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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine System Livestocking 6

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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

Stocking List 65 Gal, FOWLR SW     5/17/12
Hi WWM Crew, thanks for this tremendous resource.
<It is for all to share>
After a 20 year hiatus I have a new 65 gallon tank up and running with 55 lbs of live rock and 60 lbs of aragonite live sand.  Took 8 days to cycle and has been consistent with Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 5 to 10 in the 3 weeks since.  PH is 8.0 and SG 1.023.  I am thinking about adding another 15 lbs or so of live rock.  The sand is 2 to 3 inches deep so not sure if I should add some more there too?
<Up to you... I am a big fan of "DSBs"... any room to add a sump/refugium here?>
My first 2 fish in are a captive bred Ocellaris clown (2.5") and a flame hawk (2") and they have been fantastic.  Have added 5 red leg, 1 Halloween, and 1 dwarf zebra hermits too.  I would appreciate feedback on my proposed stocking list and order.  Raccoon butterfly (discovered my first Aiptasia anemone hitch hiker today),
<Mmm; will get too large for this size/shape system>
African flameback angel, captive bred orchid
Dottyback (could go with a royal gramma if that's a better fit for my community but I am keen to go captive bred when possible),
<One or the other>
blue spotted toby (Canthigaster solandri).
 I would love to finish with a blue throat trigger and have seen tank sizes listed in this range as a minimum but have also seen minimums of 120 so guessing I probably can't go that route. 
<Not really; no>
The other fish I was really interested in was captive bred neon goby to get a natural doctor in the tank but I'm concerned the Hawkfish will put an end to the goby, any thoughts on compatibility adding a neon goby?
<May leave alone, recognize as a cleaner>
For quarantine, each fish I'm purchasing is either to be captive bred or I'm insisting on MAC Certified
<Mmm, a phony designation... Unless these animal's are originated as such from Quality Marine (livestock wholesaler out of LAX), just learn to discern good specimens>
 so having my LFS special order each one and then the LFS does a proper quarantine in separate tanks.
<Whole, separate systems>
 As I'm a bit pressed for space I assume that's a sufficient method to have the pro do it for me, does that make sense?
<Mmm, no>
 Would be interested in any thoughts on MAC
Certified, is it helping with conservation or am I just over paying?
<See WWM re... nowayears only Chris Buerner/QM carries this torch in reality; many crooks tried to pass w/ this banner>
  I originally left the hobby as I did not feel right ethically with the collection of the fish but I have re-entered excitedly after studying up on the successes with captive breeding and the MAC Certification to ensure ethical capture methods and economic rewards to those doing the work in the field so they have incentive to conserve the reefs.  That said I've been very disappointed to see that most of the LFS I've toured are still offering many wild caught specimens for species that are being successfully bred.
<Likely 99+ percent of fish stock is still wild-collected >
 Hoping to put my money where it rewards better practices but realize it could all be marketing hype to reduce guilt so curious what the expert view on this is.  Thanks for all your time!  Cheers -- Bill
<And you Bill. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Stocking List 65 Gal, FOWLR        5/17/12

Thanks for the fast reply Bob, I really appreciate it.
I might have room for a sump under the tank and have started to think about it.  I'm regretting not buying the overflow pre-drilled tank already but was told for FOWLR I'd be fine going canister and I wanted to keep it simple but already thinking I want to upgrade to a sump and need to research options given the un-drilled tank.
<There are several. I would augment the canister (w/ other filtration gear/mode/s)>
Is there a different butterfly species that would work for my tank size or would you recommend foregoing that family with my tank size?
<More of the latter... but do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bfselfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
 All of the Rabbitfish also too large?
<They too mostly>
 Another thought I had was to forego the Toby and instead go with a fuzzy dwarf lion, especially if no butterfly.
<Do read re Dendrochirus as well>
Thanks for the thoughts on MAC.  My LFS indeed uses Quality Marine in LA to supply the fish so glad to hear I have arranged for the one appropriate source for the designation.
<This outfit and TMC in Europe are the pre-eminent outfits of their kind on this planet. Paragons of excellence>
  Great to have this help!  Thanks -- Bill
<A pleasure, honour to share. BobF>
Re: Passer Angelfish

Hello again and thanks for the speedy reply! Is there a large angel that would be a more suitable option for a 220 gallon aquarium?
Thanks, Shea
<... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/bestmarangs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Overstocked? 3/18/12
Dear Fish Experts,
I would like to know if you guys think my 4-month-old 65 gallon FOWLR tank is overstocked (there's a 10 gallon sump as well). I have a Maroon Clownfish, a Snowflake Eel, a Porcupine Puffer, a Half-Black Angel, a Longspine Black Urchin, a Coral Banded Shrimp, a Starry Blenny, and a Blue Damsel. The Snowflake, Puffer, and Clown are quite young.
<If not already, it will be.  How young is young, sizes?>
Water quality is okay, nitrite 0, pH 8.0, nitrate around 80 (I know, kind of high, I guess I should do bigger water changes), alkalinity still in a good range (I can't give you an exact number, my tester isn't very specific in Alk for some reason). Everyone seems to be in good health and happy, I just wish I could get my nitrates down some more. Are water changes the only solution?
<No, many solutions.  For one, a good efficient protein skimmer is a must have.  Read here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm, and here
 I definitely don't overfeed. Anyway, I'm wondering if it's because I'm overstocked.
<I'd find homes for the eel and the puffer as they will outgrow your tank. 
The eel can grow to nearly two feet and the puffer near one foot.>
One more question: I love my Porcupine puffer. Is it okay to pet him a little with my index finger? He seems to like it and doesn't puff. Is the slime coat poisonous to me?
<Not poisonous, but some parts of the flesh are if digested.>
Thank you so much!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: How many fish is too many 3/10/12 Hi again.  in my last email I noted I had a 4"  Blue throat in QT.  However, since my last  I lost the 4" and went ahead and found another nice looking Blue throat that is around 6" and currently have it in a 55 QT. 
<This fish really needs more room>
My 150 gallon FOWLR display has:
24" snowflake eel
7" porc puffer
7" red breasted wrasse
<What/which species? One gets really large>
4" Niger Trigger
6" banana wrasse
2"-3" Coral Beauty Angelfish
3"-4" Blue Hippo Tang.
Is a 6" compared to a 4" Blue throat a big difference in adding to my tank with the above stock? 
<You're really about all filled up...>
I read at LiveAquaria these max out around 9". 
<Rarely more than six in captivity>
Are they slow growers - what type of growth should I expect for the Blue throat?  How old do you think a 6" Blue throat is and what is a typical life expectancy of a well-cared for one (just curious and cannot find info online)?
I have read larger ones are harder to adapt to aquarium.  if it is eating fine does that mean it is adapted fine or is there something else to look for?
<Not really, no>
This 6" appears more active than the 4" was.  I am not sure that is good or bad.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: How many fish is too many   3/11/12
Do you think I will have an issue with the Blue throat in a 55 gallon QT for 6 weeks?

He is eating this morning.  Some Mysis and prawns.
Also is it a safe bet to assume he is maxed out and will not grow anymore (that is fine for me).   I wanted another 3" to 4", but for the last few weeks, all I have found with nice colors was this 6".
<Already stated>
This is my third try on a Blue throat.  First was a 5" and never really ate and died after 5 weeks.  Second was a 4" and was doing good but when I did a water change, I did not realize he was perched on a pump in the tank and was above water for probably 10 minutes.  I thought I was lucky and he seemed ok, but the next morning he was dead.  Another lesson learned.
I have been successful in QTing several other fish (Red Breasted Wrasse, Niger Trigger, Banana Wrasse, Coral Buety, Hippo Tang), but the Blue throat has been a challenge.
<... read re each of these species, particularly the Xanthichthys, on WWM>

On the Red Breasted Wrasse, you questions which Kind to be able to note the size.  I do not know.  I just know Red Breasted Wrasse.  Attached is a photo.
<And this>
One the Blue throat I am having buyers remorse, but cannot return (at least not for a refund).  However, assuming he makes it through QT, I do not want to jeopardize 150 Display in the long rung.
thanks again.
<Welcome again, BobF> 


130 gallon FOWLR stocking plan 2/23/12 Hi Crew, I am extremely grateful for the recent exchanges with Mr. Fenner and Salty Dog. Now that I have a 130 gallon (60" x 20" deep x 24" high) tank in house, I'd like to finalize my stocking plan based on your review and advice. I have about 140 lbs of live rock, a 1-1.5" deep live sand bed, and plan for heavy water changes/skimming and moderate circulation.
Here is what I would like to add to the tank, in the stocking order I think best:
1. 3 engineer gobies
2. volitans lionfish
<Will swallow the gobies in time>
3. harlequin tusk and red Coris wrasse (introduced together)
4. porcupine puffer
5. snowflake eel.
<May be hard to feed w/ the Puffer and Wrasses present>
I am concerned about ensuring that overcrowding doesn't occur, and that I have planned for long term psychological health, but am estimating that stocking rules (gallons per inch) may not apply for the gobies or eels as they would for the other fish.
<Mmm, a formula would include psychological space, metabolism... >
All will
obviously need to be big enough to avoid being eaten by the volitans, with the engineer gobies being largest. Please let me know any concerns or suggestions you have.
<I have>
Thanks, Dave
<Welcome! Bob Fenner> 
Re: 130 gallon FOWLR stocking plan 2/23/12

Bob, thanks again (and again and...)! As I see on WWM that the engineer gobies can grow to a foot in length,
<Most top out at 4-6">
 do you think I may have success with this stocking list by acclimating larger gobies (say 6" or larger) first?
<Nah... large specimens ship poorly>
Or are they destined as a probable volitans meal no
matter what size advantage they are given?
<Though it may be much more boring... perhaps a Dwarf Lion species would be suitable. BobF>
Re: 130 gallon FOWLR stocking plan    2/23/12

OK, volitans is a favorite of my daughters, so I will part with the convict gobies in the mix.
So a last question on the remaining mix for the 130g 5 foot long tank...volitans, Tuskfish, red Coris wrasse, porc puffer, snowflake eel...
Do you think it is too much risk to have both wrasses in this system?
Should I just choose one? Territoriality/space etc. I will plan to introduce both together (unless you advise only 1).
<Can all fit; but will be tight w/ growth, time going by. B>

stocking question, not using WWM â'¬â€œ 2/14/12
I am setting up a 72 gallon bow front and thought I would go to the experts about my stocking list, Please let me know if this it to large a bio-load or if there are any compatibility problems. This is the list I will add
to the tank:
Ocellaris Clown
BW Clown
Yellow watchman goby
Neon goby
pair of Lyretail Anthias
<I'd have 3, 5...>
McCosker's Flasher Wrasse
Purple Tang
Plus clean up crew of- 1 black brittle star, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 fire shrimp, pink/black cucumber, assorted snails and hermits.
The only ones I really have a question on are the Anthias and the Tang. I always read about Anthias trios (1 Male 2 Females) but rarely read about pairs.
<For good reason. Most all Anthiine species live in haremic shoals... See WWM re their stocking/selection>
Would a pair get along in a tank of my size?
Would it be better to get a trio or would that be pushing it in regards to fish capacity? As for the Purple Tang I have read conflicting information regarding their tank size. Some say they can be housed only in a 6 ft tank or longer but others have said they have kept them in a 4 ft. tank with no problem. If the tank is to <too> small for the Purple would you recommend either a Yellow or Kole tang? Thank you for your help.
<Any of these will do here. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Questions
Hello Crew, Jake here! Hope your <you're> doing good on this beautiful day!
<So far...>
I have some questions about my stocking list for my up-coming 90 gallon FOWL that i will be setting up in a month or two!
I have a wish list, that i will be making around my Snowflake Eel that i currently have. I was thinking a Yellow tang, one dwarf angel ( probably a Coral B. or a Flame. not sure, perhaps a Black Nox?)
<Up to you>
A Maroon Clown,
<Will be/come the alpha animal here>
a few Firefish- maybe 2 or 3, and maybe a smaller trigger.
I was looking into a Blue Throat Trigger, any experience with them?
<Oh yes... one of the more docile/easy-going species of Balistids>
or a Sargassum trigger,
<Better the Blue-Throat... Sargassums need more room; are open-ocean...>
i read and heard they are mostly ''reef safe''. Im mostly concerned with the CUC, and not having to replace snails / hermits on a regular basis. I also realize they may get too big for my 90 once they
reach adult sizes, and I'm willing to either upgrade or find them new homes when it comes time.
Any Thoughts?
<See the coverage of each of these species on WWM>
Also, what is your take on a small school of Chromis of 2 or 3? I've heard they may kill each other, but i wanted a second opinion.
<Should be fine here>
Thanks for your time!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

How many fish is too many 2/9/12
I am looking for some advice on how many fish is too many.
I have a 150 FOWLR. I currently have the following:
24" snowflake eel
7" porc puffer
7" red breasted wrasse
4" Niger Trigger
6" banana wrasse
2" Coral Beauty Angelfish
In a 55 gallon QT I have a 3"-4" Blue throat Trigger (had for around 2 weeks and doing well so far) and also a 2" - 3" Blue Hippo Tang (had in 55 for around 6 weeks and in a 29 biocube for around 18 months before).
My plan is to move these two into the 150 and then that is it (although I did think about a maroon clown as well).
Do you think this is too many fish or with good maintenance I should be fine. I do have around 80 pounds of very porous live rock (Pukani from Bulk Reef Supply) plus 4 liters of Seachem Pond Matrix in my sump (wet/dry sump I took out bio balls).
<You're fully topped off, physiologically and psychologically. I wouldn't add more beyond what you have and intend to add/listed here>
I also have an Octopus XP2000sss Skimmer. I also do weekly water changes (many times 20%, sometimes only 10%).
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: How many fish is too many 2/9/12

thank you. When I do add the tang and blue throat, I will keep an eye out for any issues.
<Ah, good>
no more after this (maybe another tank though :). I thought 150 was big enough (have it for around 2 years now, but wish I went for 220 or 300!
<Heeee! I won't be satisfied till I Silicone a piece of glass in the front door and fill the house up w/ water! Cheers, BobF>

180 gallon stocking list 2/4/12
Hi All!
Just to let you know I really appreciate your site and the expertise you bring to the table. It has taught me a great deal. On to my question. I am setting up a 180 gallon FOWLR upgrade (from 75 gallon) and wanted your expert opinion on the stocking list. I already have a blue jaw trigger, humuhumu trigger, porcupine puffer and flame angel that will be going in the 180. I wanted to add majestic angel, emperor angel,
<Mmm, neither of these large angels...>
coral beauty angel, yellow tang, powder blue tang
<These can be trouble disease-wise. DO read on WWM re this>
and possibly a wrasse
<Depends on species>
and zebra eel.
<And this may prove hard to get food to w/ the triggers and Burrfish>
The aquarium has two overflows, a 55 gallon sump with a Reef Octopus Super Reef 3000 skimmer and two Eheim 1262 return pumps. Would this be overstocked?
<W/ the large angel/s, a too-large species of labroid, perhaps>
If so, which fish would you eliminate from the list? Thank you for your time!
<Keep reading, reviewing that list Jeff. You will know. Bob Fenner>

Livestock compatibility 1/23/11
Dear Bob and Crew-
I am setting up a 90G FOWLR tank and I would like to get your opinion on possible tankmates. I am looking at some messy eaters so part of my plan is to have a clean up fish. There will be no inverts unless you say that two Linckia sp. sifting stars
<Linckia sp.? I think you're considering a different genus>

will be better than a goatfish.
<Definitely better with>
However, maybe the stars would get eaten by other fishes?
<Depends on the fishes>
I will put a sand bed down. Is two inches enough depth?
<... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SWsubstDepthF.htm
and the linked files above>
Here is my wish list:
one trigger or, if possible, a pair of Xanthichthys auromaginatus. Is there a lot of difference in the appearance between Xanthichthys and Sufflamen specimens?
<Color and pattern wise, yes. Temperament, not so much>
Is one better, hardier, prettier, etc than the other?
<See WWM re>
If limited to a single trigger then blue jaw is still in the running along with Rhinecanthus rectangulus or Balistapus undulatus An eel, possible choices are Echidna nebulosa or Gymnomuraena zebra or Congrogadus subduscens which I know is not truly an eel but eel-like for my purposes. I think the zebra is beautiful but practicality says the snowflake is probably the best choice.
A Choerodon fasciatus or a Calloplesiops altivelis?
<Up to you>
The Calloplesiops probably not tough enough to hang out with these other guys?
<So far, no worries>
And the aforementioned goatfish. Prevalent in the trade is Parupeneus barberinoides which I would be OK with -beautifully colored fish that could help keep the substrate cleaner. Or am I thinking backwards here in that adding the goatfish adds more bioload and it would be better just not to have him?
<Like much of life, a trade off>
Or use the Linckia if they would be safe which I doubt given these are some aggressive fish species. Any other suggestions instead of Choerodon if we assume a baseline of one trigger, one eel and one goatfish?
<That you keep searching if not satisfied>
My guess is that this system is not big enough for Pomacanthus navarchus
and an angel / trigger would not be a good combo?
<Some species... specimens>
If I did the angel by himself or does he need company?
<? No>
Angel with only the eel?
<May pick on the Echidna... but this volume is too small for a large Pomacanthid sp.>
One last thought, would a dwarf angel be OK like a Centropyge species with trigger, eel, and goatfish?
<Yes, some species; not the real small ones though>
Thank you for your thoughts.
Lance in Nebraska
<Do take your time... if/when in doubt, keep reading, chatting. Bob Fenner>

135 gallon stocking plan, FOWLR 12/27/11
Hey Bob and Crew,
I wrote a week or so ago regarding what size aquarium would be suitable for a pair of maroons, Picasso Trigger, Papuan Toby Puffer, and Magnificent Foxface. Thanks for your reply, Bob. I've decided on a 135 gallon tank with 55 gallon sump, and I'd like your input on my stocking plans. I've decided against the Foxface, and I'm uncertain about the type of puffer I should get. I certainly will include the pair of maroons and the Picasso Trigger.
<Start w/ the Clowns first... small; and the Rhinecanthus only a couple inches in length>
I'd like to include a Powder Blue Tang
<Mmm, I wouldn't... a difficult, disease-prone species that really needs much more room>
and a Flame Hawkfish, if compatible. Which of these puffers would be best placed: the Papuan Toby Puffer, a Leopard Puffer (Canthigaster leoparda), or an Arothron Dog Face Puffer?
<A Toby rather than a full-size Tetraodontid>
I'm concerned about the potential fin nipping of the first two and the large adult size of the Dog Face. Also, I'm assuming I should only include one puffer in a system this size, correct?
<This is best, unless the Sharpnoses can be determined to be paired>
Finally, would there be room for a Banana Wrasse as a final addition?
<Mmm, better a Halichoeres chrysus... the Banana gets too big, rambunctious>
I plan to purchase all of the fish at the same time from LiveAquaria as small or medium sized specimens. I plan to quarantine them as pairs in 29 gallon tanks with 20-30 lbs of live rock (that's been in a system for 3+ years) in each of the tanks. After 3-4 weeks when I determine everyone is healthy, I plan to place the live rock and specimens in the 135 gallon system all at the same time. Do you foresee any issues with this plan?
Sheila a.k.a Casey
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: 135 gallon stocking plan, FOWLR -- 12/28/11

Thanks for your reply. As you suggested, the Banana Wrasse is out and the Yellow Wrasse is in. The Powder Blue is a bad choice, so would a Whitecheek Tang be a good choice?
<Much better, as posted on WWM...>
Also, would a Matted Filefish be okay in this system? Sorry about all of the questions. I'm a pansy when it comes to fish getting harassed.
<Tomentosus? S/b fine. B>

Tank size for Picasso 12/16/11
Hello Bob and Crew,
<Sheila! I mean Casey!>
You've helped me through a few other decisions (greatly appreciate)...and so it begins again, the new tank planning. About a year ago, I bought two baby maroon clowns from a young boy who bred them in his basement. They were probably less than an inch, and as adorable as could be. I placed them in my 30 gallon nano with a goby/pistol shrimp combo. Well, the clowns are approximately 2 inches now, so it's time to upgrade to a larger tank. I already have two reef tanks (a 180 and a 90), one of which will be home to the shrimp/goby pair,
<Mmm, one, both may be consumed by a Trigger>
and I'm planning a FOWLR to house the Maroons. I also have my heart set on a Picasso Trigger; I plan to get a small one, hopefully around 2". What would be an adequate tank size (to live their entire lives) for the following: Picasso Trigger, Pair of Maroons, and a Papuan Toby Trigger?
<Mmm, anything a hundred gallons or more>
If I added a Magnificent Foxface to this mix, then what would be an adequate tank size?
<At the low end, a 125>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Adding coral to FOWLR tank 11/20/11
Hi all. I'm back to tap your generous expertise with a quick question.
I have a 65-gallon tank that contains a mated pair of ocellaris clownfish, a Banggai cardinal, a blue-green reef chromis, and a royal gramma. Also, a coral-banded shrimp,
<Do keep your eye on this Stenopus... do become predaceous w/ growth/age... eating other invert.s, fishes>
two skunk cleaner shrimp, and a blue tuxedo urchin. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate have all been zero for six months.
<"Corals" need measurable NO3 and HPO4... IF you're using chemical filtrants to remove these... stop>
Alkalinity is 10-12 dKH, calcium 380-420, pH 8.0 in the morning and 8.2 in the evening. Now that things appear to be stable, I want to add a few very easy beginner's corals.
After considerable research, I purchased and now have in my QT these:
Sinularia cabbage leather
Sinularia mushroom finger leather
Lobophytum devil's hand
<Ok... These soft corals do get very large in time... have some chemical/allelopathogenic activity>
But I've continued to research corals, and one thing worries me a little.
I've managed to choose three corals that all have unusually high production of toxins. I never plan to put stony corals in this tank; if I ever get into stony corals I'll have a dedicated tank for them. But will having three toxin producers in a 65-gallon tank harm my existing livestock?
<Not likely no; just start w/ small/er specimens>
Will these preclude later adding a few Zoanthids, green star polyps, or mushrooms? Any other problems?
<With these three, yes... Important that you acclimate them to each other over weeks' time. Do read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and compatibility FAQs files for all you intend to add>
Thanks for your thoughts!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Adding coral to FOWLR tank 11/20/11

>> "Corals" need measurable NO3 and HPO4... IF you're using chemical filtrants to remove these... stop <<
Bob - Thank you! I really appreciate you folks. You make it possible for frightened beginners to make their way into this wonderful but intimidating hobby.
<We're glad to help>
I am using chemical filtrants (Chemi-Pure Elite), but I must have SOME nitrate and phosphate, because I have enough algae growth to be annoying.
<Ahh! Likely this IS taking up available nutrient... with something else being rate-limiting>
It's not horrendous, but enough to make snails and hermits necessary. I assume that the algae I have is sucking up all available nitrate and phosphate, leaving zero for the tests to detect.
<Oh! Yes>
Anyhow, my big fear was that the three toxin-factory corals I was going to put in would harm my fish.
You have calmed my fear on this. If I am unable to put in Zoanthids, star polyps, and mushrooms, no big deal. I'm growing some in another tank, and I can dedicate that tank to just them. (I have a wonderful wife who never complains when I want to add just one more tank to the household!)
Thanks again! WetWebMedia is an incredible place.
<Some day (today!) you will join us. Cheers, BobF>

FOWLR stocking question 10/4/11
I spend a lot of free time roaming through your pages absolutely fascinated by what I learn and though I have searched at great length for my question, I have not found it in specific terms (does not mean it's not there- simply that I missed it). It is of course, FOWLR stocking. I currently have a custom 30 gallon (currently entering it's 3rd month of emptiness allowing it to mature before adding anything...) and realized that it is far less than inadequate for the stocking list I would like, therefore I am determined to upgrade to a 60 gallon system to accommodate my desired fish.
I will specify my current 30 gallon tank is 36"X16"X12" and the 60 I would be getting is 36"X18"X24". I read a lot of contradictory e-garbage on the net and figured I had best consult an expert as opposed to my local LFS whom I know is merely attempting to get me to purchase more than I should by telling me what I want to hear. This being said my question is two fold;
First My desired stocking list (assume 60 gallon):
1 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 yellowtail Damsel
<Mmm, a social species>
1 Sixline Wrasse
1 Orchid Dottyback or Purple Pseudochromis
1 Flame Angel
1 Green Clown Goby
1 Longnose Hawkfish
By all charts/cross referencing it seems that these fish "should" get along- though I've heard that the Sixline and Dottyback/Pseudochromis may have issues. Would this be too much for a 60 gallon (which will have 90 lbs of Live Rock)? If so, which of these species would best be suited for that tank off this list (the Flame Angel is of the utmost interest on the list...)?
<Mmm, all should theoretically get along. This is about the smallest volume/shape system I'd place a Flame Angel and Longnose Hawk in>
My second question is, out of that list of suggested fish for the 60 gallon upgrade, which should I introduce into my 30 gallon?
<All but the last two mentioned>
(the difference on this list being added to the 60 afterwards)? I appreciate all you do and thank you in advance for taking time to address my question.
Live Long and Prosper,
<Bob Fenner>
Re: FOWLR stocking question-- 10/05/11

Hello (again),
Say for curiosity's sake that instead of the 60 gallon model in the dimensions 36"X18"X24" I went for the 75 in the dimensions 48"X18"X20"- this would obviously be more beneficial to the fish already listed- could I also add a Midas Blenny with out threat of compatibility/overstocking issues? For recap then; 75 gallon FOWLR (90lbs of Live Rock) dimensions 48"X18"X20"with:
<Mmm, it's really the "footprint"; the length and width, not the height that is important here>
1 Midas Blenny
1 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 Yellowtail Damsel
1 Sixline Wrasse
1 Orchid Dottyback or Purple Pseudochromis
1 Flame Angel
1 Green Clown Goby
1 Longnose Hawkfish
Also, which would be better with this group of fish? An Orchid Dottyback or a Purple Pseudochromis?
<Either one if tank bred/raised (vs. wild collected>
Live Long and Prosper,
<Nanu nanu. B>
Re: FOWLR stocking question-- 10/05/11

Sorry to take up more of your time but, just to clarify (since it was not overly addressed) adding a Midas Blenny to that system would not create any compatibility or (risk of) overstocking issues?
<In the proposed sixty? Too likely so... You'd have to sub for the Pseudochromid and possibly leave out the Sixline>
Live Long and Prosper,
<"Damn it Tim/Jim, I'm just a doctor". B>

FOWLR stocking question 10/4/11
I spend a lot of free time roaming through your pages absolutely fascinated by what I learn and though I have searched at great length for my question, I have not found it in specific terms (does not mean it's not there- simply that I missed it). It is of course, FOWLR stocking. I currently have a custom 30 gallon (currently entering it's 3rd month of emptiness allowing it to mature before adding anything...) and realized that it is far less than inadequate for the stocking list I would like, therefore I am determined to upgrade to a 60 gallon system to accommodate my desired fish.
I will specify my current 30 gallon tank is 36"X16"X12" and the 60 I would be getting is 36"X18"X24". I read a lot of contradictory e-garbage on the net and figured I had best consult an expert as opposed to my local LFS whom I know is merely attempting to get me to purchase more than I should by telling me what I want to hear. This being said my question is two fold;
First My desired stocking list (assume 60 gallon):
1 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 yellowtail Damsel
<Mmm, a social species>
1 Sixline Wrasse
1 Orchid Dottyback or Purple Pseudochromis
1 Flame Angel
1 Green Clown Goby
1 Longnose Hawkfish
By all charts/cross referencing it seems that these fish "should" get along- though I've heard that the Sixline and Dottyback/Pseudochromis may have issues. Would this be too much for a 60 gallon (which will have 90 lbs of Live Rock)? If so, which of these species would best be suited for that tank off this list (the Flame Angel is of the utmost interest on the list...)?
<Mmm, all should theoretically get along. This is about the smallest volume/shape system I'd place a Flame Angel and Longnose Hawk in>
My second question is, out of that list of suggested fish for the 60 gallon upgrade, which should I introduce into my 30 gallon?
<All but the last two mentioned>
(the difference on this list being added to the 60 afterwards)? I appreciate all you do and thank you in advance for taking time to address my question.
Live Long and Prosper,
<Bob Fenner>

hello, question. 9/30/11
I am wondering if I have to <too> many fish in my aquarium, and wondering if I will have any problems arise in the future.
I currently have a 46 gallon bow front with about 100 lbs of live rock, <A bunch! I'd likely trade some of this out>
a pair of Ocellaris clownfish, 1 three stripe damsel, one blue damsel, one bi coloured Chromis, 3 green/blue Chromis, 1 mandarin dragonet, a watchman goby, 2 engineer gobies, some snails, one pencil urchin, 1 long spine urchin, lots of mushrooms ,and 2 chocolate stars. Everyone's very happy and
there's no fighting. Is there too many fish?
<You are likely fine here; as long as the Clowns don't become too aggressive in time, mating and such. Bob Fenner>

55 Gallon FWLRO Stocking Question 9/12/11
Hello WWM Crew.
I have been in the saltwater hobby for a 6 years though the last 4 years have been strictly octopuses, cold and warm water species. I have decided that I would like my 55 gallon (65 gallons total water) to be a FWLRO and need some help with stocking.
I know that the general rule is 1/2 inch of fish per gallon and if I wanted to keep a tang or trigger (a fish with size and mass) I can understand why this rule applies. However the fish I am looking at getting are Nano fish.
I was wanting to keep a few small schools and a few odd balls so to speak.
If you could tell me how many would be suitable per school and also how many total I can keep in a 55 gallon tank that would really be helpful as I have searched and have been unable to find any real numbers that help.
<Mmm, rules of thumb like inches per... don't really apply, appeal... and stocking per groups is species dependent...>
My setup is as follows,
55 gallon main display with lid and canopy.
Lighting is T12 VHO built into the canopy.
I have a 10 gallon refugium (with macro algae) plumbed with an CPR overflow with Aqualifter pump.
I also have an Aqua C Remora protein skimmer.
I also keep an airstone in my sump. Not really sure why any more. It was recommended to me by some of the people on TONMO to maintain O2 or to keep the temp down (I am really not sure which or if either is true but it doesn't seem to hurt anything so I just leave it be)
<Is fine, though likely not of much functional use here>
The list of fish that I am interested in are as follows...
Blue Gudgeon Dartfish (a few put in at the same time)
Zebra Barred Dartfish (a few put in at the same time)
<One species of Microdesmid or the other>
Orchid Dottyback - Tank-Bred (only one per tank)
Firefish (only one per tank)
<... depends on species... again, see above>
Two-line Monocle Bream (not a Nano fish though I would like to keep two if possible)
<One in this size system>
Yellowhead Jawfish (a few put in at the same time-though am unsure if there would be a problem with the Two-line)
<Might be... in terms of habitat, space, interaction>
None of these fish are a must, they are just some of the smaller fish that I like. I would like (if I were to be totally honest) to keep as many as possible in this tank.
Can you please advise me here.
<Have done my level best.>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: 55 Gallon FWLRO Stocking Question 9/21/11

Hello again,
I have been driving myself crazy going back and forth trying to decide which fish I want to stock in this tank. At first (as mentioned in the previous email) I wanted to keep small thin fish such as the Dartfish but then when I continued to search I discovered the Wrasses! When I saw the Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis I absolutely fell in love. So my question is, can I keep a small harem of these spectacular fish?
<Mmm, a tight fit... but likely okay>
I was thinking one male with 2 females but a 1/1 ratio would work too if that would be too many. I have been reading but information varies widely as to what the adequate ratio is for these fish and also varies on tank size recommendations. I would like to keep 2 or 3 other small ish fish such as either the Ptereleotris heteroptera or Ptereleotris zebra as long as they would be good tank mates.
<Good choices>
If these wrasse aren't a good fit could you recommend some that would work best in a wrasse dominate tank such as the Eightline Fairy, Hoeven's Wrasse, or Grey head Wrasse.
<The Eightline>
I very much appreciate you taking the time to help me with this incredibly difficult decision.
<Happy to share, assist you. Bob Fenner>
Re: 55 Gallon FWLRO Stocking Question 9/26/11

Hello again,
Thank you so much for all of your help. I have more stocking questions, I hope you don't mind.
<Not at all>
I decided to upgrade my tank slightly from a 55 gallon to a drilled 65 gallon tank with the same foot print only taller (48" x 13" x 24" tall) and a 19 gallon sump. I am hoping to allow for a little more swimming room while the bottom will have a fair amount of rock for hiding and then a 3 inch sand bed for the ones that like to hide/eat off the sand.
I have absolutely decided on the 3 Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis and now am just trying to decide on compatible tank mates. I was thinking about adding a candy hogfish but then read they are in the wrasse family and could/did become aggressive to other fairy
wrasses to opted out of that one.
My main question is about the sleeper gold head gobies and the blue gudgeon Dartfish, though I do want to get your opinion on keeping a group (3) (or more if you recommend it) Red Stop Light Cardinalfish (Fowleria flammea) as well.
I was thinking about 2 of each (blue gudgeon and gold head gobies) but then realized that they are both gobies. Will they get along ok in the tank seeing how the Dartfish spend their time swimming around and the sleepers spend most of their day near the sand?
<Best to choose one between the bottom dwelling goby species; but either should get along w/ the Dartfish. With some rockwork built up high along one side, the Cardinals should also fare well>
I really don't want to make a mistake with stocking.
<I understand>
Please let me know what you think of this stock list.
Thank you for all of your help with this, it is greatly appreciated.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: 55 Gallon FWLRO Stocking Question 9/29/11

Hello Bob,
<Ms. R>
I think I have figured out all of the fish I would like to keep in my 65 gallon tall tank and wanted to run it by you along with ask a few other questions. First an amendment to the tank set up. Before I was going to put a 19 gallon sump with refugium on the tank, however I have a larger 35 gallon sump that I will be adding to the tank instead.
<All right>
The list is as follows...
3 Female Golden Rhomboidalis Wrasse
<One will turn into a male>
2 Sleeper Gold Head Gobies
2 Gold Assessor Basslet
2 Female Dispar Anthias
<And one of these>
Will this be a good mix?
<Should get along>
I had thought about adding a Butterflyfish like the Copperband (one already seen eating in the LFS) or the Saddleback and an angel fish like a Bicolor Angelfish or Flame Angelfish (added last of course) instead of the Dispar Anthias, but didn't know how they would mix with the others. (Your thoughts?)
<I'd skip on the butterflies till you've had a bit more experience. A
Centropyge would be a nice centerpiece here>
I have a few quick questions regarding the different fish on my list. I have read on WetWeb that it would be a good idea to get one smaller and one larger (by about an inch) Sleeper Gold Head to try and achieve harmony.
Would you say that's true, or should I try to get 2 of similar size or does it matter?
<Not too much; esp. if they've been living together ahead of your
Also, I know that you normally don't recommend QT for wrasses but I was wondering since I am upgrading to a larger tank, I will have the 55 gallon tank open and its been fully cycled. Would it be a good idea to QT them in this tank for at least a month?
<Mmm; I'd summarily dip/bath and place>
The tank would still have a sandy bottom, I think any way, I don't think treatments will kill the sand (pods and worms in the sand), and just pvc pipe. Or would it still be best to put them straight into the main display and just qt all of the other fish?
<See above and WWM for S.O.P., rationale>
My final question is about stocking order. What would be a be the best order to put them in the display? And, if you do recommend the Butterflyfish and angel over the Anthias how would they fit into this order?
<The little basses, and if placing, the Dwarf Angel last>
Thank you so much for you help on this tank. Its been invaluable.
<Welcome. B>

55 gallon suggestions 8/29/11
Hello everyone. Felipe here. Contacting you guys re a 55 gallon I will be getting soon. I've had a 20 gallon for about 1 1/2 years and everything is thriving and doing great with the help of the WWM crew. Thanks. Now I want my 55 gallon long to be a fowlr tank. I would like suggestions on what to put in it?
I would like a large fish that can be the main attraction and then a few small fish. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
<I urge you to take your time... Read here:
and the linked files above in the series... where you lead yourself on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility, Dwarf Lion and peaceful Morays 8/18/11
Hi guys long time reader first time writer. Thanks in advance for any help.
I have a 210 gallon saltwater tank mostly fowlr possible plans for reef in the future. My fish include: Dragon Goby, Moorish Idol, Hippo Tang, Pixie Hawkfish, Yellow Tang, Cowfish, Percula Clown, Maroon Clown, Flame Angel, Coral Beauty Angel. At the moment my tank is peaceful and everyone gets along. I am thinking of adding a Dwarf Zebra Lionfish, and either a Zebra Moray Eel or a Chain Eel.
<Mmm, will assume the last is Echidna catenata. The last two fish you list will have to be hand-fed... Will not be able to compete for food w/ your present fish stock>
From my reading crabs are goners and possibly my Coral Banded Shrimp.
<Likely so>
Will these additions keep my tank fairly peaceful and are my Emerald Crabs goners also.
Thanks for any help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Compatibility 8/18/11
I apologize one last question. Out of the two eels which do you think would be the safest/ most compatible or maybe even better candidate for this setup?
Thanks again
<More likely the Chainlink. BobF>

Have 75 Gal tank, High, and it's fish only with inverts. 5/28/11
Have two smaller wrasses, red Coris and Dragon. Recently put a SMALL Koran Angel
<Will need at least twice this volume>
in tank and the red Coris
<This too>
is very much intimidating the angel. (2 inches). Will the coriw at one point accept that small angle. or will it
harass it continually.
<Too likely the latter>
At one point the two wrasses had an issue, but that territory thing did calm down after a few days.,Thanks!!
Bill G.
<If the Angel is not feeding, is hiding, being damaged either it or the Coris gaimard should be moved elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

Stocking my 70 Gallon FOWLR tank 5/28/11
Hi. I am new to the hobby and am on my first tank. Your site has proven resourceful in my cycling and setup, so thank you!! I have a 70 gallon FOWLR tank, with 50lbs of LR, which cycled quickly in March. Water quality is all good, PH is 8.3, temp is 78, using a Fluval 404 with simple sediment filter (foam and cotton, I think).
<Mmm, not cotton... likely Dacron/Polyester pad. Can be rinsed, re-used a few times.>
We added a Kobe <Kole> Tang, 5 Blue-Green Chromis', 2 Ocellaris Clownfish, a Green Clown Goby, and 5 turbo snails. Everyone is happy and healthy, getting along nicely and have been in the tank for 45 days. The tank is a hit, but feels empty!
My question is related to additional stocking. I would like to add a Royal Gramma and 2 Firefish,
<Not these two together... The Gramma won't tolerate the Firefish>
but I am at a loss after this. Am I nearing the tank capacity, or can I make a few more additions?
<Depends on what the organisms added are>
How many more fish would you add?
I would like to consider something peaceful with some color and personality (and maybe a bit bigger?) that will fit right in and am looking for recommendations. Any ideas are welcome. Thank you!
<Best... to not add anything until the system settles in a bit more... For you to learn/apply patience; study, visit local fish stores, chat w/
others... In other words, "take your time". IF/when you know a bit more, are ready, you will know. Bob Fenner>

Stocking my 75 gallon FOWLR 4/10/11
I have a 75 gallon tank with 1 3.5 to 4 inch DSB with a plenum underneath.
I am using live rock (dry type). I have ordered two Koralia hydro's 750 and 1050 pumps.
My choices among marine life are
2 butterfly-Pelewensis, Pearlscale or saddleback
<The first would be my choice... but only after this system has been up and running for at least half a year>
1-Bi-color angelfish
1-foxface lo
4 bicolor chromis
1 green mandarin
<Ditto for the waiting period>
3 zebra gobies
1 orangethroat pikeblenny
1 coral shrimp banded gold
I think this is sufficient. I will get all of them in small or all in medium. Are all of these compatible. If not are there others you suggest
<Given they're all initially healthy...>
Sincerely yours
Charles C. Hagan, Jr.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Some newbie stocking questions, Marine 3/29/11
I hope I am not pushing things with too many questions at once, but I have several early stocking issues that I'd love to resolve to avoid problems down the line. I did my homework, but I've seen somewhat conflicting advice, and I'd love an expert opinion before I get in too deep.
<Fire away.>
My DT is a 65 gallon Red Sea Max 250 with stock protein skimmer, 90 pounds of live rock, 3/4 inch Aragonite, two opposing powerheads, and a canister filter driving a 36 watt UV sterilizer. It's about two months past completion of cycling, and has a modest CUC with a few snails, hermits, decorative shrimp, and one Blue Tuxedo Urchin (a fantastic mowing machine for hair algae!).
My QT is a 28 gallon NanoCube with 20 pounds of fist-size live rock, easily moved and removed for cleaning.
Main food is New Life Spectrum Thera-A pellets, with thawed Mysis as supplement, vitamin-soaked several times a week. Nobody is interested in anything algae based.
A week ago I moved my two little tank-bred Ocellaris Clownfish (mated pair I think) from QT to DT. They are the BEST fish: outgoing, curious, friendly, and great eaters. A wonderful beginners fish.
At that time I put in the QT 3 blue/green reef chromis (Chromis viridis), and a single Royal Gramma in a separate small QT. But the Gramma was so sad being alone that I moved it in with the Chromis and it perked up a lot.
But it's still much too shy for my taste. I regret getting it.
<Grammas will generally become much bolder once established in the main tank. You may have trouble with such a small group of chromis, ending with just one dominant fish.>
All's well, except that one of the three Chromis is smaller than the others, and it gets bullied occasionally.
<They can be quite aggressive to each other, especially in small groups.>
Yesterday I noticed that one of its fins has a small chunk nipped out of it. It does school with the others, and it eats well. It's not sulking in a corner. Other than the occasional bullying, it's getting along fine.
The Chromis and the Gramma ignore one another and coexist fine.
<They live in different areas of the reef and generally do not consider each other a threat.>
1) Is this bullying something I need to be proactive about, or is it just normal expression of dominance and there's nothing I can do?
<This may require removal of the smallest fish, although that just may mean the second smallest starts to get bullied. Generally larger groups of chromis do better, 6-7+ to spread out the aggression.>
2) This gives me a total of six small fish, with a max adult length of 3 inches. My hope is to be able to complete the population with three Pajama Cardinalfish, and last of all a Blenny when the tank is more mature. What do you think of this stocking level (ten small fish) for my 65 gallon tank?
I read somewhere (here?) that a good rule of thumb is one cubic inch of fish per 5 gallons.
<These "rules of thumb" are pretty worthless honestly. More important are territorial needs, swimming room, eating habits and a host of other issues that a rule of thumb cannot account for.>
This works out to 13 cubic inches for my tank. I can't imagine any of these fish other than perhaps the Blenny being more than one cubic inch, so it seems fine to me. Do you agree?
<Ignore this "rule of thumb", it offers no real guidance.>
What about inter-personal conflict with this group?
<Clowns can be aggressive, so can grammas, especially with a similar bodied blenny so this could be an issue too. The Cardinals may be too passive to add later after territories have already be established.>
3) I have read many, many places that in a FOWLR tank (which is what I plan for the foreseeable future, unless and until I become a real expert) that fish benefit from the lower osmotic pressure of lower salinity. Also, oxygen content is higher. Also, lower salinity stresses parasites a little, a small but significant good thing. Thus, I am keeping both my QT and DT at 1.021, despite the fact that this may stress the CUC a little. Your opinion?
<Marine fish are genetically optimized to live in natural seawater, generally around 35 ppt salt, keeping them in anything else it not beneficial long term.>
Thank you!
Re: Some newbie stocking questions, Marine, 3/29/11

>> Clowns can be aggressive, so can grammas, especially with a similar bodied blenny so this could be an issue too. The Cardinals may be too passive to add later after territories have already be established. <<
Chris - Thank you for the answer. Unfortunately, this is depressing! And I was so careful, checking fish compatibility charts first. I sort of had my heart set on a trio of Pajama Cardinals. But I can be flexible. I'll certainly drop the Blenny; I was questioning it anyhow. But I do see three options that I'd love to pursue if you would indulge me with your opinion:
<There are many types of blennies, some will work better than others.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BlensSmSysArt.htm .>
1) I currently have two QTs. Perhaps I could temporarily move the Clowns from the DT back to their old QT (though I do hate to stress them with a move), put the Pajama Cardinals in the second QT for a month, move them to the DT, let them establish their territories, and finally move the Clowns back to the DT. It's a lot of shuffling!
<Might work, if the clowns are still young and not sexually mature your chances improve.>
2) I could do nothing and just see what happens. Is the risk of disaster severe, or just a modest possibility?
<Dead fish are your biggest risk, how big of a risk is hard to predict.>
3) If the Pajama Cardinals are just too bad a mix with the Ocellaris Clowns, can you recommend a good fish (or small group; I don't care) that I can put in with my Clowns, Reef Chromis and Royal Gramma? I am a total beginner, so I want something hardy and easily cared for, as well as a peaceful community member. I was looking at a trio of Wheeler's Shrimp Gobies, Amblyeleotris Wheeleri. Would they work?
<Many choices here, small wrasses, certain Centropyges would work, perhaps even a hawkfish. There are many choices here, although the cardinals may work, really depends on the personalities of the clowns.>

FOWLR stkg... 3/17/11
Hey Bob, so I just purchased a Radiant Wrasse. I don't have a reef setup but since you consider it to be one of three hardy "Halichoeres" I went ahead and bought him. My current inhabitants are: Jansen wrasse 6", hippo tang 3", powder brown tang 5" and a flame angel 3". You say they are peaceful and will get along with everyone that gets along with them. In turn, I took that as a "holding their own" type of demeanor. How do you feel about this mix in a 90 gallon fowlr?
Thank you
<Should work. B>

90 FOWLR stocking 2/27/11
You have all helped me in the past and I thank you for your time and passion in helping me resolve my issues!!!
I have an extra 90 gallon tank. I plan on adding a Auriga butterfly, golden mask butterfly, purple tang and blue throat trigger.
I am sure I am reaching the limit as far as size and territory goes.
If those fish do not work together I would at least like to keep both butterflies. Would this be possible?
Skimmer would be over sized and I would have 150lbs of live rock split between the sump and main display. Plenty of water movement too.
Let me know your thoughts.
Thank you.
<I'd be adding some smaller shoaling species for kinetic interest, perhaps a bottom fish or two as well. Maybe read here:
and the linked FOWLR stkg. FAQs files above. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility 2/16/11
I have a 125 fowlr, current tenants include Yellow Tang, Percula clown, Firefish, Lawnmower Blenny, and a few snails. I'm considering adding a Melanurus wrasse and a tank raised Splendid Dottyback. Are these hardy choices? Do you foresee any compatibility issues?
<The Hoeven's Wrasse will be fine but caution is advised with the Splendid Dottyback as they will not be intimidated by other fish and will defend its territory, even against fish two to three times its size.
If you have any small ornamental shrimp, they will be at risk as well.
James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking A 60g Cube Tank/Marine Stocking, FOWLRI 1/26/11
Hi Crew!
<Hello Margaret>
Thank you so much for this amazing resource that you offer.
<You're welcome.>
I've only been dabbling in this hobby for a few months, but I've learned so much from this site as well as all the wonderful books that your volunteers have authored. My tank inhabitants (current and future) thank you as well!!
I see that there is extensive information on WWM regarding stocking different types of tanks, but I would really appreciate it if you guys would look over my stocking plan and let me know how I'm doing. It seems like this part is so important that I'd hate to screw it up by misunderstanding something I read in an FAQ.
I have a 60g cube tank, which I'm planning to upgrade to a 150-180g tank if it turns out that I'm any good at this hobby. After buying a "complete system" from my LFS, I learned on your site that basically every component I purchased is below par, so I've been working on buying better equipment that will also work on the larger system that I hope to have eventually.
<I wouldn't say your Tunze Powerheads and AquaC EV400 are below par, those brands represent some of the best equipment out there.><<These are/were highly likely replacements. RMF>>
My system:
60g cube tank (24" ^3), established Nov 2010
-4 Tunze 6015 powerheads <476gph>
-2" live sand
-50-60lbs live rock
-turnover between this tank and sump is about 5 times an hour
150g Rubbermaid sump, established 1/15/11
-AquaC EV-400 fed with a Mag-18. Currently this isn't working (no bubbles at all). I'm trying to get a hold of someone at the company to help me.
<They are very good in the customer service department.>
-rDSB in a bucket
-a DIY mechanical filter I rigged up with some floss and poly-filter in another bucket
55g Refugium
-70 pounds live rock
-3 plastic containers with substrate (for easy removal/replenishment):
1 tub sugar-fine DSB (12x15"), 1 tub larger grain sand (12x15" for eventual amphipod growth) and 1 tub mud.
-'Fuge is gravity fed from tank, turns over 2.5 times per hour
<Sounds well thought out to me.>
In the main tank, I currently have:
-2 mated black Amphiprion ocellaris, he's about 2.0" & she's about 2.5"
-1 Pencil Urchin (rode in on LR)
-1 or 2 micro hermits
-1 Nassarius snail
-5-6 Nerite snails
I would like to add, in time:
-1 Opistognathus aurifrons <Yellow Head Jawfish>
-1 Liopropoma rubre <Swiss Guard Basslet>
-3 or 5 Apogon leptacanthus <Long Spine Cardinal Fish>
-maybe 1 Synchiropus splendidus if space and 'fuge food production will allow.
<Not really enough area in your cube for this guy's feeding habits. I'd wait until you upgrade to a larger tank.>
My questions now:
Is this too much fish stock, physically or psychologically, for my system?
<Normally for nine fish, and rather peaceful fish, I'd say no, but with your large sump and refugium, will not be a problem.>
If the above list is okay, should I add them in the order that I listed?
<Should be fine. I'd probably add the Basslet last.>
When/if I upgrade to a larger system, I'd like to add a harem of a relatively hardy Anthias species and some butterfly fishes. It is my understanding that they would (in the larger system, of course) get along with everything I listed above without much of a problem. Do you think this sounds like a good plan, provided that my skills advance to such a level that I can provide the care they need?
<Sure, but if you go this route, I'd opt for the 180 rather than the 150 gallon tank. We can talk more about the butterfly fish when you get to that stage. In the meantime, keep reading/learning.>
Thank you so, so much for allowing me to send this message, and also for all the help that I have received from reading everyone else's queries.
I really appreciate it.
<Glad we could help you Margaret. James (Salty Dog)>
Best wishes,
Re Stocking A 60g Cube Tank/Marine Stocking 1/26/11
Thank you so much for the feedback, Mr. Salty Dog! ;-)
<You're welcome, Margaret.>
All the equipment I listed was new since discovering your site, and the folks at AquaC have already solved my skimmer problem. I went with them largely on your recommendation, and I'm quite pleased so far.
<A very good company to work with.>
I'll hold off on the Mandarin. Looking forward to adding more fish!!
<Go slow.>
Thanks again!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: tank fallow, 120 gal. FOWLR stkg. 1/8/11
Hi Bob, sorry for the misspell.
<No worries. Just want you to be able to search/look up>
Did a spell-check and Microsoft Word didn't have a suggestion for Chloroquine.
<This and quite a few other terms I've found>
I went with the spelling Dr. Jim had on his website.
<! Surprising>
I just wanted to run my stocking list by you for your opinion.
I have a 120 gallon fowlr. Water quality has always been good, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate never more than 20ppm, 8.2 ph at 78. System is 9 months mature. I'd like the following, all small - medium size and plan on a larger aquarium in about 3 years or so.
- French Angel
<Will need more room>
- Kole tang
- Coral Beauty
- Red Sea Sailfin Tang
<And this>
- 2 clownfish
Do you feel 8 weeks fallow is as sufficient as the 4 month suggestion?
<I do... please read:
Thank you for your time!

Livestock Compatibility, and much more 12/6/10
Hi Crew,
I have a 210 gallon FOWLR tank with a 125 gallon sump/refugium
containing a EV-400 Skimmer and Mag 18 return pump. I have filter pads in between some baffles that are rinsed out at least once a week and replaced once a month.
<Mmm, much nitrate accumulation?>
Activated carbon is also used and replaced monthly. The majority of the 125 gallon is a DSB with Chaeto growing on an opposite light cycle to the tank lights.
I have a 216 watt power compact light fixture with actinics and 10k's. Inside the tank I have 2 Koralia 3's and 2 Koralia 4's helping in the circulation of water as well. There is approximately 150-200 of live rock
in the tank with supporting PVC pipe structures to make lots of caves and overhangs. The substrate is about a half inch of sugar sized sand. I used to have a Bamboo Shark in the tank and have now decided to go in another direction because he was attaining a large size and I was not ready to upgrade to a larger tank at this juncture. A month ago I bought a 4-5" Scribbled Angelfish and quarantined in a 55 gallon tank until today, so she is the first fish in the tank. Currently being fed Ocean Nutrition 1 and 2, Spirulina Flakes, Nori, Ocean Nutrition Angel Formula, Mysis Shrimp, and a homemade meaty mix (shrimp, oyster, squid, and scallops). Haven't been able to get her to accept Spectrum pellets yet, though they are pretty small pellets. Will larger ones help?
<Yes; likely so. Keep mixing in a larger percentage with the other foods>
Ideas on encouraging eating them?
<The above>
She is fed small portions 3 times per day. I soak whatever foods I feed her at least every other day in Zoe and Marine C. I am ordering Selcon as well. Tank is stable at ammonia: 0, nitrites: 0, nitrates:~ 0(maybe 1-2, test kits aren't easy to read precisely), SG:1.025, Temp:78. The other fish I would ultimately like to add to this tank over time to join the Scribbled are....
1 Juvenile Emperor Angel
<Mmm, will eventually outgrow this volume... a few years>
1 Harlequin Tusk
1 Tang (leaning towards Atlantic/Caribbean Blue Tang)
<Not easily kept in general. Make sure and secure an initially-healthy specimen>
Maybe a school/group of small fish (chromis, damsels, or something along those lines)
<Sounds good>
I have 2 questions for you to help me with if you could.
1. Will my intended stocking plan work with my setup?
Any issues you see arising with my intended plan?
<None overt>
The only one I can see with an issue may be the Emperor and Scribbled when the Emperor grows up. That is why I placed the Scribbled in first as they are not overly aggressive and am putting in a juvenile Emperor so they grow together thus increasing the chance of them getting along. Does that sound like a good plan or a flawed one?
<A good plan>
2. I recently received a Red Sea 100 mg/hr ozonizer from a friend. I do not have a controller for my tank at this time and know that it is strongly recommended when using ozone.
<Mmm, I'd hook this one up... the size/output will not prove problematical.
See my comments here:
and in the linked files above if you'd like>
I have done some research and am wondering if I only run the ozonizer at 25 mg or 50 mg/hr for 2 hours a day for the purpose of keeping my water very clean, would this be alright?
<Yes... even full out should be fine>
Are the benefits of this worth any risk I am occurring in your opinion?
<Oh yes>
If this is alright, would the ozone reduce or eliminate the need for activated carbon?
Or should I use both?
<Can use both.>
I greatly appreciate your knowledge and insights in the underwater world and would truly appreciate your input on my plan and what you feel could be done to increase my odds of success. Thank you so much in advance!
<Very happy to share with you Dustin. Happy holidays. Bob Fenner>
Re: Livestock Compatibility... and more, sans directed reading... 12/7/10
Hi Bob,
Thanks for all of your help! I am very glad that my setup and fish choices are aligned for success. I do understand that Emperor Angels do grow quite large and my intentions are to be able to upgrade my tank by that time. I would like to clarify a few things that I am not sure if I fully understand pertaining to your responses as well as a few other questions.
1. When you talk about using the ozonizer and say, "Even full out should be fine." Do you mean full out for 2 hours as I suggested?
<... did you read where you were referred?>
Or always on at the lower level?
<... a 100 mg/h unit can be run full out on this volume w/o a controller>
Also, do you think 2 hours would be the right amount of time at full throttle? More time or less time? I read some of the FAQ's on RedOx and the link you provided but couldn't seem to find answers or a scenario like mine.
2. I have not had much, if any, nitrate accumulation from the filter pads at this point.
<Actually you doubtless have. The other denitrifying operations and take up of NO3 in your system has negated its accumulation>
I don't have any other filtration that would catch big particles and thought these would be helpful. I may be missing something or this may just be unnecessary? Do you think I should remove the filter pads?
3. With the Atlantic Tang, I have read they are pretty hardy fish and well suited for keeping in an aquarium.
<Inaccurate. The majority die w/in a month>
Not getting too large and such.
<How large is that?>
What size would you recommend for the best chance at success?
<Search WWM re Acanthurus coeruleus...>
Otherwise, if they really are quite difficult to keep I may pick a different tang. I actually would prefer a Sohal Tang, but know they can get quite aggressive.
<This is so>
I know you are a big fan of keeping Sohal's and I really like them, but I have been cautious because I wasn't sure if it would be alright in my setup even if it was the last fish introduced. Your thoughts?
<Are posted... 30-40k folks use WWM every day... we're not a bulletin board, but we do have one if you'd care to chat>
4. Lastly, and completely unrelated, I recently noticed a yellow patch under some mushrooms in my 75 gallon softie reef tank. I bought the rock only a couple months ago and didn't notice this spot until now because it is covered in mushrooms. After much searching, I found what I believe to be a yellow Nudibranch, as per
In that case he was eating some corals that I don't believe I have (Sorry, I am not very good or for that matter interested in learning all the scientific names. At least not yet!) and you suggested he remove it/them. I don't see any areas that are damaged on any of my corals (button polyps, Zoanthids, colt coral, lots of Ricordea, trumpet coral, and lots of blue mushrooms that he is under). Should I remove him immediately or will he be fine in my tank?
<I'd hold off>
Again, I thank you greatly for your time and wisdom in helping me do the best I can to enjoy and properly care for my aquatic friends. After all of your help a donation is definitely in order to help continue this great
Happy Holidays to you as well,
<Thank you, BobF>
Re: Livestock Compatibility, Chromis stkg.... 12/7/10
One last question I forgot to add to the list. My apologies.
I have decided to get a bunch of Green Chromis for my school of small fish.
How many would you suggest to create a moving scene in my tank without overdoing it? My initial thoughts were 9, too many or too few?
<A good number. B>

300 FOWLR, stkg. - 10/09/10
Hello, I am in the process of cycling my 300 gallon FOWLR tank,(96x24x30) with 400 pounds of live rock, and am currently deciding what fish I should put in there. My ideas were: 1) Emperor Angel 2) Queen Angel
<I'd choose between these two... just one>
3) Blue Tang 4) Volitans Lionfish 5) Harlequin Tuskfish 6)Yellow tang. I was wondering what your opinion was on this stocking list. Are the fish compatible, if not what would you suggest adding or removing?
<Mmm... these fishes could all go in this size/shape volume...>
Furthermore, is this aquarium large enough to house these fish in the long term?
Finally, in what order should I add these fish to the aquarium?
<The Angel last; the blue tang ahead of the yellow>
Thank You very much
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Happier as a single or a couple? 9/14/10
From what I can tell all of the fish below are ok in a group or on their own, but I wondered if some are really happier in a pair or group rather than as a single? If so, I could pick one of the three to add as pair, or if they are all great solo, than I may keep all of them as singles. Please let me know who does better as a single and who does better as a couple.
The choices are:
1. Tank raised Yellow Assessor, Assessor flavissimus (I have a cave set up in tank in hopes this one will do his upside down trick)
<Best singly in most aquarium systems>
2. Tank raised Kaudern's Cardinal, Pterapogon kauderni
<Best in a group if there's room>
3. Tank raised Orchid Dottyback, Pseudochromis fridmani (this guy will be added to tank last)
<Single if not trying to breed them>
The other animals in the 65G Fowlr system include:
3 Blue/Green Chromis, Chromis Viridis
<Very schooling species... but your system is too small for any more than about three>
2 Ocellaris Percula Clownfish, Amphiprion Ocellaris
1 Blood Red Fire Shrimp, Lysmata debelius
2 Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Lysmata amboinensis
6 Dwarf Blue-legged Hermits, Clibanarius Tricolor
6 Turbo Snails, Turbo fluctuosa
6 Nassarius Snails, Nassarius sp.
6 Cerith Snails
Feather Dusters
Thanks! Laurie
<Do please search, read re each species you list... on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: Happier as a single or a couple? 9/15/10

Thank you so much! I have done a HUGE amount of research using your site and I also own your wonderful book. Great stuff! You'll find this initially horrifying I'm sure, but I wanted you to know that using your site has saved lives and saved me loads of disappointment.
Original stocking list for 65G Fowlr BEFORE research on Wet Web Media:
Lion Fish
Pederson Shrimp and anemone
Christmas Tree Worms
Frog Fish
File Fish
Puffer Fish
Various Tangs and Butterfly Fish
Coral Banded Shrimp
Arrow Crab
Feather Star
Watchman Goby and Pistol Shrimp
Feather Dusters
Basically, I wanted all of the stuff I loved to see when diving in my tank at home. After all, I was used to a 20G freshwater tank and moving to 65G seemed like a HUGE tank to fill. Then I started spending hours upon hours on your site and reading many books and now my list is what I hope will be an active, but peaceful community using tank raised fish when possible.
Stocking list AFTER research on Wet Web Media:
Ocellaris Percula Clownfish
Kaudern's Cardinal
Yellow Assessor
Orchid Dottyback
Green Clown Goby (although I'm not sure, I'm worried that if I don't have corals he might not be happy)
Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Blood Red Fire Shrimp
Maybe a couple Sexy Shrimp
Various dwarf hermits and snails
Feather Dusters
<Ah, much better>
Possibly in a year a Blue Tuxedo Urchin. I'd still love a Pederson Shrimp (my husband's favorite to see when diving) so I've been toying with the idea of a Condylactis anemone to host one, but after looking at the info and FAQs on your site, I'm afraid the Condy may kill my fish.
<A very real possibility should any drift near/by the tentacles>
I haven't quite let the idea go, but certainly don't want to see anyone suffer like that photo of the poor Lionfish in the FAQs section. I also stopped myself from buying what was a perfectly peaceful (according to the LFS) beautiful purple tube anemone until I could look the creature up on your site. Boy I am glad I did!
<Me too!>
Anyhow, thank you so, so much for the advice, the invaluable information, and voice to trust in the midst of a huge amount of confusing and conflicting information!
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. BobF>

Mud, Stocking and icky rock SW Filtration and stocking questions 9/6/2010
Mr. Fenner.
<Hi Dave, you have MikeV today.>
Firstly, thanks for the amazing site. I have learned a lot from it and your book TCMA.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I have just ordered a 200 us gal system and will be using miracle mud in the sump.
I have been informed or maybe misinformed that with the use of miracle mud you don't need a skimmer?
<I disagree. There are very few reasons not to have a skimmer in my opinion. having mud filtration s not one of them.>
I have however just bought a new one for my existing setup V2 400
<Note for readers, a TMC V2 - 400 skimmer, rated for 105 gallons>
but due to the shutdown of this tank I would like to use this on the new tank (I know it's too small but combined with miracle mud?) would this be ok?
<It will 'work' but it will not be the most efficient.>
My next question is in regard to stocking. I have the following in my tank;
1 x Regal tang
1 x Yellow Tang
1 x Scooter blenny
1 x False clownfish
1 x Cleaner shrimp
1 x Dancing shrimp
4 x Hermit crabs (4 Blue legged, 2 Halloween)
These are the reason for the upgrade as their current home is far too small for the size these guys will reach.
I would like to add a red Foxface to this system with all the fish listed above. Am I pushing it or do I have the capacity to stock all of the said fish?
<I would say you are fine to add the Foxface.>
> Third and final question.
I have 60 kilo of live rock ordered with the new tank and have 30-35 kilo which I would like to transfer from my existing tank. Unfortunately and stupidly of me, I did not quarantine the Regal tang (lesson learnt) which introduced marine Ick into my original tank. I was advised to leave the live rock out of the tank for 24 hours to kill the Ick before adding this to my new tank (sounds a bit strange to me). Can I reuse this rock without transferring Ick with it? And if so what would I need to do?
<If the outbreak of Ick was recent, I would not put it in the new tank until it sat fallow (i.e. in a tank with no fish) for at least 4 weeks. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fallowtkfaqs.htm >
Sorry for going on for so long but as a marine beginner, I could do with all the help and advice I can get.
<My pleasure.>

120 gal Stocking Plan ... Help! 7/31/10
I am seeking opinion on my (overstocked) livestock plan.
Tank stats:
120 gallon (tall), FOWLR, 120 lbs of TBS live rock,
60 lbs of base rock, 4' DSB (3 inches of aragonite sugar size sand with 1' TBS Live Sand on top). 30 gallon sump, UV filter, Wet/dry bioballs, AquaC EV-180 skimmer, two 1200 gph power heads, stable water at 1.026 sg, 8.2 ph, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, <10 nitrates. Current cleaner crew consists of:
Emerald Crabs
<Can become predaceous...>
Scarlet Reef Hermits
Blue Leg Hermits
Cerith Snails
Nassarius Vibex Snails
Nerite Snails
Sand Sifting Fighting Conch
'¦ and a few small crabs and shrimp that hitchhiked with the live rock. Fish Plan:
(must) 1 dogfaced puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus)
(must) 1 yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)
<More fun with more than one>
1 Bluechin trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) (a peaceful variety?)
<Generally... though may sample your mollusks and crustaceans>
1 Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus)
2 ocellaris clown (Amphiprion ocellaris)
1 dragon goby (Amblygobius phalaena)
1 comet grouper (Calloplesiops altivelis)
1 flame angel (Centropyge loricula)
1 convict blenny/engineer fish (Pholidichthys leucotaenia)
<A strongly social species... that does grow to large size w/ time>
1 Sixline wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) I know that I am overstocked (based on full grown sizes). Please advise which fish to best eliminate from the bottom portion of the list.
<Mmm, up to you... or plan on larger, other system/s with time... a very likely scenario>
Other things I really would like to work in as possible alternatives are a moon wrasse, and/or a group of 5 green Chromis. I read a couple of instances where the dogfaced puffer and yellowhead Jawfish were kept together without problems since they occupy different areas of the tank, so I want to work around those two "must haves". I wanted a Snowflake Eel too but figured it would not be good for the Jawfish '¦.
Thanks, Todd
<Thank you for your well-investigated, thought-out letter. Bob Fenner>

Stocking for a 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium 7/24/10
Hi. I am planning a 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium. I expect to have a 50 gallon refugium/sump with a DSB, a serious skimmer, a section for macroalgae scrubbing (Chaeto or Gracilaria, set spinning if I can),
<Mmm, okay, but not necessary to spin/tumble>
and another small section for other macros to feed the tank (some Ulva).
I was also thinking of cultivating some easy-to-grow sponges because I recall Bob discussing this, and I'd love to have some sponges.
<These will "appear" of their own accord if conditions favour them>
About 180 lbs Liverock.
Given this background, here is my stocking question. I am thinking of the following:
Koran Angel (Pomacanthus semicirculatus), a Valentini puffer (Canthigaster valentini), a Picasso Trigger, a Harlequin Tuskfish, a Flame Hawkfish, and a Yellow Tang.
In truth, I'd also like to add, If I could, a pair of orchid Dottybacks (I like them and I'd like to have some smaller fish, if they could take the heat), a Saddleback Butterfly (Chaetodon ephippium), and a snowflake eel.
<Mmm, I'd skip the "B" list here, and stick with the first>
What puzzles me is that I have read here about "psychological space," and there are two huge personalities already (the angel and the trigger). If I go based on 4 gallons per fish-inch,
<Not really a useful indicator...>
I'm ok, given that I will have a large sump. But that isn't the whole story.
<Ah yes... you are aware>
And, I'm not sure of the order of adding the fish. I won't suggest an order until my stocking plans are evaluated, though.
<Place the trigger last, the angel second last>
I am a beginning SW enthusiast but have some FW experience years ago.
Any advice would be very much appreciated.
<Your stocking plan is workable... in time you'll have to move the Koran.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking for a 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium 7/24/10

Thanks so much, Bob, for your advice. I had a follow-up question. At the end you said that I would need to move the Koran eventually. Could I perhaps get a larger tank (96" instead of 72") and thus avoid the move?
<If this implies increasing the volume to about 240 gallons, perhaps (8 by 2 by 2 feet)... Otherwise, the semicirculatus will start to be "cramped" in a few years>
I chose that particular angel because of its looks and sturdiness. But if there is an alternative that could live its whole life in my tank, that might be preferable.
Oh, and about my "B List": I think I'll miss the eel most of all, as you have "sold" it so enthusiastically in CMA.
<Is a wonderful species, however, with all present that you list, I think you'd find it hard/er to get food to everyone.>
Thanks again for your help.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Stocking for a 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium
Well, this is good news. Regarding the issue of tank size, yes I was indeed thinking of 8 by 2 by 2 feet. In fact, I've been looking around for common large/long aquarium sizes, keeping in mind that length is important.
I can now have my FOWLR favorites!
<Ah good>
Thank you for your advice. I know that it is always wisest to avoid problems in the planning phase. This will be tremendous fun, even though I am a bit daunted by the project.
<Steps at a time... "keep your eyes on the prize/s"... Cheers Sam, BobF>
Best wishes,

Aquarium stocking 7/22/10
I currently have a Clown and Yellow Tang in my FOWLR tank.
Thinking of adding 3 more fish to max out the capacity.
Regal Tang / Picasso / Royal Gramma
Can all these fish live in harmony together?
Many Thanks, Pete
<If there's room... Likely a hundred gallons plus will do. Bob Fenner>

FOWLR fish selection -- 07/17/10
Good afternoon. I'm interested in selecting a fish to go with my current tankmates. I have had a total of 5 fish die on me (or because of me) in the past year and a half or so - 3 angels, 1 damsel, and 1 tang. One died from aggression (the Damsel), one from disease (the tang - septicemia), one from starvation (my Lemonpeel Angel), and two from unknown reasons (2 angels). So for some time now I've been frustrated enough not to want to buy any more fish. I really thought that a pygmy angel would be perfect for me, but the 3 that I've gotten have all died now. The Lemonpeel wouldn't eat and died within a week. The Coral Beauty lived for over 6 months, then died suddenly for no apparent reason. The Keyhole died almost instantly after being added to my aquarium, and I'm not really sure why.
<All captive-collected Centropyge are very stressed and damaged to degrees through the process of netting, transport, handling... many perish consequently>
So I've been pretty frustrated by my fish problems. Meanwhile, my 2 remaining Damsels seem indestructible. I've had them for well over a year and a half now with no problems, other than the fact that they harassed a third Damsel into extinction. They've been the only 2 fish that I've had now for about the last 7 months.
<What species are these Pomacentrids? Some are very territorial... cause further negative stress>
So I figured I would come to you guys and see what I can do to select a fish with a good chance of surviving. Here are my tank stats.
55 gallon
<Really a marginally small volume for full-size Centropyge species>
78 degrees
1.0235 sg
8.3 ph
~10 ppm nitrates
~0 nitrites
~0 ammonia
crushed coral substrate covered with algae
Found alive:
1 x 3-stripe damsel
<A "mean" species>
1 x blue damsel
<More easygoing>
1 x fancy tiger striped serpent sea star
approx. 20 pounds of LR - covered in algae of all sorts
myriads of Polychaetes (a surprising amount - they're everywhere - bristleworms?)
multiple microstars
many limpets
lots of macroalgae
red coralline algae
some diatoms (appears slowly)
many very tiny, white things shaped like conch shells that dart around quickly (What are these?)
<Can't tell from this desc.>
many, many sedentary tube worms - they're everywhere, too.
The only things I seem to be able to keep alive are the sturdiest of fish, millions of worms, and lots of algae. But what about the good fish? I didn't get an aquarium to only have 2 common, lousy, ordinary, greedy little Damsels (I call them pig fish because they always eat like selfish, greedy little pigs - swimming around with their mouths open.). I never really even wanted the Damsels, but I bought them first because I was told to cycle the aquarium with them. So now I'm stuck with them. So what kind of a fish could I look for at this point? A damsel would be harassed
constantly by the 2 damsels I already have. My tank is too small for a trigger or probably even another tang. Angels keep dying mysteriously.
What would you do if it were your aquarium? Please help me get over my frustration here.
<Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fowlrlvstgf2.htm
and the linked files in this series (above) for much more in the way of ideas. Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibilities with Snails 6/27/10
Dear WWM Crew,
I have a 180 gallon saltwater tank water parameters ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 salinity 1.21
<Why so low?>
that has been running for almost 8 months now. Current fish 1 yellowtail damsel,
<A social species>
1 snowflake eel, 1 yellow tang and a lot of snails and crabs in my clean up crew also I have some bulls eye mushrooms. I was wondering what kind of fish suggestions you might have that would be really active swimmers and still leave my snails alone.
<Too many to list... see WWM re snail compatibility (the FAQs files) and the many stocking FAQs files for fish groups, types of marine systems>
I could stand losing the crabs but not the Ceriths and Turbos I have, they make keeping my tank clean a lot easier. Some potentials I like are Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish,
Niger Triggerfish,
<A snail eater>
Coral Beauty Angelfish, Volitans Lionfish, Blue Regal Tang, additional Yellow Tangs. What do you think?
<... that you should read ahead of writing>
I do like corals but am more of a FOWLR kind of guy. I just don't know if I can go that route and keep the
clean up crews. Thanks for your time and thoughts.
<Bob Fenner>

Fish Stocking and a New Tank -- 06/10/10
Hi WWM Crew! First off, I want to thank you for all the help you've given me with my marine aquarium needs.
<Welcome Alex>
You guys have saved me hundreds of dollars, multiple fish lives, and the embarrassment of making some of the dumbest mistakes ever. I do have a few (okay, a lot) questions for you. Would I be able to keep a Green Bird Wrasse (Gomphosus varius), a Porcupine Puffer (Diodon holocanthus), a Zebra Moray (Gymnomuraena zebra), and a Tang or Rabbitfish together in a 135 gallon aquarium (72"x18"x24") without the fear of overcrowding or harming any of the fish physically or psychologically in a FOWLR type of aquarium (trying that in a reef would be cool but disastrous)?
<Likely so... there might be troubles w/ the Puffer biting the Moray... and getting food to the latter... but I give you good odds here that this mix will get along>
My marine biology teacher said that would work, but I wanted to get a second opinion since this would be an expensive disaster. It's a used tank that I got from my marine biology class that doesn't leak (I double checked) and is reef ready. Since I realize that the fish I would be keeping are huge wasters, I plan on using an AquaC EV-180 protein skimmer with a Mag 7 pump as the main filtration
while also having a 40 gallon refugium that has a 4 in deep live sand bed with a few Shaving Brush Algaes (Penicillus sp.) and a Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) to help remove nitrates and phosphates along with 100 lbs of live rock and a 1 in deep sand bed in the primary tank. Would this be enough filtration to support this heavy load of fish?
<I'd plan on more mechanical filtration at least...>
I have the bird wrasse, puffer, and moray currently living in a 90 gallon tank, but I now realize that this is too small of a tank to support their growing size and waste (another one of my mistakes) so I got the 135 gallon tank when our class replaced all of their old systems with new ones.
The reason I want to get a tang or Rabbitfish is that it would be another active fish to watch since the eel and puffer don't move around a lot during the day and it would also eat the algae that is covering my live rock. Are there any species that you would recommend with current tank size and livestock?
<Mmm, yes>
I've done some research and thought that a Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), a Desjardini Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii),
<Gets too big for here>
a Royal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), a Yellow Eye Kole Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus), a Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), a Blue-lined Rabbitfish (Siganus doliatus), or a Foxface (Siganus vulpinus) might work with this setup, but I haven't figured out how to not overstock a tank since the 1 in of fish per gallons rules don't really work. Any and all help would be much
Thanks, Alex
<Of those presented, the Ctenochaetus and Yellow are the better choices... Bob Fenner>

Re: Fish Stocking and a New Tank, FOWLR f' 6/10/2010
Thank you for the help! I have one last question though. Would it be possible to keep a Purple Tang or a school of Yellow Tangs in this aquarium?
Again thank you very much.
<A single Z. xanthurum or one flavescens. B>

Adding to 75gallon fowlr 5/31/2010
I have my 75gallon dsb tank up and running with a 38gallon sump/refugium.
My stock is a Firefish goby,
<A social species... lives in "twos">
flame Hawkfish, blue/green damsel,
<What, which species? Are shoaling fishes>
tiger brittle starfish, hermit crabs, Nassarius snails and a snowflake eel (14-15 inches). A watchman goby and pistol shrimp live in the refugium. My girlfriend has been asking me when I am going to add more fish. It seems I have alot
<No such word>
of room still in my tank space wise, but I am wondering about bioload wise. After showing her pics of tangs, puffers, and triggers we seem to agree that we would rather have one big fish than a smaller one if possible. Any recommendation on which fish to look into?
<Yes. Reading...>
It would have to be a fish that could live in the 75 gallon for probably at least a year because I doubt she will let set up another tank anytime soon. Thanks for the help. Dave
<Please start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fowlrlvstgfaqs.htm
and the linked files above in this series. Bob Fenner>

125g Stocking and Quarantine Questions 5/28/2010
Hello to whoever I'm speaking with! I love the site and have never been steered wrong by it. After extensive searching both on WWM and in other areas, I've still come up with many questions and uncertainties about how to quarantine and handle the stocking order of my tank.
<Let's dispel those uncertainties Lisa>
The system itself is a standard 6 ft 125 gallon aquarium. I have an ~30 gallon refugium. The return pump is an Eheim 1262, Tunze 9010 skimmer, and multiple Koralia 4 powerheads. There is about 150 lbs of LR total, and probably upwards of 250 lbs of finer-grained sand, with about 75 in the refugium with a deep bed. The lighting is 2x250w MH with a BluWav7 ballast. This will be a reef. My QT system is a 65 gallon with a pair simple sponge-style filters attached to airstones.
This is not the first time I have had an active system with this set-up, but after a disastrous move, it is essentially a new system. The cycle has finished and, clean-up-crew ordered, so I'm ready to start finalizing my fish ideas. The plan is: 2-4 Neon Gobies, 2 Saddleback Clowns, 1 Potter's Angel, 1 Nox Angel, a M/F pair of Pyle's Fairies, 1 Lubbock's Fairy, a leopard (species undecided) or Pearly Weed Wrasse, Xenojulis, several Lyretail Anthias, a Chocolate Tang, and possibly a Trimaculatus Angel if I luck into a healthy specimen.
<These are rare>
My first and most troubling question is what the optimum number of female Anthias would be to go along with the male.
<Three, four>
The more I read, the more confused I get on this. My original plan was 2 females to 1 male, but it is starting to seem like 3-4 females may be more ideal.
<Is for this species, clade>
I know the risks of two Centropyge angels and will be adding them at the same time, but not sure if I should QT them.
<I would not quarantine the Potter's>
I had success with a Potter's that was not quarantined but I am not sure that this would be the right path to go again.
<A summary dip/bath... even just pH-adjusted freshwater is all I'd do, unless the specimen looks bad>
Also with quarantine, the clowns will obviously have to be wild-caught given their lack of availability as a captive bred fish. My thoughts are to give them a dip (Formalin?) and then start them with a Maracyn 2 series right away per recommendations on your site.
<I would dip them as you state>
My final question is in regards to order of addition. I am thinking to add the clowns and gobies as first fish, but afterward I am not sure where to go, or if it matters much besides individual recommendations that go along with the maturation of the tank itself, such as a leopard wrasse.
<A Macropharyngodon? These also must be picked out w/ care... are historically very touchy, particularly when first introduced>
I believe the tang should be last.
The area with the most confusion for me are the Anthias. I'm not sure what level of aggression towards other species to expect from them so that leaves me wondering where in the order to place them.
<About middle... I'd wait till your sump, refugium is functional, producing some small crustacean life... and even then, feed them a few times daily with small meaty foods>
Thank you for the great resources and all the help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: 125g Stocking and Quarantine Questions
I wanted to thank you for the answers so far and to clear up a couple one small question your response prompted. Unless the Potter's comes in looking really bad, it'll skip a QT and give it a pH-adjusted dip before letting it go into the display. Would you also skip it with a Nox or is adding them at the same time not as large a deal as it seems?
<About fifty fifty on this Centropyge... A very reclusive species BTW>
On the Trimaculatus angel, I doubt that it's truly realistic but it's kind of a dream fish. I've maybe seen four in stores total and all but one were seriously in trouble. I am looking at a Macropharyngodon when I referred
to a leopard.
<Ah yes; so I presumed>
A local store gets in very nice-looking specimens, well-fleshed out and with no obvious injuries, so I plan to buy from them when the tank appears to be ready.
Thanks again for all the help,
<Wishing you were here... BobF, bleary in B.C.>

Help Stocking a 150-gallon FOWLR 5/20/10
Hello all,
<I see you Shannon>
I'm hoping you fine folks at WWM can help me out. I have a 150-gallon 48" long by 24" wide by 30"high tank that is currently cycling with live rock and a shallow bed of mixed dry and live sand. I'm going to make this tank a FOWLR, and here are the fish I'd like to add:
1-Bluethroat Trigger (/Xanthichthys auromarginatus/)
1-Threadfin Butterflyfish (/Chaetodon auriga/)
1- Harlequin Tuskfish (/Choerodon fasciatus/)
1-Foxface (/Siganus vulpinus/)
1-Antennata Lionfish (/Pterois antennata/)
Would this list of fish work for this tank?
<Likely so... the Lion may prove hard to feed here... I would train all on Spectrum brand pelleted foods as a staple to assure nutrition...>
Any suggestions would be
greatly appreciated, as I consider you guys THE experts!
<I'd place the Butterflyfish second to last, the Tuskfish last>
Thanks in advance,
Shannon O'Rourke
Old Bridge, NJ
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA>

Re: Help Stocking a 150-gallon FOWLR -- 05/21/10
Thanks so much Bob! So the order of introduction to the tank would be the Foxface, Lionfish, Trigger, Butterflyfish, then the Tuskfish?
<Sounds good>
One more question: what would be the safest way to move the lionfish, such as from the shipping container into the quarantine tank, then to the display tank after the appropriate quarantine time?
<With a large soft net... scooping up the Lion from below... NOT supported with your hand>
The Spectrum brand of food is great--I feed the freshwater formulas to all my freshwater fish.
<Ahh! As do I>
Thanks again for the advice!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Re: Molly Fry protection and algae diet. and now Eels and puffer stkg. in a 60 gal. 5/18/10
Hi to all,
Thanks for your responses regarding our first SW tank. It has given us the confidence to continue.
<Ahh! A pleasure to share>
Our 60 gallon (240 litre) salt water tank (4' x 2' x 3') with live rock and gravel has now been running for 6 weeks with the current readings: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, KH 10, nitrate 5, PH 8.3 and salt density at 1.025, temp 26
degrees C (78 deg F). We have a Eheim Canister Filter Model 2228, a Sicce Voyager Stream pump No 3 and a light with both a white and blue (UV) fluor globe.
As previously discussed, we added 8 Mollies as startup fish and all seem to be doing very well. In addition to the algae on the live rock, we are now feeding flake food. The mollies are also enthusiastically devouring the scraps of white bait, prawns and crab that we feed to the other inhabitants.
After quarantining, we added a leopard, snowflake and golden headed spotted eel.
<Oh my friend, this volume is too small for these in time...>
The leopard and snowflake are approx 25-30 cm (5"-6") long and the spotted is nearly 40 cm (10") - hard to measure wriggly slippery snapping eels! As recommended, we added them at the same time to minimise squabbles over territory and apart from a few early flurries, all have settled well. The snowflake seems to alternate which cave buddy it will bunk in with each day as the leopard and spotted have their own spaces. We know the potential size these guys can get to and have planned a larger tank for them.
<I would be looking for, procuring now>
Our stockist suggested some large snails and a black urchin to control the algae and said that the small stars and stripes puffer they had will be ok with both the large snails, urchin and eels.
<This is assuredly not so... the puffer will eat them>
They advised that the puffer will either attack or ignore the mollies.
Reading up on puffers and urchins, opinions appeared to be polar opposite on whether the two are ok together (some say it's their favourite food, others say they will ignore it) so we trailed our puffer (15cm/ 6" - tip of nose to end of tail) with the urchin for a very carefully monitored week. The puffer has ignored the urchin - thankfully! It also ignored the mollies. Our stockist was happy to take either back if it didn't work out.
We intend to purchase a 170G (6' x 2' x 2') tank shortly but want to know if the mollies, 3 eels, urchin and puffer will be ok in this 60G tank until the new one arrives in a couple of months.
<Mmm, possibly... there is likely to be trouble metabolically if you don't pay careful attention to scant and scarce feeding, water quality monitoring period...>
All have settled very well with no squabbles and no missing mollies even after two weeks. Attached are photos of some of the clan - some fish really do have faces only a mother could love!
<Very nice photos>
Appreciate all of your comments.
<Do feed sparingly... have plenty of water on hand for change-out. Bob Fenner>

Red Sea FOWLR livestocking in large system 5/15/10
To whom it may concern,
A big hello and thank you to everyone at wetwebmedia.com!
I have 470 gallon FOWLR aquarium (84x36x36) that has been up and running for about 4 months with 500lbs of live rock. I've only added 21 Chromis viridis and three cleaner shrimp to the aquarium since it cycled.
My dream has always been house an Emperor Angel along with a school Chaetodon Semilarvatus,
<Just two>
a single Zebrasoma Xanthurum and a single Naso Lituratus all hailing from the Red Sea.
<Sounds good!>
Now for my questions.
After reading over the FAQs about systems for Emperor Angels and Naso Tangs I came across, more than once, that an Emperor Angel and a Naso Tang should be housed in an 8ft aquarium (or larger) when adult. My aquarium is 7ft but I was hoping with the added width and height that this tank should give the Emperor Angel and Naso Tang more than enough room to live a full and healthy life in captivity?
<S/b fine here>
The Emperor and the Naso will be added after the six to nine month mark. My system has 4 marine Vortech mp40w ES power heads and an over sized skimmer rated for a 1000 gallons. So I'm doing my best to keep the water parameters up and brisk water movement along with weekly water changes.
Thanks for the service you provide for everyone!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner, out w/ friends at the Interzoo show in Germany, having just come back from diving at the Red Sea ahead of time as usual>

Stocking a 56 gallon 5/5/10
Hello guys and gals,
I am just about to start the set up for my 56 gallon column aquarium. The tank measures 30 x 18 x 24. I need some advice regarding stocking as this aquarium is an awkward shape and 30" does not allow for even many "medium size" fish.
<And there's much more "to this" than size alone>
I have one fish that is a definite, as it has been cast out of my reef tank for eating Xenia and clove polyps, and that is my sharp nose puffer, aka blue spot puffer. He is currently being housed in my quarantine
tank and is fat and happy. Due to this fish being on the "must keep" list with my wife, I am planning on having only mushrooms and maybe some button polyps that will be fragged out of my reef tank.
<Tobies may/do nip/chew these as well at times>
Lighting is a 175 W SE metal halide, which should suffice for these lower light corals.
<Yes, though not really corals>
The other fish I have considered would be: A pair of clowns, either a pair of ocellaris (black as I have standards in the reef) or perhaps a pair of maroons.
<Mmm, not Premnas. See WWM re>
A sand sifting goby, I have a pink/blue spot in the reef and he has so much personality.
<Yes. Neat animals>
I'd like a dwarf angel, possibly a flame or one of the rarer ones like Centropyge nahackyi.
<Mmm, this is really too small a volume for any "full size" species of this genus>
I'd also like to place a single "larger" fish. I would love a Kole tang, but a tang in such a small tank is certainly not the best idea.
Other ideas would be a fox face or a butterfly, I'm open to any suggestions here.
<... really for you to "keep reading", gathering data points... The "journey" is more important than any destination in these affairs>
Lastly, if the bio-load is stable enough to handle it, depending much on feeding of the puffer and his growth rate, I'd like to have a trio of pajama cardinals.
<Mmm, might fight excessively here. Look/select for captively produced stock if you go this route>
Filtration will be mostly with live rock (roughly 80 pounds total to allow for plenty of caves etc), I have a large HOB filter for mechanical and chemical filtration, and will be running a Remora pro skimmer with the
surface skimming box.
One other question, I know with a reef a great deal of flow is required, I'm turning my reef over 58 times per hour, do I need to have a great amount of flow in this "semi-FOWLR"
Thank you folks again for this wonderful service you provide this hobby.
<A pleasure to serve, share. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question, Lg. FOWLR 5/5/10
Greetings Bob and team at WWM!!!
I've been leaning and reading on your website and I really appreciate all the time and effort that is placed into it! I can never go a day without learning something new from you!
<Thus we are driven to continue>
It has been so long as I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for my C. irritans treatment. As you might remember, I was doing quinine sulfate and now with Chloroquine phosphate. I've learned so much over these past 6-7 months! I did not lose a single fish to ich strange to say. I did kill a couple by my own doing - overdosing on quinine once where two fishes jumped out and one's slime coat completely came off and had osmoregulatory issues that I didn't catch fast enough...
My current question is with whom to add next to my tank. It is a 72X24X30 tank with 250lbs + live rock and 300lbs live sand. Well, it is "somewhat" live as I've used the display as my hospital tank. It has a Lifereef skimmer
and refugium which makes all my parameters perfect: 0 nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate. I have all my corals in a 20 gallon tank waiting for the day to return to metal halide land and I've got a 50 gallon quarantine tank ready to go.
Current inhabitants:
Atlantic blue tang 5.5"
Powder blue tang 5"
Kole tang 4"
Pair of False Percula clowns
Two Threadfin Anthias, both females
One cleaner wrasse (I am counting my lucky stars that it's been with me since November and is eating everything it can fit in it's mouth)
I was thinking about:
Three *Pseudanthias ignitus*
One male and two female Christmas wrasses from Hawaii
<Really? Halichoeres ornatissimus? Might I ask how you sex these?>
One orange spotted blenny
Pair of yellow watchman gobies
One *Cirrhilabrus solorensis*
<Mmm, see WWM re the genus... best not kept as singles>
Citron goby and a Rippled Coral goby
One *Siganus magnificus*
One *Xanthichthys auromarginatus (Bluechin) or Melichthys vidua* (Pinktail)
One Emperor or Scribbled Angelfish
<This last, your centerpiece, will eventually (a few years) outgrow this system>
Let me know what you think! I won't add all at once of course!
<Over time... the Angel last>
Believe me, I'll quarantine and treat prior to anyone going in my tank!
Thanks for being there!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking question
Thank you, Bob, for your response!
About the Christmas wrasse... I thought I read somewhere about a spot on the dorsal spine means they are female, but hey, if the Master questions it...no one can.
<I'm not the pope as it were. It's exceedingly rare to see this species (or the other "two" Xmas wrasses) in the wild as anything other than singles... I'd keep just one to a tank>
Plus, as I learn more about them, I realize that they don't ship well, meaning that many will die on their way to me and I really don't want that. I guess that puts things sort of back to where they were. C. solorensis is by far a dear fish and we had success with one before. Now, I know that with this one, you can tell which is male and female as the females are mostly red in color. Maybe I'll plan on a harem of these as they are hardier than the Christmas wrasse. After your comment about the large angel growing too large, I will not be getting one as I know that I want to provide a permanent home for these creature. I was hoping that they will not grow to full size since they are in a confined space - hey, but I should know better as I was the one with an 18 inch Koi in my tank! Finding a pond to put them in was easy compared to finding an ocean or an public aquarium to take ones over grown fish!
Read, learn, plan, and ask questions, its the only way to a successful reef!
Best wishes,
<And fishes! BobF>

choices for marine aquarium---or who won't kill who? FOWLR stkg. 4/25/10
I've written once before about my royal gramma going after my new cleaner shrimp. You were right, all has settled down nicely. I really appreciate your help!
I have a 90g FOWLR, 4 ft. long tank with LS, 30 lbs live rock (so far), sump filter, 2 power heads in tank, protein skimmer; ammonia & nitrites are 0, nitrates are 2.5 or 3, ph is 8.4, sg is 1.023. This set-up is 6 months old. Now for my "frustration" question:
I have read and researched (I love your books, by the way), but can't seem to come to any decision. I have never had anything except fish, and this time I have 10 turbo snails and a skunk cleaner shrimp, with an orange-spot shrimp goby, a raccoon butterfly, and a royal gramma. Every time I decide I want a certain fish, I read an email from one of your readers saying that particular fish is nipping at the shrimp (or killing it) or the snails. I had intended to get a flame angel or a coral beauty, and a yellow tang.
Those were going to be my "big" fish, <fishes> along with the butterfly.
With those I would like a Banggai cardinal and something else small.
That's all (if not already too much). I keep reading about the problems people have with angels and snails, or tangs and shrimp, etc. One reader even said their Banggai ate the cleaner shrimp, which was his same size!
Can you give my any suggestions about the fish I can possibly get?
<The choices you list/mention will all be very likely fine. I give you good odds of all getting along fine>
This (relatively) big tank sitting nearly empty looks sad. How about 5 or so green Chromis?
I know my problem is mixing the inverts with fish, but I really like the shrimp and snails, too. Thanks so much for all your advice.
<Again, I do think this mix will/would get along. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Question 4/13/10
I have a 75 gallon FOWLR tank with a 15 gallon sump. I have about 90 lbs. of live rock. I currently have a Yellow Tang, a pair of clowns, a Hawkfish, and a Tomini Tang. At my LFS they have a Flame Angel & a Powder Blue that I would like to buy & add together next.. Then I would be finished with what I want to stock. Do you see a problem with this as long as I QT the powder blue well before introducing. I am also going to be upgrading to at least a 125....possibly a 180 that I have my eye on within the next year to give the tangs more swimming room. How does this sound to you?
<Not good at all. The Powder Blue Tang, once and if acclimated, will create havoc with the Yellow Tang and likely any other algae grazing fish.
Your 75 will also be overstocked adding these fish and is too small for a Powder Blue Tang to begin with. You may want to read this excellent article by Mr. Fenner on the Powder Blue Tang, you may change your mind.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re FOWLR Stocking Question 4/14/10
Thank you for your prompt response to my stocking question.
<You're welcome.>
I did read the article you provided about the Powder Blue Tang. I can see the problems & will take your advice & let go of the idea of a Powder Blue.
We love the Tangs because they are such open water swimmers & fun to watch.
<Yes, and being so, require plenty of swimming room.>
Is there another fish you would recommend to add with the Flame Angel to finish my stocking and replace the Powder Blue that I wanted?
Or are you saying I am at my limit with just adding the Flame Angel?
<I would not add any more fish after the flame. If you're not already, I would highly recommend getting a protein skimmer before adding another fish.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Several Questions for Planned Saltwater System: Marine Aquarium Setup\Stocking, Lg. FOWLR 3/29/2010
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hi Andy.>
First let me begin by praising your site and all your collective efforts!
I have spent much time looking things over, and feel that I have gained a wealth of knowledge already.
Now, on to the areas where I still have questions and can't seem to find definitive answers.
<Fire away.>
I have kept several freshwater systems in the past, and things have gone relatively well for me. I have always wanted to "make the move" over to saltwater at some point though, and the moment may finally be approaching.
<Congratulations. I'm sure you will find it rewarding (and at times frustrating.) >
I will probably not be able to proceed for several months if not even a year, as what I hope to do will be part of a planned basement renovation.
<Let me caution you there - A basement setup is fine, but do realize that a marine tank can evaporate a few gallons of water per day, so do plan for adequate ventilation to prevent excessive moisture buildup>
I am just hoping that spending as much time as I can researching ahead of time will lead to better success down the road.
<I can assure you it will.>
First, I hope to do a FOWLR system, and am hopeful I can do one that is relatively large (I am thinking perhaps around 300 gallons or so).
<In my experience, if you have the means to do so, the larger the better.>
I have spent much time falling in love with and then talking myself out of many species in terms of stocking (due to size, temperament, ease of care, etc.), as I'm sure many others have.
<Your stocking plan will probably change from what you propose now as well...:) >
What I am now really hoping to do is have a
Queen Angel (Holacanthus ciliaris), <As long as your 300 gallon is long, this shouldn't be a problem.>
a Picasso Trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus), <See below>
a Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus),
either a Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) or Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), <I'm a fan of the purple myself.>
and a Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula).
I would be potentially interested in something like a Flame Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani) as well,
but think its relatively small size may cause a problem.
Which leads me to my first actual set of questions. Would a 300 gallon system be large enough for the particular fish I have mentioned here, and would it be a serious gamble to try these species together?
<In a word, yes. That said, I'm always leery of triggers Some remain peaceful, others become incredible bullies.>
I have come across numerous sites (here, as well as elsewhere) that list general "minimum tank sizes" for a larger fish like the Queen Angel for example, but what I can't seem to find specifically is how much bigger it needs to be
if more than just the one fish are housed together?
<There are several variables. Maximum size of the fish, typical personality, etc. As a general rule you would want a tank that is 2 or 3 times longer than the fish, and wider than the fish's maximum length>
I feel like from what I have researched that a 300 gallon should suffice, but it is hard to say for sure.
<A 300 gallon 8' long, 2' wide, and 30 " deep will be adequate.>
My hope is to have a system that the fish can all start small in and grow comfortably without needing to leave years later due to overcrowding.
<A sound plan, and it is rewarding to watch them 'grow up'>
In terms of the compatibility question, I feel fairly confident that these choices would probably be ok together at least initially, but do wonder a bit if it would become a problem later as the Queen Angel and Picasso Trigger got larger than the Flame Angel, for example.
<I'm more concerned about the trigger. My personal preference, but I feel they do best in a species setup.>
My other main inquiry stems from something I have unfortunately been unable to find much information on at all. I mentioned earlier that this will be my first saltwater system, and am very interested in possibly acquiring professional assistance in terms of at least the initial set-up, and possibly even some maintenance as well. Ideally, I'd like to find a service that allows me to gain experience by observing and learning from them to allow myself to achieve a point where I feel confident enough to do it all on my own. I have been to all of the local fish shops in my area that I
am aware of, and while one or two have mentioned that this may be something they could assist with, I have nothing whatsoever to go on in terms of how reliable they might be. Obviously some offices and other places that have large aquariums must have some type of professional service assisting them with their display tanks, and I live in a relatively large metropolitan area (just outside Washington, DC), so I would like to think that there should
be something like this somewhere nearby. Is there any type of resource you are aware of that may be helpful to me in terms of finding well-reputed places that offer this service?
<Beyond personal recommendations, unfortunately, I can't>
Thanks so much for your help, and for all your efforts with the site. It truly is a great one!
<Thank you for the kind words. You are on the right track.>

Stocking In A 210 Gallon FOWLR/Tang Compatibility 3/15/10
Hello Crew,
<Hi Danny>
got a quick question for you guys. I currently have a 55g FOWLR with about 60lbs of liverock in it and I will be upgrading very soon (most likely early this summer) to a 210g (72Lx24Wx29H) and I must say I am ridiculously
Currently, I have a 4 inch Vlamingi Tang,
<You are aware this tang can exceed 20" in length when mature.>
a 2 inch Purple Tang, and a pair of Black Ocellaris clowns both no bigger than 2 inches. My question is, when I upgrade to my 210 with those dimensions, what would be a good stocking number? I read Bob's "Stocking Marine Systems" article and while I'm sure 5g to 1 cubic inch of livestock is a good number to go by, I have no idea how to measure the cubic inches of my fish.
<Mr. Fenner did not intend for the reader to actually measure and calculate the cubic inch of a fish, was merely a visual guideline. Visualize a one inch cube filled with meat, guesstimate how many one inch cubes it would take to put your two clownfish in, and you do have to factor in adult sizes.>
In addition to what I already have, I would like to add a Yellow Tang, Powder Blue Tang, Sailfin Tang (I'm kind of a tang fanatic), Flame and/or Lemonpeel Angel, and a Two-spot goby at least. I do realize that the purple, yellow, and Sailfin tang are all from the genus Zebrasoma and that could be a problem but, given the size of the tank I think they would do fine (I've seen much smaller tanks house 2 or more Zebrasoma's in it and they never have a problem).
<As a rule, they do not get along well, and I would not recommend.
Generally the Blue Tangs get along with Zebrasoma species in larger systems.>
That said, how many fish would be a good stopping point?
<That's impossible to answer, will depend on adult size, the fishes girth, etc.>
I've been in this hobby for several years now and have had my fair share of stupid mistakes when it comes to stocking and if there is one thing I've learned is that it's expensive to be impatient/uninformed with this hobby.
I've never worked with a tank of this size before so I figured I'd ask the experts.
<Your tank isn't as large as you think it is. These tangs you contemplate on getting would never get along on the reef if placed in an area the size of your tank. In a small closed system, they have no other option but to defend the small area they have. Some fish are more peaceful in this setting than others and that is where the compatibility factor comes into play and you need to ensure that the fish you select will be compatible with each other.>
Thanks for your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
- Danny

A few clarifications, CP use, much more re FIOWLR set up, op. 3/13/10
Hi Bob and Crew and to whomever replying to this mail.
<Hi Blesson, howsit?>
Thanks to Bob's precious advice I am able to successfully keep Cleaner shrimp in my tank. But instead of adjusting ph using vinegar or a weak acid to drip acclimate the specimens and then to acclimate them to the tank; I used a product called Ammo lock to detoxify the accumulated metabolic waste products. Worked out great and thanks a ton Bob.
Well I also found the Yellow Tang a bigger good home and he looks really happy. And your treatment protocol for the Crypt and Amyloodinium using CP worked wonders !
<Ah, good. I will accrue your comments here in that FAQ f'>
The survivors being the Tang, a Bicolour Blenny, Chromis and a Goby would thank you if they could. Well I had to shift my dorm and hence did an overhaul of the tank. Removed the coarse crushed coral gravel and added a bed of LS about one to two inches. New occupants include 2 True Perculas, 1 Red Fire Goby, 1 Electric Blue Hermit,1 cleaner shrimp and 2 unidentified snails which you will have to help me ID later when I can get hold of a decent snap, along with the old Blenny, Chromis and the Goby. Tank has been up and running for over two months now. I couldn't QT the new guys on arrival as my QT tank broke in a freak accident ! I really couldn't help it :( Anyways the clowns were tank raised and look very healthy and have already noticed a slight growth spurt in one. They 're about an inch and a half in length. My first question is ... Can an infection appear after two months of no symptoms ?
I have plans for a lot of corals. Is my tank too crowded ?
<What is the volume, shape?>
My Alk is 7dkh. Is tat alright cos the test kit manual says 8-12dkh is the normal level.
<Is likely fine; a bit low... but unless you have more sensitive biomineralising life, no worries>
According to my judgment of colour from the reagent test kit from API Phosphates are around 0.5. Is that a bit too high ?
How do I get it to zero other than water changes and feeding less ?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/phosphatemar.htm
and the linked files above>
Nitrates are around 5-10. I run a decently working Skimmer. I am using Poly Filter and Carbon, also Denitrator chips or granules from SeaChem in my Canister filter, the bottom trays of the canister hold Ceramic rings and Bio-media for Bacterial colonisation. No measurable Ammonia or Nitrites.
Calcium is at 440 ppm. I dont test for Magnesium but do dose it in small quantities.
<My usual urging/admonition here to not "use" anything w/o testing for it... You MUST test for [Mg] if you're adjusting it>
Got a slight Diatom problem.
Should I remove the filter floss from the canister ?
<Maybe. I/'d use summat like Eheim's "Flocken" (one time purchase, polyethylene product) myself>
My thoughts were this would trap detritus and cause problems with the nitrate.
<Evidently not too much eh?>
Making plans for a DIY Sump and an overflow system to be added soon. Your advice is highly appreciated !
<And is posted>
Have been reading the daily FAQs for the past two months and frankly I am kind of hooked on to it and the site ! Thanks you so much ! :)
Blesson from Bangalore, India.
p.s. Bob might remember me as the medical student with fish problems ...
<Ah yes. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: A few clarifications, more re FIOWLR set up, op. & stkg. -- 3/14/10
Bob and crew,
Everything's just dandy thanks for asking :)
Well the display is essentially the same old one, 30 gal long.
<Oh! Then this IS way overcrowded... behaviorally and physiologically>
And re: the latent infection, after how long can I be sure that the fish are safe ?
<Perhaps never in the current crowded condition>
Should I just quarantine them now or leave them be and take care of things as they progress ?
<Up to you... both approaches might prove efficacious. However, to be clear(er), you need to remove the Tang, perhaps more here>
Tank bio load re: fish sums up to around 12 inches of fish.
<Only now... will be much more if they continue to live, grow>
I completely concur with your admonishing to never dose something that you are not able to test. Well when I was picking up supplies for the tank Mg test kit included, the LFS owner laughed saying I didn't really need it.
Plus dosed only once so will stop it at that until I get the test kit.
Been having problems getting the coralline algae to grow. And is it true that Poly filters can be kinda recharged so to speak by soaking in freshwater for marine use ?
<Have never seen where this was done successfully>
One last thing ... after reading the daily FAQs for the last couple of months, I really pity the people who send u hate mails after misunderstanding the advice or due to their ego problems !
<Happens... best not to take "this world too personally"... What we offer is done in a human, though professional manner... Some folks do take offense... But of the 30-40k people who use the site/resource daily, they are in/of the vast minority>
Want you to know that this is just a minority compared to the vast numbers of people who feel immensely thankful (myself included) to this service you provide for us hobbyists worldwide ! Just a word of encouragement to you
and the crew :)
<Ah yes>
Thanks and take care,
<And you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: A few clarifications, stkg. FIOWLR 3/14/10
Hi Bob and crew,
Sorry think I ended up confusing you, the Yellow Tang has been bundled off to a friend's 110 gal. My 30 gal currently houses the two one and a half inch true Perculas, a Bicolour Blenny, a Randall's Goby, single Chromis
Viridis, single Cleaner Shrimp and single Calcinus elegans. I'm assuming you'll say no to the Chromis as it being a social species will need more room. If not for that is the tank still overcrowded ? And the tank is technically not a FOWLR cos of the button polyps :)
thanks happy diving n beer slugging ;)
cheers Blesson
<Thank you for clearing this up Blesson. Yes to the Chromis, and do keep an eye on the Ecsenius... can be/come aggressive, and problematical in small volumes. Cheers, B>

Tank too diverse? Sm. FIOWLR, mis-stkg issues 3/7/10
Hello Wet Web Media!
My girlfriend currently has a 30 gallon saltwater tank with quite a bit of liverock (not sure of the lb but it cost a hell of a lot of money and was the correct ratio of lb/gal that our local fish man suggested. We feed a combo of frozen brine cubes, saltwater fish flakes, and occasionally bloodworm. She's been running it for 2 years and she currently, against my advice went out and made some new purchases. I thought we had the tank at an ideal level of inhabitants but she disagreed.
We currently have
(1) pencil urchin (who seems to be losing legs as of late, although still eating, moving and travelling, albeit slowly.)
<Bad signs... see WWM re care, health of Echinoids>
(1) black, yellow tailed damsel, who's been with us since the inception, grown to be quite a bull!
(1) bandit shrimp, seems to be doing great since we bought him about a year ago
(1) large hermit crab, who has the run of the tank
(3) sluggish like, one feeler, burrowing snails with spiraled creamy color shells, was told by the local fish man that they would do some cleaning up under the sand's surface. Have had two for about a year, one recently introduced
(1) skittish, crimson colored crab with net like apparatuses with which he seems to gather food all day. has always done well since his introduction about 6 months ago.
(2/3) black, yellow striped small snails that flock to anything that has died in the tank (i.e. bigger snails) before.
and most recently, she introduced
(4) medium hermit crabs
(4) tiny! hermit crabs
(1) decorator crab
<Likely the resident large hermit will eat most of these new crustaceans>
(1) scooter blenny
(2) emerald crabs
my worry is that before she introduced all these new creatures, the pencil urchin was already suffering, seemingly... losing spines not getting around as much as he used to.
Should I attempt to get any of these animals into another tank or back to the aquarium, if they will accept them, or just let nature do its thing?
<Up to you>
At what point should a pencil urchin be euthanized? It's lost about 10 of its 45 spines or so, but still seems to move about wildly at feeding time.
<I'd read, try to figure out why this animal is faring so poorly and attempt to fix its world>
Will all my liverock be eaten up by the inhabitants of my tank?
<Some life will go>
Are there any supplemental foods you suggest to help cover the potential lack of food within the tank caused by it being overcrowded (if it is, of course, overcrowded)?
<Spectrum pellets... see WWM re>
HELP WWM, crisis over, here, I swear I will change my GF's evil ways!
thank you.
- Nico
<Perhaps you should get/have your own system. Bob Fenner>

Stocking A 240g Aggressive Reef Tank 2/16/10
Hey guys, <and gals.
Hello Joe>
I've recently decided to take the next steps from FOWLR and try my hand at keeping an aggressive reef tank. I've started converting my existing 240g FOWLR to a 240g Reef tank. I've upgraded my lights from 8x65w PC's to 16x54w Ice Cap 6600 VHO T5's. My tank is 96x24x24 and is turning the water over about 10-11 times per hour and I also have Qty 2 - Koralia 7's and Qty 2 - Koralia 3's powerheads on it. I am also running a Aqua C EV-240 skimmer driven by a Mag 18.
Planned Corals:
I thought I'd start with some of the easier soft corals (Green Star Polyps, Kenya, Colt, Mushrooms, Zoos, Hammer, Toadstool, Frogspawn, etc). I would love to eventually add a few Montipora Capricornis up top, but I'll take my time at that.
Planned Livestock:
I will be moving my 30" Japanese Dragon Moray and his 15 various Damsels into this tank from their current 75g. He doesn't seem to be able to catch any and gives up pretty quickly.
I plan to add 1-2 Doz Atlantic Blue Reef Chromis, and 1-2 Doz Indo Pacific Blue Green Chromis and 1 main fish (I'm leaning towards a Clown Tang). I know the Blue Reef Chromis & Clown Tang are sensitive to water quality as are the corals. I will be using my existing 75g as a QT tank as I add fish until the 240g is stocked.
<You are not planning adding all these fish on top of the 15 damsels, are you?
The Clown Tang is very difficult fish to keep and I would suggest removing from your list.>
So my question is this:
At what point will the livestock start to degrade the water Quality for corals and sensitive fish? Do you have any advice stocking #'s or recommendations?
<Is not so much the number of fish, but the body size of the fish which is relative to the amount of waste they can produce. Adding all the fish you list above would only give each fish about 5 gallons of water to pollute, and obviously the eel and a tang are going to require more volume than this to keep water quality in check.>
Would 5-6 doz small fish, 1 clown Tang, and the Moray make keeping even the hardier soft corals unmanageable?
<Very likely. Most corals require pristine water quality that includes very low nitrate levels which will be difficult to control with 60+ fish and a 30" eel.>
Need guidance before I start stocking, because once a Damsel/Chromis is in an 8' long tank they will be very hard to get out.
<Oh I know that road. I also would suggest not adding a moray eel to a reef system, because of their size, they are capable of toppling over corals during their nightly patrols which can/will cause damage to the corals. The other downside is that no shrimp or crabs can be employed for clean up as they will be quickly eaten by the eel.>
Thanks for the advanced advise as always. I find it better to plan ahead than regret stupid mistakes when it comes to SW tanks.
<Keep reading/planning Joe. James (Salty Dog)>

120 and 90 gallon questions, FOWLR set up, stkg. 2/2/2010
Hello all,
<Hello, Josh here.>
I have a 120 gallon that I am now converting over to saltwater from a previous freshwater African cichlid tank. I would like to make it a FOWLR tank, due to the fact that I have already started a 90g mixed reef and don't want to upgrade my lights at this time (I currently have a triple-tube t8 fixture on the 120 = total 120 watts).
<Fine for a fish only.>
I am currently running a Fluval fx5 canister filter (no chemical media) and am considering buying a HOB octopus skimmer. The tank is not drilled and I do not plan on having a sump. Since this tank sits in my living room, I really do NOT want a skimmer of any kind, but I have read that I should have a skimmer even on a fowlr tank? I will buy it if I can't do without it, but I would rather not have a skimmer.
<A skimmer would be preferable, but good husbandry practices and frequent water changes can certainly be an alternative option.>
Off topic, but is it recommended to run chemical media in a canister filter on saltwater? I'm pretty new at this.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm >
The tank is not cycled yet and I am planning on adding some more live rock to it (have about 100lbs so far, thinking about adding another 70lbs?). I am not going to add any fish any time soon! But I like to plan ahead and research stuff before I add anything so I am already brainstorming ideas.
<Excellent.>I really like tangs, and I think they are probably my favorite type of fish -- specifically, I would like to add a yellow tang and either a blue hippo OR powder blue.
<I am assuming that your 120Gallon tank is a 4ft long tank. If so I am afraid I would not recommend either the powder blue or the blue hippo due to their size.>
My next love is clowns. I haven't decided which species, which I think may depend on my next additions... I was thinking about a black back butterfly and I was also considering a niger trigger. Now here is my conflict --- I
love inverts as well (a purple lobster, a couple of emerald crabs, a strawberry crab, maybe some other reef-cautious or non-reef-safe inverts, and 2 cleaner shrimp and couple of peppermint shrimp) and I know that I cannot have those with a trigger. If I eliminated the trigger, could I have inverts with the butterfly? I have read mixed
information on butterflies as a family and was curious if anybody had any experience here?
<Frankly the butterflies are iffy, they can go either way. I would suggest sticking with the butterfly and Trigger and skipping the inverts, or going for the inverts and neither of these fish.>
And, would 2 tangs, a butterfly, trigger, and 2 clowns (maroon in the presence of the trigger, probably ocellaris
otherwise) overload this aquarium?
<The Trigger is a large fish, but I don't imagine a tang, a trigger, a butterfly and two clowns will overload this tank... but with no protein skimmer some aggressive water changes would likely be necessary.>
And lastly, would a skimmer be required with this bioload or would my canister filter + water changes be sufficient?
I have another question completely off topic. I have started a 90g mixed reef, which currently has some polyps and a Duncan coral, and 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 peppermint shrimp, and blue leg hermits and snails. I have no other livestock in this aquarium. I am also thinking about a potential stocking list for this tank and was wondering if I
could safely have a marine Betta with the inverts?
<The marine Betta will be iffy with the shrimp, I would avoid the Betta if you would like to continue with these delicate inverts. However I might suggest moving the marine Betta to the 120, and keeping the inverts you wanted for your 120 in the 90.
I was also wanting to add a royal gramma and a sand-sifting goby (eventually, definitely not all of these at once). Could I add any other smaller reef-safe fish?
<Those sound like fine additions.>
I want a very peaceful tank, and would like to stay away from wrasses and damsels. The tank has been up for a little over 2 months, and I added the clowns about 3 weeks ago (and they seem to be doing well).
Thank you so much for your help!
<You're welcome, and good luck.
Josh Solomon>

Stocking 1/31/2010
<Hello Sheena>
Thank you for a very helpful website. I would appreciate it if you could take a look over my revised proposed stocking list for a 240 gallon FOWLR setup. The fish will consist of, in order of addition,
2 Amphiprion Ocellaris
2 Ecsenius Stigmatura
Zebrasoma Veliferum
A. Japonicus
Paracanthurus Hepatus
<Mmmm, the blennies do need a peaceful setting and three tangs might not provide this>
Do you think this would work well with the three tangs? The Sailfin would be added separately, and then the White Cheek and the Palette tang would be added after the Sailfin at the same time.
<I would add the Clowns, Blennies and the Paracanthurus first here, the other two later on>
Would it work mentally between the three?
<Could, yes, but beware the Sailfin they get to about the size of a dinner plate, and some get nasty with age. Were it me, I would not add this fish here, or to anything other than 'humongous' systems>.
Thank you very much,

Stocking recommendation, FOWLR, 150 gal. -- 1/27/10
Hello crew and thanks for all of the great information. I wanted to get some recommendations on adding 1 more fish to my tank. I have a 150g RR FOWLR (72x18x27) with about 110 lbs live rock and a 50g sump. I have an
Assasi Trigger (5") and a Harlequin Tuskfish (7"). With these aggressive fish I wanted to get a recommendation from the crew on a few options that could potentially handle these tank-mates.
<Bunches of choices!>
I was leaning towards a large
flame angel, but wanted to get a few other recommendations as my order of addition is not optimal. Thanks again.
<Definitely one of the Surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae) or Rabbitfishes (Siganidae) would go here. Please peruse the family coverage on WWM:
As would many dozens of readily available Bass/Serranid species... Ummm, on WWM under the family name... or you could peruse what others have asked and been responded to per your type and size system:
Scroll down...
Best for you to go back where you found how to write us and learn to/use the search tool and indices really. Bob Fenner>

I have a question on stocking a 240 gallon marine setup 1/25/2009
Hello. Thank you for an extremely informative web site. Very helpful.
I have a question on stocking a 240 gallon marine setup. 55 gallon sump with a few skimmers one injected with ozone. 55 gallon refugium. Currently the tank is being cycled. In order of addition--
~2 clownfish- A. Ocellaris
~Zebra Moray-G. Zebra
~Tail spot Blenny-E. Stigmatura
~Horned Blenny-Parablennius sp.
~Sailfin Tang-Z. Veliferum
~White cheek Tang-A. Nigricans
<This last is very prone to parasitic disease>
Clean up crew consisting of Various Snails, 2 Fromia species Stars, and a Lysmata amboinensis.
The Sailfin Tang I already have, am upgrading. the only possible problem I see is the cleaner shrimp and zebra moray.
<The shrimp will likely be consumed>
Also do you think it could be possible to add a dwarf angel?
thank you very much
Troy S.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stocking list, FOWLR 1/24/10
Hi crew
I have a 150 gallon aquarium that is done cycling(only took four days because I already had cured live rock in).I need some advice on my stocking list please(add them in this order?):
x1 harlequin Tuskfish(Choerodon fasciatus)
x1 snowflake eel
x1 yellow tang
x1 blackspotted puffer(Arothron nigropunctatus)
x1 Picasso triggerfish(Rhinecanthus aculeatus)
<Mmm... I'd wait another week or more before adding life here period... The tank needs a bit more "cycling time" to be stable. This mix of species might go here w/ the possibility of trouble with the Echidna/Eel... the trigger, puffer might work it woe, and all but the Zebrasoma make it hard to get food to. Best to place in the order presented. Bob Fenner>

Re: stocking list, reefs 1/25/2009
thanks Bob
Just out of curiosity, why would the eel cause problems? You said that "all but the Zebrasoma make it hard to get food" I read that I should feed the eel with tongs while the other fish are eating.
<We'll see here>
Also I would distract the puffer and trigger and let the tang feed.
<Good plan>
For the tang I would take sushi seaweed and attach it to a rock and place it at the bottom. any thoughts about that?
<I'd place it near the top... with an attached, but floating clip. B>

Upgrading system... Stocking mostly, no reading 1/21/10
presently in a 260l FOWLR system I have a 15" snowflake eel,3"maroon clown,3"picasso trigger,2"male blue devil, and a 6"map puffer(was 2" 4 months ago).
<... these fishes need more room than this>
hopefully in 3 weeks will have a 920l tank
with sump up and running.i would like to add a Cuban hogfish, bird wrasse,hawaiian tuskfish,majestic angel, lawnmower blenny, and a yellow tang or(and preferably) a Lemonpeel angel.
<... Paul, where's your grammar? Groan...>
in your opinion do you think the damsel would be "street wise" enough to live in "the land of the giants", if so I will add 4 or 5 females,
if not I will rehouse him. with the present and future occupants, in what order, and what time scale would you advise introduction to the larger tank ,bearing in mind I will hopefully be able to buy new stock at 3" to 4",and also have a 90l Q.T. to play with. thanks a lot,paul tinkler
<Please do the diligence of reading re the species you have and those you list that you seek... On WWM. Their requirements and temperaments are all listed/archived there. Bob Fenner>

Fowlr 80 gallon... Mis- and over-stocked 12/31/09
I have an 80 gallon tank. It is about 6 months old and doing pretty good.
I have a red sea protein skimmer, a Rena xp3, a small in tank filter (mainly for water flow and cleaning a corner of tank) and a power head. My fish are a small bamboo shark (just under 1.5 ft),
<Misplaced here. This system is too small... and under-filtered for this animal. Needs to be moved, now>
a lionfish (6-7 in), a new lunar wrasse (12 in), and a small snowflake eel (just big enough to hold his own with the shark).
<And overstocked>
Then cleaning crew: snails, hermit, and some starfish. My question is I want to add another fish,
<Not advised>
with color and one that will move around. My lunar wrasse killed a yellow tang, so I also want something that will be able to get along in the tank. What do you suggest?
<A larger system, by far. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fowlr 80 gallon, stkg. -- 01/30/10
Thanks for the advise. I reluctantly took the shark back to my local fish store.
I also improved my filtration in the tank by adding an Aqua Clear 110 hob.
I noticed a good difference quickly, thx. Would u suggest any other fish to go in? If so again looking to add color and movement, but not small enough to get eaten and be able to hold own with lunar wrasse. Thanks
<I suggest you set aside some time to peruse WWM itself re this issue/possibility. There are MANY FAQs files and articles on stocking, Thalassoma... that will be of use to you. Perhaps you should start here:
and the linked files above in the series. BobF>

How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking 12/28/09
Hey Wet Web Media,
I currently have a 75 gallon tank with two false percula clownfish, a rose sea urchin, numerous snails, and a flame angel. 90 pounds of LR are also in there. My next fish might be a yellow tang, but, recently the flame had to be in a QT for Popeye and a white film around its mouth. To further avoid this problem by getting another "ich magnet" fish, I was wondering if I could get more clowns.
<This tank is too small for multiple pairs of clowns.>
They are so cute and lively, and they really look good in the tank. I love the tang, but believe another clown or two would suffice.
<1 pair only.>
So, how many, or any, more clowns can I put in where they all get along? I know a maroon would definitely not work, but maybe a couple more false Percs or ocellaris?
<You will still have only 1 pair regardless of how many more clowns you add, the existing pair will most likely make sure of this.>
Thanks, Nick

Re: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking 12/28/09
Okay. well do recommend a yellow tang? I am a beginner, so I don't want to take on too much.
<I would probably skip this fish were it my tank, it is borderline big enough to house this fish long term.>
But what other fish are attractive looking and fun to watch that are easy to take care of and don't get sick easily?
<So many choices here, grammas, cardinals, some small wrasses, and many more. I would try picking up Scott Michael's "A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Fishes: 500+ Essential-To-Know Aquarium Species" for more ideas..>
Thanks, Nick
RE: How many fish can you put in a 75 gallon tank?, SW Stocking 12/29/09
What do you know about a raccoon butterfly?
I researched butterflies and this one seemed to be easier than others.
<Can be.>
I also saw they eat Aiptasia! Boy, it would have a ball in my tank!
<May also sample any corals you have.>

Stocking Plan 12/7/09
Happy Holidays Crew,
<And to you, Ryan>
I just finished reading the Flame Angel forum as I am planning on making one my last addition to my 55g FOWLR. After my research I am starting to have mixed feelings about placing one in the environment I can currently provide. I understand that in my aquarium I can only house one dwarf angel and it should be the last addition. So far so good. My current tank stock is: 1 Brown Scopas Tang (reef boss), a mated pair of Fire Dart Fish, 1 T.P. Clown, and 1 Yellow Watchman Goby. I have been using the "inches of fish per surface area of water" to calculate total fish volume.
<This isn't necessarily gospel, the girth, eating habits, adult size, etc. of the fish has to be considered also.>
So far I am at about nine total inches of fish with about thirteen to work with. My invert package is 2 cleaner shrimp, 4 turbo snails, 8 or so blue leg hermits and a sand sifting star. In regards to the star I know ideally he should have more room but I promise you he is happy as can be. He receives his fair share of supplemental feedings and is well cared for. Water is as follows:
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Phosphate all 0 mg/L. Temp 80.0-80.5 F.
S.G. 1.022. Calcium 420 ppm. pH of 8.1 and alkalinity 9 dKH. Tank has been established for 3 years but was empty for about 6 months due to a crypto outbreak a little over a year ago. Since taking the advice of a LFS
that wants nothing more than a sale is as risky as navigating the Amazon River in a chicken wire canoe, do you feel as though the environment would support a Flame Angel.
<With your present fish load I would not do this. Depending on the present size of the Scopas Tang, and
realizing future growth, it will require more room than what you now have.>
I understand that there is always a risk with any fish not doing well. However if my chances of a successful introduction are not high I will postpone the purchase of this specimen until I convince my other half that a 120g would look great where the old couch is now.
<I would be finding a home for the "old couch".>
I have a 15g QT set up already that I have used for my other fish. It is bare bottom but I have put a piece of LR from my display tank in it as preparation for the Flame Angel. If a Flame Angel is worth a shot, what foods, besides the standard array of food I already feed, should I offer?
I plan to get Angel Formula, Formula II, and since reading your forum, some Life Spectrum Pellets that Bob had recommended to another poster. In your opinion does anything jump out at you as a definite deal breaker for the
introduction of this fish?
<Yes, the size of your present tank. That 120 is going to look much better in your home than an old couch. Has anyone every commented on how nice the couch looks?>
Thanks for all of your efforts!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking Plan, 210 FOWLR 12/1/09
<Hello Gary, geez, a Hooter's employee. I love their Philly Steak Sandwiches, but whenever I eat at Hooters I'm always biting my fingers, need to pay more attention to eating.>
I am grateful to have your site - I have been spending several hours each day reading all the different FAQ's avail. It's hard to stay on task with so much valuable info...I get ADD on the site frequently.
<Great, reading is one of your best tools.>
My question today is about a solid stocking plan and setting a limit on what I can have. I just lost 2 fish over the last 2 weeks, first was a Moorish Idol...I know, I know...I should have never had it in the first place and should have not been sold it either. I am not a novice to the basics of marine aquatics but have dedicated myself to education and know more than I did a month ago and will continue to fully research every aspect of my tank before making any decisions. My second loss was a Porcupine Puffer who died 3 days ago from complications from a prolapsed
colon/constipation (Bob helped me through but not much could be done).
That leaves me (forgive my lack of true species name):
<Not a problem, I actually prefer common names.>
Huma Trigger (5")
Foxface Rabbit (5")
Regal Tang (6")
And a 4 stripe damsel (2") he found a good hiding spot and is holding his own
<Mmmm, like all damselfish, they can be territorial and aggressive, especially as they get older. They can be kept with other larger fish but watch them closely to be sure their aggression doesn't become destructive.>
I have an Oceanic 210 gallon FOWLR tank with 2 overflows, sump, skimmer, and 18W UV sterilizer (with stand and glass tops plus lighting - all for $900 on Craigslist!!).
<A very good buy indeed.>
I have about 50 lb live rock (still saving, still acquiring) and about 100 lb of sand and a power head running in the tank (need at least one more).
It has been up and running for several months now and everything is good (need to get a better configuration set up underneath but that's a different email). I am looking at adding some stock down the line and need a little input. Obviously with the puffer now gone (R.I.P. Gizmo!) it may open me up a little on options, but the Trigger takes me right back where I started...I think. Knowing all 3 fish I have do not really get along with their own kind doubling up isn't an option, or at least it's too late.
<Not in every case. In a tank your size, a Yellow, Sailfin, or a Purple Tang generally get along quite well with the Regal Tang, is a different family of tangs.>
Everyone gets along fine but it's definitely the Triggers tank, he barely lets me in without a love bite or two when I am not looking but I don't mind....for now, he does not hassle anyone else.
I have done a lot of research on compatibility but really want others input - What are some good options for me that will live in this tank? Other than a puffer - my heart still hurts and not sure I am ready to go back down that road just yet.
<Personally, I wouldn't keep a puffer with triggerfish as they generally share the same diet, and the problem lies with the slower moving puffer competing for food with the much faster moving triggerfish. I for one would not try to fend off a trigger with one hand while trying to feed a puffer with the other.>
Any help would be appreciated....as far as the tank schematic and underneath planning, I will draw up my configuration and what I think would work best and send over for approval, input...thank you for your time.
<Gary, it appears you are solely using live rock for denitrification, which is just fine, but with your present fish load, and 50 pounds of live rock, which isn't much in a 210 gallon tank, I would focus on adding more live rock before adding any more stock. This will enhance your denitrification process along with creating more caves/crevices which will give your fish a higher sense of security/safety. Patience will pay off here, trust me.
James (Salty Dog)>
Gary Nash

Re Stocking Plan, 210 gal. FOWLR 12/3/09
Excellent, thank you again.
<You're welcome.>
One quick question (again I know - last one I swear). I read somewhere that using live rock for denitrification and also using a trickle filter (which I assume is a sump set up with bio balls which is what I have) is not recommended and will cause higher nitrate levels - any truth to this?
<The main drawback in trickle filters is their incredible ability to nitrify many dissolved organics and turn them into nitrate. I would much rather use a protein skimmer to export these compounds from the system. To convert to sump only, remove a small portion of the bio balls on a weekly basis until gone.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Gary Nash

Re Stocking Plan, FOWLR 12/4/09
I will start doing that tonight; do I also remove the filter pad? My water currently runs thru a filter pad, trickles down thru the bio balls then overflows into the sump area and hits the skimmer, UV, then returns to the tank.
<The filter pad is OK as long as it is cleaned or replaced at least weekly, otherwise it can be another source of nitrates.
I will provide you with a link to our marine index. Here you will find answers and help to most anything
related to marine aquarium keeping.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm. Do search/read here before writing.>
Thanks a million
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Gary Nash

Re Stocking Plan, FOWLR, and pennies for your livestock... a poor exchange 12/2/09
Ahh thanks for the reply!!
<You're welcome.>
If you tell me where your based I can send you a calendar and gift card. I like to take care of those that help me.
<Gee, thanks for your generous offer.>
Other tangs, cool - I really want a powder blue or a blonde - they are super expensive here in GA though.
<Expensive everywhere and I would get your experience level up before tackling one of these fish. Might want to read here.
I will heed your advice and get more rock before adding stock- I planned on getting at least another 50 lb before the new year.
One quick question off topic. When I got this tank it came with the sand.
Over several water changes and cleaning, I have noticed pennies in my sand, not sure why but at least 10 so far - is this a problem??
<Can be, salt water will cause the penny to corrode because the salt is acting as a catalyst and can cause copper to be released into the system which is not good.
Copper is lethal to invertebrates, and at elevated levels, to fish. It will also have a detrimental effect on denitrification. I would definitely remove the pennies pronto. James (Salty Dog)>
Gary Nash

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