very often a source of too much ortho phosphate... See Marco's article:
added gradually to be seeded by the live rock. about 5 to 6" of live sand, added more as time passed. I am running a dual refugium 2 twenty gallon ones connected in the sump one with crushed live rock rubble and the other with green algae. I run a timed florescent light at night and natural sunlight during the day. The tank takes up the entire wall between 2 windows of my den and has great sunlight from all sides of the room. I have a top of the line skimmer rated for my system and electronic heating system. I run 8 powerheads front, side and back to create cross currents.
I do a 20% water change faithfully every 2 weeks. The system is terminally stocked and holds one 8" queen angel, one 8" clown trigger ( I watch him closely as advised by you years ago), one 8" niger trigger, one 6" Bluechin trigger, one 6" Aussie harlequin tusk, one 12" Atlantic blue tang, one 7" princess parrot, one 10" orange toadfish (fed once a week), one 8" Lunare wrasse, and two golden morays, 15" each (fed once a week or once every 2 weeks). I feed the fish sushi Nori in the a.m., a small amount of spectrum large fish formula at noon and a small amount of chopped frozen octopus, squid, clam, shrimp, crab, scallop, (one of these) at night. My entire home is run on a r/o system and their are zero nitrates present in the water. I
use instant ocean as my mix and arm and hammer baking soda for the ph. My main issue is that after 4 years I just can't get my nitrates down to anywhere near zero. They normally run in the 40 to 80 range and are as high as 160. I am extremely frustrated as I put a lot of love, time and money into this hobby. I treat my fish like a dog or a cat. I read about a DIY coil denitrator as a possible help and have asked my LFS for advice but I seem to only get mixed opinions, none of which have worked. They did tell me I am overfeeding the fish so I am going to cut that back if you advise me to do so. I am exhausted spending 10 hours the last 2 days trying to lower the nitrates with massive water changes and cleanings. I would greatly appreciate anything you could do to help me. Not much saltwater help here in Michigan. Thanks again Mister Fenner or whomever answers this.
<We're glad to share>
My new questions are as follows: I am converting the other half of my refugium to algae as well so I will have 40 gallons of it for nitrate reduction.
the live rock rubble (40 pounds or so) is left now. I was wondering if it would be ok to put it into the holding tank for return water.
This is the only place in the sump I have room. Please advise me on this.
My high nitrates have been going on for 4 years now. I work so hard through big water changes once every 2 weeks and cleaning of the tank/aggressive skimming, but I cant keep them below 80 to 100. I started dosing with vodka with a formula I found on reefkepers.com last week. I just lost my 4 year old queen angel due to a mouth infection caused by the nitrates. When the tank gets where I want it through water changes, vodka dosing and the algae I want to replace the queen with another queen or other large angel.
<Start with whatever species at about 4 inches in length here>
With the fish I have listed I would appreciate any advice you have as to which would be the best fit.
<See WWM re large/r Pomacanthids...>
if not a large angel I would like to add a good sized Indian ocean Sailfin if you think the Atlantic blue would not kill it.
<Start with one about half the length of the Acanthurus coeruleus>
Lastly my Aiptasia are out of control and I want to add a large raccoon butterfly to get them under control.
There is one at my LFS that they will save for me for up to a month. I witnessed him tearing up Aiptasia and any foods they added. I would like any advice you have as far as adding him to the tank and his safety.
<During a day when you can be present, early in the AM so the lights are on... should be able to be introduced directly with what you list, have and the fact that the LFS has had on hand for a while>
I have heard they usually get along with other fish and vise versa.
<This is so>
I know this is a lot of questions but I am majorly stressed out about this entire thing. I treat my fish like dogs and cats and have had them and this 450 acrylic for 4 years now. As always I appreciate any help you guys give me. you have been a great resource for me for years now. Thank you.
<Mmm, I do want to say a bit more re the NO3 issue... is there space in your main display or room elsewhere to add another sump, tied in, to run a large DSB? Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank and stocking questions, NO3    9/6/09
Hi Mister Fenner. Thanks so much as always for your helpful and quick response.
<Welcome John>
I had the liverock rubble in a saltwater filled container with a heater on it and since you have given me the go I will put it in my holding tank. I read the article on rock you sent the link to. This is not the type I have.
I have actually 300 pounds of Fiji liverock and I have been supplementing it with the Texas holey rock used in cichlid tanks. It is thoroughly cleaned/soaked when put into the tank. I do not have an algae problem believe it or not. (one good thing going for me:). After removing the liverock rubble and vacuuming about 3 inches of detritus off the bottom my nitrates are now 20 this morning!.
<Wow! Great!>
My tank is so huge and the sump area is laced with 2x4 cross beams to help support the massive weight so I could not get to this area in the past. I could not siphon it as a hose was not able to run under the sump housing.
I knocked a panel off the back corner and finally was able to remove the rock and vacuum this muck out. Now that I have access I will keep an eye on it. The algae I have in the 40 gallon area now has 5 different kinds including the thick red type. I am running brand new fluorescent bulbs 24/7 until I get good growth.
<Mmm, I would leave these lights off for 4-8 hours or so during the tank "light period" (when the main system lights are on). Most photosynthetic systems need a dark period... can't function being lit continuously>
I really wish I had the room for another sump but unfortunately mine is full to the max.
<Could you add a good deal of fine sand to the main/display tank? Make the DSB there?>
To the right of the 40 gallon algae refugium is a 40 gallon connected sump that houses a very large reef octopus skimmer and my electronic titanium heater. The reef octopus pulls about 2 full quart containers of skimmate per day when I am wet skimming which I am doing now.
To the right of that is a 50 gallon holding tank. My sump is very full.
This tank is the centerpiece of my ground level den with the home entertainment center and sectional sofa. I think my wife would blow a fuse if I tried to connect anything outside of this lol.
<Good point>
I also started taking one of my 8 powerheads last night and blowing the detritus off of the rock last night. Huge clouds blew off of it. I was using a turkey baster before but this power jet seems to be the ticket. The powerheads I have running at multiple levels front, side and back have a total of about 8,000 gph water movement. Please let me know if this is good for a 96x36x30 tank.
<It is indeed>
I researched large angels per your article and found my LFS has access to large queens and French's in the 5 to 6 " range. I have seen both of these many times diving in the Cayman Islands and all over the Caribbean and simply love them!. As far as the Indian ocean Sailfin (I think he is called a Desjardini, sic) the colorful one, my LFS has had one that was brought in by an owner because he was a terror. He is about 5" long and my Atlantic blue is about 10" long.
They will also hold him for me for a month if I want him. Do you think a bully like him would be a good fit for my tank?.
<They may well "joust" for a while, but I give you good odds that they will learn to live together here>
I spend hours and hours surfing your site and really enjoy your articles and those of all of your contributors. I really love how you push conservation and are an avid diver.
I am retired from the U.S. Marines as of a few years ago and have travelled the world as well. My favorite place to dive is the Great Barrier Reef by far!.
<A beautiful area.>
I have dear friends in Sydney and Perth and I visit when I can and we always dive:). I will let you know about the long term success or not of the vodka dosing in several months. Thanks again Mister Fenner for all you and your staff do for our hobby. You are life savers as far as I am concerned.
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words John. Much appreciated. BobF>

Re: Tank and stocking questions 09/14/09
Hi there Mister Fenner. I hope all is well with you. I am giving you an update on my tank. My nitrates have been between 5 and 10 for a week now!.
I really think the combination of the vodka dosing, extra algae in refugium and regular power-jetting of the live rock is working in combination nicely. I introduced the raccoon butterfly yesterday and all went very well at first. Then the huge Atlantic blue tang saw him and chased him mercilessly around the tank. He has been a bully for some time to other fish as well. It took me 90 minutes to catch him and I put him in the 40 gallon return tank for now.
How long do you think I should keep him there, or should I simply take him to the LFS and let them find a new home for him.
<Give him a few days of "time out" and see how s/he does>
My next problem was a heart breaker. As soon as the clown trigger realized the only other fish his size was gone he began to take on the behavior you warned me about for years.
<Oh oh>
He chased every fish non stop all over the entire tank without rest.
Everyone was getting stressed to the max. I tearfully removed him and took him to the LFS to find a suitable home. Many shop there who have 1,000 gallon and up systems with sharks and the like so I know they will find him a good home.
I would like to know before I have to go through this heart break again if you think I could try another baby clown trigger or if he would probably just grow up and do the same.
<Ultimately... likely the same, with growth/age>
The fish in the tank are all at total peace for the first time in 4 years and I want to try and keep it that way. The raccoon is working on my Aiptasia which is very nice. I do still want to add another queen or French
angel to replace the one I lost and am looking for one in the 4-5 inch range. I think if I do not get another clown and if the Atlantic blue goes back to the LFS I will consider my tank terminally stocked after adding the angel. Thanks again for all your help and advice mister Fenner. It is priceless to me.
<Am glad to aid your efforts John>
The fact that a man such as yourself takes the time to assemble a staff and help us all the time just blows me away. You are the unsung hero's in the fish keepers world and I salute you all!!!!.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Re: Tank and stocking questions, NO3 and ? f'     9/20/09
Greetings mister Fenner. My nitrates have been ZERO for the past 5 days now!!!!.
<And should remain so going forward... unless/until "something" changes>
I am so excited. No ammonia, no nitrite, 8.2 ph and 1.023 salinity. The water clarity is magnificent and the fish have never looked better. The raccoon butterfly is getting along marvelously with everyone and will even tail slap the bullies if they get too close. I had to put the Atlantic blue back into return tank as he wanted to be a bully still. It is odd but he seems to really love being in the 40 gallon return where he guards the live rock rubble the same way he does in the display.
<Ah yes... like a large, perhaps mean dog... Is fine being "king of its kingdom">
He eats great in there as well. Do you think I could keep him there a month or more as long as he thrives then try him in the display again?.
<Worth trying... but I suspect the one trial you've done will likely prove to be a permanent characteristic>
I joined the reef and FOWLR site where I learned of the vodka dosing because I wanted to thank them for the information and share my story. I have ended up keeping a running log there letting them know my progress.
<Ah, good>
I have also been able to help numerous beginners with they're questions as I have had 10 years under my belt now. I do not even remotely know what you and your staff do but it is nice to give back to others what I can just as you have done.
<Our efforts are confluent in intent and execution>
I have stopped increasing the vodka and my maintenance dose is 8.0 ml until I see I can lower it.
<Do keep a look out for the beginnings of "green hair algae"... often a result of such carbon addition; sign to diminish dose>
I monitor the nitrates daily. Lastly I would like your opinion on a wrasse question. I was wondering if you thought I could keep a red Coris with my Lunare and Aussie harlequin in a system my size?.
<Likely so... Start with one of juvenile coloration... 3-4" overall likely... and it will likely get along, develop through female to terminal/male in a year or so>
If so how large should I buy the red Coris?.
<Ahh! I should read ahead of responding>
I will wait to hear back from you before making a move. The suggestion you gave on the 8 hours of darkness is helping greatly with my algae growth as well. Thanks again for everything. You truly make a huge difference in the hobby and the lowering of my stress level. I will keep you updated as time goes by.
<Thank you John. Bob Fenner>

Tank stocking 09/14/09
First let me say that you guys have a great sight and I have read a lot of it. So much info that has helped me make a lot of decisions. I have two FOWLR tanks, a 125-gallon and a 55-gallon. I have picked out a list of fish that I would like to have in these tanks. I already have some of them, but would like some advice on my lists and how many would be best for each tank. As well as get along for the long term. I have all the normal equipment for these tanks including Remora-Pro Skimmers. A pair of them on the 125g and they are both over filtered. The 125g filtration system rated for 340-gallons. If there is a fish or two that you would advise not to have in the tanks, please let me know. I value your opinion as I get most of my information from your site when making my decisions.
Bi-color Angel
Solar Fairy Wrasse
Ocellaris Clownfish
Flame Hawk
Royal Gramma
Purple Firefish, Scissortail Dartfish
<I'd leave out the single Firefishes, just have the Gramma... they often don't get along>
Canary Blenny
2 Fire Shrimp
Harlequin Tusk (Australia)
Majestic Angel
<Gets too big for this setting>
Coris Gaimard Wrasse
Picasso Trigger
Hippo Tang
Foxface Lo
Lemonpeel Angel
Banggai Cardinal
<Social species>
Engineer Goby
Both tanks have about a three inch fine sand bed.
Thanks for the info and this great site.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Foxface Rabbitfish / 125 FOWLR/Puffers/Feeding 9/1/09
Hello again Crew,
<Hi Jill>
I finally have my 125 gallon FOWLR set up and cycled, 60 lbs. of live rock, 2 wet/dry filter systems and
a protein skimmer big enough for a 300 gallon. Not sure the system but it's the same system my LFS uses. I need to investigate that more. Anyway, my question is this. I currently have a Dog Face Puffer and a Porcupine Puffer, each about 4-5 inches in length. I'd like to add a Foxface Rabbitfish and a Harlequin Tuskfish into the mix. That would be it as far as fish go for this setup. My LFS has recently received a Foxface Rabbitfish. How long should I wait before bringing him home? I do not want to stress him out anymore then needed. I was also thinking of adding a phosphate remover to my filter system as I am now
getting brown algae along with hair algae.
I think I fed the puffers too much in the beginning. (oops) I also know the Rabbitfish needs algae so I'm wondering if I should just leave it be and work on my feeding regime instead.
<The two puffers you have will tax your tank pretty good in regards to waste, and since these fish can grow to a foot or more in nature, adding more waste producers will eventually lead to water quality problems in the near future.>
My LFS also sells small hermit crabs by the 1/2 dozen or dozen for feeders. Would these be okay for my puffers?
<Do read here and related articles/FAQ's. Will give you all the information
you seek. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_2/puffers.htm>
They were given live fresh water feeder fish at the store and I am trying to get them over to a healthier diet.
Thank you very much for your time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Best Regards.

Stocking Advice SW 75 gallon. 8/25/2009
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hi Carrie.>
I have used your site to keep my sanity in the year my saltwater tank has been up and running. It has been very helpful in calming the 'mom' instinct that kicks in with every bump or bruise a fish received during the hierarchy battles. I was even able to save a clown that had gone almost completely white because of the picking done by his now-partner. The down side is I have to be creative in draining pasta, since the colander is now a part of my quarantine setup.
My concern is in overstocking my tank. It seems so empty now, but it's inhabitants will get much bigger.
<A key point to remember, one that many forget.>
My tank:
75 gallon
Remora Pro Skimmer
a hang on filter that I am considering removing.
90 lbs. Fiji live rock
4 inch sand bed.
79 degrees Fahrenheit. It has been running a few degrees too warm.
We are having the hottest summer on record, day 50 of 100+ temps.
The only issue is slime algae. The water was tested by my home kit, and my LFS. No issue with the chemistry. I was told that it was most likely from having the lights on too long. I have changed my lighting
to 7 hours on a timer.
<This is good. It can also be caused by an excess of nutrients.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >
My current stocking is:
1 Foxface Lo
2 Aquacultured False Percula Clownfish
3 Green Chromis - I bought five for schooling, but the other two didn't make it.
<Not uncommon, particularly in a smaller tank such as yours.>
1 Fuse goby - Fusigobius neophytus - my favorite - he is a neurotic little thing. He picks up every shell in the tank (occupied or not) and moves it to one corner. The few hermits that haven't killed each other get rightfully upset about this.
5 jade hermits
I was considering adding a Canthigaster papua and a Bicolor Angelfish, but I am concerned with both the compatibility of the Toby with the Chromis, and the bioload that would be added to my tank. If I bought
the Toby, the hermits would be moved to a friend's tank.
I appreciate any advise you can offer me.
<Have a read here about Toby compatibility:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobycompfaqs.htm One would fit in this tank, but as to it getting along with everyone, only time would tell. As to a Bicolor Angel, I would advise you to avoid them. They generally do not do well, mostly due to collection.>
Thank you,
<My pleasure.>

New tank, new tank mates   7/23/09
Hi WWM Crew,
I love the site, it has given me great knowledge in the world of marine aquariums. I have been cycling my new 300 gallon UniQuarium tank (Dimensions: 24" x 96" x 30") for a couple weeks now. The water
conditions couldn't be any better. This will be a FOWLR tank. I have a great setup with plenty of hiding places. I have heavy filtration for the heavy eaters I would like to obtain.
I have three main fish on my wish list which are a 3.5in Blue Jaw Triggerfish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus), a 3in Dogface puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) - (I really want a Long-spined Porcupine puffer (Diodon holacanthus) but I realize the difference between the two in max size is seven inches ), and finally a 6in snowflake eel. Through research I know there are no guarantees (especially between the trigger and puffer)
but these three fish should be able to "get along." I have two questions, first, do you think I have any chance of housing a Long-spined Porcupine puffer?
<Yes you do>
The second is do you think there is room for any other tankmates? and if so, what fish(s) would you recommend?
<There is room for other fishes here... and too many choices to list... My usual suggestion here to peruse aquarium books, your LFS dealers, and the Web for enjoyment along with learning. Bob Fenner>

Next Addition.   7/11/09
Have a 98 gallon FOWLR
half circle with 125 lbs of live rock.
15 gallon sump - MSX-200 Skimmer
Water - Salinity - 1.023 , ph 8.2 , Calcium 460, a/n/n all o.
Tank was set up and running on Feb. 10 this year, unfortunately was told to cycle with damsels, and all 6 of them made it but were taken out in April to add the live rock.
Late May 20 hermit crabs were added.
Mid June 4 Clownfish were added and are doing great at this time.
Now I want to eventually add a yellow tang and a flame angel and I will be set.
I have read that these fish require a mature and stable set-up before adding.
<Quite so>
I'm in no hurry and realize it will be a while before, but I need a decent timeline and which of these fish should be added next and then how long before the last one is added. Thanks so much!
<You are very likely fine to add these fishes now. Bob Fenner>

55 Gallon FOWLR Stocking? 7/9/09
Hi Crew,
<Hello Josh>
Well this is my problem. Every LFS tells me a different story or suggestion on livestock so I come to the experts. I've got a 55 gallon FOWLR tank with 2 Red Legged Crabs and a Maroon Clownfish. The tank setup consists of
20lbs live rock ( I know still not enough yet) 30lbs reef sand, Emperor 400 bio-wheel, 2 Aquaclear 50 powerheads, and a 200 watt heater ( skimmer is on the way Skilter 250).
The tank has been setup for 2 months and my tests read like this:
pH 8.1
Ammonia .25
<Should be 0 here.>
Nitrate 0
Temp 77deg
Specific Gravity 1.025
Salinity 34ppt
I'm planning on a peaceful tank. I was looking into getting a Royal Gramma, Pajama Cardinal (maybe 3 of them) and a engineer goby.
Is this a acceptable amount of fish for my tank?
And what order would you go about adding them? I know that the Gramma belongs to the Basslet family and I wasn't sure if I should add last?
<You may have problems with the Maroon Clownfish. As they grow, they can become nasty toward other tank mates.
Time will tell here. I'd add the Pajama Cardinal's first, and do provide plenty of cover for them. You are correct in adding the gramma last although they are rather peaceful toward non-conspecifics..>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Compatibility, FI SW  7/7/09
I just found this site today and I love it. So much information!
<Great to hear, thank you.>
I am new to the hobby and decided to go aggressive. I am embarrassed to say that instead of doing research I took the word of the LFS. I now have a 75 gallon tank that I am just realizing is overstocked. I have a 14 inch Snowflake Eel, a 5 inch Panther Grouper, a 3 inch Niger Trigger, a Yellow Tang, a Chocolate Chip Star, a nice size Green Brittle Star, and what I thought was a Zebra Eel-until today. He's about 12 inches long;
<Yikes, in a 75 gallon tank?>
I bought him as a zebra. I thought he looked a little different, but I assumed it was b/c <because> he was a juvenile. But according to WWM he is a juvenile Echidna polyzona. I plan on trading him for a true Zebra Eel.
I want to upgrade to a 300 gallon to give my fish more room. My question is, is that enough room for what I've got?
Also, will everyone continue to live together peacefully as they get bigger, or will I have to split them up? I would like to be able to add a Tesselata Eel to the tank too, if possible.
<For starters, the Yellow Tang really doesn't belong in that group, entirely different feeding habits and behavior.
The Niger Trigger can grow to about a foot and will pick on invertebrates such as your starfish. I'd probably keep the Barred Moral Eel (Echidna polyzona) as they only reach about two feet in length where the Zebra will grow to nearly five feet, but likely less under captive conditions. The grouper grows to about 1 1/2 feet and will eat anything it can swallow.
This guy will require a minimum of a 300 gallon tank and will lose the polka dot pattern as it grows into an adult. Both the Tesselata and Snowflake Eels are fish ambushers, so care must be taken that no smaller fish are in your tank.
The Tesselata can exceed
four feet in length where the Snowflake, somewhere near two feet. A 300 gallon tank isn't going to be large enough to keep all these fish as they are huge waste makers and require space. I suggest you browse our site for further information on keeping these fish. I'll provide an index here.
Thanks so much for your help.
<You're welcome. In future queries, please capitalize names of fish, saves me time in doing so before posting
on the dailies. James (Salty Dog)>

Restocking Following Bluechin Trigger Death 07/02/09
I recently had a Bluechin trigger die suddenly in a 125g FOWLR that for over the past 16 months has also peaceably (no real aggression/predation) housed a 4 purple tang, 2 melanopus clown, 2.75 flame angel, 4.5 Foxface, Longnose hawk, neon Dottyback, pistol shrimp and a coral banded shrimp. Basic water param.s post-mortem checked out okay (8.3 pH, 1.022 SG, nitrate at 10, everything else at 0) and the other 6 fishes are still fine and eating a variety of frozen/flake/pellet food, although theyve been a little skittish on a couple occasions lately.
<<This may or may not be related>>
This is the second Bluechin Ive lost (first one died 12/28/08).
<<Perhaps the source of these fish is at issue here. By far, the best specimens for aquarium use will come from Hawaii>>
Both had a similar demise acting normally for many months, then suddenly one day hiding in the rocks and not eating.
<<I have seen this before, with this and other speciesand suspect an internal parasite to be the cause. Unfortunately, by the time the symptoms manifest there is really nothing you can do at that point>>
However, the first one took 2+ weeks to succumb, while this one was dead in only 2 days.
<<Perhaps the one had a weaker constitution>>
I actually wrote to WWM in January about the first trigger death and I believe Bob said it couldve been a parasite or something else entirely.
In your opinion, does the current amount of livestock allow for adding another fish?
<<That depends on what you have in mind but, yes, I think so>>
And if so, what species would work, without killing/being killed?
<<There are probably quite a few possibilities if you think about it. Why dont you work up a short-list of what you think you would like to add and then we can discuss>>
I decided against getting another Bluechin out of concern that Im either not caring for them properly or my tank conditions just arent conducive to their survival.
<<If the Triggerfish had a place to retreat (this species can be quite shy and requires a place where it can feel safe), it wasnt being harassed, and if it was eating wellthe problem could well be the source/shipping/handling process these fish endured before you acquired them. Perhaps you merely need to look for this species elsewhere (and/or special order one from Hawaii). Though changing vendors/the source for obtaining this fish is certainly no guarantee of successbut is worth a try>>
Conventional wisdom says that the fishes Ive got now do poorly with conspecifics, right?
<<Very often this is the case, yes>>
For instance, avoid other tangs/surgeons because of the purple tang.
<<Im not 100% with you on this. Being established for so long may be problematic, but you might get away with adding a Tang of a different genus. If you were to try this, my suggestion would be either Acanthurus japonicus or Ctenochaetus strigosusboth are hardy aquarium species that wont get too large for your system>>
No other dwarf angels because of the flame.
<< I have kept multiple species of these fishes in similarly sized systems. I think there is a small chance you could introduce another dwarf of a different species here>>
Same goes for other Pseudochromis, Siganids, clowns and Hawkfish.
<<These are probably best left alone, yes>>
And the fact that these guys are all well settled surely makes it even more difficult.
Would the 125g tank size (plus approx. 100lbs live rock) make a difference, pro or con?
<<Tank size and amount/quality of available cover always make a difference>>
Also, I enjoy the coral bandeds antics, so I wouldnt want it to become a meal to a wrasse, hogfish or harlequin tusk, either.
Im curious what fish (or invert) might be a good risk hereor should I just stick with what I have? I guess Id be fine with that, too.
<<I have no real idea what you might be wanting here. Do a little research in to what you think you would like to add to the tank, and then come back with a list and lets discuss the merits re>>
On another note, my light fixture is a 72 Coralife compact florescent with 2 96W 10,000Ks and 2 96W actinics. Is this adequate lighting for an anemone (specifically, a rose bubble tip)?
<<It is marginal in my opinion. Metal Halide lighting would be my choice/suggestionbut I think you could get by just replacing the Actinics with two more 10,000K bulbswill be far better for an Anemone>>
<<Regards EricR>>

Re: Restocking Following Bluechin Trigger Death - 07/03/09
Thank you for your prompt reply, Eric.
<<Quite welcome Chris>>
The first Bluechin trigger was from LiveAquaria. I don't remember if it was of Hawaiian origin, but they seem to have decent quality livestock (my tang, angel, Siganus, and Dottyback were also purchased from LiveAquaria).
<<Ah yes, I do agreeone of the better vendors re>>
The second trigger was purchased at my LFS, and I admit their quality is inconsistent.
<<Likely taking what they can get-where they can get it>>
I did notice this trigger had slightly cloudy eyes when I first bought it, but since it was very active and eating well, I wasnt concerned at the time.
As to adding another fish: The purple tang and the flame angel are definitely the "alpha dogs" of the tank.
<<I would think so>>
However, there are adequate caves/hiding places within the rockwork (2 structures on opposite ends of the tank) to prevent any serious bullying.
<<Does helpas does keeping everyone well fed>>
I'm also thinking of adding another 75+ lbs of live rock.
<<Do be careful not to overly restrict swimming/growing space>>
Your suggestion of the C. strigosus was one I considered before (also C. truncatus), but Id read they were peaceful,
<<Mmm, relatively speaking maybedont know that Id class any tang as peaceful>>
and therefore might not be able to hold its own against the purple tang.
<<The purple Tang would likely take-out any other tang it had a mind to, regardless of the new additions aggressive naturebut Im thinking a specimen of a smaller size and a different genus may have a chance. After the Purple lets it know whos boss, of course>>
Alternatively, the A. japonicus you suggested would appeal to me, too.
<<A superb aquarium species>>
By the way, I looked on LiveAquaria and they identify A. japonicas as powder brown tang and A. nigricans as white cheek tang. At WWM, its the reverse.
<<Just goes to show the problem with common namesand why I try to not use them, at least not exclusively, when recommending fishes>>
I know Bobs book says the white cheek is hardier, no?
<<A. japonicus, yesnot A. nigricans>>
With regards to angels, would another Centropyge say, acanthops, eibli, argi, or flavissimus be incompatible with the flame?
<<I have kept C. loricula and C. flavissimus in the same tank (and do consider the latter the best choice of those listed)thats no guarantee, but I think you would have a good chance for success re in your 6-ft tank>>
When you say small chance of introducing another dwarf, are we talking, like, 10% chance of success?
<<Mmmupon reflection, I think I would give you a 50-50 chance here>>
Are there any Thalassoma sp. wrasses that wouldnt be a direct threat to the coral banded shrimp?
<<Not in my opinionat least eventually>>
In lieu of an anemone, I was contemplating soft and/or LPS corals in this tank down the
road as well, possibly as a test,
<<Would be better suited to your existing lighting>>
I could frag a couple from my coral tank and place it in the 125 to see if they get chewed by the Foxface or flame angel. Your thoughts?
<<Theres always the exception, but I have always found both fishes to be fairly well behaved re. Againthat well fed thing>>
<<Keep me posted EricR>>

Going Bigger, FOWLR stkg.  07/01/09
Thanks so much for your earlier thoughts on fish selection. As I've been stocking up, I've come to believe that some of my fish selections were too small for the size/location/viewing distances of my tank. To recap, it's a 220g FOWLR, island display, with T5 lighting, 35g refugium (reverse light cycle, growing Chaeto), 40g sump, 64g Rubbermaid overflow sump, Aqua-C EV240 skimmer, 300lbs LR, poly filter, carbon, RO/DI, auto-water top-off. The refugium, sumps, skimmer, etc. are in the basement under the display tank. Circulation in the display is about 6000gph, including the overflow returns and four Koralia 4's. I've removed and found homes for most of the smaller fish I already had, so here's my upsized stocking plan:
-- 1 Emperor Angel
<Will eventually outgrow this system>
-- 1 Yellowtail Coris Wrasse
-- 1 Dwarf Zebra Lion
<Will need to be directly fed>
-- 1 Bluejaw Trigger (male)
-- 3 Tangs: Purple, White-faced (a. japonicas), Kole
-- 2 Butterflies: Latticed, Spotband
-- 3 Dwarf Angels: Flame, Bicolor, Coral Beauty
-- 1 Longnose Hawk
-- 1 Blue Spot Puffer
-- 2 False Percula Clowns
-- 2 Small Wrasses: Mystery and Sixline
-- 5 Serpent Stars
-- Various snails
<The above two likely will be consumed by the Coris gaimard>
Some questions:
-- How big would the Emperor Angel get in my 220g?
<About a foot overall... in three years of so>
-- How big would the Yellowtail Coris Wrasse get in my 220g?
<About the same as the Pomacanthus>
-- I know that large angels are not usually great with lionfish, especially in smaller tanks. If I got the lion first and added a juvenile emperor a month later, would the two likely get along OK in the long run in my size tank?
<The Lion will likely starve ultimately>
-- Would the yellowtail Coris wrasse be OK with the emperor and not pick on the lion?
<Too individualistic to tell, predict>
-- I know that the clowns are risky with the lion, but they are a good sized, full grown pair already (over 3.5" each). Assuming I start the lion small, how soon would I need to remove the clowns?
<Not likely ever>
What kind of
odds do you give them for being lionfish food if I don't remove them?
<4-5 to one>
-- I realize that the Sixline is a potential meal for the lion, but I just couldn't catch him... The mystery wrasse is a big one, so I'm hoping that both of these smaller wrasses don't get eaten.
<Also not likely>
-- Is this too many fish?
<About the limit>
My estimate is that it's probably about as much as I could do in terms of bio load. However, it's hard for me to gauge how crowded it will feel for the fish...?
<Physiologically you'll be fine... Psychologically, only time, experience will tell>
Thanks again for your guidance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Going Bigger, FOWLR stkg.  7/1/09
Thanks again for all the insight. Sounds like I should leave out the Emperor and Coris.
<Mmm, unless you're planning on a larger system for the angel in a year or two, yes>
Might get a comet and some more of the smaller butterflies instead. Maybe one of the smaller filefishes. Any concerns about the comet in this setup?
<No... Plesiopsids are very shy, retiring>
I'm expecting that I will need to feed it directly along with the lion (as well as the puffer when I give him
shelled food like krill on occasion).
<A good plan/thought. BobF>

Stocking 55G tank. 6-15-2009
<Good afternoon.>
Have a quick question for you guys. I have a 55 gallon tank with 70lbs of live rock and 40lbs of live sand that is currently inhabited by a pair of False Percula Clownfish. We are about to start adding additional fish as these two have been in the tank for three weeks now and the parameters have remained steady.
The additional fish that we are looking to add over time (at least 2-3 weeks between each addition) are: 1 Tomini Tang, 1 Solar Fairy Wrasse and 1 Flame Hawkfish.
<I think these fish can all get along. The wrasse and the Hawkfish will be the most aggressive inhabitants most likely. As far as the tang in a 55 gallon tank... you picked one of the smaller tangs, that happens to do
better than some of the more popular tangs in a smaller tank. But regardless think about how happy the Tomini tang will be long term in a tank this size when you get him... or when he reaches adult size.>
I know with the hawk there can be no shrimp in the tank and that's fine with me but I was trying to be sure that:
A: These 5 fish can live together peacefully
<There is always variability with the personality of specific fish, but overall it should work.>
B: That these 5 fish can all live in this size tank together long term.
<My only concern is the tang at adult size. Would he live yes, but would he be happy space wise, that is debatable. Personally I would avoid the tang.>
The tang would be our next purchase and he is at our LFS where he has been for the last 12 weeks and is about 3 inches, then the wrasse followed by the smallest hawk we can find, going to be looking for one about 1-1 1/2 inches.
Thanks for the help!
<Your welcome.
Josh Solomon>

Re: Stocking 55G tank. 6/17/09
Hello Again,
<Hello Jami.>
Thank you very much for your reply about the compatibility of these fish.
We have taken into account the long term happiness of this tang and have come to the decision that when he outgrows our tank we will either do an upgrade, as we have caught saltwater fish fever, or we will do what is best for him and return him to the local fish store for a different fish. I appreciate your response and more important appreciate the genuine concern for the long term welfare of the fish! The Tomini is one that we are on the fence about, if we can give him a good home then we'll go for it but if he will not be happy in the tank we will either pick another fish or be very prepared to return him to the store when he "grows up". Again thank you for your help.
<Glad to hear your thinking about the welfare of the fish. Continue enjoying the hobby and researching your livestock.
Josh Solomon>

Final Touches120 FOWLR Stocking 05/24/09
First off, I have to thank you for your advice over the years.
<<Ah! Is quite the collective effortand youre welcome!>>
I bought a new house 3 years ago that I decided to buy my dream tank for the dinning room and utilizing discipline and technique over spending hundreds of hours on your website I have been quite successful.
<<Great to know>>
I have a 120 Gallon, FOWLR system.
100 Lbs live rock.
Dual overflows/returns in additional to a Maxi-Jet aerator creating great water movement.
<<Hmmyou dont fine the aerator to create excessive salt creep?>>
Sump underneath with NO bio-balls, but some activated carbon and general water filter pads.
<<And cleaned every couple days (at least), I hope>>
AquaC EV120 (great upgrade over my 30 gallon that had the AquaC Remora). Also a less than 1 sand bed that has never had a algae problem (kudos for the less than an inch or a DSB rule).
I have never really had a casualty in this tank as I am very picky on the fish I will put into it.
<<Mmm, yesstocking selections and levels can make a huge difference in the success vs. difficulty of a system>>
Right now my stocking is:
1 - 6 inch Kole (Yellow Eye) Tang
1 - 7 inch Copper-Band Butterfly (this thing eats anything and everything like a shark.....pretty rare for the species.)
<<Much agreed here I find they are generally quite selective/picky feedersoften even favoring one brand over another>>
2 - Firefish
1 - 4 inch juvenile Emperor Angelfish.
<<Mmm Likely fine for nowbut you will ultimately need twice the space currently afforded to this fish. Have you read here and among the associated links? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/imperator.htm >>
Cleaner Shrimp and a few snails/clean-up crew hermits.
I added them slowly over the 3 years and just recently added the angelfish. My tank relatively looks pretty empty with only the 4 fish until I added the emperor. I want to keep the fish long term,
<<Do research this fish moreand consider your feasibility of a larger system>>
really favor peaceful tanks,
<<Though hardly a peaceful fishI think this mix will allow the Angel to easily establish its dominance without too much harmanddo keep all well fed to further reduce aggressions>>
low maintenance that accommodates a relatively under-stocked status than a pushing the limit status. So I am basically done adding fish.... The last thing I want to add is a little school of Blue Chromis.
<<I see>>
I am thinking 4-5 of these little guys to have a little neat school in the aquarium yet keep the under-stocked status. What would you recommend for the limit?
<<5 7 should be fine here, for now I dont really consider your system under stocked for the long-term with the Emperor Angel present. I also want to make mention that in the interest of a peaceful tank do consider a better-tempered Cardinalfish species over the Chromis. Perhaps Sphaeramia nematoptera (Pajama Cardinal) or Apogon leptacanthus (Longspine Cardinal)>>
I would love to add a Naso-tang or a powder blue tang.... but I know how hard it is to keep 2 of them in the same tank alone with wanting to keep a peaceful and under-stocked status I have decided against it.............But what is your take on that? Risky move?
<<It can be donewith caveats. I have five tangs from four genera (including these two you just mentioned) that do quite well togetherbut they are in a display some three-times the volume of yours (96x30x30). Im thinking your system is probably undersized already in the long-term with the Angel present. I wouldnt exacerbate this by adding either the Naso or the Powder Bluemuch less both>>
Please advise and thanks for helping me be a successful aquarist!
<<Happy to share my opinions Adam. Cheers EricR>>

Re: Final Touches120 FOWLR Stocking - 05/25/09
In response:
1. With the Emperor Angel currently a juvenile, I have been told they tend to grow slowly and when it outgrows the tank it will be re-housed or sold.
<<Mmm, you stated in your first exchange that you wanted to keep the fish long term. Have you ever considered the effects on such a fish from just growing up in a too-small environment? Yes, the fish is likely fine for nowbut at what point does the size of the tank become a factor re physiological and sociological development and health? Do you know? Will you know? More food for thought.>>
2. With the current total setup, including the juvenile emperor do you think I could add another fish besides the 4-7 cardinals or damselfish?
<<Not if you wish to stay within the guidelines you yourself established earlier (peaceful tank, low maintenance, under stockedand not pushing the limits)>>
3. When you say you dont consider my tank under stocked for the long term, Im assuming your saying it is relatively under stocked for now, but the angelfish growing almost to a foot in length
<<Or moresome 18 in the wild (http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=6504 )>>
could present a challenge to the under stocked status?
<<is my opinion it will challenge this system, especially if/as more fishes are added>>
Please advise and thanks.
<<Happy to share EricR>>

First Time Setup: Stocking + Selection. Several Incompatible Species. 5/19/2009
Hi Guys,
<Hi Reggie>
I have been reading question after question that has been submitted to you and I must say those are some of the best and most informative answers I've seen online.
<Thank You.>
My question to you guys is I'm currently cycling a 110gal tall FOWLR with 80lbs of liverock and I have my heart set on the Blue Hippo Tang and
Foxface. From everything I've read they will be fine together.
<Should be.>
So my wife and I have comprised a wish list of other possible fish but being inexperienced we would like to know which would be the best combination(s) to use to give us a beautiful peaceful tank. And also in which order should we introduce them to the tank?
<Fair enough>
Black and white false Clownfish,
<One or two would be fine.>
Maroon Clown, <Not recommended, too aggressive, inadvisable to mix clown species in one tank>
Pajama Cardinal, <Could add two or three of these>
Picasso, <No Triggers>
Niger Trigger, <No Triggers>
Naso, <Naso Tangs need hundreds of gallons, this tank is too small. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso.htm >
Powder Brown,
<You could have this, or the Hippo, but both would not be recommended in a 110 gal. Also, there are two "Powder Brown Tangs" Make sure you get the correct one. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm >
Orange Shoulder Tang,
<Too large and aggressive for this setup Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm >
Flameback, Blueface, or Annularis Angel
<Go with the smaller Flameback Angel, the other two historically fail to do very well in captivity>
or any other fish that you may see fit)
<Hmm.... you could add a couple of small peaceful fish such as bottom dwelling gobies, Firefish, grammas, etc
We would love to get off to a good start for our first time.
<Do read here for articles on stocking
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm >
We would greatly appreciate any advice that you can give us.
Thanks Guys,
<My pleasure.>

"Color wheel" tank: Interesting approach. 5/16/2009
Hello WWM Crew!
<Hi Doug>
Along with seemingly everyone else on the planet, I want to congratulate you on your work here; along with my copy of CMA, it's my aquarium bible.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I'm in the process of setting up my first FOWLR aquarium and wanted your input on my choice of livestock. The tank is 51l x 12w x 20h, which I think is essentially a 55-gallon tank with a few extra inches added on to the end.
<52 gallons actually.>
I plan on having a skimmer and sump, but due to space limitations under the stand, I may have to either tie two 15 gallon sumps together or build my own. I hope to have 60-100 lbs of live rock and will use the free water that
I hear can be obtained at Scripps Pier here in San Diego.
<Do heed the warnings about using "real" sea water:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm >
The cleanup crew will consist of various snails, hermit crabs and maybe one or two Sally Lightfoots and/or one or two peppermint shrimp.
<Sounds good, but do keep an eye on the crabs.>
At a high level, the goal is to have a reasonably peaceful tank with a diverse range of colors and shapes. I thought it might be kind of neat to have a 'color wheel' theme, where each of 6 species represent a different spoke on the wheel. So I've put together a short list sorted by color and would like your input. I'm a little concerned that the tank may not be big enough for this many fish, but we'll start with what we want, and then work
with what's practical. So without further ado, here goes:
--Yellow: long-nosed butterfly, Lemonpeel angel, or yellow tang (I know, the tank isn't big enough for a tang)
<Of the three, the Lemonpeel, the tank is too small for any others.>
--Orange: 1 or 2 percula clowns (I need help here; I'm not super-enamored with the clowns, but I'm not seeing another orange fish that seems both size-appropriate and compatible--and besides, my kids would probably go and name it Nemo)
<Flame angel is really more orange than anything else. My clown's name is 'George' One clown in a tank of this size.>
--Red: flame angel, 1 or 2 tomato clownfish (how necessary is an anemone with either of these clowns?), or Cuban hogfish
<None of these would work with the above - Regular Firefish would work well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dartfish.htm , or the "red" scooter blennies">
--purple: orchid Dottyback or blacktop gramma (how many?)
<Either would work, the Dottyback, or purple (elegant) Firefish.>
--blue: 3 yellow-tailed damsels or neon goby
<Neon Goby, Damsels would be terrors in a tank of this size. Another option would be the Cherub Angel
--green: Klunzinger's wrasse, belted wrasse, 3 blue-green Chromis (incompatible with the yellow-tails?) or maybe even an emerald crab (although I understand these tend to hide in the daytime)
<Hmm..... would go with a green-banded goby
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neongobidfaqs.htm or a few Chromis>
So tell me, what do you think? Please feel free to add suggestions to my list; there are so many I haven't seen. Thanks in advance for your guidance.
<My pleasure>

Re: "Color wheel" tank: Interesting approach. 5/16/2009
Thanks for the suggestions, Mike.
<Hi Doug, my pleasure.>
52 gallons didn't sound right, so after reading your reply I measured the tank--it's 14" wide, not 12, but that's what I get for relying on my memory. I assume that doesn't change my choices of fish much.
<Not at all.>
I'm a little disappointed that the Butterflyfish is too big; is there another yellow butterfly that might work?
<None that I am aware of, Long nosed butterflies are the 'easiest' but they just need more space than a 55.>
Assuming the answer is no, here's my revised list and a couple of more questions:
Yellow: 1 Lemonpeel angel
Orange: 1 Percula clown (sans anemone)
Red: Firefish (will this guy build a hole, and if so, how deep will my sandbed need to be? One or more than one in this tank?)
<You can add two or three, all at the same time. They will need a couple of inches to really be happy.>
Purple: Orchid Dottyback (more than one?)
<Just one Dottyback>
Blue: Neon goby (more than one?) The cherub angel looks beautiful, but I assume it wouldn't get along with the Lemonpeel--do you think that is correct?
<You can add a few neon gobies. You are correct, two angels would likely fight in a 55.>
Green: Blue-green Chromis (three?)
<Three is fine.>
Finally, can you give me some advice as to what order these should be introduced?
<Go from most peaceful to most aggressive. Firefish, then Chromis, Neon Gobies, Angel, Clown, then Dottyback.>
Thanks again for all your help,
<You're welcome.>

Stocking a 50 Gallon (UK) system A bit more planning required. 5/16/2009
Hi guys and girls,
<Hi Jo,>
I just wondered if you could help me?
I'm new to the whole marine thing and have long been contemplating a tank.
<You've come to the right place.>
I have four freshwater tanks, which already drives my partner mad! But, I would like to peruse my options for marine. I would really like a FOWLR (little scared of corals etc at present) and I am in particular fond of the following fish:
Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish
Valentini Puffer
Scarlet Hawkfish
Blennies in general (love the scooter, but afraid he is too small?)
Would this be a practical combination of fish or should I drop some?
<Puffers and Lionfish do not mix well together. Further, both would be a bit large for a 50 gallon tank, so I would say the puffer over the lion.>
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobycompfaqs.htm >
<A scooter should be fine, but should only be added after the tank is established..>
What size of tank would you recommend? I was looking into a 50 UK gallon tank.
<Bigger is always better, realizing that space is a consideration, you would be better off with a 75.>
I really would love some big fish but don't have the space and these are my 'small' favourites. I would have liked a flame angel but I am aware this might push the limit. If 50gal is too small, what do you recommend for the above combo?
<An angel and a puffer may work well together, as the angel is fairly quick and can hold its own.>
There is the possibility of a 60l tank at present to keep me going until the possibility of a bigger one becomes available; in this could I keep a pair of Greenbanded gobies (e. multifasciatum), sexy shrimp and a boxing crab?
<Green Banded gobies are best kept singly do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neongobies.htm >
<My pleasure>

180 FOWLR Overstocking 5/6/09
Hello dare Crew. Thanks for all the great advice.
I have a 180 gallon FOWLR system, with 275 pounds of life rock
<Where do this many fish live with all this rock in the tank?>
and a Octopus Skimmer Model 300 rated for a 300 gallon tank. I am also running an Eheim Pro 3e canister filter rated for 185 gallons. Additionally there is a UV filter that bypasses the skimmer, and lastly I have filter socks.
<If you are going to use filter socks and canister filters, be sure to clean them several times a week, in your case daily would be ideal.>
With all of this, I still have a Nitrite problem, consistently .2. I'm doing water changes, 50 gallons 3 days ago, and 20 gallons 2 day ago and will do 20 gallons tonight.
<Keep this up, and continue the sock and filter cleaning.>
My Livestock is a 8" Mappa Puffer, 5" Huma Trigger, 5" Sargassum Trigger, 7.5"
Spectacled Parrot, 5.5" Australian Harlequin Tusk, 6" Crowned Squirrel, 6"
Fox Face Rabbit, 3 Singapore Angel, 2.5 Keyhole Angel, 2 Cardinal, 2
Chromis, 3 Tomato Clown, 2- 3.5 Catfish.
<Wow! This is a lot of fish for a 180 gallon tank. This overstocking is likely your problem. Please either consider a major tank upgrade to a tank maybe in the 300 gallon range, or consider donating some of these fish to other hobbyists with more room in their tanks. Not only is this tank overstocked with respect to the bio load, but it is also overstocked from the sheer size of these fish and the amount of live rock in the tank.>
What to do?
<Josh Solomon>

Re: Proposed (240gal display + 160gal sump) FOWLR 4/19/09
Good Day WWM Crew/Scott V,
<Hello Adriel, sorry about the previous email. A cat ran across the keyboard, typing an interesting response and sending the thing!>
Thanks your advice!
<Very welcome.>
In any case, I think I'll go with a 84l"x20w"12h" sump+refugium with a DSB.
Should reduce about 80gal weight right there. The LFS here has mentioned that they've installed 260gal tanks in similar apartments. My building is just 2 years old, newly constructed, but nevertheless I will be contacting the construction company for their opinion.
I would like your opinion on skimmers for the setup. I have an Octopus 200NW and a Deltec APF 600. Was thinking about using these together in the sump. Would this be enough? Could they be placed side by side?
<I think this will be fine for skimming, sure place them together.>
I currently have the following to be shifted to the proposed tank, Blue girdle angel 4" Blue Face angel 3" (but they aren't fighting at all:-)
Moon beam dwarf angel 1 1/2Anthias (don't know which one) Leopard Ornate Wrasse 2"Anampses Lineatus 2"False Percula 2"
I plan to add a Flame Angel, Orange Shoulder Tang, Orchid Dottyback, and not much else, maybe a few gobies.
<Sounds fine, but will put you at or near your stocking limit.>
Would like to keep smaller fish in this one. Really want to keep a Regal Angel too. (I know, I have the book :-) ......)
<Highly dependent on collection, how/where.>
Any further suggestions that you may have for the setup would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks again, and I really appreciate the effort you've taken!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

FOWLR Cleaning Crew 4/11/09
Hi again
Another couple of questions for you incredibly knowledgeable people.
< Jeez , two lines in and I'm already down in the count.>
My first saltwater tank (a 29 gallon) is in the cycling process, and I was wondering when I should add a cleaning crew?
< I like to wait until the cycle is over , but anytime after algae becomes present should be fine.>
I'm assuming after I get a few fish, so there's some waste to clean, but how long should I wait?
<If you are going through a full cycle you should start seeing algae soon. Should be good anytime after this point.>
Also, there seems to be a lot of different opinions out there as to which species make the best cleaners. I had in mind 2 or 3 blue leg hermits, either a peppermint shrimp or a cleaner shrimp, 1 or 2 brittle stars, and a handful of snails, probably turbo. Does this sound like a good selection?
<The hermit count sound good. Always be mindful when adding any kind of crab. They have been known to cross the line between scavenger and predator. The brittle star I would leave at the store. They have also been known to go after napping fish. Turbos are good additions but I think the best clean up crew is a mixed one.
Instead of all Turbos maybe add a few Nassarius or Cerith. I don't really consider the decorative shrimp to be part of the CUC , but either one will make interesting additions. If you are looking into the Peppermint shrimp for their Aiptasia removing be sure to purchase a true Peppermint. The Camelback shrimp is often sold as a Peppermint shrimp.>
Fish species would be 1 or two clown fish, 1 royal gramma, 1 green goby, and possibly a trio of mollies from my brackish tank. And live rock of course. If my research is accurate, none of these fish will harm the cleaning crew, right?
<All sounds good except for the Mollies, of which I have no personal knowledge. I will forward your email along to one of the other crew members to get their opinions on them. >
<<Mollies can be kept in marine environments. You will want to acclimate the fish slowly to the salinity...a drip acclimation can work, but I would raise the salinity slowly over a period of days.
Scott V.>>
And I have one question that may be laughable to anyone who's not a newbie like myself. I understand the difference between a reef tank and a non-reef tank. But if I'm setting up a FOWLR tank, and then buy some invertebrates for cleaning purposes, not to mention the cute little feather dusters I've spotted on my new live rock, wouldn't my tank then cease to be a "fish only with live rock" tank, emphasis on the "fish only" part? Is there are term for a tank that has fish and non-coral and/or anemone invertebrates? Thanks.
<The FOWLR aquarium would also includes a clean up crew. If you add any sort of invert besides the CUC I would consider it "reef". Inverts of all shapes ,sizes, and colors inhabit the reef. So I see no reason why corals must be present to earn that distinction.
Adam Jenkins>

Livestocking Advice, 46 gal. SW LR...   4/5/09
Hello Crew!
Thanks for a great site. I rarely miss the daily FAQ. I am looking for some help in completing my tank livestocking. Would like to add movement and color, possibly yellow and pink. My system is a 1 1/2 year old 46 bow front marine tank. Equipment includes:
4 in. DSB
BakPak 2 Skimmer with Chaeto in return chamber in place of media
HOB Whisper Filter with Polyfilter
60-70 lbs. of cultured live rock
Open top with 250 MH light sitting on tank, 8 in. above surface
(2) Koralia 1 powerheads
(1) Koralia 2 powerhead
Livestock includes:
2 mated Tomato Clowns hosting in BTA (mama bites!)
<Oh yes...>
Coral Beauty
Green Mandarin - 1 yr. old, eats Mysis and bloodworms
Chocolate Chip Starfish
Serpent Starfish
Sally Lightfoot Crab
Hermits and Turbos
Food includes frozen Mysis, bloodworms, Marine Cuisine, Emerald Entree (all thawed and rinsed before feeding) and Spectrum Pellets on a rotating basis. Nori is offered in clip and BTA and CC Starfish are fed silversides 1-2x per week.
<Good thus far...>
Any suggestions for possibly 2 additional fish to provide movement and color (pink and yellow?) would be great. I have built this system slowly and livestock are all 9 months or longer in tank.
<Mmm, maybe a Hamlet (Hypoplectrus sp.), Gramma (sp.), Jawfish, Sifter Goby (Valenciennea sp.). Bob Fenner>  

180 - 200 Gallon stocking\selection 3/27/2009
Hey Guys,
<Well hello there.>
Greetings from the frozen north!
<Greetings from sunny and not in the least bit frozen Florida!>
I hope things are well where you all are. I currently have a quaint little 29 Gallon tank mostly soft corals and leathers with frogspawn and candy cane coral, that has been going about a year now.
<Very good.>
I am eventually planning to upgrade to a 175-200 Gallon Bowfront tank (there's a company here that does custom tanks, for very reasonable rates...insert appropriate squeal of delight here!). It'll probably be a year or two before I can get this thing going.... I'm a medical student, and don't know where I'll end up for my residency, so it'll have to wait until I'm more permanently settled. I don't relish the idea of moving a 175 Gallon+ Sump, livestock and rock across Canada.
<I would not relish the idea of moving it across the room...:-)>
But, on the upside, my little tank is maturing nicely (awesome stress relief there), and it gives me tons of time to plan the perfect system :). I'm still drawing up plumbing designs, flow patterns, creating surge, various skimmers/calcium reactors/chillers and whatnot, and will probably ask for some opinions on all of that at a later date. Still much reading to do....
<Well said, planning and researching now will save you lots potential pain down the road.>
I have come up with a tentative stocking list for the fish. I'd like the tank to be primarily an SPS tank, with some LPS, Clams, and a couple leathers/softies perhaps at the periphery. Well, here's what I came up with so far, please feel free to criticize/suggest alternatives.
The big fish in the tank will be a Blue Tang ( Or clown or Sohal Tang... or other... really love the tangs!) and a Yellow Tang (maybe two of these ?), probably introducing the Blue Tang last, and a smaller one at that.
<Would go with the Blue over the Clown or the Sohal myself, but that is a matter of personal opinion, The tank will not be large enough to support more than one Tang comfortably>
A mated pair of Picasso clownfish (I've seen these on the web, they look really cool, never seen them for sale though).
<It is a marketing term, they are Percula Clownfish.>
A Coral Beauty Angel <Good>
A Green Mandarinfish, or a Sixline Wrasse (Or both, not sure if they could share the pod population though)
<I would go with one or the other, With a tank of this size, you should have no problems with a Mandarin once the tank is established>
A Purple Pseudochromis <See Below>
A Firefish <Would add a few of these.>
A Zebra Barred Dartfish <Again, would add a few of these.>
5-7 Green Chromis <Good>
A Royal Gramma Basslet <May have problems with the Pseudochromis - They look too much alike - I would pick either the Gramma or the Pseudochromis. If you like purple fish, a Royal Gramma and a Blackcap Gramma can co-exist if introduced at the same time.>
2-4 Cleaner Shrimp <Fine>
A Tuxedo Urchin <I would be careful here: may munch on things you don't want it to munch on.>
A Green Moray Eel.....haha just kidding. Those things are terrifying.
Cool, but terrifying. And would eat everything, possibly even me.
<Heee... agreed.>
That's about it. Do you think I'm over quota?
<With the exception of only having one Tang, I think you are fine.>
I've never stocked anything this size before (tank for more than 2-3 fish that is, or anything with a sump and plumbing... but that's another adventure, for later study. I would prefer to keep it on the light to moderate stocked level for the tank, to avoid excess nutrient export, though I do plan to run a good skimmer, and have a DSB in both the tank and the sump, along with Live rock and some algae in the sump. Also carbon, maybe even nitrate sponge or something.
<Sounds good.>
Anyways, more on the tank specs later, what do you think of the fish list? I tried to pick mostly peaceful tankmates, that don't get too nasty to each other. Also, tried to find a variety of colour, whilst keeping it within the realm of reality/simplicity. I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert here, so all those fish labeled 'expert only and even then don't' are generally off limits in my mind (that's right Mr. Moorish Idol, I'm talking about YOU!). I briefly entertained the idea of a Clown Tang instead of a Blue Tang, but I understand they are a lot more tetchy than the Blue Guys, though they look pretty darn cool. Thanks again in advance for you're help!
<My Pleasure>

Cycling / Filtration
180 Gal System Setup\Cycling\Stocking  FOWLR   3/17/2009

Hi Marine type Guru's
<Hello Jon>
I'm very new to the Marine hobby, so please bear with me if I'm asking silly questions.
<No such thing as a silly question.>
I did do some searching but could not find exactly what I was looking for, so I apologize if these questions have been asked many times before!!
I am in the process of setting up my first attempt at a Marine FOWLR aquarium.
<Welcome to the hobby\insanity!>
I have a 180g tank with a 40g homemade sump; I have a Mag 12 main circulation pump and a Mag 9.5 running an AquaC EV150 skimmer. I have 2 Hydor Koralia 4 powerheads. Lighting is Current USA SunPaq 36 inch 96 watt X 2.
<Sounds like a nice setup, though you may find that you need more light down the road.>
When I get the tank stable and ready for livestock I was hoping to have the stock list below.
2 Volitans Lions
1 Dwarf Fuzzy Lion
2 Moray Eels (Snowflake and Zebra or similar)
1 Porcupine Puffer <I am not wild about the idea of mixing puffers with Lionfish, as the Lions usually get beaten up. Please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffercompfaqs.htm >
1 Cow fish <Not a fan of these, have been known to take out entire tanks..
Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm >
1 Cherry Grouper <Variola sp.? >
In late Feb this year I filled the tank with water to check out the plumbing was watertight, then added salt and left it running. On March 2nd I put in 60lbs of live rock, and then about a week later added 3 salt waterized Mollies, then on the 14th I added another 80lbs of live rock. I've ordered another 50lbs of GARF Aragocrete, so as soon as that shows up I'll add it to my tank, so I should end up with a little less than 200lbs of Live Rock.
I've been checking my Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and PH levels since the 7th Mar. All the levels other than PH appear to be reading 0 (PH is at 8.4)....My questions are, is this normal for the cycling to take this long to start detecting some Ammonia?
<With all of the live rock, it is likely that the tank is cycled already>
Does the set up as I have it seem OK for my intended stock levels or would you recommend more filtration? If so what would you recommend??
<Setup sounds fine. Although with such large fish, more water movement couldn't hurt. I do encourage you to re-examine your stocking plan.>
Thanks in advance
WWM seems like a great source of advice
<On behalf of Bob and the rest of us, Thank You.>
Thanks again
<My Pleasure.>

Re: 180 Gal System Setup\Cycling\Stocking 3/17/2009
Thanks for the input Mike
<Hi Jon, my pleasure.>
Bit of a bummer about the computability issues with Puffers and Lions!.
My home made live rock from GARF came yesterday, so I added that to my tank, I now have just a little over 180lbs in there, about 135lbs of it was ready cured from mature setups. Strangely enough the tank still looks like it could use another 30 - 40 lbs!
< I know the feeling, but do remember that the fish will still need some swimming room.>
The reason for my note is, I checked my levels last night just after adding the GARF rock, and I have a 0.25 Ammonia reading!!
<So it did take a little while. It will be interesting to see what it is later this evening.>
Nitrite and Nitrate still at zero but PH is now gone from 8.4 to 8.2, is this the beginning of my ammonia spike?
<Indeed it is, the pH drop is a little extreme. What is your alkalinity reading?>
Or do you think, as you said in your reply, that as I have used established Live Rock that the tank has all ready cycled?
<With cured rock, it should take no time at all to cycle; but since you are getting an ammonia spike, it is not completely cycled yet.>
What should my PH levels be doing? With Ammonia present should they be going up, down or staying static?
<The general trend is gradually decreasing pH, but with enough alkalinity, it should remain very stable.>
When my tank is completely cycled and stable, what are acceptable levels?
<Ph 8.2 - 8.4, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate < 20ppm, Alk: 6 - 8 deg dKH.>
At what test readings should I do water changes at?
<Ahh, Once everything is nice and stable, 10 - 15% water changes every week. Lots to read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm >
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome>

Question about my 55 gal tankmates... SW FO mis stocking...  03/06/09 Dear Ocean Masters, I have a 55 gal aquarium in my office. I set it up in early January. It is very stable now but I had a bit of a spike a couple of weeks ago. I lost a clown tang and a lunar wrasse. <Oh gee, I wonder why... ?!> I raced my wrasse and Humu Humu back to the store but the wrasse didn't make it. They tested my water and it turns out my test kit was defective. Now I have a good (and expensive!) one and my water has been great. Nothing measurable. I bought a lionfish about 1-1/2 weeks ago and he's doing awesome and is so friendly. Last night, added a large yellow tang and they seem to be doing okay. My question is about their future buddies. I get very attached to my fish and want to make sure I don't lose anymore. <Then stop killing them! Listen... you really need to get a book, start reading... none of the fish you've chosen belong in a 55g tank! ...not even in 75g!> I would really like to have a lunar wrasse (I love their personality) and I'd also like to have a Humu Humu (the state fish of Hawaii, another love of mine). Will a lunar wrasse and Humu Humu be good tankmates for my lion and tang? <F*** no!!><<Sara... potty mouth... RMF>> My aquarium store salesmen have differing opinions. One thinks they'll be okay and the other thinks the trigger will nip off the lionfish's fins. <Is this a joke? Do you know how big these fish get? How aggressive they are?> What would you suggest to add? I don't plan to add more than two additional. <Please, please, just stop and take the time to read and learn... get one of Scott Michael's books and/or Mr. Fenner's... or just start reading more on WWM... please.> Thank you so much for your expertise. I appreciate it! Tammy <I'm sorry if your LFS misled you in anyway... if they were more concerned about a sale than the welfare of your fish. But ultimately, it's your own responsibility to learn, research about these animals before you buy them. Cheers, Sara M.>

Re: Question about my 55 gal tankmates 03/06/09 Okay, guess I didn't go into enough detail.... My tank had already cycled BEFORE I added the clown tang and lunar wrasse. The reason I didn't realize my water spiked the second time was due to my test kit showing that my water was fine. <I understand that you are new to all this, so let me explain... even if your tank was past the initial cycle, that doesn't mean you can start putting any/all fish in the tank. You have to start out slowly, adding one fish (since this is a 55g, relatively small fish) at a time. You should always leave at least one or two weeks in between fish additions.> It was only when I took a water sample to the store along with the sick wrasse and trigger that they tested it and it showed high. <Again, why are you putting these kinds of fish in a 55g tank? They're too big, too aggressive for such a small tank. I understand that you had a bad test kit, but I could have told you, even without a test kit, that your water parameters would not be good/safe. You added way too much too quickly.> (And yes, I had the fish bagged separately and took a water sample in a separate bag.) Then I purchased another test kit that is more accurate. AFTER getting my water levels good, I purchased the lionfish and then the tang. <Again... why? It might be ok to keep a lion fish, by itself, in a 55g tank... but with a tang? No way.> I have read a great deal and one of the problems is that every expert has a different opinion and every salesman has a different opinion. <I'm not sure who you are calling an "expert"... but no one here on WWM, nor do I imagine Scott Michael or anyone I know with any kind of recognition in our hobby would recommend the choices you've made with this tank. As for sales people, well, they are sales people.> I have read books and I have researched on the web. I have been looking for this website since October! It finally came up on a search and I have gotten good advice from you in the past so I plan on continuing to ask you for advice if you can be civil and not treat me like a moron! <I do apologize if you found my last response less than civil... I'm a little shocked at the choices you've made thus far.> I'm NOT and I care very much about having healthy fish. The problem is that every website says something totally different. <Fair enough... the information does vary. However, I can't imagine there's any respectable site or book out there that says you can safely add a clown tang and a lunar wrasse into a newly cycled 55g tank...absurd!> About 15 years ago, I had a 55 gal tank for several years and only lost 1 fish initially. After having the tank for about three years with the same fish (a yellow tang, lunar wrasse and damsel) the tang and damsel got sick and died. I sold the tank with the wrasse to someone who had a lot of experience with marine fish because I was heartsick about losing the tang and damsel. <ok> So I'm really not a just a moron trying to have fun with a little hobby. <I don't think you're a moron... but I'm sorry, I don't believe you when you say you've done your research here. If you're having trouble sorting through the different web and in-print sources... please seek out a "mentor" in your town/community. Find someone local who has successfully kept marine aquariums for at least several years. If you have a marine aquarium club in your area, please join it.> I want to have healthy, happy fish. And since I have read a lot about all of these fish and talked to salesmen, who according to you must also be morons, <LFS employees are often... well... let's just say they sometimes leave a lot to be desired... and don't always give you accurate information. Some of them are very knowledgeable and helpful while others will just say anything they think you want to hear. Once you find your mentor, ask him/her who he/she trusts in LFSs in your area.> maybe instead of just going off on me you could explain what I need to do. That would actually be helpful! <Firstly, you need to stop adding fish to your aquarium right now. Secondly, you need to get a *good* book on marine fish (again, I recommend one of Scott Michael's and Bob Fenner's). Thirdly, I think you should find someone you can trust to give you good advice (preferably someone outside of a LFS).> I already have the tang and lionfish. Like I mentioned before, I have had a tang and lunar wrasse in a 55 gal tank before and they did well for a long time. <When these fish can live decades, 3 years is not a "long time."> So, what should I do? <For right now... I would find another home for the tang. You might be able to make things work with the lion fish if you do adequate water changes and don't add anymore fish for awhile. What do you have for filtration on this tank?> Thank you so much, Tammy <De nada, Sara M.>

Re: Question about my 55 gal tankmates 03/06/09 Thank you so much for your quick response. Okay, let me explain my entire situation. I am a counselor at a church and have the 55 gal tank in my office. In our nursery, we have a 55 gal and a 75 gal tank (completely enclosed in cabinetry and inaccessible to children). I live in Texas, about an hour from San Antonio, which is the closest place that has marine fish. <San Antonio has a very nice aquarium club I've had the pleasure of meeting/visiting. Please see here: http://www.maast.org/modules/Jig/index.php> We went to every marine store in San Antonio until we found the place we use now. The first place we chose, while recommended by a lot of people, was very short on advice and was definitely just in it for the money. The place we use now is owned by a guy who has had marine aquariums well over 20 years and loves it. But even the salesman at this store differ in their opinions. <When this happens, I would go with the more conservative advice... better safe than sorry.> I have Scott Michaels book on Marine Fish and love it. He states that the lionfish and Humu Humu should be kept in 55 gal minimum <Ok, but that doesn't mean you can keep them *both* in a 55g tank. As mentioned in my last email. I think you could keep the lion fish alone in your 55g. If you want the tank to have more fish, you would have/be better off with smaller fish (like maybe a pair of clown fish-- but not with the lion fish!). And the minimums in ScottM's books are truly absolute minimums-- not ideals.> the lunar wrasse and yellow tang should be kept in a 75 gal minimum. So I definitely messed up with the tang. <And the wrasse, yes.> We have a 75 gal I can move him to but let me tell you what is in there currently: A golden-headed goby, a lawnmower blenny, a 3-inch Longnosed Hawkfish, a 2-1/2 inch six-line wrasse, a medium Foxface, a chocolate chip star, and a sea hare. <ok> By the way, I put a small blue tang in there two days ago and it completely disappeared overnight. <Likely dead...> (I sent an email to ya'll on that also and someone else is responding.) Would the yellow tang be okay with those fish? <Theoretically, yes... but, I can't tell you if this 75g tank has the biological filtration capacity for an additional fish. How long has the tank been set up? What are you using for filtration? Any live rock in the tank? It would help me help you if I knew more about these systems.> What can I put with my lion? <For right now... nothing. If you want to keep this animal, keep it alone for awhile. Perhaps in time, once the tank has matured more, you might be able to find an appropriate tank mate for it. But for right now, please let the animal have the whole tank.> I thought you were supposed to put aggressive fish with aggressive fish. <Generally, yes, but again, a 55g is considered a "small" marine tank... and most aggressive marine fish need large tanks.> I will try to locate someone in my community that is experienced and can help. But until then, any advice is appreciated and will certainly be acted on. <Patience my friend... patience. You are making mistakes most all new aquarists make... adding too many fish too fast.> Thank you, Tammy <De nada, Sara M.>

Re: Question about my 55 gal tankmates 03/07/09 The 75 gallon tank has two canister filters. In addition, next week we are adding a sump. <Good that you're adding a sump... the canister filters alone are not enough.> The two canister filters came with the tank when we bought it from the previous owner and we don't know how great they are so we're adding the sump. The water has tested fine but we want to go ahead and update the filtration anyway. <You will also need a protein skimmer.> There is live rock with sand substrate and we do partial water changes once a month. We test the water once or twice a week. It was set up for several years with the previous owner and we have had it since October. The live rock and substrate came with the tank. <good> These are the tanks in our nursery. The one on the left is the 55 gal and the one on the right is the 75 gal. Close up of 55 gallon nursery tank Close up of 75 gallon tank. Close up of my 55 gallon before I put a blue background on it. Hope the pics and filtration info helps. <Yes, you need protein skimmers for both these tanks.> What do you think about the tang moving to the 75 gallon tank? <I think this is a good idea.> Will it get along with all the others in there? <I think so, yes.> Thanks Tammy

Re: Question about my 55 gal tankmates 03/07/09 Another question: should we switch the fish in the 75 gal tank to the 55 gal and vice-versa? <I would move the tang to the 75g, but leave the lion fish in the 55g.> I just want to make sure that all the fish are in a safe environment so please give me your best advice. <Again, I strongly encourage you to get skimmers for these tanks. You might also consider using activated carbon in the canisters. Cheers, Sara M.>

FOWLR Stocking question 2/26/2009 Bob and crew <Hi Joel, Mike here> Please offer your advice. Current stock: - 4" Yellow-bellied Hippo Tang - 3" mated pair Purple Firefish - 3" Skunk Cleaner shrimp who molts regularly - 6 turbo snails, a few Astrea and Ceriths, and 3 awesome Nassarius - 12 blue and red legged hermit crabs less than 1" in size. One 2" electric blue hermit. - 1 large anchor coral - 5 Ricordea mushrooms - 1 fantastic and roaming pulsing Xenia - More green and brown star polyps than I actually want. - ¾ sand bed The main tank is over a year old 55 gal with ~100 lbs of live rock. I have a 20 gallon refugium with Chaeto (alternating light cycle) with an external Aqua-C EV-180 skimmer driven by a Mag-7. <Sounds good so far.> I've been reading and paying attention to your advice since the beginning. Thank you for your guidance. I try to donate every time I ask a question, and this will not be an exception. <On behalf of Bob and the rest of us, thank you!.> So, I'm considering the following (of course with quarantine - I quarantine everything all will be ordered from liveaquaria.com): <Excellent!> - 1x 2" Lawnmower Blenny - 3x 1.5" B/G Chromis - 1x 2" Bartlett's Anthias - 1x 3� Diamond Watchman goby Is this too much for this tank (as I suspect) despite the natural filtration a quality foam fractionation? If you were to eliminate or recommend any of the entries, what would you suggest, assuming I'm a mindful and capable hobbyist who makes weekly 10% water RO changes? <Adding either the Blenny or the Goby should be fine. I would not recommend adding the Anthias, I would add the Chromis with caution, with a keen eye on sudden behavioral changes.> Thanks, <My Pleasure> Joel <Mike>

Re: FOWLR Stocking question 2/26/2009 Thank you for your reply. Would you mind elaborating a bit? <Sure> Why not the Anthias, and why might the Chromis upset the tank? I know a school would move around a lot, but I thought they were fairly docile and would not disturb the other fish (except maybe get them out and about more). <My main reason for being conservative is the size of your tank. Anthias can be challenging to keep, and based upon personal experience\observations, I don't feel they do as well in tanks less than 75 - 100 gallons. With the Chromis, my statement to keep an eye out for behavioral issues is that given the size of your tank, your Tang may have adopted a "this whole tank is mine" mentality and may be aggressive towards the Chromis. Lastly, my inquiry was in hopes of adding all of these fish over time - would adding the 1 Blenny and the 1 Goby and the 3 Chromis be too much as a final tally of fish in the tank? <My apologies, re-reading what I wrote in the first email, I made a typo (The hazards of editing on the fly) - it should have said: Adding the Blenny AND the Goby should be fine. I would not recommend adding the Anthias, I would add the Chromis with caution, with a keen eye on sudden behavioral changes. Thanks again, <My Pleasure> Joel <Mike>

Bioload: How many fish is too many? 2/21/2009 Hi, <Hi Garrett> I was wondering how do you figure out the bio-load for a salt water FOWLR? I know there is a rule of thumb inch rule (2 gallons of water for every inch of fish), but it never seems to work perfectly. <That "rule" is pretty out of date and horribly inaccurate.> Is the only way to figure this out through experience or is there a method to the madness? Your expertise is well appreciated! <Experience really counts, as there are too many variables, type of fish (peaceful\aggressive\active swimmer\etc, size and shape of tank to have one clear cut formula, but as a rule, under stocking your tank is always the smartest. For salt water tanks, the formula I use with peaceful fish is 1 - 1.25 fish per square foot of surface area. As some marine fish get large, I use the following values for fish: A fish 2" - 4" when fully grown counts as 1 fish A fish 4" - 8" when fully grown counts as 3 fish A fish greater than 8" when fully grown counts as 6 fish. For larger fish, a more accurate formula is five gallons of water per cubic inch of fish.> You can also read related articles and FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm > Garrett <Mike>

Flow Question And Stocking Level, 20 gal. FOWLR  2/16/09 > Good evening crew! <Hello Keith> > I have a 20 gal long tank. It has been a FOWLR tank for over a  year. It has 30 lbs. of Aragamax sand and 20 lbs. of Fiji LR. > Current flow/filtration is a 200GPH Penguin BioWheel with an extra  media basket with LR rubble (which is actually better than a  basket as it separates the rubble into "grids" for better circulation/flow) and the standard pad/carbon cartridge for the Penguin models. I also have a SeaClone protein skimmer with a MaxiJet 1200. >> So I have 3 questions: I recently added a pulsing Xenia stalk and a small button mushroom. The Xenia is towards the top and the mushroom towards the bottom. Both look great, but it has only been a day or two. With a tank as shallow as a 20 gal long (12") do I have adequate flow already? <Very close as the Penguin has a guaranteed flow rate of 200gph.> I have my LR set up in a way that is at least 2 inches away from any of the tank sides and have it split into two cavernous islands with lots of ways in and out even for my 2 False Percula Clownfish. The HOB and the HOB skimmer are on opposite sides of the tank and the feather dusters seem to get quite a bit of movement at the bottom of the tank. I experimented with a Koralia Nano and then again with a Aquaclear 201 powerhead (not at the same time) in the skimmer corner but it seemed the flow was a bit of a whirlpool even with the Powerhead adjusted very low. ><How to things look with just using the Penguin for water movement?> > 2nd question: Would you recommend continuing the use of the stock filter cartridge or would a second media basket be better for just running carbon? ><In smaller tanks such as yours, I'd opt to use Purigen, Chemi Pure, or Chem Sorb in the media basket and just use the stock cartridge as a mechanical filter. Will be much better at nutrient removal than carbon alone. I do not know how large the media basket is, so you will need to see what would fit in there.> > And last but not least: I have the 2 False Perculas, but I also have a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs, 3 Nassarius snails, 4 Astrea snails and a Emerald Crab that actually came with the LR. > Is there anything else I should have (more snails of some kind for example). <I'd put 5 or 6 more Blue Leg Hermit Crabs in there. Keep that Emerald Crab well fed or your shrimp may become a meal.> Can a Neon Goby or a Dottyback be added or would you stick to just the 2 Percs? <A Neon Goby or similar small size fish could be added. I would go with nothing larger.> I do plan on adding other corals slowly as I watch how the tank matures even more. <Do research here before adding as there are not too many corals that will do well with your lighting.> > I am sorry if all of this info is already available. I did search quite awhile...I am here for days before I add/change anything in any of my tanks LOL. ><Good, reading will be your best teacher.> > Oh and tank param.s are ph 8.2, calc 400, Alk 9, temp 77F, 65 watt PC 50/50 bulb, ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrate less than .5, and SG is 1.023. ><Sounds good. James (Salty Dog)> > Keith  

Stocking questions... FOWLR...    2/4/09 I have been an avid reader of your site for many months now. I had 65 gallon setup with about 100-150 lbs of live rock and plenty of inhabitants. I got the tank in a trade and never bothered to notice the top brace was broken out, sadly the tank started to bow and after talking with several fish stores decided I needed to replace it with something else. <Or... perhaps add a bracing mechanism... Have you read re, considered a "Euro-brace" install/repair here? Please search on WWM re> Having little cash and not wanting to go with a different length due to wanting to keep my current light fixtures, I have three, two 36" power compacts 96 watts x 4, and one t5, 42 watts. After searching for a week for a tank that was adequate and affordable, I wasn't finding anything. I finally went with a 40 breeder for the meantime until I can save some money. It downsized my set up by 25 gallons. I am running a sump/fuge with dead corals, live rock and live sand, lit by a current fixture from a BioCube I am no longer using. I still have all the rock in there, <Wow! Not much room for water. It might well be better to remove some of the rock> a few small mushrooms, tons of zoo frags, yellow button polyps, xenia, white star polyps, green star polyps, blue anthelia, pagoda, flower pot, clove polyps, small Kenya tree frag, small colt coral, anemone, I believe is a short tentacle anemone, a flower anemone with it's porcelain crab, and emerald crab, several hermits, several snails, several small feather dusters, a coral banded shrimp, a sand sifting starfish, a red Fromia starfish (very small, baby), a mated pair of Perculas, a small green Chromis. Is my bio load too much? <Possibly... you should be able to "tell" from your livestock's' behavior... nutrient accumulation measure> I am also running an emperor bio wheel filter with activated carbon and a poly filter, also have skimmer rated for the 65 gallon, so sump/fuge, 100-150lbs of live rock, 430+ watts of lighting, three powerheads plus the pump, all in a 40 gallon breeder, its going to be a couple months before I can buy another tank, am I going to be alright with this? <I would repair the 65...> Thanks in advance for any advice or help. I am currently saving money to have a custom built acrylic tank made for me. Essentially I want a diply tank that is very much like a frag tank. Low stand, and Tank will be 36" by 36" by 14"?, something like that. "I like squares not rectangles and very big squares at that!" <Can be spectacular in appearance. Please read here re the repair: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm Not hard to do, nor expensive. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stocking questions   2/4/09 Here are some pictures, mind you I just did the transfer tonight to the 40 breeder, I have been at it for 6 hours and I was well prepared. I am thinking of removing one of the power heads, it's possible that there may be too much flow for this tank, obviously not done yet, just wondering if this will work for the mean time, which will obviously be a while. <Mmm, I'd definitely remove about half the rock... and get going on the 65 repair. Bob Fenner>

FO tank or FOWLR?, Stocking/Set-up 2/2/09 Good evening. <Hello> I have a 20 gallon Long aquarium that is home to a pair of false Perculas, a royal gramma and a scooter blenny, as well as a few snails, 2 blue leg hermits and a peppermint shrimp. <The blenny will most likely starve in this sized tank, it needs a new home.> Currently I have a SeaClone 100 skimmer (which actually has been pretty good even though I have read mostly bad) and a BioWheel 200 with an extra media basket containing live rock rubble. The tank has 5 lbs of live rock and 5 lbs of coral base rock. The substrate is Aragamax. <Ok> I have a few questions: 1) Am I over stocked? Not that I want to add anything, but I am afraid I might be over. <The blenny will not be able to be sustained in this sized tank for long, it needs a larger tank.> 2) Do I need more live rock if I keep the current filtration, and if I do, do I need to be in the 1 lb per gallon area or is that for reef tanks mostly? <1 to 1.5 pounds per gallon is ideal, but you will most likely be ok at your current levels.> 3) If I wanted a few easy corals with a lighting upgrade, would I need more live rock or lower fish stocking or a combination of both? <More rock may help you control nitrates easier, which is important for corals, and definitely no more fish.> 4) Does the 5 lbs of base rock count as lbs when mentioning lbs of LR? <Mostly yes, it becomes live with time and exposure to standard live rock.> System has been up for 12 months or so with no problems or ammonia present, Nitrate below 10. Doing 1% WCs weekly. It was a gradual process that started as a brackish tank, then high brackish, then skimmer then LR then marine animals. <Nice> <Chris>

Re: FO tank or FOWLR?, Stocking/Set-up 2/5/09 Thanks for the reply. <Welcome> Originally when I bought the scooter I was told he would be ok in a 20 long, and he does accept frozen brine and bloodworms, but I too thought he was looking a bit thin so I took him to a very good LFS (Something Fishy) who have some rather large reef tanks for display (250 Gallon) where I am sure he will be happier. <I'm sure he will do much better there.> I do have a couple of questions about my false Percs though. <Ok> First off, they are very active and eat well, no signs of excess mucus, spots, labored respiration...nothing that would look like a problem, but at times they will flash off the glass in the day in the places where they sleep at night. <A fairly common behavior.> No other flashing on other rocks, sand, decor...just in their corners they hang out in at night. sometimes they will go all the way from one side of the tank to do it too. There really isn't anything special about the places where they do it, one uses the bare glass in the back corner about midway up with a bit of algae on it and the other on the cleaner magnet it "hosts". <I would not worry about it unless you see more signs of illness.> Wouldn't there be a sign of heavy breathing or something if it was an unseen gill fluke or parasite. <Could be.> I tried the flashlight at night trick and have seen no signs of a dusting or anything either. <Good> The water parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, less than~5 nitrates, SG 1.023, ph 8.2 temp 77F. This has been ongoing since I placed them out of QT and it has been several weeks now. <I would not be overly concerned at this point, most likely just normal clown antics.> Secondly, is it normal for clowns to sleep sideways at the top of the aquarium treading water? <Normal and clowns generally do not go together, but one of mine does the same thing, no worries here.> Is their respiration usually the same at night or is it a bit heavier? <May be a little heavier at night.> <Chris>

Stocking Level/Selection, FOWLR  1/12/09 Hello crew, <Hi Bernie> I have been a long time reader, but I don't really ask questions as you guys do an excellent job of running this magnificent site. The reason I'm troubling you now is because I have a few questions that I am looking for specific answers, that I have been unable to find, I trust you guys can help me. <Hopefully we can.> I have a 92 gallon corner tank, all my rocks are centered and do not touch any of the glass walls of the tank, it makes for a kind of track with a field in the center for the fish, they can swim in circles endlessly and do so. There is also plenty of open space up top and in front. My rock work also has plenty of nooks and crannies, caves, overpasses, bridges, etc. I have about a 2" fine aragonite sand for substrate and am contemplating adding another inch of sand. All my rock was transferred over from a previous tank and there is about 100 lbs of LR. My Livestock is as follows: 1 Moorish Idol, 3-4" 2 Ocellaris clowns, 2-3" each 1 Potters Angel, 3" 2 Lyretail Anthias, 2-3" each 1 Orange Spotted Blenny, 2" (He is awesome) Now to my questions (Sorry for all the details, I'm trying to paint a picture here, sorry). I have had the Idol for about a month and a couple of weeks, there is no denying he is the King of the tank, as I intended it to be. He eats dried seaweed (Green, brown & red) all day every day, I have also placed a few different types of sponges in the tank for him to pick at, they are there, specifically for his consumption and he does pick at them. My issue or concern is that he WILL NOT touch NLS pellets, no matter how hard I try, from everything I read, that is the key to long term success. I also feed the tank two times a week a mix of angel formulas containing sponge, a Spirulina formula, blood worms, Cyclop-eeze, brine and Mysid shrimps. The Idol doesn't really seem to care to eat things in the water column, he eats some of the Spirulina but for the most part ignores everything, except for his dried seaweed and his sponges. Should I be concerned, can I trick or train him into eating these other things? <It's not unusual that the idol will not eat the New Life Spectrum pellets. I know on the site, the video clearly shows this but is no guarantee that all idols are going to relish this food. The long term survivability rate is very low for just this reason...finding a nutritious food that they will accept and eat. You may want to read the FAQ's on this subject, see what others have tried. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AcanthuroidPIX/MoorishIdolPIX/ZanclusFdgF.htm> My next question is can I keep a Golden Head Sleeper Goby in my tank? I love it's color and he would provide a vital function in my tank. I know they usually starve to death, so I wonder is a 92 gallon tank sufficient to keep it from starving? <Yes, providing it is teeming with pods and other shrimp like critters.> As stated earlier, I have 2" sand bed & want to make it a 3" sand bed. Even though I used established rock, my tank is only 2 months old, so my sand bed is young. How long should I wait to add the sleeper goby if I can add one. I really want one to stir the sand. Also do I need a fuge, I can add one if needed, but how would the pods get from the sump to the display to benefit the goby? <Your first step would be to setting up a fuge and populate it with live pods. The pods will get into the main display by way of the fuge pump, but I would also add some of the live pods to the main display, and do it in the evening after the lights are out. We do not want the fish eating them before they have a chance to breed. You will also have to feed the pods, at night also when they are out. A great food for this is Isochrysis galbana, sold under the name of Phyto 2, and is available from Premium Aquatics as are the live pods.> I know I have bombarded you with questions, so just one more. I want a tang for my tank, I like the Hippo Tangs, Powder Blue Tang and the White Cheek Tang (Acanthurus nigricans), not the Powder Brown. Which of these would be the best fitted for my system? <The Hippo Tang would be the only one that would work out. Acanthurus nigricans rarely live more than a few months in captivity and both the Powder Blue and the nigricans require more space than you presently have.> I would get whichever one relatively small & watch it grow, however, I would like to avoid having to move it in the future. I know that the two Acanthurus tend to stay relatively smaller than the hippo, but then again I know the powder blue would probably need more swimming space. Would my track styled set up help, it gives fish about 6-7 feet of circular swimming space. <No, it's more about size than laps. A six foot tank would be the smallest size I would use for these fish, and a minimum of 120 gallons. Some sites/etailers will recommend a minimum of 100 gallons, but being this fish is not easily kept, I'd go with a 120 to help increase my chances of success. Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm> Thank you so much in advance for your help and for the great site. I hope to hear from you soon. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Bernie

Compatability and Overstocking   1/11/09 Hey Crew, great site. I currently have a 120 gallon. All of my parameters check out fine other than nitrates. They are around 80 ppm. <! Toxic> It is a FOWLR tank. In my tank I have a yellow tang and a clown tang which actually get along. I also have a niger, a Humu, a dogface puffer, maroon clown, and a coral beauty. I am concerned that my tank is overcrowded <It is or will be...> and that all of my fish are not compatible. <The triggers might "go wild" at some point... the Maroon become a terror> My favorite is the dogface and do not want to get rid of him. I also like the clown tang a lot and would hope to keep him also. My question is, which of these fish can I safely keep in my 120 with these two, or in your opinion what is the best scenario? I thank you guys for your insight. Aaron <... You could just wait and see if one of these fishes becomes "too mean", or you could be pro-active (pre-emptive like the U.S. and invade w/o provocation)... and remove the most likely to be/come "terrorists"... Oooh, feel the power... not! Oh, and remove the Niger, possibly the Clown. Bob Fenner>

Re: Compatability and Overstocking  1/11/09 So you think the niger and the maroon will pose the biggest threat? <Mmm, yep> I have noticed that my Humu, yellow tang, and clown tang have all established territory and the rest seem to rest at the top of the tank with the lights off, stressed I am sure. <Yes... very unnatural> Do you think my nitrates are high because I have it overstocked? Under filtered? Maybe a combination? <Yes, uh huh, you betcha> I have about 150 pounds of live rock with live sand about a two inch thick sandbed. I do water changes every two weeks around 15 gallons each time. As far as filtration I have a Rena xp3, magnum 350 with bio wheel and an emperor 400. <... please... see WWM re NO3...> I also have a uv sterilizer 24 watt. I had a 35 gallon at first then converted to a 120. I had a small skimmer on the 35, I planned on having a reef tank but the fish I like obviously are not reef safe. My LFS told me I do not need a skimmer on a fo tank <Define "need"... I consider them wrong> but I put this little skimmer on it because I have it might as well use it. Hope you guys can steer me in the right direction, I have alot <No such word> invested and don't want to fail my fish. <Good> It seems every pet shop has something different to say which is why I turn to you guys.{ people you can trust and are not just trying to take your money} Thank you guys for all of your expert information. Aaron <Welcome Aaron. BobF>

Final Stocking Order (and a Who Dunnit Mystery)     1/2/08 Dear Crew, <Sean> Happy New Year and thanks for all the valuable guidance you've provided as I've been upgrading to my 220g. The move of my fish from my 120g went well, and they have been LOVING the new tank. My current stocking, including the fish I currently have in QT, is as follows: * Red Sea Golden B/F Pair * Saddleback B/F * Pearlscale B/F * Lyretail Anthias Male * Bartlett's Anthias Pair (was a trio, but one jumped ship -- new tank is fully covered) * False Percula Clown Pair * Mystery Wrasse (awesome fish!) * Orangetail Blue Damsel * Blue Green Chromis <The Anthias and Chromis need more conspecifics to be happy> The next (and last) fish to join the mix are the following angels and tangs: * Rock Beauty Angel * Potters Angel * Flame Angel * Purple Tang * Whitefaced Tang (a. japonicas) OR Achilles Tang * Kole Tang OR Tomini Tang <Mmm, the two angels and the Achilles are not easily kept> I have two 20g QT tanks and will also use my old 120g as an additional QT until the 220g is fully stocked. With these three QTs, I have a lot of options for quarantining order. I know I should add the most aggressive and most territorial fish last and that I should add only one species at a time, but with 3 tangs and 3 angels, I'm not sure what the best way to proceed would be, since they all fall in the aggressive/territorial category. I could add them all at the same time by spreading them out across the 3 QTs, but would 6 fish at the same time be too much of a jolt to the bio load of my 220g? If not, which combination of fish would you recommend in the various QTs? If it would be too much of a jolt to add all 6 to the display at one time, in what order should I introduce them? To recap prior postings... To handle the large bio load, I have 300lb of LR, an AquaC EV240 skimmer with Mag 18 pump, a 65g sump and a 35g fuge (and will probably be adding another). Cleanup crew includes 1 fire shrimp, 3 skunk cleaner shrimp (though I'm thinking of adding a few more later), 4 small emerald crabs, <Do keep an eye on these... as Mithraculus get bigger, they become more opportunistic and broader in their feeding habits> 11 Nassarius snails, 1 fighting conch, 5 serpent stars, Nerite snails and an assortment of critters I got from IPSF.com (sand bed clams, micro hermits, various worms, mini-stars, gastropod snails). Tank is set up as an island display with swim lanes on all fours sides of the LR. One other question for you: Until today, I had 2 fire shrimp, but I found one this morning that literally had its tail chopped or ripped off. It was the largest (though not fully grown) and least shy shrimp in the tank, so I'm assuming that the other shrimp didn't do it, and the emerald crabs are likely too small (1 inch or less). Other than the wrasse or possibly the serpent stars, I can't think of anything else that would have done this. <Might be a Mantis that hitchhiked in with your live rock...> The wrasse sleeps at the opposite end of the tank, and most of the meat of the shrimp's body was still intact, <Oh! Maybe some other cause... a Stomatopod, other predator would have dismembered...> so it doesn't sound like the wrasse did it, unless he was just trolling for sport in the middle of the night. I had the wrasse, 2 of the emerald crabs, 2 of the serpent stars and 2 of the skunk cleaner shrimp long before the move to the new tank, and I've had no previous issues. The rest of the crabs, shrimps and stars were added a couple of weeks ago after everything stabilized following the move to the new tank. Any idea who Dunnit? <Mmm, of what you list, no... maybe no one, as stated> I'm worried that I've got some masked killer lurking in the new rocks that were added during the move to the new tank... I've been testing the water parameters regularly since the move, and everything has been fine (pH 8.4, Spg 1.024, temp 80, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 2.5). As always, thank you so much for all the help. Even my wife, who (probably correctly) thought I went off the deep end with such a large tank, thinks the new setup is coming along beautifully. Sean <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Final Stocking Order (and a Who Dunnit Mystery)  1/3/09 Thanks! Do you have any thoughts on my original questions regarding the stocking order for the Tangs and Angels? Here were those questions: Would the 6 angels and tangs at the same time be too much of a jolt to the bio load of my 220g? <Mmm, I don' think it will prove problematical... due to the size/volume of this system and the hundreds of pounds of LR... and there is much to be gained by simultaneously adding these fishes here.> If not, which combination of these fish would you recommend in the 3 QTs? If it would be too much of a jolt to add all 6 to the display at one time, in what order should I introduce them? <I'd place all at once... or all the Angels at once, with the Tangs following weeks later> Also, a follow-up on your comments re the Anthias and Chromis... Although I have heard that the Chromis do better in groups, I've also heard that there's a good chance of one killing the rest and leaving you with just one anyway. <Mmm...> Would you recommend adding more now, given that this one is already established? <In a sufficiently big system... not much dominance issue...> He seems happy enough, seemingly schooling with the Anthias or Clowns some of the time... For the Bartlett's Anthias, could I add more at this time? <Yes> I always thought that they needed to come as a group (as they were before the suicide) and that you couldn't add more later. They seem to be happy as a pair. For the Lyretail male, I thought from your website that these were OK as individuals. He's actually still in the LFS QT with several females, and I was going to move him to my QT this weekend. I don't think I have room for the whole group, so I was just going to take the male so that one of the females could step up and wear the pants in the group for someone else who has room. Would you not recommend this? Thanks again! Sean <The male won't be as colorful, active... happy as it would be if kept in a haremic circumstance. Bob Fenner> Thanks again for all the helpful guidance! <Welcome Sean! BobF>

Re: Final Stocking Order  1/5/09 As I think about how to implement your recommendations, I have a few follow-up questions... I'm thinking about downsizing my B/F, angel, tang and Anthias selections to make room for more Anthias and Chromis fishes, as you suggest. Here's what I'm thinking: B/Fs: 1 Latticed, 1 Pakistan, 1 Pearlscale and 1 Bluestriped Dwarf angels: 1 Bicolor, 1 Flame and 1 Coral Beauty. Will 3 dwarfs likely get along in a 220g if added at the same time? <Likely so> Tangs: 1 Kole and 1 Tomini. The Kole article on WWM suggests that 2 Kole Tangs would likely get along in this size tank, but I'd prefer a little diversity. Would the Kole and Tomini likely get along? <Ditto> Anthias: 4 Bartlett's (the male and female I have now, plus 2 more female) and 3 flame Anthias. Should I add the 2 Bartlett's and 3 flame at the same time, or should I complete the Bartlett's group before introducing the Flame group? <Six of one...> Generally, I also realize that the B/Fs, angels and tangs are all similarly sized/shaped. Should I be concerned, or is this enough diversity for this sized tank? <... Is, IMO> One last unrelated question... IPSF.com lists micro hermits as no threat to the snails, but I'm having my suspicions after seeing one trying to prior open one of my sandbed clams. <I'd believe my own first-hand experiences... "We're bringing freedom to Iraq"... No, we invaded a sovereign nation and have murdered hundreds of thousands of their citizens> Seems to me they may still decide that they would prefer one of my snail's shells more than its own <Mmm, with all Hermits, one needs to be providing a mix of shells for "upgrading"... otherwise they will improvise> or may just want to take one apart for the fun of it. Are micro hermits really safer, or should I be almost as concerned about them as for the bigger hermits? <Less concerned, but still so> With two Bristletooth tangs and the rest of my clean-up crew, I'm thinking about evicting the micro-hermits. <I would as well> Thanks again! <Welcome! BobF>

Re: Final Stocking Order  1/5/09 You are too funny... I think I'm finally set on my final selections and stocking order. Thank you for all the valuable insight to help me nail all this down. Cheers! Sean <Happy to conspire with you Sean... Anticipation is a huge part of fun in this hobby... even more so when shared with others who are intelligent, sensitive and open to possibilities. BobF> I agree completely!

Stocklist for 120 Gallon Marine Tank ~ 12/27/08 Hi Guys, <<Dean>> Late 2009-early 2010, I am going to be starting a 120 gallon Marine tank. <<Neat!>> I am unsure if I will have a reef or FOWLR but I will make my decision. <<Ok>> The tank is going to be 4'x24"x24", <<Indeed, a standard 120 And a great choice for a medium sized tank, with the added inches of the front-to-back dimension over other standard tanks of similar size>> with separate sump filter and protein skimmer. My fish Wish List is as follows- *Majestic Angelfish <<Will ultimately require more space>> *Bicolor Angelfish *Foxface Lo *Yellow Tang *Sailfin Tang <<Will also require more space>> *T. Percula clownfish pair Would I be able to drop the 2 Tangs (Yellow and Sailfin) and add a Lipstick (Naso) Tang or would the tank be too small for one of these? <<If you are considering the long-term health of these fish, then I think this is simply replacing one poor choice (the Sailfin) with another>> If I was to keep the 2 tangs and not replace them with a Naso would I be able to add a Flame Angel or would this cause a fight between the Majestic or Bicolor. <<The Majestic likely wouldn't be much of a problem re, but an *established* Bicolor would certainly have issues with the Flame. Though if two dwarf angels are introduced together they may well coexist in this size tank. There are many *suitable* fishes available for this tank And you have the time to do the research>> Thanks for the help. Dean' <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Stocklist for 120 Gallon Marine Tank Pt2 ~ 12/27/08 Hi WWM, <<Howdy Dean>> I have recently sent you an email about stocking my Marine Tank around this year. <<Ah yes I think I just replied to it>> I was talking about something like a Majestic Angelfish and a Naso Tang. <<Yes>> After further research I realized that a 120 was 2 small for these both as individuals, <<Ah!>> and at the end of the day it's all about providing the Marine life we keep with the best environment possible. <<Indeed Is our responsibility as petfish keepers>> I thought that keeping one of these fishes in that aquarium would not be meeting their needs and I wouldn't like to give a Fish a not-so-good life that it shouldn't have had. Anyway, I currently have a Nano reef and am going to upgrade. I have decided to have a FOWLR and my fish list is as follows. Could you please point out any compatibility and/or tank size specifications? <<Happy to proffer my opinion>> I have done research on these fishes and according to my research they are all okay but I always feel confident getting your opinion as I find your advice very knowledgeable and helpful. 1 Foxface Lo 1 Sailfin Tang 1 Bicolor Angel 1 Flame Angel 2 T. Percula clowns 1 Double Saddle Butterflyfish Thanks heaps once again. Dean' <<I still consider the Sailfin Tang a marginal choice for the 120 (I've seen pairs of these fish off the Big Island of Hawai'i that were *bigger* than dinner plates). I think a smaller species would be a better choice for the long-term. Otherwise, this looks like a fine selection for this tank. Do closely watch the Centropyge angels when introduced, but I think there is a good chance they will coexist in this tank. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Stocklist for 120 Gallon Marine Tank Pt2 ~ 12/28/08 Thanks once again for your help. <<I hope it has been of use>> I would have dropped the Sailfin Tang from my list but I had sent the second email, before you replied to the first. <<Ah, okay Though it would seem a small (2-3 inch) specimen would do fine in this tank; and it might for a time, one should also consider the possible sociological/psychological effects on such a fish as this from growing up in a too small environment. Are there any Tangs that I can keep in this tank without compatibility issues? <<Certainly I think it would be possible to keep one of the smaller Zebrasoma species with a like sized Ctenochaetus or Acanthurus species. For instance, a Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens) and a Kole Tang (C. strigosus), or a Kole Tang and a White Cheek Tang (A. japonicus)>> If not, can Foxface Lo be kept as pairs? <<I have heard of rare instances where multiples of differing species have been kept together. But unless you can obtain a natural *pair* I wouldn't suggest this here>> Could you please mention some other choices of fish? <<I think your earlier listing provides an interesting mix of color and size. My only other suggestion might be to add a few small fishes from a schooling species like Cardinal fishes. Perhaps a grouping of five Longspine Cardinals, or Pajama Cardinals>> I am mainly wondering if I could have a yellow tang or purple tang? <<Sure As previously outlined>> Would one of these be compatible with the other tankmates? <<It would The issue (in my opinion) is not that you have a Tang on your wish list, but rather the species chosen. And there are those no doubt that would say my advice concerning the Sailfin is too conservative. The onus is upon you to derive information from *multiple* sources and then use your own good judgment to come to a decision>> Thanks, Dean' <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

R2: Stocklist for 120 Gallon Marine Tank Pt2 ~ 12/30/08 Hey guys, Would just a yellow tang be fine with the other tankmates? Thanks <<Hmm, isn't that what I said before [grin]? Sure... A Yellow Tang will be fine with your other choices. EricR>>

240 Gallon FOWLR Compatibility Big Tank/Big Plans/Big Tradeoffs (Stocking a 240 FOWLR)  12/4/08 Hey Ya'll! <Hiya! Scott F. in today!> I am in the early stages of planning a Fish-Only/Live-Rock tank probably shooting for 240 gallons. I normally wouldn't want to waste your time, but some of the stocking possibilities will play a big role in the amount of money I want to put into the project. <I'll bet!> Besides that, I have seen a lot of information about compatibility and requirements of space for the fish I am considering, but I have had a hard time finding anything that gives me a comprehensive answer about the big picture. One thing about the aquarium shape/size itself: I have this crazy notion that somehow a deeper, more square tank gives fish a greater feeling of freedom when swimming. For example, is there any reason to think a 48x48x24 240 gallon as opposed to a 96x24x24 240 gallon would allow creatures like a Koran Angel, Lunare Wrasse or Zebra Moray Eel to feel like they have more open space in which to roam? Or, am I just crazy? It seems like the longer, narrower tank would be more cost effective so that's where I would probably lean if it doesn't change things much. <Good thought. I'm all about wide, low aquariums, but in the case of fishes that "range" over large territories in the wild, I would prefer a longer aquarium.> My biggest question is about the compatibility of fish but even more so about a sequence of introduction. The fish I am most desiring to house are the following ordered from most wanted to least: Koran Angelfish, Dragon Wrasse, Harlequin Tuskfish, Zebra Moray Eel, Lunare Wrasse, Dogface Puffer, Naso Tang, Niger Trigger, Antennata Lionfish. I am guessing that the Lunare Wrasse is the most likely to be incompatible with something else on the list even if added last. I also feel like the Lionfish and the Trigger could be particularly aggressive towards some of the others especially if they are still small, right? <Oh, yes!> A loose plan I had would be to add the Koran and Dragon as juveniles because I would love to be able to watch them change. I figured the Harlequin Tuskfish, Naso, and Dogface would probably be next. Would they be dangerous to add while the first two are still juvies? After some time I thought adding the Trigger and the Lionfish. I definitely figured if it's compatible at all, the Lunare would have to be last and I really wasn't sure about the best time to add the Zebra Moray Eel. So the big questions are, of course, are there any glaring compatibility issues in the list? Would you make any specific alterations to my basic sequence of introduction? Is this too much fish(&eel) for 240 gallons? <To be honest, I'd avoid keeping Naso Tangs in aquariums. They just get so large and require large amounts of physical space to live anything close to a natural life span. In my opinion, too many of these magnificent Tangs die needlessly in aquariums that are too small to sustain them. Other thoughts: I would pass on keeping both a Trigger and a Lionfish together in the same aquarium. For that matter, do consider the Puffer as a potential problem for your Lionfish. I would also consider choosing either the Lunare Wrasse or the Harlequin Tusk Fish-but not both. They could get pretty aggressive towards each other.. I would get the Moray Eel in the aquarium as soon as possible and get it eating before any of the other fishes are introduced. I would probably avoid small juveniles of the other fishes, so that they don't become snacks for the Moray. Stocking involves lots of trade offs, huh? Also, take into account the amount of metabolic  wastes that the fishes you are considering will generate!> I had considered a glith upgrade to 300 (96x24x30) but don't know even how much difference that would make at this level. <You'd be surprised what a difference it can make. If you're gonna do a big aquarium, the extra 60 gallons is well worth the additional expense, IMO.> Again, I don't think there's anybody out there who I've seen give better advice so I would greatly appreciate your thoughts! Scott <You're too kind. Thanks for the compliment! Best of luck to you. Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Identification help? And a whole lot more! Little Fish For Little Aquariums!  12/4/08 Scott, in no way did I think you were being insensitive! I actually got a really great laugh out of your responses! I was afraid I was looking at too many/big fish for each of the new tanks. <I'm glad that you saw the humor! Really makes sense to review the stocking requirements of these fishes.> Ok, if I may (again), ask some probably redundant/stupid questions.... #1 Can a lionfish & a puffer exist together in a 55 if that is all the livestock that is in there? Assuming here that I go with the Fu Manchu lionfish and a Blackspotted puffer or spiny puffer. Of all the more aggressive fish, these are the two that I really, really want. <Umm, I really would not mix a Puffer with a Lionfish. The Lion is apt to become a chew toy for the Puffer! Besides the active Puffer may intimidate the rather shy, reclusive Lionfish.> #2 I want as many fish as possible in the peaceful 30 gallon. What would you recommend getting to make the tank look really "full" without it exceeding it's limitations for it's size? <Seriously? I'd opt for really tiny fishes, like small gobies- Stonogobiops, Coryphopterus, Eviota, Discordipinna, etc.> #3 The Ricordea Yuma--I found one online that looks similar and is very, very expensive per polyp. How would I determine what color/kind mine is? <You may have to go online and look at some user groups for Ricordea enthusiasts.> #4 Lighting--you mentioned that you thought T-5's would work well for most corals. Is there a certain type (SPS or LPS or leather) that they would work with? Is there a certain type of coral that absolutely needs the intensity of the metal halides? With a T-5 setup, could I get one small hang-on or clip-on metal halide to focus on a specific set of corals if they needed the higher intensity? <Hmm...really a general question that is hard to answer. I'd get a lighting system that provides flexibility- T5 or Halides work well for a wide variety of demanding corals.> Okay that last one was really like four questions all in one! Sorry about that! <No problem!> I would like to thank you for the link to the information on the Banggai Cardinalfish. I think for the time being--until someone figures out for sure if they are endangered--that I will just stay away from those fish! They are beautiful though! <Good call! Until tank-raised specimens are more commonplace, I'd pass.> Well I suppose this is it for now! I look forward to hearing from you guys! And, many thanks again for all your help! Angela <Glad to be here for you! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Seeking second opinion on FOWLR stocking. 11/23/08 Stocking Up (Fish selection) Hello Crew, I sent this in a few days ago, but I think it got lost in space. <Scott F. here...Checked in space but found it in the inbox right here!> I'm seeking a second opinion on stocking a 150 Gal (568 liter) FOWLR. <Ok...> Here are my specifics: 150 gallon tank (568 liter) - 48" x 24" x 30" (122cm x 60cm x 76cm) 200 lbs (91kg) live sand + 40 lbs (18kg) crushed coral 170 lbs (77kg) live rock For filtration\water movement, I have a Rena XP4, three powerheads, a Coralife 220 super skimmer. The turnover rate is approximately 10x the tank volume. I do not have a sump at the moment, however, will be added during the holidays. Water parameters are: Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 0, Phosphate: 0\undetectable, dKH: 11, pH: 8.3, SG: 1.025. My current inhabitants are 1 x juvenile Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum) <A neat fish, but it can/will reach an ENORMOUS size (up to 15"!). You should re-think this one for the long-term.> 1 x Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) 1 x Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) 1 x Blackcap Gramma (Gramma melacara) <Unusual to have both of these species in the same system..> 1 x Cherub Angelfish (Centropyge argi) 1 x Yellow head Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) 2 x Blue-Green Chromis (Chromis viridis) 2 x Redlegged Hermit Crabs 4 x Bluelegged hermit Crabs 1 x Peppermint Shrimp Multiple Turbo Snails (Started with six, they are breeding). <A nice stocking list. You seem to have a well-thought-out plan, although I do encourage you to fins a larger long-term home for the Sailfin Tang> I would like to add 2 - 3 Firefish, either Nemateleotris decora or Nemateleotris magnifica and 2 - 3 Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni). <I think a group of the N. decora would be interesting, but the odds for success are really dependent upon the individual specimens' personalities. These fish are surprisingly tough to keep in groups in captivity, with territorial disputes often slowly diminishing the population. Better to obtain individuals or mated pairs, if possible. Aggregations of these fishes almost always seem to end up with only one fish left, in my experience.> My thought is, I am close to full capacity, but am seeking a second opinion. Would it be smart\safe to add either the Firefish or the cardinals, or on the outside chance, both? <Hmmm. It's my opinion that both of these species are a bit too passive to add last to an established community without the better than average chance of bloodshed or death. I'm thinking that a more "solid" fish, such as a small-medium Halichoeres species of wrasse, should fit the bill nicely. There are many to choose from, so do do some research here on the WWM site under the genius Halichoeres. There are many hardy, colorful fishes in this genus!> Many thanks, Mike <My pleasure, Mike. Do keep in touch. Regards, Scott F.>

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