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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine System Livestocking 7

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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

Re-stocking after fish death     3/8/17
Hi there.
<Hey Les>
I hope all is well with all the crew.
<Thank you; yes>
I have had my 350 litre FOW(some)LR for over 10 years now. It's a "planted" tank with several species of macro algae. I had six lovely fish in there (clown, yellow tang, flame angel, royal gramma, diamond goby and a blue Chromis). About four or five weeks ago I added another macro algae which came with a mushroom!
I haven't kept corals of any sort as my nitrates are always a bit too high for them, however, as this little chap had made his way in, I wanted to do my best for him and came across Red Sea's No3 PO4
<Mmm; how high was NO3? I would NOT use this product>

in my local LFS, which claims to lower nitrates and keep corals looking at their best. The LFS said it was a good product so I bought it and I added a lower dose than the recommended one for my tank size - that evening. The
next morning all of the fish were dead :(
I was, and still am, completely devastated. I can't remember the last time I cried so much. They were such lovely little personalities and always came to greet me. I can't believe at how stupid I was to add this stuff.
I feel like a murderer.
Anyway, I have since done some research on this product (I know I should have done this before adding it to my tank, but hindsight is 20:20 as they say) and discovered that this product can reduce oxygen levels in the water! I think my fish suffocated, especially given that this is a planted tank and I assume that macro algae would give off CO2 during the night, reducing the oxygen level still further?
<Yes; tis so>

We've removed all the dead fish but I still have the macro algae, the mushroom and loads of snails and little worms and other life forms in there which are all fine (presumably, due to smaller oxygen requirements).
Obviously, I want to restock my tank but I would like your advice as to how to go about it and what to do in the meantime to keep the other life forms (and bacteria in the filter and on the rocks etc.) alive meantime.
I have been adding a little flake food every morning since this happened (Sunday morning - 5th March). Is this enough?
I don't want to lose anything else, and I want to keep the beneficial bacteria alive so the tank doesn't end up cycling again.
Also, how soon can I re-stock? I miss my fish :( I am hoping to get the same fish as I liked them so much and they all got along.
<Then this is what I'd do>
Should I add all six at the same time while there is sufficient beneficial bacteria and, if so, when? They will be smaller fish than the ones I lost as mine were mature specimens and the LFS stocks "babies", or should I add
three one week and then three the next week?
<Either way will be fine. Add as many as you can find good specimens for; the others when you come across them>
Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.
Thank you.
Kind regards.
Lesley Saxton
<The species you list are fine to introduce in any order. Anima bona fac/Life to you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Re-stocking after fish death     3/8/17

Thanks Bob
<Welcome Lesley>
Yes, I won't ever be using that product again!
The nitrates hover around 40ppm, even with water changes, and have done for years. I know is too high for corals so I've never kept them.
<The value, measures of Nitrate concentration alone aren't that indicative of bad conditions... their change, rate; what they may portend is. There are assuredly "corals" (e.g. Goniopora) that live in water of hundreds of ppm of NO3 for instance>
I would certainly like to add all the fish at once to save any bullying issues, but am I ok to add them this week or should I wait a couple of weeks? The water is fine (apart from the nitrates of course!)
<Either is fine; no need to wait>
Thank you.
Kind regards.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Help picking a new fish; blennies, more for FILR       2/16/17
Hi crew! It is time for me to get a new fish! But I am having so much trouble choosing one.
I currently have a female maroon clown and 3 azure damsels, skunk cleaner shrimp, snails and hermits in a 75 gallon. Lots of places to hide, lots of rock, not much sand. Mostly softies as far as corals go. The tank has been established 3 years.
I want something with a lot of personality and am considering a starry blenny. But what I really need to know about these fish is there long term survivability?
<Ones in initially good health are very tough indeed>

Are they similar to an algae/lawnmower blenny in that most of them die untimely deaths? Or is there a better chance of having a starry long term.
<There is>
If starry blennies are something I am better to stay away from, then is there something similar you can recommend that would fit in with my current livestock?
<I'd add something for mid-water here... Perhaps a Ctenochaetus Tang species.... there are MANY other choices. I'd be browsing articles on WWM;
reading and heeding reviews as to hardiness>
I really love blennies and gobies, can you offer an opinion on the hardiest of these?
<Some of the sand sifting gobies are aquarium hardy; most small ones not for this setting>
I get very attached to my fish and can't stand it when one dies :(. I would choose something captive bred if at all possible but living in the boonies in Northern Canada that's rarely an option.
Thanks in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

500 gallon FOWLR stocking options      2/1/17
<Hi Kathy, Earl here.>
Hello! First of all, let me say that I greatly appreciate your forum .... was able to learn a lot of things from reading through the different forums. Just a question about stocking up on a 500 gallon FOWLR . Tank dimensions are 72"x60"x30". My son and I have been contemplating on adding the following fishes and would love to hear your input as to whether this would work well.
Red Sea Emperor Angel
Majestic angel
Red Sea Regal Angel
<I would be very wary of 3 large angels in a single tank.
Depending on size, decor, individual personalities, you may be ok here but I would add them as small as possible, make sure there is a abundance of rock, decor, etc. because one of these fishes will be the "boss" sooner or later and there are territory issues involved. Also be aware that these guys can grow much faster than you'd think and to a very large size so bear that in mind. I myself am looking at an upgrade right now to keep a Queen satisfied because I simply did not expect her to grow so fast. Worth it in the end though! Another possible choice that's overlooked a lot are the mid-sized angels. Genicanthus, Swallowtails and such, often sold in sexually dimorphic pairs. They have a lot of the personality and beauty of the large guys like Holocanthus, but are too much for smaller tanks one would house things like Flame Angels/pygmies in. Just a thought but 1 large species like the Emperor as the "headliner" and a pair of middle-sizers might be a good compromise rather than 3 big guys.>
Golden semilarvatus (maybe 3-5 pc.s?)
Heniochus butterfly (5pcs?)
<These butterflies can be fragile although not necessarily so. I
'd choose less of them, certainly. You overall plan here is pretty heavy on fishes especially when you consider the size they will soon grow to, and the amount of aquascape real estate in the tank that will displace a lot of even a 500g tank's volume. Picture 10 butterflies at 6+ inches. If you love
large butterflies, maybe narrow things down carefully to a handful of those and go from there. Bob might jump in here, he has a few things to say about marine angelfishes!>
Desjardini tang
Kole tang

<Kole are outstanding and good "workers" that will nibble nonstop all day and are known to target nuisance algae that most won't touch...10/10 fish and good in most systems, a keeper. The other tang is a beauty but also will be over a foot long...can be a showstopper that catches eyes for sure.>
Cuban hogfish
Magnificent foxface

<Rabbitfish are one of those that I consider a no-brainer for any marine tank that can house one. Beautiful, nonstop grazers and far hardier and less choosy about what pest algae they target than tangs. I am a broken record here but just make sure you are aware that some of them stay reasonably sized, other species will rocket to a startling size inside a
year or two. Magnificent Foxfaces are just excellent all around.>
Will this combination of fishes work in your opinion? Would love to hear your thoughts.
<Your overall game plan here seems solid except for the running theme I have so subtly (or not!) driven at. You are setting up a pretty huge system and are planning to fill it with a bunch of equally huge fish. A potential problem, IME, is that can end up resulting in several of those big fish becoming territorial, feeling cramped, engaging in warfare, and quickly.
This seems contradictory but a 6 or 8' long tank is still small enough that a 9" fish is very unlikely to get along well with a dozen others saucer-sized mates. Also keeping the water butterfly fish-pristine is something to consider when you have a large bioload. Were it me, I would choose 1 or 2 angels, preferably the one with the most peaceful reputation or just the one that's a must-have for you. Then about half as many butterflies, definitely the Kole and the rabbit, and look into some smaller stuff. Other than the angels and (possibly) the tangs. Your tank is a pretty peaceful place IF not overcrowded or allowed to get to the point where territory or competition for food is an issue. I'm probably rambling but basically you have good choices and good matches, but too many of them ;) >
<Hope this helps!>
Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options      2/2/17

Hi Earl! Thank you so very much for your quick reply. Will try to decide between the Heniochus and goldens to lower down the bio load. And will definitely reconsider my options for the large angels. But it is so hard to choose! Hahahahaha! Again, I appreciate your inputs.
<Spoiled for choices definitely. I make it a hobby in itself to stock a tank. Once it's full up that part of the fun is more or less over. Take it slow and enjoy the browsing. Glad to help!>
Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options; ref. /RS f'       2/2/17

Hi! It's me again ...... just a follow up question. Some websites list that The golden butterflies need to be kept at a slightly higher salinity to mimic their natural habitat. My question is, will keeping my salinity slightly higher at 1.026-28 be harmful to the other fishes that are not from the red sea?
<Like most things in aquariums, once you reach acceptable conditions stability is far more important than precision.
Salinity is a prime example of this. A fish can adjust to a relatively wide range, but cannot do it quickly. Obviously there are limits but you get the idea. Some compromise is possible but 1.026 is not what I'd want generally, let alone 1.028.
Personally I'd avoid this dilemma entirely by choosing a different species of butterfly. Or it could be interesting to go all-in and try a regional biotype with Red Sea fishes. They can be difficult to keep but some of my favorites are the "fancy Basslet" Anthias. To me they are unsurpassed as far as jaw-dropping beauty, they are very active and have personality. You'd have already hurdled two of the obstacles (space and salinity). Maybe check into those.
Also try a background check on specific fishes you're eyeballin'. I'm amazed this subject doesn't get mentioned more commonly but just ask the retailer where the fish is coming from, what they have been keeping it in and for how long, what it's been eating in the shop, etc.. If they have been keeping what you want to keep, in more typical salinity than Red Sea/elevated, you are good to go. At least find out how long the fish has been in the shop and if you can put down a deposit and pick them up in a week in non-elevated salinity, in captivity.
At any rate as always patience is your ally...you will need to slowly acclimate your choices to any big change in salinity in quarantine (a few weeks).>
Thank you very much!

350 Litre Marine Tank Stocking      1/25/17
Hi Guys
I hope all is well!
<Trying to make it through the second semester... I guess it could be worse>
I have a 350 litre, bow front tank (Juwel) which is home to a yellow tang ("Percy"), an orange clownfish ("Nemo" of course), an orange spotted goby ("George") and a blue green Chromis ("Pete") - the lone survivor from a group of five added a year ago - there can be only one I guess!
<Strange. This has happened to me as well>
Nemo and Percy have been in the tank for around six years now; having it to themselves all that time until George and the five Chromis were added about 12 months ago. The other four Chromis all mysteriously disappeared over the last five months leaving just Pete. He must have been very sly as we didn't notice any untoward aggression towards the other Chromis.
Anyway, I would now like to add one (or possibly two) more fish if you think it's advisable.
<Should be fine. Your tank is large enough for more>
I should point out that it is a FOW(some)LR :) Plus a few mushrooms, several different species of macroalgae and a teeny weenie colony of some kind of polyps which I spotted growing the other week :) There are also hiding places provided by some pipe type décor, which Percy and Nemo happily swim in and out of.
I would quite like to add a pygmy angel - possibly a Flame Angel and/or a Royal Gramma. These would be the last fish added as I don't want to overstock this tank.
<Those both should be fine for the tank>
Do you think these additions would work given my existing fishy friends?
<Should be ok>
Thank you.
<My pleasure>
Lesley Saxton
<Cheers, Gabe>
Re: 350 Litre Marine Tank Stocking    1/26/17

Thanks Gabe :)
<My pleasure, Lesley>
Good luck with your second semester.
<Thanks. I'm going to need it :)>
Kind regards.
<Write us any time. Cheers, Gabe>

60G Questions. Mainly stocking      1/6/17
Good morning and happy new year!
I have a variety of questions for you today. I have a shallow 60G tank, but it's an Innovative Marine with the rear alley overflow thus my display area is a shallow 46G with a little more surface area than usual. Tank has been up and running since Nov 25th, my Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite has not fluctuated off of zeros since setup. I may have gotten lucky on the liverock that the store claimed had been cycling for 6 weeks, but I would have anticipated at least a little bump at some point. I've had a Rippled Coral Goby in the tank with 10 snails and 10 hermits since Dec 6th (3 or 4
hermit casualties, everyone else doing fine), I added a pair of clowns on Dec 17th, and a cleaner shrimp and Feather Duster on Dec 23rd. I plan on maintaining that stock for awhile (aside from adding crabs/snails, maybe a banded serpent star).
<Watch (read re) these last three... their presence/use in marine aquaria is over-rated>

I had a small diatom algae bloom that I've worked out quickly with a new protein skimmer and RO/DI water, and now I'm seeing encrusting algae start-up. Questions:
1. I have 2-3" of aragonite with a little crushed coral. A number of people on forums indicate this is going to be a major issue for me in a few months with nitrate pockets. I can see a few pockets through the glass. Is this in fact going to be a problem?
<Not likely; no. Too shallow substrates involves a bunch of urban myth... That being said, deeper is better>

I have three Nassarius snails that disturb the top 2" and I figured this would be a good way to maintain the sand. Am I doing fine, or do I need to make adjustments?
Also, I love Nassarius snails can I add more or at some point would the snails starve - I'm making the sandsifting star comparison here that require adequate sand surface area.
<I'd stick with what you have>
2. Stocking. I'm looking into additional livestock 6-8 weeks down the road.
I'm considering a Royal Gramma or maybe a Cherub Angel (reef safe?).

Given my livestock, I wonder if you have any livestock suggestions for a feature fish, or critters I may not have thought of that would be ideal for a coral environment in the coming months. I've had Jawfish and Firefish before, might consider... have no real interest in cardinals. Any suggestions? I'm thinking any Tang wouldn't be an ideal situation due to tank size.
<I could/would refer you to archives on WWM re stocking this size,, type of tank... Bob Fenner>
Re: 60G Questions     1/6/17

Understand, but I was hoping for "Bob Fenner's favorite feature 60g fish"
<Heee heee heee! But there are so many! Am a big/ger fan of smaller Apogonids; in a small grouping; perhaps a captive produced (easier-going) Pseudochromid... A Gobiosoma for further interest and cleaning.

Stocking: upgrade required?      12/4/16
Hello all,
<Hey Tim>
I have a 5ft, 100 gallon aquarium I am preparing to set up after I move. I am thinking long term stocking and curious if my choices and timeline is fair and what amendments you would recommend. The tank would have 200-240 lbs of live rock between the main tank and 2 foot 25 gallon refugium housed below.
<This is a bunch... depending on density... perhaps too much.
I'd start with one hundred or so and see what you think. No need for "walls" nowayears. I prefer mostly sand in sumps/refugiums>
1 month post cycle: 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 4-6 large hermits (blue legged and scarlet), 10-12 small hermits,
<Not a fan of hermits. See WWM Re>
mix of 12 or so snails. 2 months post cycle: 1-2 Ocellaris Clowns & 1 Banggai Cardinal.
<I'd have more than one...>
7 months post cycle: Flame Angel. 8 months post cycle Purple Tang. 10 months post cycle: add heavy amounts of copepods. 12-13 months post cycle: Mandarin Goby. Is this is a feasible list?
<Mmm; yes... All this/these will go, fit, get along>
My two concerns are that the tank is too small for a purple tang and this system would not adequately provide stable food for the Mandarin Goby.
<Again; you should be fine>
I'm dead set on this stock, so if need be, I would consider increasing the size of my aquarium. Since I am at 5ft, it seems foolish to jump to 6, so I would likely go 8ft 240 gallon. This however, is a cost I am hoping to not have to cradle...
<As stated above. Bob Fenner>

75 gallon Fowlr stocking question     4/15/16
Hello WWM crew,
Your website is a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate the time and effort you all put in to get this information out to everyone.
Ok enough brown nosing...on to my question...
<Glad to help.!>
I'm going to be setting up a 75 gallon Fowlr soon it will have 100lbs of dry rock, 80lbs of sand a Maxspect gyre xf150 for flow and a reef octopus bh2000 skimmer. Unfortunately I do not have room for a sump. I plan to let the system cycle before adding fish but I have list in mind that I'd like to run by you.
I would like to have a semi-aggressive to aggressive tank so what I would like to keep is
1 freckled Hawkfish
1 blue spot puffer
1 rectangle trigger
1 snowflake eel
1 foxface lo

<Well, first things first...consider the long term. What size will these fishes get (larger than expected, sooner than expected is a good rule to live by here) Size will definitely be an issue for some of these, as will the prodigious waste produced by large-ish carnivorous fish. The usual setup advice is applicable here: as much flow as possible, frequent large partial water changes (20 gallons every 2 weeks would not be remiss), aggressive protein skimming (several times the tank rating per the manufacturer). I would generally avoid putting any of the tough-customer "beaky" guys with an eel...puffers, triggers. The two species you mention have a lot of character which is both good and bad. Unpredictable and individualistic personalities. In other words, there's no way to tell how the mix of fishes in your list will work out as the triggers and puffers can/will pester and out-compete the slower roommates for food, maybe attack the eel outright.
The Foxfaces are imo probably the toughest fishes commonly seen, I would be hard pressed to think of anything likely to threaten them much and they are incredibly durable and generally laid-back, ideal tankmates for most
anything (other than your fingers!). I'd find a Siganid be it a foxface, one-spot, scribbled, etc. of your liking, just be careful of their maximum size, a few get too large for most aquariums and they grow shockingly fast.
I recommend them highly with that in mind. The trigger is most likely to be laid-back and non-troublesome but please read up further on WWM about them.
That said, I'd go for one. Puffers can be nasty, and I would not trust one with an eel. Hawkfish should be fine, again, bearing in mind maximum growth and the rates thereof. They eat anything they can possibly fit in their mouths. Another great place to look would be wrasses, many would fit the bill.>
Would this list work long term? What should I add first once the tank completes its cycle? I'm thinking either the hawkish or the foxface.
<If the tank is fully cycled then it's a game you play with aggressiveness and territoriality. Somebody in that tank will be the top dog. The more bossy and belligerent the fish is, the later it needs to be added in your stocking plan. Short version: put the calmer or more timid fish in first and the rest afterward, in order. Again, please read up on WWM about stocking order, how to ensure smooth "acceptance" for new arrivals. Whoever has been there first may see additions as interlopers, the basic stuff. If it were me, I'd put the rabbit in first or the Hawkfish, as you have noted.
Then the eel, then the trigger.>
If this list won't work could you give some suggestions on other aggressive fish that would be compatible with the rectangle trigger, if nothing else off that list I do have my heart set on that one.
<Did I mention triggers are my favorite fishes? :) I feel your pain and due to the way life shakes out, ended up with a tank built entirely around a large humu trigger and his attitude problem, well worth it though. Bar none, the most personality I have seen in a fish (and dare I say it...more than some people I could mention!). "Rectangle" trigger is not a very accurate or useful term but assuming one of the Rhinecanthus, they are usually pretty laid-back, assuming there are no larger bullying fish (possibly some puffers/Burrfish but not necessarily so). I used a two-spot foxface and a humuhumunukunukuapua'a as my mainstay duo for a decade. Get these, choose well and go from there. Most importantly, read up. -Earl>
Thanks for all your help.
Re: 75 gallon Fowlr stocking question      5/7/16

Hi Earl,
Thank you for your response and I apologize for not replying to you sooner.
I wanted to run my "final" stocking list by you if that's ok.
<Sounds good.>
I have heeded your words and decided to not get a puffer.
<Probably a good call...they get large, destructive, need particular care imo.>
I have narrowed my stock list to 4 maybe 5 fish and they are one spot foxface, Picasso trigger, freckled Hawkfish and pink face wrasse.
<The wrasse, foxface and possibly the trigger...these can get ~7", bear this in mind.>
I'd like to make a snowflake eel work, I'd even be willing to change out the eraser or hawk for one but if you feel it would be in danger from the trigger then I will put that thought to bed.
<It's a gamble. The eel is also as you know a messy carnivore and has a big impact on water quality...also gets awfully big for a 75g long term. A small specimen would be ok but you'd be pushing it once everybody started growing. If you are dedicated to the stocking list, a bigger tank is always better...ideally you'd upgrade to a 125g for this situation. Were I to proceed, I'd choose 2 of the 3 between the wrasse, eel, and trigger.>
How do those 4/5 fish sound in a 75 gallon with aggressive skimming and aggressive bi-weekly water changes?
My only real concern is the trigger, I've read on WWM and other forums that as they get older they become more belligerent. Some even destroy all livestock until they are the only ones in the tank. If this is true should I reconsider the trigger?
<Well, there's the rub. Triggers are characters (as are puffers/Burrfish).
They can have a wide range of personality. You will hear of ones who are model citizens for a decade, and some who are maniacal killers.
Territoriality, rockscape, specific tankmates, all these play a factor but I believe that somehow, they are just smart (for a fish) and with that comes more complex behavior. My favorite saying when you read about a fish falling into a certain category is that the fish didn't read the book and does what it wants hehe. Very true for triggers. The humuhumunukunukuapua'a
(learn to spell that and impress your friends, ok maybe not) are my favorite fish so I am biased, but I would try one for sure. As always, add the "meaner" fish last, rearrange the rockscape to break up territories, and watch how it goes. They are laid-back in general in my experience and are more easy-going than many of the allegedly peaceful pelagic-type
triggers such as Nigers. Just be ready to remove him if necessary. I'd bet it will be fine however and you'll know for sure post-haste. -Earl (wearing my Hawaiian State Fish cap right now, no joke!)>
Thank you for you help and for everything you guys at WWM do you are a great resource.
Re: 75 gallon Fowlr stocking question      5/7/16

Hi Earl,
Once again thank you.
Is there a bottom dwelling fish you could recommend to go with the hawk, foxface and trigger? My thought is to have a couple fish in the water column (foxface and trigger) one that hangs out on the rocks and is mid level (hawk) and a fish that mainly hangs around the bottom.
<I like a blenny in any tank (lawnmowers are my favorite and do help a bit with algae, but mostly are just plain entertaining and will likely end up a favorite despite their nondescript appearance). They will move all over the tank, actually, but are poor swimmers and spend a lot of time resting when they aren't at work. Sand-sifting gobies are entertaining and have neat behaviors. Goby/shrimp burrowing pairs are fascinating. Although a trigger will most likely eat any crustaceans, though...hmm. Obviously substrate matters and WWM has a lot of info on this topic. Tons of options. Also maybe consider a little bit of soft coral if you can keep decent water quality. Kenya trees (leathers) and xenia are hard to kill in a well-kept tank, are uninteresting to fish in general, and add a lot of movement and a more natural environment. They are also pretty cheap (or free, regularly, from aquarium clubs...you do belong to your local club right?). My first call would be a good sized lawnmower blenny, though. -Earl>
If there isn't one then I will most likely nix the eel and go with the wrasse.

Moray eel compatibility     11/26/14
Hey WWM crew! Have messaged a fair bit in the past and you guys have always been helpful! Just wondering if you could help again on a few quick questions :)
Tank details;. 5ft bowfront Juwel vision tank - 120 gal (450 litres)
Current stocking list;. Blue throat triggerfish x1. Saddleback butterflyfish x1. Galaxy clarkii clownfish x2 . Skeletor moray eel x1 (Just recently acquired)
The Skeletor moray seemed quite active after putting him into the tank, so was wondering if this is normal?
<Is common behavior... looking for a way out>
Has been swimming around the tank and in between rocks but haven't had this with previous morays I have kept before so thought I had better ask :)
Now the next question would be about future stocking, as am looking to get these few fish below;. Regal angelfish (yellow bellied variant). Flame angelfish . Red tail tamarin wrasse. Blue ribbon moray eel
Would this be too much to add?
<Yes; particularly the last
. Rhinomuraena don't do well in captivity period; would highly likely perish here. Tamarin wrasses are not easy... neither most Regals>
are there any from the list above that you would add first?
<The Centropyge>
Am worried about the 2 morays though so thought I would ask, so do you think they could mix?
if so how would you do it?
Thanks and best wishes!
<And you. I'd keep dreaming, reading at this point... look for other livestock, perhaps another system.
Bob Fenner>

Adding fish     11/8/14
I don't have a problem just need some input. I have a 125 gal tank with 150 lbs live rock. Running 3 filters (Fluval hydro tech, Eheim pro 3 and another canister Fluval), 1 high powered skimmer. Water parameters are always O and we change 25% water every 7 to 10 days. Fish: yellow tang, blue tang, Picasso trigger, long nosed Hawkfish, red Hawkfish, cleaner wrasse, royal gramma and a 10 year old clownfish- all play well together.
My question - I would like to add 1 or 2 fish, any suggestions?
<As to what to add I take it. Perhaps a Ctenochaetus tang... would add color, motion... a mid-sized wrasse... Halichoeres, a smaller Coris...>
Thanks for any input.
<Take a read through the FOWLR stocking FAQs files>
Diann Trapp
<Bob Fenner>

Centropyge flavissima compatibility      10/27/14
Greetings crew! I have a question regarding C. flavissima, specifically their "toughness".
<Ahh! Highly variable nowayears... some times, from some source locations very tough; others...>
I have a 125 gallon FOWLR tank that currently contains a raccoon butterfly (C. lunula), a harlequin Tuskfish, and a Lemonpeel angel. The tusk and Lemonpeel were at my LFS for quite a while, and I have owned them for nearly a year, so I am fairly sure that they have survived the shipping traumas that cause so many "surprise" deaths these species are prone to.
I am looking to add a few more specimens down the road, but wanted to get your opinion(s) regarding compatibility. I was wanting to do yet another tank containing only fish from Japan, and came up with a list of a few specimens that I am considering. The species I am interested in are Arothron nigropunctatus, Thalassoma jansenii, Parupeneus barberinoides, Melichthys niger, Euxiphipops navarchus, and Acanthurus japonicus. I was hoping to add some combination of 3 of those listed 6 species.
<Mmm; all but the Majestic Angel are good, hardy choices>
I realize that a standard 6' 125 gallon tank is considered a minimum for the Navarchus
<I'd say/state much larger; like twice>

and the puffer and would not consider mixing those. My worry is that due to its small size and aggression
levels, the limiting factor other than tank size is the Lemonpeel angel. It is my pride and joy and I would be quite sad to lose it. To maximize swimming space, there are roughly 60-70 lbs. of mature live rock lining the back glass of the tank, giving the fish caves to hide in, as well as providing an excellent source of microfauna for the fish to forage. The live rock comes from my 75 gallon reef tank and I cycle out pieces periodically to give the Lemonpeel and butterfly more to forage through.
Although I have done a good amount of research on my own, but this is my time personally keeping any larger, more aggressive saltwater fish, and wanted to see if there were any species I should disqualify before I continue researching further.
Thank you once more,
<I'd leave out the Euxiphipops for sure; and go with all the rest. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Stocking a 55 gallon      8/3/14
Hola WWM crew, thanks for the hours of reading offered by all the Q&A and articles. So, to hopefully be quick and to the point, I have researched on your sight as well as others pretty extensively and have not been able to discern if my stocking plan meets the needs of my planned inhabitants.
First, it is 4 ft long 55 gallon and is currently home to two bangghai cardinals and 5 snails. We also have a 20 gallon sump/refugium with all the goodies (skimmer, ATO, etc.). The current plan is for the tank to be a FOWLR, as I have satiated my softie and LPS wants in my 20 gal nano reef.
Finally, to my questions, would a Cherub Angel and Longnose Atlantic Butterfly be a good addition to the 55 gal,
<The cherub is a good choice; the BF not so much. Historically this species doesn't do well in captivity>

these will be the only fish I would add but I am concerned with similar diet and the angel's possible aggression towards the butterfly. Also, how long would you let the tank age before adding the butterfly.
<A few months>
One other non-stocking question is that I've read mixed views on the need for a skimmer on a nano, especially when doing 10% weekly changes.
<Better to have one than not. See WWM re>
What do you recommend as I was thinking a hang on back refugium would be more beneficial and would help with the build up on the waters surface.
Thanks so much for the advice and expertise. It's appreciated significantly as I've only been in the marine aquarist hobby for about 2 years.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking a 55 gallon      8/3/14

Thanks so much Bob for the reply. I feel, and I'm sure you can agree, that asking is always a safer bet. Looking forward to getting my angel and certainly want to keep a species that will do well in captivity.
Cheers right back at ya
<Oh! Do take a look/see on WWM, the Net re other tropical West Atlantic fishes... many other good choices available.
Re: Stocking a 55 gallon     8/4/14
<Hey Rach!>
You pretty much hit the nail on the head for me. That was just the nudge I needed for bio type decision as my 20 gal is Indo-Pacific. I've started my research this evening and I am still reading.
<Ah; please see here on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/twafwgv1.htm
and the linked sections on organisms of the TWA (above in blue)>
Sorry for some misspelled words, I've noticed apple products do not read my mind regarding autocorrect. Tks again for the essential affirmation on what I was leaning towards. You and your crew do a wonderful job of keeping folks informed. So along with many others before me, kudos!!
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Re: Rectangular Trigger in a 90g FOWLR      7/13/14
It's been a while since my tank has been setup, and I'm revisiting the wrasse question. My flame angel didn't make it through QT a while back, so I moved forward with the rectangle trigger, puffer (c. papua), and one spot foxface.
All is going well, and my wife keeps asking me about the wrasse I originally wanted - a Thalassoma bifasciatum. Given that I don't have the angel, and that my only real active swimmer is the trigger, would one still be out of the question for my 90g? I've thought about other, smaller wrasses, but none of them really appeal to me like this one does.
<Mmm, well; a few things might go wrong here... The Balistid biting all, the Toby biting most all, the Siganid poking most all but good; the Thalassoma wrasse harassing all... but... could mix OK>
<A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>

Stocking list for a 90, FOWLR        6/23/14
I would love your assistance with the following contemplated stocking list,
with the introduction in the order as listed. The tank is an acrylic standard 90 gallon tank containing 35 lbs of a mixture of Tonga branch and Fiji live rock (about 25% by volume as to give the tangs contemplated ample room to swim) with a sump containing 15 additional gallons of water and 15 lbs of live rock. I am also using a Reef octopus NWB150 6" skimmer and granular activated carbon as mechanical filtration.
Currently in tank:

2 medium sized skunk cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)
6 Astrea snails
6 red leg hermit crabs
6 blue leg hermit crabs
2 Hawaiian feather dusters
2 medium sized emerald crabs (Mithrax sculptus)
<Do keep your eyes on these. Mithraculus become predatory (first on your snails and hermits) with time/ growth>

Royal gramma (Gramma loreto)
2 Firefish gobies (Nemateleotris magnifica)
1 small Yellow watchman goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus) with small work-a-holic
(total type "A" possibly neurotic perfectionist) tiger pistol shrimp
(Alpheus bellulus)----- which happen to be my current favorites to watch.
Currently in quarantine:
3 small blue-green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
1 small/medium sized Copper band Butterfly (Chelmon rostratus) a truly
beautiful specimen who is eating fortified frozen brine like silly but is won't take flake or pellets as of yet.
<May not ever... but do try Spectrum and Hikari brands>
Planned to be placed in quarantine together (20 gallon high) and introduce
the two tangs simultaneously and the angel a day or two later:
Yellow Eye Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus)
Scopas Tang (Zebrasoma scopas)
<Mmm; can, could go in as well>
Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula)
<And this>
I realize that tangs need swim space, also realize typically only one per
90.but thought since difference geniuses they might work...I was initially contemplating a powder brown (Acanthurus japonicas) instead of the Flame Angel.
<I'd just stick with the two tangs... and introduce these after the Angel... about the same time if they're similar in size (if more than an inch or more, the smaller one first)>
Your thoughts?
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Stocking list for a 90 FOWLR       6/23/14
Thank you very much for your time and sage advice Mr. Fenner.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Stocking 75 Gallon     1/19/14
Thanks in advance for your advice. I've been reading from this website for years and think it's fantastic - Even tracked down one of Bob Fenner's books which I loved. I am in the process of setting up my 75 gallon (old oceanic 48*18*20h) after getting out of saltwater for several years (don't ask, needless to say I am trying to do it right this time). Here's my system:
Running for about 5 weeks:
26 lbs fully cured liverock from established reef tank
80 lbs base rock
Marineland Reef Capable lights
160 lbs CaribSea Aragonite Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand (for DSB in main
Sump with about 15 gallons water - some rubble and Chaeto.
CAD Lights Gen3 PLS-100 Pipeless Protein Skimmer (space limitation)
Hitchhikers on the LR:
1 Blue Leg Hermit Crab
1 Porcelain Crab
4 Astraea Turbo Snail (and a baby..new one for me to see)
4 Hermit Crab (Thin Stripe Hermit Crab)
1 Condy
Stocking I am considering:
2 Ocellaris Clownfish
flame angel (added last)
yellow Longnose butterfly
A few damsels
My question - If I give this tank sufficient time to mature would the angel and butterfly do ok? I've read varying reviews on tank size and how much LR is needed to support them.
<A Forcipiger in a four foot long system is an iffy proposition (larger would be better); but all you list will get along behaviorally>
I appreciate any advice you have...or suggestion for other suitable tank mates.
<Perhaps a Ctenochaetus Tang in addition; or in the place of the BF. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking 75 Gallon/FOWLR f'      1/19/14

Thanks for the quick response! I appreciate it. Would Ctenochaetus strigosus be a good choice?
 Based on your "iffy" comment I think I'll stay away from the BF, would rather stay on the safe side...maybe do a few more damsels or something (any other suggestion for small fish to add a little "activity" to the tank?).
<Perhaps a hardy Anthiine in a small group>
Also, how long would you suggest I wait until introducing the tang? Thanks again!
<Should be placed last. BobF>
Re: Stocking 75 Gallon      1/26/14

Hello again and thanks! I was at my LFS yesterday and they have 2 ruby red dragonets in - very nice looking fish. I hadn't really considered one of these but knowing they are a rare find thought I would ask if you thought my tank could support this group:
2 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 (or both?) ruby red dragonette
<Both are fine>
3 black axil Chromis
1 Centropyge
      loricula (flame angel)
1 Ctenochaetus strigosus (Kole Tang)
Thanks again,
<These should all go together. B>

setup (and stkg.) plan    11/28/13
Hello Crew
 I wish all of you an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I wanted to run my plan for my 180 FOWLR by you. I plan on a slow approach getting this up and running and stocked. Possibly a year or longer. My tank has two internal overflows, 1 1/2 inch drains and 1 inch returns. I have a 40 gallon sump underneath the display tank. The sump will house a Tunze DOC skimmer, two Tunze return pumps each pushing about 450 GPH after estimating head heights and turns in pipe, and an Emperor 400 filter for added filtration. The return lines will be downsized to 3/4 since the pumps only have 3/4 inch outputs.
<I'd run most of the circulation in-tank; not through the overflows/sump>
  The main tank will have approximately 125 lbs of live rock, two inches of live sand and three circulation pumps totaling about 2100 GPH. 
I am hoping this will be adequate to house the following fish: 3 zebra barred dart fish, a melanurus wrasse, a red headed solar fairy wrasse, a Heniochus banner fish, a raccoon butterfly fish, a magnificent Foxface, a tang ( either a blue hippo or blond Naso ) and an emperor angel.
<Yes; though the Emperor will need more room in a few years>
 I was also hoping to add a small army of hermits and snails.
 If I add the livestock at least a couple of months apart from each other after the tank has cycled will this be too much of a bio load?
<You should be fine here; given the gear, your related set up>
I plan on 10% water changes weekly and a 25% once a month. Thanks for your advice.
<And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Game Plan for New Tank, SW set up, stkg.  6/18/2013
Hi Crew -
I moved last year, so I'm looking to set up a new 100g FOWLR in my new office at work and have a service do the maintenance.  I travel occasionally, and I'm not in the office over the weekend, so I need a low maintenance system with relatively hardy fish that will be fine with only Spectrum pellets fed by timer when I'm out of the office.  I was hoping you could take a quick look at my plan and let me know if you'd recommend any adjustments before I move forward...
System:  Red Sea Max S-Series 400 (42" long, 97g excluding the overflow area and sump, 110g total).  It comes with 390W of T5 lighting, a C-Skim 1800 skimmer, carbon filtration and 2100gph of total circulation.  There's no cover to the tank, so there should be good oxygen levels with the skimmer (though I need to avoid jumping fish).  I plan to add an auto waste container to the skimmer so that it doesn't overflow between maintenance periods.  I also plan to add an additional auto water top off to refill the included one if it gets low.  The system only comes with one return pump, so I'll get a spare.  In the hopefully unlikely event that the main pump goes out when I'm out of the office, there are other circulation pumps in the main display, so the tank will likely survive until I'm back in the office to replace the main pump.  The office building is in a major city and unlikely to lose power for long (it has a backup generator), so I'm less concerned about a long term power outage.  I'll use two feed timers both feeding small amounts so that it's likely that even if one dies, the other will at least provide some food.  Any other recommendations for my setup?
<Not so far. It appears you've done a good bit of studying>
Stocking:  In planned order of introduction... 3 Green Chromis, 2 False Percula Clowns (to be obtained as a pair), 3 Latticed B/Fs, 3 Angels (Watanabei, Bicolor, Flame),
<Mmm, I'd cut this back to one butterfly specimen and just the Genicanthus, or the two Centropyge for this size, shape system. Too likely to not get along otherwise>

 1 Kole and 1 Orangetail Blue Damsel.  I also plan to have some shrimp (2 Skunk, 2 Fire and 4 Peppermint) and possibly a few turbo snails (if needed).  I've successfully kept all of these fish together before, along with other similar fish, but that was in a larger tank, so this feels a little tight and I thought I'd better get a second opinion.  Do you think all these fish would work in the planned setup? If not, what adjustments would you recommend?
<As stated. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Game Plan for New Tank
Bob -- Thank you so much for the quick reply.  I was afraid this setup would be too snug.  Rather than cut back on the Butterflies and Angels (my favorites), I'd be more inclined to go with a bigger tank.  While the S400 (42", 97g) would fit best in the office, I could make the S500 (51", 119g) work.  Do you think the 3 Butterflies and 3 Angels would get along in the
<Mmm, no. I wouldn't try to squeeze these fishes in this slightly larger size, shape>
If a little extra elbow room would help, I could skip the Kole. 
Unfortunately, 51" is as big as I can fit. 
Thanks again! 
<Just not a good bet, a wager on such mixes... Too likely to have problems... and when? Of course, when you're not about. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Game Plan for New Tank
Understood.  I'll scale back my fish plans accordingly.  It's hard adapting to smaller tanks after having a 220g tank for so long.  Thanks for the advice! 
<Glad to share. BobF>
Re: Game Plan for New Tank, now a 50 g, stkg., FOWLR   6/19/2013
Hi, Bob -- In scaling back, I have one other option to consider.  I have an option to pick up a nice 50g (36x18x18) tank, stand, canopy and T5 lighting from a neighbor who's upgrading to a bigger reef system.  It doesn't have a sump, but it has a Remora hang-on skimmer with filter box and collection cup drain.  I originally thought "no," because I wanted multiple Butterflies and Angels.  But since that isn't possible, I thought I would reconsider.  Most of the guidelines I see for the smaller B/Fs suggest 50g minimum.  Would you agree? 
<Only for temporary, small specimens... Chaetodontids really suffer for the stress of small captive confines. IMO their losses here are only second to collection, handling damage as a source of mortality in our care>
If so, I'd scale back my stocking to the following:  Latticed B/F, Flame Angel, False Percula Clown Pair, Orangetail Blue Damsel, Mystery Wrasse and Royal Gramma.  Any changes you'd recommend to this line-up or setup?
<Yes; I'd drop the BF and the Loricula... only go w/ a dwarf dwarf Centropyge sp. Read here re:
Oh! The article was pulled pending pulp publishing... go through the Related FAQs instead: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwfdwfangels.htm
 I'd still need to add automated feeders and an auto-water top off, but those are minor tweaks.  Many thanks for your help! 
<Happy to assist. B>
Re: Game Plan for New Tank
Sounds like I'll have to pass on the 50g deal...  I just can't give up my B/F!  I'll stick with my plan for the S400 with 1 B/F and 2 Dwarf Angels. 
Thanks again! 
<Ah welcome. BobF, who would buy, get, use both systems!>

Stocking question, adding a trigger to a growing group of fishes      6/17/13
I have a 125 gal FOWLR tank with 125 lbs of live rock. Inhabitants:  yellow tang, powder blue tang, raccoon butterfly (all approx 3 inches), flame angel, flasher wrasse, long nose hawk, red Hawkfish, blenny, royal gramma.
Running a Remora skimmer with a 205 and a G6 Fluval plus a couple of emperors - heat maintains around 79 degrees and all water parameters are zero with ph at 8.3. Do weekly 10% water changes. Question - thinking of adding a pink tailed trigger - do you see problem?
<Mmm, not likely problematical... Though when all grow up, you're going to need/want more room; particularly for the Acanthurus leucosternon>
 There are also several snails or various sizes.  Thanks in advance for your input. Diann
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Overstocked tank question... a bit, but mostly just a bit out of whack chemically     5/26/13
I know that you will probably beat me up on this, but in my experience...
My system is doing great.
<Looks nice>

First I will give you my tank details, stock list and lastly my question. 
My tank is a 57 gallon rimless (now covered because of past losses), the protein skimmer is rated for 200 gallons and i have a 20 gallon refugium. 
My main display has about 70lbs of live rock, which is landscaped with multiple caves and overhangs.  The parameters according to my apex controller and API test kit shows no issues with ammonia, nitrate, nitrite (always in the 0 range based on my color chart and i do run carbon, PhosBan and ChemiPure elite because of my feeding regimen).  My ph ranges from 8.3-8.4 and the temperature stays the same 78.  My phosphate is about 0-.25 when checked. 
<Mmm, your organisms show signs of HPO4 starvation, but this may be due to the BGA... I'd ditch the Phosban>
Calcium level is 450-500 when checked and my alkalinity is usually normal sometimes a little high.  I do weekly 5 gallon water changes with ESV salt and now I'm switching to red sea pro coral salt (my refractometer usually has me between 1.025-1.026).  My corals do great (except when i used ruby reef rally
<Garbage... see/scan WWM re>
 and it dropped my ph and killed a lot of good coral and my clam).  Now the lengthy livestock in which i have planned to have each area of the water column.  My ground/live rock guys are: Randall goby, blue mandarin (eats frozen and copepods and had over a year and half), golden dwarf moray eel, blue dot Jawfish,
<Cool water>
 green and yellow clown goby, a pair of snowflake clowns, yellow neon goby, tonguefish,
<A Cynoglossid, really? Do you know the species?>
and my gumdrop coral croucher. 
My rock huggers (as i call them) and active swimmers are: marginal butterfly fish, blotchy Anthias, Flameback angel, a pair of blue striped pipefish (which have eggs i believe), royal gramma, Tanaka fairy wrasse, naoke fairy wrasse, and a swales Basslet.   Now i know its a crazy stock, but most fish are small and stay small outside two of my fish.
<Well; the Anthiine, B/F and Cirrhilabrus would like more room>
 My inverts are: hermits, snails, cleaner shrimp and red fire shrimp, and a rbta that has 3 sexy shrimp and porcelain crab hosting. There is 0 aggression and most of my fish i had over a year and half.  I feed 2-3 times a day which i make a fish chum i call it (rotifers, Cyclop-eeze, Nutramar ova, rods food, Mysis, plankton, formula 2, and blood worms).  My question is mainly this..... in my tank and with my experience, the chemistry works very well and my parameters are constantly good.  There's never any territory fights and everyone has a nice hole to sleep in at night.  Is it possible that with my selection, my fish will continue to stay fat and healthy without any problems? 
I know this is long winded, but I wanted to provide you all the information I can.  Also, my last question..... My tank has blue, some type of white, some purplish and yellow sponge growing all over my tank.
<Mmm, well; you've sent pix of a yellow sponge, and there's a bit of blue in your BTA pic... The purple slimy stuff is Cyanobacteria... I'd get going on reducing it... vacuum it out, encourage the rest of life by ditching the Phosban... maybe read up a bit on RedOx/ORP... the BGA is poisoning your livestock... and you don't want this>
  However, I have almost 0 purple Coraline algae growing.... How can I start that going?
<Mainly the steps to ridding the BGA... You can/could boost your alkalinity and likely [Mg]; make sure they're in proportion w/ your high [Ca]>
 Thank you in advance...
Enclosed is some sponge pics and my tank pic
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Overstocked tank question... Cyno/Flatty ID, Porif ID f's...       5/27/13
Thanks for getting back to me.  Unfortunately, there is no identification or knowledge about tonguefish (your crew actually identified it for me).
<Ahh, this IS a Cynoglossid, neat!>
 The pet store gets fish from Cebu (unfortunately, the fish that comes in you can see the cyanide is still being used).
<Yes to both... was diving earlier this year in S. Leyte and have been about Cebu before>
 He hasn't grown in the two months i had him.  He does scavenge my sand bed and eats blood worms when i feed.  He is more active at night.  I usually don't buy anything without research, but i took a chance on him because of his tiny mouth.  The Cyano algae is minimal in my tank and only in that spot.  The pic I'm sending you is the purple sponge again ( a little
<Ahh! Does look like such in this pic>
 and the tongue fish. I stopped the PhosBan reactor.
<Ah, good>
 Lastly, what is bga mean?
<Oh! BGA: Blue Green Algae, Cyanobacteria, Cyanophyta... Monerans, much like bacteria... undesirable. Do please read re on WWM>
  Thank you!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Overstocked tank question; now Cynoglossids       5/27/13
Do you know how big tonguefish get and/or any additional information?
<Mmm, well, most all species are small, and slow growers... Mostly I know them from years back as not living hardly at all in captivity, and the few years I spent at a gov't bioassay lab using one of their species for testing anti-fouling paint toxicity>
  All i see are pics of these guys being 15 inches.  Mine is about 3" and hasn't grown.  A perfect guy to stir my sand bed.  Thanks again.
<Thank you, BobF>
Re: Overstocked tank question      5/27/13

Well then I'm lucky to have him, he is such a great find (that's the only reason why i go to that one store, they get some uncommon fish sometimes) it just bothers me in how poor this fish come in....about 75% of these fish are probably dead in a few days when they come in.   Its really bad...and the store doesn't take care of the fish.  Thank you again for your help.
<Ah, welcome. B>

WetWebMedia, FOWLR, 55 gal. set up and stocking       4/29/13
Greetings WWM people!  Thanks for sharing your expertise. 
<Welcome Wes>
I have several questions that after much reading on your site are still questions.  If these are well answered already, please help me with the proper search terms as I am a beginner and they are often not obvious to me.
<Will do>
  I have a custom tank that was a hand me down from my sister after being in storage for 10 years and she doesn't remember how it was set up. I've tried to figure it out and set it up properly from reading here and other places.  It has a closed top which makes it well suited to housing my eel. I use rubber stoppers with slots to run cables and airline through the holes in the back but not allow the little fellow to escape.
<A good idea>
It is a 55 gallon tank. It has a built in box filter, in the main tank.  I have attached a picture with some labels. There is an overflow section (a) that drains to a section for the heater (b). Then the flow goes into an air powered limewood block
<Do test this block for blockage on a regular interval (weekly)... Needs to be switched out for dry ones  as it clogs>
 protein skimmer with a whisper 40 (c), and then on to a section with sponge pre filter, carbon bags, and poly floss before hitting a return pump (d).  I don't know what media was originally in it, but based on my experience with my freshwater tank canister filter for my Cichlids I have arranged the media this way.
<Is fine>
 The return pump output has a tap on it, and about 1/10 of the flow is diverted to the middle section of the filter that goes through a bubble trap (e) into the bottom of a column that contains 5 Liters of Seachem Matrix (f).   The connection between (c) and (d) goes under (f), and (f) has a standpipe that returns into (b). The return pump is small, I estimate it at 250gph. I have purchased a Tunze 1073.020 to try to increase the flow but haven't put it in yet.
<I'd use the Tunze (just) in the main tank for circulation itself... the filter pump is fine as it is>
 I've never seen anything like this filter and it seems to work well.  I placed two Koralia circulation pumps in the tank. One is a 425 on the back of the tank near the sand aimed at the front of the tank and one is a 1050 opposing the flow of the filter return near the top from the opposite side. 
Question: does this filtration and flow seem adequate?
<Yes; with the addition of the Tunze for in-tank circulation>
I cycled this tank with 10 lbs of live rock, another 10 lbs of live rock that had been dried out (dead rock?)<Sure>, a 25lb piece of Texas holey rock, 1" of fine aragonite sand and a few pieces of ornamental dead coral.  I set it up in late December 2012 and let it cycle for 6 weeks with a few live bait shrimp from the coast.  I haven't read of people doing this, hopefully it was not a mistake.
<Is fine>
 The shrimp were eventually food for the fish.  I believe they were brown shrimp.  They lived in the tank for a month until I was sure it had cycled and bought my fish.  I never saw a huge spike of anything, but did see minor fluctuations of ammonia, then nitrite, then nitrate rose.  I waited a few more weeks to make sure ammonia and nitrite stayed low, and they did.
·         Snowflake moray: 10" long and 1/2" diameter
·         Flame angel 
·         Orange back fairy wrasse 
·         Skunk cleaner shrimp -the Valentini and eel didn't eat him.
·         Foxface Lo (realizing from reading my tank is small for this guy, he is 5" long now and seems very happy. Preparing myself for trading him in if/when he appears stressed out.  I’d miss him though.  He also won’t be very easy to catch.  I’m aware that they are poisonous.)
<Ah yes>
Question: should I rehome the Foxface right away, or wait until he shows signs of stress.
<Is fine for now>
 He is bright and yellow and seems happy. He only shows distressed colors when I am moving things around in the tank or cleaning it.  I thought he was OK for my tank but must have confused him with a one spot or some other fish.  Everything I read says >100 gallons for these guys.
<Yes; larger is better>
·         Until a week ago, I also had a Valentini puffer. He had been eating well and seemed very happy.
I never noticed any lumps or wounds on him, but he started eating a little less and I noticed he wasn't fanning his pectoral fin as much on one side. I also noticed him spending more time resting in the corner on the tank wall where he normally sleeps. He was eating, though and I saw him pass waste a few times so I thought he would be fine. Two days later he was stuck to my Koralia 1050 pump and couldn't get off of it.  I immediately moved him to a 5 gallon tank by himself and added some Epsom salt and an air stone. He was able to swim somewhat erratically but it was too late and he quickly died.  I suspect internal parasites but really have no clue.
<Can't tell>
Question: do you suspect worms/parasites?  If so should I dose the rest of my fish with PraziPro or other meds?  I hate not knowing what happened.
<I would not treat w/ anything>
The tank water parameters good. I have stepped up water changes to 5-10 gallons a week to vacuum out sand and brush down rock as I am battling a Cyano outbreak.
<Mmm, search re the Texas holey rock... this can sometimes be problematical re soluble phosphate... You can take out, boil in some freshwater and measure for HPO4>
 I try to mechanically remove as much as possible from the tank.  After leaving the tank lights off for 3 days it is much less prolific. Gradually increasing light hours now.
Here's what the last 5 weeks of water tests have looked like:
Ph: 8.2
dKH ~8
Sg 1.022
<Low; take care changing with the shrimp>
Ammo 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5-10
Temp 78-79
Even before I started the aggressive water changing, the nitrate stayed below 10 with 10 gallon changes of LFS rodi mixed saltwater every 3-4 weeks. I took this to mean that my filter and feeding habits are ok.
Every other day I feed New Life Spectrum Thera +A 1mm marine pellets and hang one piece of brown and one piece of green Ocean Nutrition algae sheets on clips.  Everyone except the eel eats the pellets, and the Foxface gets most of the sheet algae.
On the alternate day I feed PE-Mysis thawed in a little tank water and 5-10 drops of Vita Chem marine vitamin supplement. Again, everyone but the eel eats this. The eel gets stick fed a quarter size shrimp cut in 5 pieces or 1-2 silversides, also thawed in vitamins and tank water.   He only gets fed every other day.  I also add 8 drops of Kent Marine iodide to the tank a few times a week.
I'd like to get a new valentini puffer but want to make absolutely sure my tank is free from parasites that might infect him first, and have a QT setup and procedure first.  I can take a bunch of matrix from my main tank filter and use that in the QT filter easily. 
Question: How long should I wait for species specific parasites to die off before trying to get a new puffer?
<Mmm... well, no waiting necessary; but a Sharpnose may nip your eel, eat the shrimp...>
 I'm really just guessing at cause of death here anyway.   How would I figure out if a fish has internal parasites if they seem healthy otherwise?  The puffer seemed in perfect health for more than 2 months.
<Only way to proceed (currently) re such fears is to prophylactically treat during isolation/quarantine, ahead of introduction to the main/display>
I was planning on a qt with the recommended cycle of PraziPro and 1.015 SG for a new puffer for 3 weeks before adding him to my main tank.
 I read about QT on WWM and although I haven’t before, I plan on QT for any new additions to this tank.  I’m not sure if I should  treat the main tank first though.
<Again; I wouldn't. More downside than it's worth>
 Since the puffer died I am worried. I didn't QT anybody originally because all went in together initially.   I only have a 5 gallon tank for QT.  Question: is that too small for one little Toby?
<Really, yes>
  If so I could get a 10 or bigger if needed.
I understand that Bob warns of massive worm die-off messing up water quality when Prazi dosing a tank with sand and live rock. I have a very shallow sand bed now due to the Cyano battles and vacuuming it out, and I could remove the live rock if needed, but this could cause issues with die-off too I would think if it was out of the tank for a long time submerged in a bucket. I would rather not add any treatments to the tank, as from what I've read on WWM there are always unintended consequences to their use. So far haven't used any treatments for Cyano, hopefully I can win by cleaning it up manually eventually. 
Question: should I wait and watch for signs of illness in the main tank or treat it with PraziPro?
<... last time, no trtmt.>
Thanks for your help!  Sorry this email was rather long.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: WetWebMedia, FOWLR, 55 gal. set up and stocking      5/1/13
Thanks for the fast reply Mr. Fenner.  I now realize that I did ask the same question three times, sorry.
<No worries Wes>
I'm still reading about QT on your site and I see that you advocate the same salinity in the QT tank as the main tank. I must say that would eliminate mistakes I might make with ph matching the water during frequent changes, as it allows just dumping the main tank water in the QT directly. 
I'll have to read more and decide since there are differing opinions on QT salinity among folks like you with much more experience than me.  I could freshwater dip the puffer instead. I've heard that netting may cause them to puff up. Perhaps I can scoop him in a small cup.
<Yes... or corral underwater in a net, and transfer there into another water-holding container>
I will buy a bigger tank for QT.  Would 10 gallons be adequate?
<Barely... a 15 would be much better>
 I'd also like to use a canister filter like a Fluval 105. I can easily move media into it from my main tank.
Per your advice I will just keep watch on my main tank inhabitants without treating.  I'm not sure why I wanted to treat unseen pests in the first place.
<"Madison Ave."... Folks in the west are conditioned to be consumers... to "buy things" to make them feel better. Not real>
What are your thoughts on prophylactic treatment of PraziPro in QT for this Valentini puffer I plan to acquire.
<Of worth...>
 My LFS said that many public aquariums do this on all new arrivals.
<This is so>
 I understand that internal parasites may be more common in Tobies than some other fish, but I don't want to subject him to unnecessary stress.
<Not that stressful; compared w/ all else>
Thanks for the tip on phosphate and Texas Holey rock. I acquired a phosphate test kit and it reads 2ppm.
 This seems very high since I have been doing weekly 10-15 gallon water changes.  This must be part of the reason I have Cyano trouble.
<Ah yes>
 I'm going to have to remove this Texas Holey rock ASAP.  I will try to find some new live or dry rock to replace it, or some black ABS pipes and elbows I've been thinking about for the eel to hide in.
<A good choice. That or PVC>
I bought some Phos-guard and then read on your site about leaching aluminum into the water. I should have read first...  Can I use this short term to lower my phosphate or should I get rid of it and get the recommended Rowa-Phos?
<You can use either... Lanthanum is even better>
On the protein skimmer limewood blocks, can I just buy a couple and let them dry out alternating the one in use, or do I need to discard and replace them as they clog up?
<They do become saturated w/ time/exposure>
 It seems to produce quite a bit of dark green nasty stuff.
Thanks for your advice.
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Quarantine Question, 150 FOWLR stkg.      3/18/13
<Bri... will read our prev. corr...>
Thanks for the quick response.   I really wish my tank was bigger as well, but location for this tank limits the size.  I told my wife you said I need a bigger tank and she said I have only had this one for 18 months, so not yet. I'll take that as a yes, just need to wait a little longer.  I have always wanted a Queen Angel, so a tank big enough for a Queen Angel is on the wish list but that's a really big project for another day.
Is your concern about tank size due more to the end size of these fish relative to the tank or quantity of this size fish relative to the tank?
<Yes; but more psychological crowding ahead of (getting to) physiological>
Not in a hurry or committed to this decision yet so I can rethink my options here. 
<Good. Best in life to "stay flexible"... as we say in soccer/futbol, to keep "one's passing lanes open">
Thanks for the advice and thinking I will try to limit introduction to main tank to a single instance. I will keep the second QT tank option open depending on what fish purchase opportunity becomes available.
<Cheers, BobF>

FOWLR Stocking suggestion?     3/18/13
Do you have any stocking suggestions? I've been through heavy turnover in my tank, and now have a fairly established crew. I'd like to add one (or a few) last fish. To avoid competition/aggression, I'm curious to know if there are any dither fish that might be suitable...or others that may otherwise add a nice, final, touch of bold color and moderate activity to the tank. I see spots that come an go on rare occasion in my system (primarily only for the tusk and the puffer), and for that reason would prefer a fish that is not terribly
susceptible to disease.
Currently in the tank:
Engineer goby (about 1' long)
Harlequin Tusk
Red Coris Wrasse
Bluehead Wrasse
Volitans Lion
<Will inhale most anything small enough...>
Porcupine Puffer (per prior emails, he will probably be rehomed...although small chance he will stay and lion will go).
<One or the other>
In separate system to "fatten up" before joining the main tank (too small now): Bicolor goatfish
<A good choice>
I'm afraid to try the following due to prior issues: tangs, triggers, angels.
Also, it seems that maybe I should add a vegetarian, so as to limit competition with all of the above carnivores?
<... likely would go w/ a Tang... a member of the genus Ctenochaetus or a smaller Zebrasoma>
Thanks for any suggestions, Dave
<Just what I'd do. B>
Re: FOWLR Stocking suggestion?   3/18/13

Bob, thanks. And if you were to consider another carnivore, what would you add? Just curious to know, Dave
<... too many choices to list. I encourage you to search/peruse the "Compatibility FAQs" for each of the fish species you already have. B>
Re: FOWLR Stocking suggestion?   3/18/13

Bob, thanks again. I have done much reading on compatibility in WWM (although took a few bad gambles despite what is suggested...through to this final puffer/lion pairing that will now be undone). I've generally added the specimens that include some of your favorites (red Coris, goatfish specimen), so I just thought I'd ask the "WWBD" (what would Bob do) question! That said, I've probably exhausted combinations for carnivores, and risk upsetting the balance if I add another. Perhaps the herbi/omni selection of one of these tangs will complete the tank nicely.
I really like annularis angels, bicolor angels, and bluejaw triggers.
I fear these fish may be too rowdy.
<The last two should be fine here. Large Pomacanthus species need more room>
I also considered a zebra moral <likely Moray, but ethical>
eel, but I don't know if the Engineer Goby would appreciate this.
<Though celebrated Crab consumers, this species is too big, clumsy...>
It does seem that a Radiata Lionfish may be compatible (after puffer removal). They seem to be beautiful creatures from the WWM pictures, I have yet to see one in person.
<Keep cogitating furiously... B> 

5 foot marine aquarium... stkg... FOWLR likely; not using WWM definitely       3/18/13
Hey crew :)
Got a few questions for you and if you could answer them would be great :)
I have a 5x2x2 ft aquarium stocked with
1x zebra moray eel (28 inch)
1x a newly acquired harlequin Tuskfish (4 inch)
1x Yellow sailfin tang (5 inch)
2x common clownfish
1x flame angelfish (3 inch)
1x jewel pufferfish (2.5 inch)
1x Fiji damsel
1x humbug damsel
1x lemon damsel (all damsels around 2 inches)
And a sand sifting star
My question is, am I fully stocked up here? Can I add anymore fish and if so which ones?
<? I'd stick w/ what you have>
Was maybe hoping to get another pair of clowns or a regal angel in the future so would this work?
Also what foods should I feed my Tuskfish to keep it healthy?
<? ... just see WWM re. Posted>
Been feeding brine, flakes, mussel and Mysis so far :)
Thanks in advance!
<Don't write us w/o searching first. Bob Fenner>

Stocking of 65 Gallon FOWLR    3/9/13
Hi Crew,
Thanks for your fabulous resource, it has led to many hours of productive research.
<Ah, welcome>
I have a 65 gallon FOWLR with a 10 gallon sump, protein skimmer and 70 lbs of live rock.  The tank has been set up for 11 months and I currently have
a healthy and compatible community.  I think I can add about 2 more fish and have been researching possibilities that are likely to do well in the community but introduce new color/appearances as well as different behaviors.
Current fish are flame hawk, Ocellaris clown, blue flasher wrasse,
McCosker's flasher wrasse and a Burgess butterfly.
Potential additions I would like an opinion on are:
Midas blenny, is it likely to bully the flasher wrasses or have rock issues with the flame hawk?  The hawk was the first in but has not had any issues
with subsequent additions.
<The Ecsenius may go after, cause these harm... I give you 50:50 odds here>
Tank bred orchid Dottyback.  I do not have any shrimp due to the hawkfish.
I have the same concerns over harassment of wrasses or going after the hawk or butterfly picking at the rock once the dotty has its territorial spot.
<Much less likely issue w/ this Pseudochromid>
Red stripe angel (Centropyge eibli).  I am pretty sure this one fits fine and don't have any real concerns.  Should I?
<I wouldn't... the Butterfly or this, not both>
My current thought is to go with either the Midas blenny or the orchid Dottyback unless neither fits and then I would be interested in other recommendations.
<A larger system... would give you much more flexibility in stocking>
 I would then add the dwarf angelfish last.  One potential curveball is I have a mimic saddle puffer (*Paraluterus prionurus) *in a 38 gallon tank and I would be very interested in moving her to the 65 gallon along with introducing the fish she mimics, the saddle Valentini puffer (Canthigaster valentini). 
<Mmm, won't likely peacefully cohabitate. Again; either one or the other>
I have tried hard to research this possibility and have seen many places list 30 gallons as the minimum for each of them which I know is on the small side but makes me optimistic for them together in a 65 gallon tank.  I have seen photos of them together but not been able to find any practical advice or knowledge of keeping the two together let alone in a specific volume of tank.  Do you think this can work?
<No... mimics and the organisms they pretend to be rarely occur together in the wild; and often fight when they do>
 If so would you add them at the same time or let the mimic establish first?  The mimic saddle puffer is an amazing fish that is my favorite so I don't want to put her
in a bad situation but to see the mimicry in action would be brilliant.  I'm also concerned with how the real puffer/Toby would get along with the others as I have seen frequently they can nip and cause issues and they seem to require more care than the mimic does.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts on these potential fish.  Cheers --
<And you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking of 65 Gallon FOWLR - 03/09/201
Thanks Bob for the very fast and helpful reply!
<Welcome Bill>
As a quick follow up you suggest either the Burgess butterfly or the *Centropyge eibli.*  I'm definitely keeping the butterfly, it is an amazing fish and well settled in the tank.
<Yes, a very hardy species, subgenus>
 Would a smaller dwarf angel fit with it like the
*C. acanthops *or just not suitable to mix any angels with this butterfly in my system?
<Mmm, likely yes>
Thanks again!  Cheers - Bill
<Again, welcome. BobF>

Stocking Question    2/27/13
Good evening, 
I have a 50 gallon bow front FOWLR tank with a 15 gallon sump.  In the tank there is about 40 lbs of live rock and 20 lbs of live sand.  The tank has been up and running for almost 9 years.
<Mmm, do search WWM re switching out, replenishing these hard substrates.
They lose volume and solubility over time>
  About six months ago I purchased a new coral beauty angelfish.  After about a week that fish along with my two ocellaris clownfish and my yellow tang all died within a couple of days of each other. 
<Ohhh; perhaps related to my comment above... Many systems develop a "wipe-out syndrome" that folks have speculated may be due to a trend of favored microbial growth... their metabolites becoming more toxic slowly...
allowing existing livestock to adapt, but poisoning anything new. Do read  here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxicwipeoutf.htm
Have to re-set the dynamic here... perhaps more than water changes>
I let the tank run with no fish for about 4 months.  I still had about 12 - 15 hermit crabs and about the same amount of snails in the tank.  The copepods in the tank really started to multiply during this time. 
After numerous water changes and checks I decided it was time to restock the tank.  I have put in two new ocellaris clowns (about 2" each), a red scooter dragonet (about 1.25 - 1.5") and a Bartlett's Anthias (about 3"). 
The Anthias has been in for the least amount of time which has been about 4 weeks now.  All fish seem happy and water parameters are perfect at this point.  I would like to add some more fish and only want to add compatible fish with what I have and only if you think the tank can handle more fish. 
My wife would like something colorful that swims around a lot.  I thought maybe two to three blue green Chromis would look nice if the tank could handle that many.  Any suggestions you can think of would be greatly appreciated. 
Thank you,
<There are many; too many to simply list here; but a clue as how you might search for our input... archived on WWM: See the "Compatibility FAQs" for the species you have already. Enjoy the process. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly Fish in a 46 Bowfront?- 01/15/2012
Hello, I was just wondering if I could get your input on a Butterflyfish in a 46 gallon bowfront tank. This will be a FOWLR and maybe some macro algae.
Thinking tank inhabitants consisting of a flame angel, Longnose hawk, fairy wrasse, orchid Dottyback? If the butterfly is a no go, could you recommend a nice centerpiece fish for a tank like this? (excluding dwarf lions, they scare me!)
Thank You!
<I'd count your proposed Centropyge as the centerpiece and call it a day.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Help regarding adding livestock   1/12/13
Dear Bob,
First of all a very happy and a prosperous 2013 to you and the entire team of WWM :)
<Thank you>
Its been more than 6 months since I contacted you and I still haven't added any fish apart from what I had originally. I preferred to get the maintenance part right first before I  add more bio load and weep later on.
<You are wise here>
I followed your advice on water changes and boy have I seen a change in the water clarity and the energy of my livestock!! The fish are very healthy and the water conditions are pristine. Ever since I started water changes every week, about 10%, the fish have shown a better growth and personality...all thanks to you!
Now, since I feel am ready for adding more livestock, I thought I should ask the expert once again :) Just to freshen up your memory, the following are my tank details:
System Type: FOWLR
Display tank size: 225 gallons

Sump size: 75 gallons
Live rock: 200 pounds
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Phosphate: 0
<Wow; no NO3 or PO4!>
PH: 8.0 - 8.2
Calcium: 450ppm
Salinity: 35ppt
Magnesium: 1450
Temperature: 27 degrees Celsius
Current Livestock:
Yellow Tang  - 2
Regal Tang  - 1
Purple Tang   - 1
Clarkii Clown   - 1
Humbug Damsel   - 1
The following are desired additions to the present livestock:
Flame angel - 1
Firefish Goby - 2
Fire Shrimp - 2
Cleaner Shrimp - 2
Pajama Cardinals - 2
Sixline Wrasse - 2
<These may fight a bit at first>
Cleaner wrasse - 1
<Mmm, do see WWM re Labroides>
Domino Damsel - 1
<I'd substitute something other than this Dascyllus. Really gets "too
Orchid Dottyback - 1
Javanese Damsel (neon)/ Blue Velvet Damsel - 1
Banggai Cardinal - 2
Copperband Butterfly - 1
Lawnmower blenny - 1
Lyretail Anthias - 5
What are your thoughts on the above list?
<These should all get along and fit in here>
Also, would it be possible to accommodate an emperor angelfish?
<Mmm, well; for a few years; if started small... a few inches in length>
I am getting a fully developed adult which is about 5 inches.
<This may prove problematical... Larger specimens collected as such from the wild, often have behavioral issues when placed in captive systems>
As for the livestock, there are more than plenty of hiding places for each one of them, but if I get the emperor, I intend to make a cave like big enough for it to sit and relax during nighttime :)
<A good idea>
Another request, my fiancé is crazy about star fishes, I told her they are very difficult to keep but you know how girls are! :P
<I wish I could say I do; humans period baffle me quite often>
So any suggestions on a starfish type which will do great in this setup, will feed almost any kind of food and won't get stressed?
<See WWM re Asteroid Stocking/Selection (FAQs)... the Genera Fromia, Nardoa... are favorites>
If you feel we need to chuck out some from the list, please feel free to advice, I don't mind having lesser fish but I do want all of them to be happy and healthy, am really emotional about them :)
Thank you so much for the help in advance!
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock     1/12/13

Dear Bob,
Thank you for the advice. Yes NO3 and PO4 are absolute 0, all thanks to water changes and good maintenance habits plus the addition of SeaChem Denitrate and PhosGuard which is changed according to the parameters :)
<I see>
So now, I have chucked out the domino damsel out of the list but couldn't understand what you meant by:
Sixline Wrasse - 2
<These may fight a bit at first>
Cleaner wrasse - 1
<Mmm, do see WWM re Labroides>
You mean the six line pair will fight with one another or with the cleaner wrasse?
<Mmm; no. With each other>
 If you think it might be an issue, I can chuck out the cleaner wrasse too!
As for the emperor, I wasn't sure hence thought of asking you about it first. The main reason why I asked was because I thought emperors don't like crowded tanks and he might get disturbed or stressed. What sorts of behavioral issues were you referring to?
<The same you're referring to... being stressed from being too crowded>
Thanks for the help!
<And you, BobF>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock, FOWLR     1/13/13

Dear Bob,
You mean the six line pair will fight with one another or with the cleaner wrasse?
<Mmm; no. With each other>
You think this would be the case despite lots of hiding places and swimming room?
>Yes; possibly... or I wouldn't have mentioned it. See WWM re the genus/species<
As for the emperor, I wasn't sure hence thought of asking you about it first. The main reason why I asked was because I thought emperors don't like crowded tanks and he might get disturbed or stressed. What sorts of behavioral issues were you referring to?
<The same you're referring to... being stressed from being too crowded>
In this case, I will let go off the emperor cos the juveniles aren't shipping properly and the mortality rate is quite low. I had the impression that an adult would be a better option to get shipped but it turns out the opposite!
How would a lamarck angel be for an alternative?
I studied on WWM about it and seems to be a good option too...what are your thoughts on that?
<As above and archived. B>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock    1/13/13

Dear Bob,
Thank you so much for all the answers and your invaluable advice.
<Ah, welcome>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock, FOWLR, Chromis and Anthias stkg. now; reading 1/14/13

Dear Bob,
Just out of curiosity I was going through the kind of fish I can add apart from my list (Since the emperor is out of the equation), what are your thoughts on adding a school of blue Chromis or blue green Chromis along with a school of lyretail Anthias, something like 5 lyretail Anthias with 5 blue Chromis or blue green Chromis?
<... posted/archived on WWM. Please learn to/use the search tool; found on every page>
Just to give you a heads up, I had 10 blue green Chromis when I started the tank, and as time passed, the Chromis started their pecking order process which resulted in none left in the end. So you can say I had a bad experience with them.
<Most all do... as you'll find from searching, reading. B>
Should I give them a shot or would it be best to let go off the idea?

Stocking a 187 gallon tank... FO/WLR  - 10/22/2012
Hey guys, thanks for the great site. My question is about stocking a 187 gallon tank (60"x30"x24"). I upgraded from a 68 gallon to my new 187 gallon just over a month ago and still have my old fish which are, 2 fuzzy dwarf lions, 2 clowns, 2 green Chromis,
<The Dendrochirus may well consume the Pomacentrids>

3 lyretail Anthias, an emperor angel and a stars and stripes puffer. I'm going to trade the emperor angel and stars and stripes puffer as Bob recommended at least 300 gallons for both so I'll take Bobs advice and rehouse these fish. The large angels are some of my favourite fish but I don't think my tank is large to have enough to have 1 so I've decided to go with the some what smaller marine fish species. I have made a list of fish I've done a bit of research on which are:
Yellow tang
Fox face rabbit fish
A pair of Heniochus butterfly fish
Radiant wrasse
Male Vrolik's wrasse
Grey head wrasse
Male Hoeven's wrasse
Eibli or bicolor angelfish
I have done my research and on each fish and the wrasse in particular, seeing as these are all of the genus Halichoeres could they be safely housed in my tank together?
<Should be, yes>
(according to doctor foster and smith on live Aquaria they can be housed together). I have read through the FAQ on your site regarding stocking, but would like your expert opinion on whether all these fish would do ok in my tank and if so in what order would I put them in
<The Centropyge, Butterflies and Tang a few weeks after the Wrasses>
or whether I would need to rethink some of the fish I have listed, sorry for the long email and if I'm taking up your time but your input would be much appreciated. Thanks Steve
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Rectangular Trigger in a 90g FOWLR, comp.      10/5/12
Hey Guys,
First off, thank you for spending what clearly amounts to a considerable amount of time on your website - it has been a great resource for me. I've got some livestock questions for you, but before I get to that, let me tell you what I'm going to be working with (system isn't setup yet, as I'm not finished my own due diligence). The system is a 90g FOWLR with a 20g sump (I plan on running about 100 lbs. of live rock and some live sand in it), Koralia powerheads, and a Reef Octopus NWB-150 protein skimmer.
After multiple trips to Maui, I'm building this entire system around a Rectangular Trigger (Humuhumunukunukuapua'a). That being said, I'd like some opinions on prospective tankmates, as my searches haven't really answered specifics for me. Aside from the Humu (1.5-2.5", and to be added last), I was looking at a One Spot Foxface (2-4"), Blue Spotted Puffer (2-3"), and a Flame Angel (3-4"). Do you see any issues with these guys?
<Mmm, no. They should all get along, grow together here>
Assuming I'd have
a little more room for a few fish, what other options would I have here?
I've read that a Bluehead Wrasse and a Three Stripe Damsel would work with this group.
<Mmm, I'd skip on solitary Thalassomas... not happy alone; and a ninety is too small, would be too busy for the other fishes and a Blue Head (male).
The Dascyllus could work, but these too are not "that" interesting kept solitarily>
Knowing that there's no way I could run a CUC for very long because of the Humu, I'm interested in finding a fish that would also help keep the tank tidy.
<Not to worry, your gear and regular simple maintenance will suffice>
Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I'm trying to get all of my ducks
in a row before I move forward with stocking my tank and possibly making a mistake.
Nick Panaccio
<As you become aware of other choices, possibilities, write us back. A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>
Re: Rectangular Trigger in a 90g FOWLR, stkg.       1/9/12

I'm just about finished my cycle, and ready to prepare for my first fish (the Foxface), but still have a question regarding the fifth tankmate. My wife really likes the vivid colors of a lot of the wrasses, and one of the ones I've been thinking of adding to the Foxface, Puffer, Flame Angel, and Trigger is a Christmas Wrasse (Halichoeres claudia).
<Mmm... this 90 gal. is going to be way crowded w/in a year>
Would he be a suitable tankmate for the rest of them, or are we just reaching a little bit by trying to add a fifth fish to the list?
Nick Panaccio
<IF for sure you're up-sizing... starting all small-ish, you could add the Halichoeres... Do start saving up! Bob Fenner>

Add more fish, or wait? FOWLR      10/5/12
Hi Bob,
You've been so very helpful, so here I am seeking some of your great advice again!
I have finally got my final large tank set up (187gal), if you recall
before I had some two flamehawks who had injured each other while they were in quarantine/rubbermaids/awaiting completed tank.
<Ah yes>
Yesterday, I added all the fish I had together separately and finally everybody got to meet in the new tank. Here's the total stocking list:
2 Flame Hawks (male/female bonded pair)
2 SA Black Ice ocellaris (male/female bonded pair)
3 Pictilis anthias (all female)
1 Fathead anthias (unknown gender)
1 White Cheek Tang (A. nigricans)
1 Powder Blue Tang (A. leucosternon)
The Power Blue Tang is 5", and the White Cheek is 4.25".
65 various snails
12 hermit crabs
IPSF Live Sand/Mud x2
IPSF Ministars/sand clams/Big Brittle star
IPSF Ulva/Caulerpa (short and long)/Gracilaria Red
IPSF amphipods/plankton x3 (there are so many copepods and isopods floating around it's crazy), and I'm guessing the amphipods will start growing more in the refugium, the fish went insane to eat them I have two MP40ws that can provide enough current that the tangs will enjoy swimming in.
I eventually want this tank to be SPS-dominated plus clams, and have 3 Radion LEDs ready to go, they just are not mounted into the canopy yet.
All the fish (except that healing Flamehawk) , and the SA clowns, appear to be in excellent health, and came from LA's Diver's Den. I've had the clowns in quarantine for 6 weeks now. DD kept the Pictili and tangs on hold an additional 6 days for me, on top of their usual medication and quarantine treatment ordeal. They all looked flawless without a mark, spot, or anything, and are really plump and fat.
I kept them separated in containers myself for a few days and they all looked great. I decided to skip freshwater dipping. I then added in all the fish in together at the big tank at same time, in almost complete darkness, at approx 1AM.
I figured doing it this way would try to reduce aggression and not a single fish will have had any territory to claim.
The two tangs did some mild attempted tail whipping/jousting the moment they saw each other, but haven't actually made contact with each other from what I've seen.
I've watching everybody all day now (16 hours later) and everybody appears to still be healthy and out and about. The two tangs of course are chasing each other from time to time but haven't yet actually attacked each other.
They seem to mostly hang out on opposite ends.
The larger Power Blue seems to be a bit more of the instigator when they cross, but both have chased each other. Once they are done chasing, they just hang out next to each other, pick at the live rock and don't do anything, then swim away. Learning to accept each other's presence?
<Let's hope>
I've read some people suggest adding 3 tangs simultaneously instead of 2 to further reduce aggression since they don't know who to pick on. Is it too late to add a 3rd tang for this benefit, and should I? (Achilles seem to cross with these two a lot?)
<I'd hold off, not do this introduction. IF another tang is to be added, I'd try a smaller Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus species, not another Acanthurus>
I'm also looking for a suggestion on a sand sifter that you would suggest.
Goby, or Jawfish?
<For the purpose of sand-sifting itself? A Goby... >
I'd like to keep a shallow sand bed, but it seems it got up to 3.5" in some spots, and I don't want to vacuum it. I'll be using NPX pellets/GFO/GAC. I'd like to try cleaner shrimp, but fear they will end up as an expensive lunch to the two hawks.
<Will likely be so; even if large, when they molt>
The hawks have not touched the 20~ or so hermit crabs or 45+ snails I have. What do you think about little baby garden eels?
<Hard to keep, but a worthy challenge>
There's quite a lot of live rock, but I haven't really aquascaped it all yet.
Thanks again for your site and your service!
<Glad to share what little I know. Bob Fenner>

Upgrading tanks   9/28/12
Hi guys. I am getting ready to upgrade my 75g FOWLR to a 90g with a 30g sump. The 90 is set up for saltwater with the hole drilled in the bottom
<Of what diameter? Already fitted w/ plumbing... of what size?>
and with a corner overflow. I planned on just moving the sand bed from the 75g over to the 90g after I added 120 gallons of new saltwater mix.
{Instant Ocean}
<Pre-mix this for a few days in advance>
I figured if I put everything from the 75g into the 90g then the biological filtration should be fine right?
1. Is it a good idea to put one heater in the sump and one in the main tank?
That's my plan.2. Is it better to have the protein skimmer in the sump or have a hang on the back skimmer.
<Either is fine>
( I presently have both. Remora Aqua C for hang on)
3. I plan on growing algae in the sump along with seeding the coral substrate and liverock. Will the algae (macro I believe is the name of it) help reduce nitrates in the tank?
<Yes... additional help I'd suggest is a fine sand DSB somewhere... in-tank, sump/refugium or both>
4. Would it be okay to put my fish into the 90 with pure clean water or would it be better to take some of the present water in the 75g and transfer it over?
<I'd move a good deal of the olde water>
5. Fish list is 4"Harlequin tusk (Aus), 5"Coris Gaimard, 3"Auriga Butterfly, Flamehawk, Osc. Clownfish and two Banggai Cardinals. 6. I have two Emperor 400 filters. I plan on putting one on the 30G sump. Good idea or no?
<Mmm, I'd put both on the main/display tank... but can put on the sump if there's a constant volume/filled area>
7. System will have 2 heaters, 2 Emp 400's, two Maxi jet 1200 powerheads, bubble wand, 1 protein skimmer and a pump from the sump to the main tank.
Sound good?
<Mmm, I take it the bubble wand is mainly for aesthetics>
8. I also have a 125g FOWLR tank. When the Tusk grows up I plan on putting him in there.
<Ah, good>
Right now I think the fish I have in there would be stressful to him. (6" Hippo Tang, 5" Purple Tang, 5" Majestic Angel,
<This fish/species will need more room>
3" Maroon Clown, 3" Lemonpeel Angel)
9. Am I doing this right or am I missing something.
<So far, so fortunate. Bob Fenner>

Needing some cool blue... SW fish sel.  9/22/12
Hello WetWebMedia friends!
<Hi Tim>
The critical information you need to know: 5ftx2ft<x?> FOWLR tank, approx 120 lbs of live rock, 3/4-1" of sand, over sized reef octopus skimmer, 15 gallon sump with refugium and about 3500gph movement (alternating current with power heads and return). All other parameters at or near 0.
<Good work on the parameters.>
 Current inhabitants are : Yellow Tang, O. Clownfish, Longnose Hawk, Flame Angel and Sixline Wrasse. I am thinking I really want to add some cool blue to my tank. I have three options I am seriously considering: a Blue Hippo Tang, Cherub Angel or Yellowtail Damsel. I will address my concerns with each one by one. Despite the internet's "wisdom," I do not feel comfortable adding a blue tang to a system less than 8ft in length.
<I agree.>
 Perhaps your acquired experience will correct me, but while the Blue Tang is my top choice, I consider it infeasible (and at best, cruel).
<I would remove it from the list.>
 My second choice would be the Cherub Angel. I am well aware of the golden rule about mixing Centropyges but thought I might be able to pull it off because: my tank size, difference in size and coloration and entirely different geographic region
<I believe you could safely add the Cherub. I would add during the night and possibly move a few rocks. Watch for aggression and be ready to remove if any aggression does not subside within a week.>
(which, if I understand correctly, is why some Large Angels can co-habitate). The Flame is a little over 1", has only been in for about 3 weeks and was the last fish added. Needless to say, my gut says this is not the wisest choice either. My third option, the yellowtail damsel (which I concluded to be better than a male orange tail blue devil damsel), makes me uncomfortable because of a long list of negative reviews about being overly aggressive.
<Damsel aggression is amplified in smaller confines, you are good on this point. There aggressive nature comes to shine when they are one of the first fish added and have established their territory, you are good on this point as well.>
 I initially wanted a Dottyback but elected to avoid one for this reason concluding they are best left to solitary nano systems.
<Not necessarily.>
At the same time, I question if my system is large enough to avoid potential quarrels. Based on the system information I have provided, which of these three options would best work with my system (and why)? Realize also this will be my final addition in terms of stock. I believe in an under-stocked-zero-aggression system.
<I would remove the Tang from the list. Mixing Centropyge sp. is always a risk but I believe your situation is one of the few where it may work. The Damsel should be fine; adding two may disperse any aggression from the established Wrasse. The Wrasse is the kink in the hose that I see on your list. I would watch to see if it harasses the new inhabitant.>

Fish selection assistance    9/1/12
Hi crew,
Can you suggest a colorful beginner type fish that swims all over the tank that would absolutely get along and not fight with a Yellow Tang and 2 Ocellaris clownfish?
<Mmm, any fish might in turn get picked on by these...>
I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank that is well established. The tang has been in the tank for at least 2 years and the clownfish for a month.
Thanks for your suggestions!
<Perhaps velvet/fairy wrasse... a gramma... A sand-sifting goby... there are many choices. The path I'd take is to read re the compatibility of what you have already... There are many FAQs re archived on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question for a 150G FOWLR     8/23/12
Hello Crew,
WWM has been my "go to" source for many years for info, thanks for all the help you have provided over the years. 
I recently (10 months ago) updated my 90G FOWLR that had been running for over 10 years to a 150G (6'x1.5'x2') FOWLR.  I am guessing I have about 100 to 125 lbs of live rock in the tank with a 4 inch sand bed.   The only fish I transplanted were a pair of 10 year old tank bred Amphiprion ocellaris.
I do a 10% water change weekly and test water conditions each week with a test kit along with monitoring PH and temperature with a Neptune controller.
Controller also controls my top off system. Tank conditions are PH 8.27; Ammonia 0.0 PPM; Nitrite 0.0 PPM, Nitrate 0 to 5 PPM  (peaked at 10 PPM about 6 months ago but has stayed below 10 PPM for the last few months);  dKH 9; Calcium 360 PPM. 
<So far, so good>
Word to the wise test your PH even if you have a probe as the probe will drift so calibrate often. 
<Ah yes>
Current residents in the tank are in order of introduction are
2 - Amphiprion Ocellaris (Ocellaris Clowns)
20 - Margarita Snails
20 - Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermits
10 - Turbo Snails
10 - Nassarius Snails
3 - Chromis viridis (Blue/Green Chromis)
1 - Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (Six Line Wrasse)
1 - Coral Banded Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)
1 - Valenciennea puellaris (Diamond Watchman Goby)
1 - Ecsenius midas (Midas Blenny)
1 - Ctenochaetus strigosus (Kole Tang)
1 - Centropyge eibli (Eibli Angel)
<Nice mix>
So far no major issues as all livestock was quarantined before  introduction.
Aggression is at a minimum except for when someone gets too close to the Goby's cave and then only posturing by the Goby.  I was concerned about the clowns being dominant due to age and being first into the tank, but they are quite mellow.
<In this size, shape world, likely no troubles>
I am considering not adding anymore  livestock at this point as all is well, but watching the tank  I am thinking, I would like to get something yellow (or blue) into the tank.  My thoughts are maybe a Longnose Butterfly or perhaps a Foxface Lo, but the stocking order may put the Longnose butterfly out of the question and the Foxface may not be a good choice for established Eibli angel and the Kole tang due to diet.  
<Both good choices as well>
Other thoughts have been a trigger (blue throat) or a Toby (blue dot) puffer
(but shrimp, crabs and snails make maintenance a breeze),
<The Canthigasterine may sample these>
  or a dwarf lion (but shrimp would be a target).   Any suggestions for an addition or should I just be content with a happy tank for now?
<I'd keep looking about... reading here/there... No need to force such an action.>
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking question for a 150G FOWLR      9/5/12

Almost forgot, thanks for the reply.  Like you say no need to rush. I currently have no worries about nursing the next addition through quarantine or monitoring how the new addition is adapting to tank life. The tank is low stress at the moment,  which is one reason to get a tank, so will sit back and watch the tank and inhabitants mature.  Going to make the new challenge to maintain a stable system and keep major algae or Cyanobacteria breakouts at bay.
<Welcome. BobF>

Stocking plan for 180     8/19/12
Greetings Crew Member,
  I am quickly approaching setting up my 180 FOWLR and I would like to run my stocking plan by you. First the tank details:
Two internal overflows with 1 1/2 and 1 inch bulkheads( yes this is right, I double checked the sizes), a 40 gallon sump, Tunze 9011 Doc Skimmer, two Tunze 1073.020 return pumps, heater, air pump and a couple of Hydor Koralia circulation pumps. I have a Coralife 72" Lunarlight also.
  I am wondering how much live rock I should have and if some of it should be in the sump to allow for more swimming room for the fish.
<Could be... try 50-100 pounds and see how you like it>
As far as the fish plan goes: One Scott's Fairy Wrasse,
<Better to have three; two female>
Three Zebra Barred Gobies, Three Blue Reef Chromis, One Crowned Pearlscale Butterfly, Two Banner Butterflies and either a Blond Naso Tang or Blue Girdled Angel.
 If this is too many fish where would you recommend cutting back? Thank you.
<What you list can work. Bob Fenner>

one more fish, FOWLR       8/6/12
Nice to have this avenue and a place to ask questions. These things were not open to those of us who started in the marine hobby in 1989 with a Magnum 330 (which I still have) an undergravel filter and a small internal Sanders skimmer. Things have come a long way.
You guys really do a good job--and to that I am thankful. My main emphasis was Albert Thiel when I started.
<Oh! Albert's still about; more vocal/around the last several months>
I am just glad the hobby thrives still.
I had a 100 gallon fish only 15 years ago with four fish--an enormous French angel, large Annularis (sp.)<corr.>, large powder blue and a spiked cheek maroon clown. After a divorce and a move, my new wife said "why don't you do that again, I know you loved it" so, off to the races.
So much more stuff, now-wow.
Anyhow, my tank: 58 gallon show, tall but not long. 50 lbs. live sand (not so sure it is live), 65 lbs. live rock. I am not going to lie to you-Nitrates at about 30. Don't know how all those writing in have 0, but more power to them. Amiracle SL50, 380gph return (incl. head). 103watts of light on 2 fixtures, SeaClone 100. Two power heads in tank, Ebo 250w heater (Never on) and a Magnum 350 with 3 ozs. Matrix and poly filters. I am still using bio-balls (I know) and on top of them have Purigen and SeaGel in bags. Just an overview (it said to include as much as possible.)
I also have added a 5.5 gallon tank along side the Trickle with an inline pump valved to adjust flow and an internal Proclear 150 skimmer.
I change 5 gallons per week and clean all mechanical filters at the same time. I use Seachem reef salt.
I of course went too fast in the beginning, knowing not to. I kept all 4 of my other fish for over 8 years together. Fish got sick--tried hyposalinity (not for the faint of heart at all.) Didn't work.
<It really doesn't>
Moved the tank to another room and started almost over.
I added a half-black and two ocellaris clown fish--half black got Ich at once, clowns never affected.
I got really discouraged and dosed with Cupramine at about .30 for 4 weeks.
<In the main/display tank? Not a good idea>

Two weeks into that, I added a Scopas tang, about 3.5 inches.
I then went through another cycling-bacterial bloom--something.
<... the copper>

Now, since starting with the Seachem salt, I have purple algae everywhere, little bugs crawling everywhere, nice water quality and happy, peaceful fish. The angel and tang are like best friends, and I have never seen a tang act like a dog and beg for Nori and eat so much in my entire life. I have also never used live rock before-quite an interesting section of life on that. I was convinced it was dead, but I guess not.
You might imagine at this point, I am gun shy about adding another fish. I also cannot figure out why the tank looks so good after the Cupramine.
<It was absorbed quickly... by calcareous materials there>
 I am leaving the trickle going for fear that if I take out the balls, the biological filter will crash. Copper is supposed to destroy the rock. But, if you looked at mine, you would think it has been in there for years. It confuses me.
Anyways, I would like to add another fish, but if I am at my limit, tell me so and I will leave it the way it is. The tank really does look swell--fish are swell.
My thought was on a valentini Toby due to their small adult size and the fact that they don't need that much room (that is false anyway since the ocean is so large.)
<Could have a Canthigasterine>
Anyway, get back to me if you have a suggestion for me.
And thanks for giving us all an opportunity to talk here.
<Sure. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fowlrlvstgfaqs.htm
and the linked files in the series, where you find them of interest. Bob Fenner>

I forgot to mention the tank has been up and running for 5 months now.
Copper tests 0 with a Seachem test kit.
<Yes... as stated: absorbed almost immediately after applied. B>
PH is 8.3-temp. varies from 78-82 avg.
Re: one more fish, FOWLR stkg.      8/7/12

Lightning quick response, Bob-I am impressed and thank you very much.
Am I right in assuming you think I should start removing the bioballs and using the trickle as a sump?
<I would of a certainty>
It sure would ease up my under tank mess.
Thanks for the link. Any info you might have or advice on the valentini would be great.
<See WWM re the subfamily... Canthigastrinae>
 I am really familiar with the larger angels, since, over the years, I have had so many.
I understand them, and appreciate their intelligence so much.
<Welcome. B>

200G FOWLR Predator Stocking - wrasse selection/tradeoff    7/14/12
Can I have advice on my stocking list? I have previously requested this, with changing lists, but now that I have the actual system and all components in place, I'm in final planning.
This will be a 200 gallon FOWLR tank with the following fish: 3 Engineer Gobies, 2 (or 1) Yellowstripe Maroon Clown(s), Eibli Angel, Bicolor Goatfish, Harlequin Tusk, PYBT Tang, Porcupine Puffer.
I would like to also include either a Red Coris Wrasse or a Goldbar Wrasse, but am undecided on which is better suited to this mix.
<The Coris may prove rambunctious in time>
 I would like a specimen that is most likely to be harmonious in the system (particularly regarding the possibility of Tusk aggression), and this would appear to be the Coris based on my review of this species at WWM. However, I'm concerned with how large this would get relative to the Goldbar Wrasse,
and also see this Thalassoma is mentioned as Bob's favorite in the Genus.
Let me know what you suggest. Thank you! Dave
<All can work... with time, growing together. Bob Fenner>

FOWLR Fish stocking     6/1/12
<Hi Dave, Jordan with you again.>
I would appreciate feedback on my stocking list and order of introduction to the main display. I am targeting a 150 gallon tank:
Pack #1: 3 engineer gobies, 2 maroon clowns (all of these are now in quarantine, with pairing strategies being employed),
Pack #2: bicolor goatfish, blue regal tang, eibli pygmy angel.
Pack #3: harlequin Tuskfish, porcupine puffer.
<The Porc. is going to need a larger tank and will likely pester the gobies.>
The groupings are based roughly on introduction order to avoid aggression, but also on medication tolerance (e.g., Ich outbreak in pack #2 would call for formalin, same in #3 would call for copper).
<Puffers should never be exposed copper.>
Do you see any compatibility or other concerns with these species and order of introduction?
<The Tusk may look quite menacing but looks can be deceiving. I would introduce the Tusk earlier and the Regal later. Size at the time of  introduction is a factor as well. A large Goatfish may suck down two tiny Clowns.>
 The specimen of most concern for me is the pygmy angel - while I understand they do best when introduced to a very established tank,
<The Regal would appreciate a mature tank as well.>
 I am afraid that introduction well after the other more aggressive specimens in pack #3 may doom it to a quick fish store return?
<The Porc is the cause for concern for the smaller fish. I would remove it from the list.>
 Also, I have had continuous moderate phosphate levels (which I believe are due to the "old tank" live rock I am currently cooking) - perhaps this will encourage early/ongoing algae growth for the tang and angel
<Not all nuisance algae will be on the menu- Bryopsis, Cyano, Dictoyta... I strongly recommend correcting the phosphate issue before adding a bio-load.>
 (which I can further manage with GFO if it becomes a nuisance).
<GFO helps but it is not a miracle cure.>
 Diet staple will be spectrum pellets, which as I understand can become sole food sources for tang/angel specimens and address their dietary needs substantially.
<The Porc, if added, will need hard shelled foods to control its beak.>
Finally, a question on carbon filtration. My tank water source will be RO/DI water with heavy carbon block (whole house filter)
pre-filtration. Does this negate the need to use activated GAC (or a product such as Chemi-Pure) in the system?
<I would run GAC as well.>
Thanks, Dave
Re: FOWLR Fish stocking     6/1/12

Jordan! Nice to have your insights again.
<Thank you. I have been somewhat curious as to your systems progress and glad to see you are close to stocking.>
 What a fantastic group the "Crew" is. If only I could take you all to dinner as a huge thank you!
Of course that wouldn't be a large enough gesture of thanks. Let me know if you all ever convene in Denver!
<If you happen to be at MACNA... No dinner necessary but you should try to make it.>
Oh no! The centerpiece of the system is the Porc (as desired by my daughters). I have not acquired the tank yet but will explore the larger tank that works for my space due to your concern on size (i.e., this would be 185 gallon - do you think this is OK?).
<I would recommend a 225+. The 150 or 185 will be adequate for a fair amount of time but not for the life of the Puffer. The 185s added volume would be appreciated by the inhabitants.>
And, carefully watch and remove the engineer gobies and anyone else if they get unwelcome attention from the Porc (I'm sure it will not be fun to remove large engineers from the tank, so hopefully I'm not in for trouble). Do you think that if I introduce the Porc last and as small as possible, giving the others a slight leg-up on size, there is lesser risk?
<This would be my plan of attack.>
 I wonder if the Porc would live/let live if the gobies (now 2-3") reach their 7-9" sizes with well established/ concealed nests before it becomes a larger/pugnacious teenager?
<The danger lies in the Puffers inquisitive nature more so than aggression.
A Goby tail sticking out from under a rock is hard to resist tasting.>
I'll make sure the goatfish is equal to or smaller than the maroon clowns, get the tusk in earlier, plan a "no copper" strategy for the puffer, and ensure the eibli and regal tang have more mature quarters (possibly/hopefully accelerated by planning a few more mature live rock seeds for the base rock). One question I would have is whether the angel's/tang's desire for a mature tank can be somewhat offset by regular feeding of dry seaweed and use of spectrum pellets for feeding?
<Seaweed should help and I offer regardless of rock growth. Mature rock for grazing helps the fish acclimate to tank life.>
 If so, seems I could introduce them small and before the puffer is placed in the system, which would be advantageous?
<Depends on how small. Read more here-- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracselfaqs.htm  >
The previous help from you and team has been incredible, what a journey I've had since. I've taken many evasive actions - installed RO/DI source water purification, completely broke down the tank (a few days before the planned first-specimen intro date), started cooking the old system rock (going on 2 months) with heavy mechanical scrubs (hopeful phosphate leaching reduction) and use of GFO (Rowaphos), and put the previous tank back on the market.
<This should all yield positive results>
Per this email you just sent - I ordered a more precise phosphate test kit, as I will restart my phosphate reduction campaign before continuing with the main tank build/preparation. It seems the phosphates dipped then returned to normal, so I wonder if the Rowaphos has been exhausted and is returning phosphates to the system.
<Possibly exhausted but not likely leaching.>
 I also wonder if I should try a phosphate reactor.
<I definitely would; much more efficient than simply using a bag or sock.
NextReef and AquaMaxx both make quality reactors but there are many to choose from.>
 My fear is that this incredibly intensive cooking process would be for naught if the remediated phosphate level is unacceptable (I actually gave myself mallet finger during the scrubbing process, yikes).
<I was not aware in the previous query that you were still cooking the rock. I believe you are doing everything correct in addressing the issue.
Positive results should be in your near future.>
Re: FOWLR Fish stocking    6/25/12

Jordan, quick update. I read your email, quickly got rid of the rock, and ordered some Fiji Ultra Premium LR.
<Nice. Sounds like livestock is on the horizon.>
 Curing very nicely now! Seems the "when in doubt, throw it out" adage about leftovers in the fridge may be good wisdom for used tank rock where the history is questionable.
<Always a safe bet, but the rock can be saved in most cases.>
 Now back to the FOWLR predator tank build...
<Best of luck, Jordan>
Re: 200G FOWLR Predator Stocking - wrasse selection/tradeoff     7/31/12

Bob (or other Crew if Bob isn't available),
<Bob here Dave>
I am finally ready to add fish to my tank...after years of planning, running in circles, and 8 months of incessant emails to you (sorry)...
<No worries>
I've updated the final selections. Now that rock and sand are in my 200 Gallon (60" long x 30" tall), and I hope to err on the side of under stocking so all specimens have a little elbow room. I hope to get your advice one more time on FOWLR stocking.
I have 2 engineer gobies and a maroon clown in quarantine. I plan to add a harlequin tusk, a porcupine puffer, and a hippo tang. I would like to add 1-2 more fish, but want to ensure there is no crowding or competition with the swimming needs of the puffer and hippo (and for this reason, ruled out added large wrasses, large angels, triggers, tangs, goatfish, etc).
<Smaller Tang/s, Goatfish would be fine>
Any suggestions on others to consider? Maybe a larger Hawkfish (*P. **forsteri, P. hemistictus or C. pinnulatus)*?
<Interesting animals... I'd skip on the last>
 Or a smaller Thalassoma wrasse (*T. hebraicum, T. bifasciatum*)?
<Also good (fast moving) choices>
 Seems these would help ensure the puffer and hippo have their unobstructed run of the tank?
<They'll highly likely be fine together>
Appreciate any suggestions
on these listed or others you may suggest.
<I'd consider a small, schooling species here... for color, movement... Perhaps a shoal of Anthiines or Cirrhilabrus>
Thanks, Dave
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: 200G FOWLR Predator Stocking - wrasse selection/tradeoff    7/31/12

Bob, thank you for this feedback. I hadn't considered a shoal of fish to add. In researching, it seems fairy wrasses may be a better fit to the bruisers already on the stocking list (especially the Premnas and Diodontid). Would you agree?
<Mmm, well; there are quite a few other choices/groups, but yes>
I'll complete the stocking list with a handful of larger fairy wrasse specimens and a freckled Hawkfish. Seems this will keep the water column traffic patterns in balance for my tall/narrow 200G.
Thank you!
<Welcome Dave. BobF>
Re: 200G FOWLR Predator Stocking - wrasse selection/tradeoff... Thalassoma stkg./sel f' as well    7/31/12

Do you suggest that I focus on any other select choice/group?
<Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fowlrlvstgfaqs.htm
and the linked files/FAQs above in the series. B>
Re: 200G FOWLR Predator Stocking - wrasse selection/tradeoff   8/1/12

Bob, thank you. Having done more review on WWM at your suggestion, I am considering introducing a small shoal of Thalassoma lucasanum instead.

 I would like to add a 6" terminal male
<Wow! Hard to find, catch... you'll soon find out>
 that I found today at a local reputable fish store (Elite Reef in the Denver area), and see if I can find two smaller initial phase specimens (with the hope that they will be female). Do you think there is any concerns with this?
<Mmm, no>
 If not, do you have any guidance on maximum sizing for the smaller specimens?
<Three inches or so...>
As the other fish will be mid to large size, I don't want to go too small on these.  (IE, Engineer Gobies are 9", Maroon Clown and Hippo Tang are 4", Harlequin Tusk and Puffer are 7").
<The Thalassoma are very quick and aware. As long as they're healthy when introduced they should be able to stay out of the way>
Thank you...I'm almost there...Dave
<Enjoy the anticipation, process. Bob Fenner>
Re: 200G FOWLR Predator Stocking - wrasse selection/tradeoff   8/1/12

Bob, thanks for the feedback! I'll be sure to let you know how this experiment goes. As they are speedy, and there will be plenty of tankmates/obstacles that will prevent their capture, I can only hope that carnage/death is not the final outcome of a failed harem attempt...we shall see...
A few last questions before I give this a go...
Do I introduce the male first, females first, or all simultaneously? I see FAQs generally encourage a simultaneous intra-species introduction, but want to double check on the approach for a harem.
<Females first or all simultaneously>
Do you think this is likely to cause higher male aggression towards the other tank specimens?
 I may not attempt if this could cause all-out tank warfare, especially for the other Labrid (i.e. the 7" Harlequin Tusk). The Thalassoma is my last-choice specimen group.
<Exciting. B>

Help regarding adding livestock, FOWLR     5/21/12
I live in India and have an 300 gallon marine FOWLR system which has been running successfully for almost 2 years now with the following parameters:
Display tank size: 225 gallons
Sump size: 75 gallons
Live rock: 200 pounds
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Phosphate: 0
<How are NO3 and HPO4 rendered thus (zero)?>
Calcium: 450ppm
Salinity: 35ppt
Temperature: 27 degrees Celsius
I did a 20% every month for the initial 6 months and ever since then I haven't changed the water.
<Mmm, how do you intend to replenish alkalinity, alkaline earth materials, dilute accumulating metabolites?>
 I do add saltwater from time to time in order to keep the salinity stable, apart from this I dose calcium, iodide, strontium and magnesium once a week.
<I see; there is much more>
The following is the present livestock:
Yellow Tang (2.5 inch each) - 2
<A long way from home>
Regal Tang (2.5 inch) - 1
Purple Tang (2 inch) - 1
Clarkii Clown (3 inch) - 1
Humbug Damsel (1 inch) - 1
<Can become aggressive.>
The above fish were added to the tank in a span of 1 year and all have been staying happy together with no fights whatsoever. Since the tank has been stable and all the parameters are within range, I decided to add some more fish and the following are the ones I have in mind:
Firefish Goby - 2
Foxface - 1
Royal Gramma - 1
Lawnmower Blenny - 1
Lyretail Anthias - 10
Flame Angel - 1
<All good choices, temperament, compatibility wise>
I was planning to add the Anthias second last and the flame angel to be the last fish. Do you think this would a lot of fish for my kind of system?
<I think you'll be fine here>
 I am planning to add them in a span of 6 months. I did read your forum about Anthias and saw that there was a mix opinion on the lyretail Anthias. I went to my LFS and he has been keeping some 20 of them together for almost an year now and they all are happy with no fights or compatibility issues, so thought should give it a shot.
What are your thoughts on the livestock options I have in mind?
<Look good>
Also, can I keep shrimps with the above livestock or will that be a problem?
<If there's room to hide during molts, no worries>
I was thinking upon keeping a pair of skunk shrimp and a pair of fire shrimp, if they can be accommodated.
Also, since the livestock will increase, would you advice on keeping some clean up crew as I don't have any as of now. I can easily get Nassarius snails and turbo or trochus snails, if you feel they might be required.
I fully understand that nothing can be guaranteed regarding the compatibility of these fish when added into the tank, but this is the final list of fish I thought would best suit my tank and I am all ears to what the experts have to say.
Apologies for the lengthy email, I tried to cover as much data as I could.
<Thank you for sharing your system, plans. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock     5/21/12

Hello Bob,
Thank you so much for the replies, a lot of my doubts stand clear. As for your queries, here are the answers:
> <How are NO3 and HPO4 rendered thus (zero)?>
For PO4 I used Seachem Phosguard and by studying the pattern of when to change it, I was successfully able to calculate the right interval and am able to keep it at zero. As for NO3, I used a product called AZNO3 initially when my dad overfed the fish due to sheer excitement when I was away. I was successful in weaning the system off it and now its taken care by the 5 inch DSB I have in the sump plus the live rocks.
<I see; good>
> <[Mg]?>
My magnesium is a bit low about 1000 (approx) and I have started
dosing Seachem magnesium to reach the optimum levels which I should hopefully achieve in about a month or so.
<Good... needs to be in proportion (3:1 thereabouts) w/ Ca>
Although a little more clarification on the below points please:
> I did a 20% every month for the initial 6 months and ever since then I
> haven't changed the water.
> <Mmm, how do you intend to replenish alkalinity, alkaline earth materials,
> dilute accumulating metabolites?>
I did not understand this, could you please elaborate on this or provide me with a link where I can study about it?
<You had answered a bit later by explaining you supplement some major items... I would still do partial water changes (10-20%) every month>
>  I do add saltwater from time to time in
> order to keep the salinity stable, apart from this I dose calcium,
> iodide, strontium and magnesium once a week.
> <I see; there is much more>
By much more, do you mean trace elements? I asked cos I do add trace elements offered by Seachem from time to time but not very often.
<Understand that no one is able to prevent "drift" in the make up of their water in this fashion... hence the partial water change outs>
Another thing, just curious, mine is a FOWLR, so do magnesium or any other additives like calcium strontium impact the health of the fish in the tank?
<Mostly the Magnesium; not so much Sr>
I know PH alkalinity magnesium and calcium have a relation and if one is less the others get impacted, but other than that...do they affect the fish or are they just for inverts and corals?
<Actually all life>
<And you, BobF>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock     5/21/12

Dear Bob,
Thanks a lot for all the help, I appreciate it!
I shall start with a 10% water change each month and will increase the % if necessary.
Take care,
<Ahh, if you'd like to see more of the reasoning for this, please do search/read on WWM re the topic. Cheers, B>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock     5/21/12

Will certainly do so Bob, the more I read, the more I realize how less I know :)
<Ahh! As has been my realization all these years>
Thanks a ton!
<As much mass in welcomes. B>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock, 300 gal. FOWLR      5/29/12

Dear Bob,
I was reading more about the lyretail Anthias and stumbled upon the page with referred to dips/baths as the best way to acclimate these fish. I have never done this and avoid experimenting as I don't like to hurt the fish in any way, call me emotional towards them :)
<Understandable... but we have to gauge/measure one type of apparent harm against its probable gains>
I always drip acclimate the livestock for 4-5 hours and it has always worked for me. Do you suggest I should continue to do so in case of the Anthias or should I take a risk of trying the dip method?
<Up to you... I/we, our businesses used to dip/bath most all incoming>
A reply would be appreciated.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock, 300 gal., FOWLR      6/1/12

Dear Bob,
Sorry for not replying before, wasn't well.
<Ahh, do guard your health>
I was thinking since am going to go with 7 Anthias, would it be possible to add a pair of Banggai and pajama cardinals?? If yes, then:
<Is possible>
Are they compatible with each other?
Would they harm shrimps?
<Would not harm shrimp of any stocking size>
Another option I had was to have a pair of Bannerfish, but again I have heard they aren't compatible with shrimps. What are your thoughts about them?
<See WWM re Heniochus spp.... Should be fine. B>

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
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Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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