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FAQs about Reef Livestock Selection 13

Related Articles: Reef Livestock Selection, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates,

Related FAQs: Reef Livestocking 1, Reef Livestocking 2, Reef Livestocking 3, Reef Livestocking 4, Reef Livestocking 5, Reef Livestocking 6, Reef Livestocking 7, Reef Livestocking 8, Reef Livestocking 9, Reef Livestocking 10, Reef Livestocking 11, Reef Livestocking 12, Reef Livestocking 14, Reef Livestocking 15, Reef Livestocking 16, & Marine Livestocking, More Stocking FAQs, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, FAQs 6, Marine Livestock Selection, Angelfish Selection, Reef Systems 1, Reef Systems 2, Reef Set-Up 1, Reef Set-Up 2, Reef Set-Up 3, Reef Set-Up 4, Reef Set-Up 5, Reef Set-Up 6, Reef Tanks, Reef Lighting, Reef Lighting 2, Reef Filtration,

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

Help with Continued Stocking... going to reef sans grief 2/3/10
Hi WWM Crew,
Thanks for all the continued support and knowledge. I have been browsing/studying your site for a few years and it's never failed. So, I'm hoping to tap into your knowledge and receive some recommendations.
<Will try>
I have recently re-built my 75 gal for the 4th time. Yes, I'm addicted to new aquascapes and specimens. All of my previous tanks have been FOWLR but this time I am working towards a reef. Following the advice you have given
over and over, I am researching livestock and will continue to add to the short list I have already inherited from friends. So far the tank is housing 75 lbs of live rock, (1) Potters Angel - Centropyge potteri, (1) Indigo Dottyback - Pseudochromidae fridmani x Pseudochromidae sankeyi, (1) Orange Linckia Star - Linckia sp., (1) Nimble Spray Crab - Percnon gibbesi, and a small clean-up crew consisting of some jade hermits and some Nassarius snails. I understand there are some issues with this group but, so far so good. Let's say I took them in to save them from flushing due to various compatibility issues in their previous systems.
<Mmm, not compatibility amongst what you list, but the Dwarf Angel and Linckia species are not easily kept in captive settings>
I think I have been lucky so far since the system is big enough to allow each of them their own territory. Now, my questions...
1. Will the Nimble Spray eventually become big/aggressive enough to go after the smaller fish (i.e.., Dottyback or future additions)?
<Not likely, no. This species biggest problem in captivity is that it's not really completely aquatic... It spends a good deal of time in the wild out of the water... on rocks>
2. The Star was doomed in the previous tank for obvious and previously stated reasons. Following transfer it has lost a leg and is slowly starving I believe. Should I just remove it and cut my losses? Or move to the refugium and target feed?
<I'd try the latter... If/when it is obviously decomposing, it can be removed w/o causing much pollution>
Now some future stocking questions. Again, I am planning to move forward into the reef hobby and want to make sure I am reef safe, but those items will not be added until late summer and following plenty more research. As
far as fish stock, I am interested in adding a mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus), striped blenny (Meiacanthus grammistes), and/or clarkii clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii). I have already begun seeding the refugium with pods for the dragonet (or a Sixline if that would hold up better in a potentially rough crowd). What I am most concerned about is compatibility with the nimble spray crab and the indigo Dottyback.
<These can/will go fine here likely>
Sorry for the length but thanks in advance for your advice!!
Regards, Joe
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Stocking, set-up questions sans searching... reef -- 01/30/10
Hi again,
Well previously I asked you about the lighting on my hexagon tank. I have decided to start over. I am getting a 90 gallon tank. I want to have fish with some soft corals. I have live rock, sand, tang, Ocellaris, clown goby, two crabs, banded shrimp, and a serpent starfish in my hexagon now.
I want to start out with mushrooms, finger leather, polyps, and love the rose bubble tip anemone.
<... please read re all these species... and a workable approach at their mixing. Here:
and the linked files above>
. I have read that maybe the anemone shouldn't be in there with other stinging mushrooms.
Since I am spending around 3000$ I want to get the best light and set up.
<Invest your time in study ahead>
I like my LFS? ( is this right for local fish store) but they recommend I get the wave point light, total of 216 watts, 2:54watt actinics and 2:54 10000K.
What do you recommend for a new set up...
<That you read>
I would like to have the capability to do more than the starter corals once I get comfortable. It seems once I got the fish, then I wanted live rock and sand and invertebrates, and now I want soft corals...etc... I know with the 90 gallon you should have 270-450 watts. I also know that the corals can go higher up in the tank and some can go lower according to what they need..
But I also know that if I'm doing this I want to do it right and not be disappointed that I didn't know more and buy a different light., protein skimmer, refugium..Please help and recommend what you would do.. Thank you so very much.
<Please learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. You can get input
on how to use our resources where you found how to write us. Bob Fenner>

Reef stocking advice request 1/26/10
Hello WWM Crew,
<Good morrow Wayne>
Thank you for all the work that you do in providing so many enthusiasts with free advice! I am seeking your collective assistance once again for a stocking plan for my marine aquarium. Due to a parasite outbreak about 3 months ago, I'm afraid I lost a number of my fish (marine Ich I believe, though it was terribly rapid). The surviving members are a Randall's goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) and a Six line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) in addition to two Skunk cleaner shrimp which were added to try and control the outbreak. As I have stated, the last visible sign of the outbreak was around 3 months ago and I am working on a new stocking plan. My tank details are as follows: 90 gallon display tank; 40 gallon sump; 30 gallon refugium; Vertex IN-180 skimmer; closed loop with Mag 5 pump; Mag 9 return pump; 90-100 lbs live rock; 80 lbs sugar fine aragonite; 20 lbs miracle mud; Koralia 4 for circulation. There are also some assorted Zoanthids, a Duncanopsammia axifuga, Xenia, Green Star polyps, and Sinularia. Clean up crew consist of a single medium sized left handed hermit and a couple small red legged hermits as well as some Nassarius spp., Astrea spp., Trochus spp. and Cerith spp. snails. I have been considering the additional livestock I would like to add and would like some advice/input on these:
Royal Gramma - Gramma loreto
Nemateleotris magnifica - how many would you suggest?
Lawnmower Blenny (I'm aware of the needs of this little guy)
Lemonpeel or Lemonpeel Cross Angel (perhaps?)
<If you can find one>
Bartlett's Anthias - would it be possible to support more than one in this setup responsibly?
<Yes... need to be in groups... perhaps five individuals here>
a few peppermint shrimp
Linckia or Fromia spp. starfish (my wife loves starfish) - any suggestions?
<... see WWM, def. the genus Fromia: http://wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm>
I'm avoiding the surgeonfishes as I've had dismal luck with these. The system is approximately 1 year old however about half of the rock came from another reefer's tank which was about 15 years old. I have a great deal of life in my refugium including many copepods and a small amount of Chaetomorpha and a couple mangroves. Water temp is typically around 77.5 degrees F and specific gravity is 1.026, pH 8.3, total alkalinity is about 3 mEq/L (I'm trying to raise this) and calcium is about 400ppm (trying to raise this too!).
<Raise the Alk., don't worry re [Ca]... but your Mg concentration?>
I'd like to choose an angelfish that will fit in well here but it doesn't have to be the Lemonpeel Angel. I had a Coral Beauty before the outbreak, but I would like to try a different angel this time.
Would a Flame Angel be too boisterous for the Dartfishes?
I would like one species of fish which I could stock a "group". This could be the Dartfishes
<... you list one>
or I have had my eye on the Vanderbilt Chromis as well.
<Just go with the Anthiines OR the Chromis>
Once again I'd like to thank you all for your informative and well assembled efforts that many of us enjoy reading.
Best Regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Stocking two reefs 1/25/2009
Hello, my name is Joe Goddard and I am a long-time reader, first-time writer. I have learned much from browsing your site and reading the postings. I greatly appreciate this service that the crew provides. I have a rather specific question that I would like to hear an expert's opinion on.
<Real good Joe>
Here are the specifics on my two aquariums.
First, I have a 75gal tank w hang-on fuge, AquaC Remora skimmer, BioWheel 400 series filter. This tank has a quad T-5 lighting fixture on top of it, running 2 54 watt actinics and 2 54 watt 10k bulbs. There are 2 powerheads
for additional circulation. Tank contains approximately 125 lbs live rock.
This aquarium has been running for about 2.5 years. Current water tests revealed PH 8.2, Nitrates <10 ppm, Nitrites undetectable, Ammonia undetectable. Current tank residents include Hippo Tang, flame angel, mated pair Black Clowns, yellow headed rose goby (rarely seen, hides in rocks), Mandarin dragonet (my prized possession), Longspine urchin, various snails and hermits, 2 Zoanthid colonies, 2 mushroom colonies, and one Ricordea colony.
Second, I have a 30 gal Bowfront w BakPak combination skimmer/filtration system w Nano powerhead for circulation. Lighting is Current SunPod 250K HQI. Water tests similar to above. This aquarium has only been running for about 8 months. There is a deep sand bed and approx 30 lbs of live rock. Current residents are a purple Firefish, blue Zoanthid colony, short tentacle plate coral (Fungiid family), green Aussie Brain Coral Goniastrea.
If more information about tank specs is necessary, I can provide, not sure it is material to my specific question.
Here is my "plan," and it is only an idea... I would like to provide some company for the solitary purple Firefish.
<Good... almost always found in twos in the wild>
Part one of this idea is to move the 2 black clowns to the smaller tank.
I don't foresee any problems with this mix, but am open to your feedback.
(Maybe the clowns would even breed! That could be fun/exciting and provide a new project entirely!)
<A good possibility>
Part two is to replace them with a maroon clown in the 75 gal tank. Now for my specific question: what is your opinion of the compatibility of a maroon clown with my Mandarin?
<Most other fishes leave Mandarins/Callionymids well alone... they have a reputed "bad taste">
I have never kept a maroon clown, but have read of their aggression. I found one post on WWM that advised against housing a Mandarin with a maroon clown in a newly set-up 26 or 30 gal.
<Too small a world; but should be fine in a 75>
Comparing this situation to my own, I see that there are two factors that contribute to the likely success of my "plan." My tank is seasoned and larger than the proposed tank in the posting.
I think it is a question that is worth pondering and look forward to reading your opinions.
Everything seems to be running nicely and I don't want to create a problem.
After rescuing this mandarin from a LFS after a shipping accident (not sure what happened but he couldn't swim and only sat in a corner, his body was curled around almost in a circle... super sad), I have had him/her for about 1.5 years and have trained him to eat frozen Mysis and frozen bloodworms, in addition to his diet of pods he gleans from the rocks. I do not want to create a stressful situation for the mandarin, or any of my fish for that matter, so I thought it would be better to ask the opinion of someone with more experience than I before enacting this plan. Again, thank you for the service that you have already provided to me and thank you for any feedback that you can provide. If any additional information is needed, I will be happy to write further. Thank you, Joe Goddard
<I think your stocking, moving plans are sound. Bob Fenner>

Assorted SW Questions; reef stkg., clown beh.... Zoa sys./ltg. 1/24/10
Hello WWM Crew!
<Hi Drew>
I'd like to start by thanking you all from the bottom of my heart for this resource you provide to the community.
<You're welcome.>
I'm new to the hobby, and you have all been an invaluable help. I've been reading/searching your site vigorously for the last 9 months, and I've accumulated some varied questions that I haven't been able to find satisfying answers to. I'd appreciate any advice you could all give, and I apologize if some of them could have been answered by Googling harder :) I also apologize if this is too lengthy or too many questions, but these are questions I've accumulated over quite some time.
My tank information:
9 months old
55 gallon cube (apprx. 23"x23"x23") with an open top
10 gallon sump with Aqua Euro USA Skimmer (not sure of more specifics than that unfortunately, I was told it's a bit overpowered and seems to be pretty beefy)
<No such thing as overskimming.>
100 lbs. live rock
1 250W 14K HQI
Koralia 3 powerhead
Fine CC Substrate
Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite: 0
Alkalinity: 3.0 mEq
Calcium: 330 (I need to raise this a bit)
pH: 8.2
Temp: 78F
Spg: 1.026
I do three 10g water changes per month
Livestock: 2 tank-bred Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Firefish, 1 Yellow Watchman Goby, 1 Psychedelic Mandarin, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, assorted snails/crabs in the CUC.
Corals: Several Euphyllia, 1 Goniopora (I know, beginner mistake, but I may have lucked out and it's looking gorgeous after 8 months), 1 Tridacna Crocea, 1 Bubble Coral, some Leather and Mushroom coral, 1 Green Birdsnest Coral.
Question 1: I'm trying to decide the last fish(es) to add to my tank. It's important that they are harmonious with the current inhabitants, attractive, and appropriate for my system. Active is also a plus. I'd possibly like a wrasse (Mystery or Flasher perhaps), but I'm concerned with them out-competing the Mandarin or jumping out of my open top. Are there any wrasses that would fit that bill?
<No, not with an open top, and most would definitely compete with your Mandarin. Mandarins actually do better in larger systems, not so much because of their size, but to ensure enough rock is present with pods, etc.
for them to graze on.>
I don't really care for Grammas or Anthias.
<You're tank would be too small to properly house Anthias.>
I've entertained the thought of a Clown Goby, but I'd like something more active. If needs be I could try to find a new home for the Mandarin, as I don't see him much and sometimes fret over his food supply (although he's currently happy and fat as a little sausage). Any thoughts?
<With a 2'x2' tank, I would not add any more fish. As it stands now, each fish has about 10 gallons, adding more may cause environmental stress.>
Question 2: I'm curious about one facet of my Ocellaris Clowns' behavior.
When I first got them (apprx. 6 months ago) they were very young and completely fearless. They would practically eat right out of my hand.
Over the last few months, however, they seem much more timid and easily frightened. They freak out and hide in one of their favorite spots every time I come near or do any tank maintenance. I can't think of anything that is particularly stressful for them. I don't do any messing around in the tank other thank routine maintenance, and there are certainly no fish bothering them. Is this a routine behavioral adjustment that happens as they grow older, or is this reason for concern? They seem pretty healthy and happy otherwise.
<No cause for concern, all of my fish exhibit the same behavior when I enter the room. This behavior can result from the tank being in a low traffic room such as I have and you may have.>
Question 3: I have extremely little algal growth anywhere in my tank, but I have regular diatomic growth on my CC substrate and it's quite unsightly.
I routinely vacuum it out about once a month, and I don't think I overfeed. I've ordered a Tongan Fighting Conch to hopefully address the problem. Do you think this is appropriate, and is there anything else I should try? I've considered the idea about replacing the CC with sand, and I wish I had went with sand in the beginning, but the thought of that undertaking is pretty horrifying. I'd like to avoid it if possible.
<Using a good chemical media such as Chemipure or a Poly Filter will help here.>
Question 4: I'd really like a Pistol Shrimp to accompany my Watchman Goby, as I think he'd REALLY enjoy a burrow and a friend. However, I'm quite attached to my Cleaner Shrimps (who'd have thought shrimp could be so personable?) and I've read that there's a very good chance a Pistol Shrimp would eventually kill them. In my system, do you think this is a likely occurrence?
<The risk is there especially in smaller systems, enjoy the cleaner shrimp.>
Question 5: After some experimentation and experience, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'd like to focus heavily on exotic Zoanthids in this tank. I've heard that Zoa tanks tend to do better, and have better coloration, with higher K lights. Should I switch to a 20K 250W HQI, or add some fluorescent actinics, or just stick with what I have? Retaining the intense coloration of expensive Zoas is the goal.
<If you are looking for that "pop", consider adding one of the newer LED actinics such as Ice Cap recently released. I wouldn't go with a 20K, there is plenty of blue present in the 14K lamp but it is masked by more intensity in the other colors that are more favorable to shallow water photosynthetic invertebrates.>
These are all the questions I can think of now. I'd greatly appreciate any help you all could offer, and hopefully it wasn't too lengthy and the questions were appropriate.
Thank you!
<And thank you for your fine grammar and well written email. James (Salty

Reef safe animals?, hermits, dragon wrasse -- 01/18/10
okay ill try counting the stripes, by reef safe I meant just with the corals because I have the large crabs and things to deal with the other predators, in this sense the dragon wrasse is coral safe right?
<Should not eat corals'¦ but may carry small frags around and knock corals over.>
also my water parameters are almost perfect almost always the same as my other reef tank just a little bit of nitrates but under the amount for corals, probably due to the amount of algae in the sump. how do I determine the species of hermit crab?
<Books'¦ at a pinch the internet will do. Start here e.g. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and in the FAQs on ID. Marco.>

Stocking/Compatibility In A 20 Gallon Salt Water Tank That Wants To Be A 75 Gallon 1/17/10
<Hi John>
I am looking for suggestions on adding another fish to my tank. First, it is a standard 75 gal with a Eshopps wet/dry filter.
The filter is 24" X 12" X 16" and has twin 1" intakes and a Quiet One 3000 return pump. I alternate using carbon and phosphate pads in the drip tray monthly. I rinse these pads and the polyester pad twice a week. I also have a Hydor Koralia 3 pump in the tank. The skimmer is a Aqua C Remora. There is approximately 70 lbs of live rock and 1 - 2" of crushed coral base. I do a 5 - 12 gal water change weekly at which time I scrape the hair algae from the back and one side of the tank. (My form of nutrient export.)
The current inhabitants are a 5" Picasso Trigger, approx 30" Snowflake Eel, and a 3" Blue Yellowfin Damsel. I have had the trigger and eel for 8 years.
<Yikes, not much swimming room for the triggerfish in a 24"x12" area.
Does not belong in this system.>
First, I saw a 5" Pink Tail Trigger that I would love to buy but I think there maybe a clash with my Picasso. Do you agree, or do you think they might get along?
<Your tank is overstocked now with the sizes of the fish you presently have and trouble looms ahead.>
Or how do you think one of the following fish might fare in my tank? a Foxface Rabbit Fish, Lawnmower blenny, Dwarf angel like a Flame, Lemon Peel, or Coral Beauty.
<First off, unless you have a typo in your given dimensions, your tank is actually 20 gallons in
size based on my math. Much too small for any of the fish you have excluding the damsel.>
I am in search of maybe one more fish just for a little more movement and color. The damsel was added last year for the same reason.
<If you've made a typo, and your tank is a 75, it is stocked to the max now based on the sizes of the fish you listed. The Picasso Triggerfish is no where near full grown and itself, it will be to large for your present tank. These fish can attain lengths of up to 10" in the wild.
And now, we also have to deal with an eel that must be a morph, as Snowflake Eels rarely exceed 30" inches in length in the wild and unlikely to exceed 24" in captivity.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Stocking Levels In A Nano Tank 1/17/10
Hi Bob,
As I usually now do, I have again read the queries I have sent out, and on the subject query, I discovered my oversight re the "tank" dimensions were actually the dimensions of his filter. I have sent Jordan my apologies and hoping you will edit before placing in the archives.
<Hotay James! B>
Re Stocking Levels In A Nano Tank 1/17/10
<Hello Jordan,
First I must apologize for my oversight. As I read your query again, I realized the dimensions you gave me were for the filter itself and not the tank. Do accept my apologies.>
I did do research and yes I do plan on moving the clownfish when he gets big, he's relatively small right now, maybe an inch and a half, but yea thanks for the advice.
I'll upgrade the maroon clown and then put a damsel with the goby.
<Other than my oversight, other advice I have suggested remains the same.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Stocking/Compatibility In A 20 Gallon Salt Water Tank That Wants To Be A 75 Gallon 1/18/10
Hi James,
<Hello Jordan.>
I did not make a mistake, I believe you misread.
<Yes, am aware of that and have sent you my apologies.>
I gave you the wet/dry filter dimensions. The tank is 48" X 18" x 20", a standard 75 gal, that would love to be a 125 gal.
Both the eel and the trigger have been in this tank since 2002, or 8 years, and have seemingly stopped growing.
<Tank size would dictate this.>
The eel is unmistakably longer than half the tank length, which would make him 24". Although it is hard to measure it exactly, I guess it to be 30" +/- 2". I don't think it is a "morph" just an older well fed Snowflake eel. (I feed him 2 - 3 times a week)
The Trigger fish, which has not noticeably grown in the passed year, has had some bad moments. 5 years ago he kept chewing on a much larger Lion fish's fins until the Lion passed. And about 4 years ago he did much the same to a Niger Trigger that was slightly larger and had been his tank mate for at least 4 years. I put the Damsel in the
tank last year to see if the Trigger would live with another fish and he has not bothered it at all. So now I am thinking one more fish, from the group I've mentioned.
I did think maybe this tank was a little small already because of the eel's size and the constant algae growth. However since I put the wet/dry filter on the tank 1 year ago, I now have hundreds of bugs (look like small shrimp) which emerge after lights out, and what look like several small colonies of small tube anemones or feather dusters.
The latter may be Aiptasia. My point being the tank seems to be doing better than ever. So now I am looking for some agreement on adding another fish. I really don't think the Pink Tail Trigger would work, but maybe one of the others...
Thanks for the input, it is very helpful. WetWebMedia is one of the most entertaining and educational sites around. I read it daily.
<Jordan, I would not add anymore fish. Your eel and triggerfish are large waste producers and in adding another fish you will just be increasing nuisance algae growth and lowering water quality and raising environmental stress on your present inhabitants.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Stocking/Compatibility In A 20 Gallon Salt Water Tank That Wants To Be A 75 Gallon 1/18/10

Thanks for your input. I guess I will stick with the three fish and hold off adding any more. They seem as happy as possibly in their mini world.
One last thing, I know you guys are probably over worked and make mistakes from time to time because of it.
<Can happen.>
But I am John, not Jordan.
I hope Jordan got his response.
<Sorry about that John. There was a similar query I answered and I guess Jordan stuck in my mind. Be assured Jordan received his response. Maybe I'm ready for a pump of Jack Daniels.>
Take care and thanks.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Please Help With Possible Stocking Issue/Nutrient Control 1/15/10
Hi Guys,
<Hello Raquel>
I could use a bit of help with a nitrates issue.
<Like the song goes, "I Can Help".
I've a 25 gallon Solana 18x18x18" lit with 150w 14k MH. It has a nice open live rock structure and 1" live sand bed. Threadwheel modified stock skimmer seems to be working efficiently with nice dark skimmate. In addition to the built in return pump flow, I've a Koralia 1 providing additional flow. A Reefkeeper and ATO keep the tank pretty stable at 79F and 1.025. Tank holds
about 22 gallons after accounting for the rock and sand.
I have one of the rear chambers in the tank set up as a small refugium - took out all the bioballs and put in live rock rubble, Chaeto and a light than runs opposite the light in the main tank.
<Sounds like a nice set up.>
I use RODI water from my own purification system, and I've tested it with both TDS meter and nitrates kit. Oceanic salt is used for water changes, I always keep at least 10 gallons of saltwater circulating on hand.
<Very nice.>
The tank has been set up since August. Beginning of September it developed a leak and I was sent a replacement. I had to swap everything over into the tank. This caused a new small cycle. It seems since then my nitrates will not stay below 5ppm.
For example, 4 days ago, I performed a 10 gallon water change. After the water change, nitrates were at ~2.5ppm (Salifert). Today I was going to add a new coral and tested the nitrates, they were up at 5ppm again! So, I did another 10 gallon water change and put the new piece my other tank, which never has any nitrates.
<Ah, 5ppm is entirely acceptable, and some corals/clams actually do better with a small amount of nitrate present in the system. No need to fret here.>
Tank inhabitants:
Pair of small Maroon clowns < 2"
<What do you plan to do with these when they get larger. Your system will be much too small for these fish in the very near future.>
Six line wrasse ~ 2"
2 crocea clams 3" and 5"
~ 10 blue leg hermits and algae eating hermits (had more, seem to have lost a few along the way)
~ 6 Margarita Snails
<I like animals that are named after a drink:)>
~ 8 Nassarius Snails
2 Zebra Striped Turbo Snails
3 Nerite Snails (had more, but they like to journey across my living room floor so have re-homed several)
<In future queries, please cap names of fish, invertebrates, and product names.
Saves me much time if I do not have to do it before posting.>
1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1 Peppermint Shrimp
1 Emerald Crab
<I would not keep this crab with ornamental shrimp, especially in a small system. There always exists a chance that they may soon be a midnight snack.
Not worth feeding a 35 dollar shrimp to a 4 dollar crab.>
a few varieties of Zoanthids
blue mushrooms
2 small stalks xenia
1 rock Acan echinata too big to go in the other tank
1 superman Montipora also too big to fit in other tank
* I've moved all my lps/sps into the other tank until issue with this tank can be resolved.
I have been feeding very sparingly, but still the nitrates go up and there is icky brown algae all over the place. My other tank has never had these kind of issues!!
<I would put a half of unit of Chemipure Elite in one of the filter chambers even if it means removing the Chaeto, as the Chemipure is going to help much more with nutrient control than the Chaeto in your system. Read about the product here.
I don't feel I've stocked the tank very heavily with fish.
<It will be soon.>
As the clowns mature and grow, they will go into a tank of their own, a 30g long I purchased and have set to the side for future use (and free time).
<Even the 30 long will be too small for these fish, they can reach lengths up to a stocky 6 inches.>
At that point, I may add a blenny or goby to take their place in the Solana.
I have heard of nitrate sponges
<Don't waste your money on a nitrate sponge.>
and poly filter but have never used them.
Usually water changes are enough... but 50% every 4 days seems excessive!
I'm really stumped and any help you could give would be appreciated!!
<I suggest reading here and linked articles/FAQ's in the header.
Thanks in advance!!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Please Help With Possible Stocking Issue/Nutrient Control 1/15/10
I've heard before that 5ppm nitrates is acceptable, but why then all the algae which seems to be choking out the corals? I will definitely try the Chemipure in this tank.
<Excess nutrient levels are usually the main cause. It takes a while before dissolved nutrients denitrify into nitrates. Are you feeding any slurry type liquid foods to your corals?
If so, cut down on the dosage. Most of the corals we keep can get by with very small feedings as they produce most of the food they require by photosynthesis.
I use none of these type products myself and my coral growth/color is very good.>
My other tank is a reef with no fish, only a pod of Sexy shrimp, which provide me with hours of entertainment. I did want to keep a few fish in this new Solana, however.
<It can be difficult to control nutrients in small systems present with fish, especially keeping Maroon Clownfish which are voracious eaters with a waste production equal to their intake. Small systems (mini-reefs) do better with just a few smaller fish present such as gobies, blennies, small reef safe wrasses such as your Six Line Wrasse, etc. Your 25 gallon tank likely has no more than 15 actual gallons of water present and is what you need to consider.>
What would be a good replacement fish or fishes to put in the tank in place of the Maroon Clownfishes? I am thinking Blennies or Gobies due to small tank size, but it is an open top tank and I am aware many Gobies are
jumpers. I would like something colorful and with personality!
<There are many colorful small fish to choose from, check out different etailers for ideas. Placing a glass lid/cover over the top would solve your jumping worry and reduce the evaporation rate. Do read here and linked articles/FAQ's in the header.
Also, what would be the total number of fish as a safe stocking number?
<In your system, three small fish would be the max that I would go. With an assortment of colorful invertebrates, a pleasing picture can be made. I have seen some beautiful mini-reefs in the last few years.>
I am heartbroken to have to rehome my Clownfishes. It took me over a week of watching and separating, reintroducing, etc to get them to finally pair up.:(
<More planning/research should have been done on your part before doing this.
If your funds permit, consider getting a larger system for the clownfish and have the best of both worlds. Sweet talking your husband or boyfriend is another viable option:)>
Thanks for all of your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Please Help With Possible Stocking Issue/Nutrient Control 1/15/10
Oh, sorry to bother you again James,
<Not a problem, Raquel.>
but do you think a pair of False
Perculas would be acceptable for this tank size, seeing as they stay smaller?
Liveaquaria.com says the min. tank size for those guys is 20 gallons...
<Yes, that can be workable providing they are the only fish in the system.
Do not always go by what some etailers say is the minimum tank size. It's not always necessarily true. Foster & Smith also states that the minimum size tank for a Regal (Blue) Tang is 70 gallons. Not too much water for a fish that grows to one foot in the wild. I have a 90 long (60"x18", and I'd love to have a Regal Tang but I would attempt in this size tank, and unfortunately, it is difficult for a man to sweet talk his wife into a larger system. Money talks in this regard and I have little of that.>
<You're welcome and sorry I couldn't make your day brighter. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Please Help With Possible Stocking Issue/Nutrient Control 1/15/10
Thanks James, you're the best.
<That is nice of you Raquel, but I'm not buying you a larger system for your Maroon Clownfish.:)
James (Salty Dog)>

Fish Stocking in a 90 gallon Mixed Reef -- 01/04/09
Dear WWM Crew-
Here's a little background. My tank is 90 gallons and has been running with 110lbs of live rock with stable parameters since early August. I have a great skimmer, but I do 15 gallon water changes religiously each week. Also, the tank has quite a bit of open swimming space. That said, I'm interested in a moderately peaceful and completely reef safe community of fish. Here's my potential stocking list:
- Longspine Cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacanthus)
<A few of these... are very social as a species>
- Carberryi Anthias (Nemanthias carberryi)
<Again... in a group>
- Tailspot Blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura)
- Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis)
I'd like to keep a group of 5-10 Zoramia leptacanthus (formerly Apogon leptacanthus). Along with the Zoramia leptacanthus, I'd like to keep a trio of Nemanthias carberryi, one Ecsenius stigmatura and one Cirrhilabrus solorensis. Based on my stocking plan, do you foresee any compatibility or overstocking issues?
<Mmm, no, not likely>
Also can you recommend an appropriate group size for the Zoramia leptacanthus?
<5, 7...>
I greatly appreciate your help. WetWebMedia is a fantastic resource, thank you!
<Welcome May. Bob Fenner>

New Tank and compatibility question(s) (SW Nitrate control, Stocking and compatibility 1/4/2010
My first question to the group (very recently setup a tank after a number of years without) however love the site and the excellent information it has provided.
Tank specifications (Fish only) been up for 4 months: 180 Gal, 76F, 1.023 SG, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 80? Nitrate
<Nitrates are a bit high.>
Livestock: 2 Ocellaris Clown, 10 various damsels, 1 CCS, 1 lawnmower blenny, 2 Sally Lightfoot, Spotted Hermit Crab, 2 Emerald Crabs, Turbo/Cat's Eye and Margarita snails and Red/Blue Hermits.
Environment: Crushed coral substrate, live rock (only ~15-20 pounds)
A) First, I know I need to increase the live rock and decrease my Nitrates (if this value is correct). I am using a master saltwater kit and the colors are so close for the Nitrates that it is difficult to accurately read.
<A common problem>
I have shopped for a digital tester for Nitrates (or any of the values I am currently testing) and most are very costly.
I took a sample to my LFS and they used the dip and read stripes and had three people read and each changed the values they thought the water was reading. Other than the potential high PH however they ended up telling me my water was fine. My good LFS is nearly an hour away and I do not make it there often however I plan on taking water with me the next time to hope they use something more accurate to at least validate or compare to the tests I am performing.
Any options for at least a more accurate, reasonably priced Nitrate reading I am not considering (I read Salifert tests may be better in terms of color variant)? (FYI, since the high values in month 2 I have not had any algae issues which I have read are complimentary to the high nitrates so another indication that they are potentially not as high as we believe they are reading).
<I've had luck with the red sea kits - you can dilute the sample using 1 part test water and 4 parts distilled water to get a 'better' read>
B) Trying to stabilize water in the second month, I added Thera-P at the suggestion of my LFS which did lower Ammonia/Nitrite but also pretty significantly changed my PH value (up to 8.4) where it stays today. I have asked LFS about the PH value and they indicated to let PH drop naturally over time. Do you recommend using Thera-P again in lower volume in addition to regular water changes, or accelerate funds to the purchase of a protein skimmer or just accelerate my addition of live rock to bring the potentially high Nitrate issue into check?
<I'm generally against additives to remove chemicals - skimming, and live rock will serve you better.>
C) I lost most of the snails I had in the tank around the time of adding the Thera-P and I thought this was due to the rapid PH change, however recently having replaced a number of Turbos I noticed I have lost 2 of them again this past week. I believe that the CCS may be problematic with them (and potentially the crabs) however he stays near the top of the tank and I have been trying to keep a pretty close eye on him and have not seen a problem with regards to the snails. Reading up more on the spotted Hermit Crab I am wondering if he may be the culprit (and perhaps also the perceived issue with less activity from the red/blue legged hermits)?
<Any of those are possible. CCS aren't the best 'starter' sea star read more about them here - they will be very predatory:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chocchipstars.htm >
D) Last set of questions:
a. I have read a lot about your concern with CCS, specifically much on incorrect diet. I am currently rotating directly feeding frozen brine and algae sheets. Do I need to add anything further to his diet?
<Brine Shrimp are much like popcorn, Will need something more substantial - Mysis shrimp, small pieces of silverside, etc.>
b. Anything other than the above concerns noted that you see issue with the livestock/tank conditions?
<You did not mention what kinds of damsels you have, but some commonly sold become holy terrors when they mature.>
c. Eventual livestock I would like to add yet include Yellow Tang, Blue Tang (have read that tangs are able to singularly add as long as body types
are different and potentially need to add the YT last due to aggression/territorial), and an Angel (I know only one) perhaps a French.
Any concern with this wish list or anything else that you feel the tank is lacking for balance or your recommendation.
<What you suggest sounds fine. I would introduce both tangs together and last., and I would not even consider adding a blue tang without a FW and formalin dip, followed by at least 4 weeks of quarantine, as they tend to catch Ich very quickly.>
Thank you very much for the board and the expert advice you provide.
<My pleasure.>

Stocking/Setup/Am I Doing This Right?/Help With Coral -- 01/03/10
Dear WWM,
<<Hello Heather>>
Thank you in advance for your help/advice/2 cents etc.
<<Is my pleasure to assist>>
I've read so much information and misinformation at this point I don't know what is right and my eyes are starting to cross from the glare of the computer screen, but I seem to find a lot of good advice on your site.
<<Mmm, indeed'¦though even among the crew there are many differences of opinion. It is up to you weigh the answers and to use your own good judgment to come to a decision>>
I'm hoping someone might be able to answer some questions for me.
<<I'm happy to try'¦>>
My Setup-
I have a 55g reef. The tank is a SeaClear System 2 with built-in filtration. Right now it's running with the SeaClear protein skimmer (crap, but better than nothing) that I am replacing in the next couple of days with a CPR Bak Pak 2.
<<Hmm, a likely improvement'¦but for only a bit more money, I would recommend you have a look at the AquaC Remora>>
I have mesh bags of Purigen and carbon for chemical filtration. I am running 2 Koralia1's, 1 Koralia Nano and an Aquabal with a rotating Koralia 'wavemaker' attached.
<<Very good>>
The Koralias are aimed at the sides and front respectively and the 'wavemaker' diagonally across the length. My light is a 24' CF with 1 65w 12000k and 1 65w Actinic (It's shorter than the tank because I upgraded from a 30g, but I keep it to one side and the low light corals to the other and it seems to work for them.).
<<Mmm'¦I would consider this as 'low' lighting for this tank'¦period. If you plan to keep more than some Corallimorphs, Zoanthids, or azooxanthellate species I suggest adding 'at least' another Daylight bulb to this mix>>
There is approx. 50lbs of live Fiji rock in the main tank and about 3lbs in the compartment that was designated for the bioballs. I plan on adjusting some things back there so I can have a slow-flow-thru fuge section that will have Chaeto and hopefully lots of copepods. Oh yeah, and there is 50lbs of live sand. Taking into account the dimensions of the tank 36x15x20 and subtracting for acrylic thickness, displacement from rock and sand, and the fact that the tank is narrower in the middle to allow for the built in filtration compartments, I calculated that I'm only working with roughly 30-32 gallons in the main display and 5-6 in the back filter area.
<<Likely so, yes>>
I know there are inches of fish rules
<<Useless, in my opinion'¦ Each fish/fish species must be evaluated against the system/setup>>
but there are 3' long skinny fish and 3' wide fish.
<<And there are some 3' fishes that would do fine in this tank (e.g. - Some Cardinalfishes)'¦and some 3' fishes that would not (e.g. - Dwarf Angels).
They have widely diverse feeding habits and it's all making my head spin.
<<Ah but careful research on your part is key'¦do read here and among the associated links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeflvst.htm >>
I would like to know if my tank could comfortably accommodate a Blue Spot Jawfish or a Coral Beauty or both'¦?
<<A Blue Spot is possible in this size system given suitable tankmates and environmental conditions (e.g. -- a suitable substrate for digging)'¦please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm . The tank is a bit too small for the Coral Beauty in my opinion>>
The fish I already have get along great. They've turned this one pile of rock into fish condos and they each have their own 'apartment'. With the exception of the Mandarin who cruises all over the tank feeding, they don't really seem to like to go to the darker side of the tank. Is that odd?
<<Not at all'¦unless a generally nocturnal species, they will tend to gravitate to the brighter side of the tank>>
The current residents are as follows:
2 Ocellaris Clowns (Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy) 3' & 2.5'
1 Firefish Goby (Roxie) 3'
1 Lawnmower Blenny (Teddy) 4.5'
1 Mandarin Dragonet (Matilda) currently 1.5'
1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1 Emerald Mithrax Crab
<<This crab may prove troublesome to your smaller fishes as it gets large/larger>>
2 Scarlet reef Hermits
4 Blue leg Hermits
1 Electric Blue Hermit
1 Sand Sifting Star
<<Aside from the tank being too small already for this animal, these Echinoderms are extremely efficient at removing 'all' the beneficial biota from your sand bed>>
7 Nassarius Snails (4 are .5' babies)
4 Astrea Snails
4 Margarita Snails
1 Branching Hammer with 10 heads
1 Chili Coral
1 Sun Coral cluster
1 Dendrophyllia with 5 various sized heads
1 Rhizotrochus
2 Scleronepthea
1 small field of Daisy Polyps
<<Wow'¦a low-light and/or azooxanthellate mix for sure'¦I do hope you are direct-feeding>>
My next question is concerning my Branching Hammer (which I've had for about 6 months). Over the past two weeks I noticed the polyps on 2 of the heads receding so that the mouth in the center was visible. Prior to this I didn't even realize it had one because it was always so full you could barely see the branches. I searched the web high and low to figure out what was going on and read that they need supplemental feeding and can't rely on zooxanthellae alone.
<<Mmm, yes'¦though most do well with only incidental/light feeding given adequate lighting, in my experience'¦but can be fed small/diced bits of meaty foods>>
I did not know this so I figured it to be the problem.
<<Maybe'¦or possibly environmental (e.g. -- water quality, pestered by fishes, etc.)>>
I squirted some Mysis and Cyclops on them and all of the heads shriveled. They haven't opened back up since (this was 3 days ago). They've been ejecting brown stringy stuff from their mouths. I haven't introduced anything new to the tank in at least 3 months. The light bulbs are 5 months old and the coral heads are between 6 and 8 inches from them. I have no idea how to proceed. Any advice?
<<Hmm...hard to say, but this could be the expelling of zooxanthellae'¦and not a good sign if so. Naught to do but wait for the moment and see how this coral responds'¦but do check and correct your water params as/if needed>>
Lastly, my pH is at a steady 7.8 and I can't seem to get it to raise up.
<<Have you tested your saltwater mix? Perhaps buffering is needed (I recommend Seachem products for this)>>
My other test results are as follows and hold pretty steady. How do I get the pH up and the KH down a bit? I do a weekly 5g water change.
KH - 15 = 268.5ppm
<<Hmm'¦perhaps you need to 'test' the test kit>>
Calcium - 440
Phosphate - 0 to trace
Nitrate - 10-20
<<This 'may' be what is troubling your Hammer Coral after 6-months. I would strive to keep this below 10ppm>>
Nitrite - 0
Ammonia -- 0
<<Do test the parameters of your freshly mixed saltwater batches (aerate for 24hrs or more first to allow all chemical reactions and gas exchange time to stabilize/complete'¦you should also be doing this before each water change). And with the corals you have and the resultant heavy feeding required I suggest you increase the water change volume to 20g, but done every other week. Give this a try and then check your water parameters for any change/improvement and make adjustments as necessary>>
Thank you so much for your time and expertise! I know this was a long one.
<<No worries Heather'¦happy to share>>
Heather in CA
<<Cheers'¦ EricR in (chilly!) SC>>

Future stocking list 12/28/09
Hi guys I was hoping you could give me a few tips with my future stocking list. It's a 55g reef, I have around 40 lbs of live rock, 1 inch sand bed, current stocking: 1 blue Chromis,
<... Chromis are schooling species... this system is small, but I'd try three here>
1 red lip blenny,
<Can be a "mean" fish>
1 fire shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 brain corals, 1 star polyps. Water parameter ph 8.3, nitrite 0, ammonia 0 , nitrate 15, cal 400, Alk 10, magnesium ?, I bought a Mag test kit from PetSolutions it should be arriving around Tuesday.
Now what I would like to get is: 2 McCosker's flasher wrasse,
<Mmm, not a good choice... really only does well in larger systems, in a haremic setting>
2 fire fish goby, 1 green clown goby,
<... please see WWM re genus Gobiodon>
1 flame angel.
<And this...>
Sorry for the spelling English is not my first language and I am e-mailing from a celphone. Thanks for your time guys.
<Take your time here my young friend. Read re these organisms in advance of risking them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Future stocking list
Thanks for the quick reply Mr. Fenner when I saw those McCosker's at the LFS I fell in love with them. Thank god my wife was with me because I suffer from compulsive buyer syndrome
<Heeee... I've yet to meet someone who didn't... for one consumer group or t'other>
and she quickly took out her whip and put me in my place.
<Dang! A keeper for sure>
I will also skip on the flame angel as I found out on your site that they do better on 100+ systems per your advice. One more question. I am starting my first reef and if you could recommend some easy to care corals. I have a 4 54w t5 fixture but my problem is since I live in the tropics and I can't afford a chiller and would like to know if there are some corals that can live in 82-84 degree water conditions.
<Oh indeed there are. Ones that occur in shallow waters in the region can do so>
Thanks for your time Mr. Fenner
<A pleasure to share. BobF>

Stocking a 75 gallon tank 12/23/09
I am in the planning stages of my 1st saltwater tank. I have been doing extensive research for the last 3 months or so.
I have decided on a 48x15x24 75 gal. tank due to space restrictions.
I will be running a AquaC EV-180 Skimmer with a 25 gallon sump and about 100 lbs of live rock and a 3"-4" live sand bed.
After curing and cycling, and all is well with the water ( a few weeks/months down the road from setup) I want to start adding some fish.
I do plan on adding some soft corals and lps in a year or so after the tank is well on its way. This is my proposed list of fish: 3 Blue/Green Reef Chromis, 1 Ocellaris Clown Fish, 1 Yellow Eye Kole Tang, 1 Orange Spotted Goby (with pistol shrimp), 1 Royal Gramma Basslet, 1 McCosker's Flasher Wrasse.
My questions are: Are these good choices and is it too many fish for tank size and setup?
<Are very good choices... the Flasher Wrasse is the most likely fish to leave out... really only does well in a harem, larger volume>
I do NOT want to overstock my tank.
Thanks a lot in advance. WWM has been indispensible in my research. Thanks for being here!
Sincerely, Lyle
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking a 75 gallon tank 12/23/2009

Bob, Thanks so much for your quick reply. I was wondering however, if you meant that the flasher wrasse would most likely be the fish to leave out solely because it isn't the best choice, or because it wasn't the best choice and I need to have a little less bio load?
<More the former>
Can I get away with one more smaller fish to replace the wrasse and still have a safe and happy tank?
<Yes; very likely so>
Thanks again so much for your input. I have learned so much for WWM I am very grateful. Sincerely, Lyle
<Sorry for the lack of clarity, and happy holidays. BobF>
Re: Stocking a 75 gallon tank, Ecsenius comp. 12/24/09

Hi Bob,
Ok one last question ; ) I was thinking of a bicolor or a tail spot blenny as a replacement for the flasher wrasse. I perused the reef/SW forums for any compatibility issues with the orange spot goby and didn't read of any real issues. Am I missing anything or am I good with these two together?
<Ecsenius spp. rarely mix well in small (less than hundreds of gallons) volumes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ecsenblencomp.htm
and the linked files above>
I trust your opinion more than a lot of what I'm reading on line as I think some people are willing to take more risk than I am at this point. Thanks again, sorry to keep bugging you. Take care and Happy Holidays to you and
your family! Lyle
<And you/rs. B>

Aquarium Stocking Questions 12/8/09
Hello to you guys again.
<Hello Lizzy>
I have finally come across a new aquarium and am very excited to be starting up a new saltwater aquarium, more specifically my first reef type set up. I just had a few questions: normal stocking for hermits are 1 per every 2 gallons provided an abundance of empty shells, and snails are 1 per gallon, correct?
<This number will largely depend on food availability, but 1 per gallon (small crabs) would be a good start. For snails, one per gallon would be high and some would die from lack of food. I would start with 1 per 5 gallons and adjust as needed.>
I also believe live rock is used at 1 pound per gallon.
<Will all depend on the density of the rock, some rock is more porous than others, is really a judgment call here.>
I was thinking of using mushrooms, possibly a bubble anemone, and possibly pulsating xenia if those are in the beginners level.
<The Bubble Tip Anemone is not something you should start with nor mix with corals.>
Lastly I was considering using a Six Line Wrasse, a Fire Goby,
<Fire Gobys do better in groups of 3 or more.>
a Green Clown Goby, a Black Percula Clown (if that is the species my store stocks, I will add a pic later) if not I plan on using a false percula, and a Royal Gramma. Inverts should consist of blue/red legged dwarf hermits, a
few Peppermint Shrimp, turbo and sandsifting snails and the above mentioned anemones and corals. Thank you.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Coral Help, adding Cnid.s to an established, complex sys. 11/2/09
Hello Crew! I've written you guys several times in the past and have
received a wealth of information from your website. Thanks for being so dedicated to helping hobbyist like myself get the answers and advice we need to make our aquariums the best they can be. I'm writing to get some general advice and suggestions on my reef tank. Its a 90 gallon glass tank (48x18x24) with dual overflows, 20 gallon sump, Das Bx-2 skimmer,
<Mmm, what do you think of this unit?>
Mag 7 return, Hydor Koralia 3 for circulation, Maxijet 1200 pump behind the live rock, and a Current 6x54 watt t5 lighting system. Inside the tank I have 107 lbs. of live rock, 40 lbs. of live sand, Clove Polyps, Frogspawn, Hammer coral, Xenia, Finger Leather, Kenya Tree, 2 Open Brains, 2 Polyp rocks, 1 Conch Shell covered in Green Star Polyps, Red Flower Pot coral (has spread and is doing great), Derasa Clam, Cleaner Shrimp, Long Tentacle Anemone, Tomato Clown, Yellow Tang, Blue Throat Trigger, and 3 Green Chromis. I don't add anything to the tank other than Zooplex 3 times a week and do a 15 gallon water change once a week. My question is, what other corals can I add that wont be affected by all the chemical warfare that I'm sure is going on inside my tank?
<Mmm, actually, likely none. You might be able to "accommodate" other Cnidarians by careful quarantine and mixing water twixt the systems several times over weeks periods...>
If this were your tank, what would you add?
<Maybe some Zoanthids, Corallimorphs in the foreground... perhaps a Fungiid there as well...>
I would like to get in to some more exotic corals if possible ie. SPS.
<Mmm, better for you to try these in another system, really>
Again, just looking for some neat ideas and maybe something I haven't thought of.
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5ppm
Calcium 430
Salinity 1.025
<A bit re the "Boris Karloffing" issue in your reading here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral Help
Thanks Mr. Fenner on the fast response and recommendations for my tank. As far as the skimmer, it was given to me for free from a friend getting out of the hobby. I was shocked to see the retail price on it and figured it
would do more than enough on my 90 gallon tank. It pulls about 3/4" of dark skimmate each day. That seemed to be a lot to me considering how big the collection cup is. Does that sound ok to you? Please, let me know what you think.
<Considering your (apparent!) success, I think this unit is fine here. My experience has been that the Dutch Aquarium System skimmers were feeble.
Perhaps their designs have improved. Thank you for this input. BobF>

Re: Coral Help, further re adding Cnid.s to an established, complex sys. 11/3/09

Here are some pictures of the aquarium and skimmer Mr. Fenner. The skimmate in the collection cup is after two days. My camera isn't the best but maybe this will help you and readers of your website get an idea of what I'm
talking about in my email.
<... groan... Steve... 13 megs in pix? Thanks, B>

Stocking 75 gallon saltwater with a school, Reef 11/20/09
First off amazing and informative site. I've been researching and planning for my first saltwater tank for over a year now, off and on. I recently decided to take the plunge and purchased a used 75 gallon reef ready
aquarium then built a stand. I fashioned a old 25 gallon aquarium into a sump which houses my Aqua C EV180 skimmer driven by mag7 pump.
I know its pretty big for my tank but it always leaves room to upgrade. Is there any risk in overskimming?
<Not really with hobby grade equipment.>
I got everything up and running then added 100 lbs of cured live rock five weeks ago. Two weeks ago all readings showed zero so I finally purchased 2 clarkii clowns. I also got a couple different color mushrooms, a Kenya tree, and a toadstool leather. I got a good deal on a 8x54W T5 fixture and have slowly been increasing the light. Its been about two weeks and everything appears happy and healthy.
I now realize that planning my fish around a reef setup is a must. I would like to add some form of schooling fish,
<Easier said then done, people are often disappointed in the result.>
I have it narrowed down to green chromis, chalk bass or possibly some neon gobies.
<Chalk bass and neon gobies generally do not school, and are fairly territorial, especially the bass.>
Do these sound like good potential options?
<Honestly not really, chromis are overrate in this category in my opinion.
More often than not you will end up with 1 chromis who has killed off all the others. Perhaps one of the cardinal fish may be more what you are looking for. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cardinal.htm >.
Everything I have read indicates that these fish do well in groups but should be added at the same time.
<For the chromis yes, gives the best chance, the chalk bass will generally not accept another in anything but the largest tank, the Neons are territorial but so small that several can be kept in the same tank.>
First off would my tank be large enough for a group of 5 or 6 fish, plus two clowns and possibly a yellow tang or flame angel to finish?
<Skip the tang and go with the angel, more appropriate for this sized tank.
5 or 6 chromis will most likely end up as one within a few months.>
And also how would you recommend to add the group of fish to a newly cycled tank.
<Can be a bit tricky, and requires a good sized QT tank (you do have a QT tank right?) I would recommend feeding a bit heavier leading up to the introduction of the new fish to give the bacteria a bit of a head start.
And after introduction watch your water parameters closely and be ready for water changes. Plus due to the higher feeding algae can become a problem so more water changes may help there as well.>
Could I add three fish in a couple weeks, wait a month then add the other three?
<Depends on what you go with, chromis being damsels can get quite aggressive with new additions, cardinals being much more tolerant.>
Would the chromis or Neons have established a territory and pick off the new group of fish?
If I went with the smaller Neons could I possibly stock another small fish or two or would that be too much?
<Could, Neons being very small can give you some more leeway.>
I want to try to do things slow and steady so I don't have a crash but the cluster of fish has me stumped. I didn't think stocking was going to be this complicated so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<Unfortunately getting fish to "school" in aquariums can be difficult and often leaves the hobbyist disappointed. On my last dive trip I watched many huge schools of brown chromis, and noted that to me it seemed more of a large congregation of angry fish who had it out for each other than a school, and unfortunately in aquariums this aggression often has fatal results when its not distributed over hundreds of different individuals.
People do have better luck with many of the cardinal species, (the most popular Banggai having mixed results unfortunately), but even then without the threat of predation and less competition for food its not guaranteed.)

Taking The Dive Into Reefing, reading 11/20/09
Hi crew. I truly appreciate all of the excellent advice you have given me over the past 5 years regarding my 450 FOWLR acrylic. I changed the vodka dosing for nitrates to a vodka, vinegar and sugar formula I found on an Australian reef page and it is working incredibly well.
No more flashing by the fish and great growth, and coloration on them all, as well as the live rock. The only thing now is watching my PH as the vinegar tends to lower it slightly.
<But only temporarily... such organic/Acetic acid is neither "fast" nor strong/concentrated>
The tank is doing terrific now!!!. I have decided to now take the "dive" into reefing. My wife has graciously given me my den as a fish room. It has 3 large windows surrounding it bringing in natural light. I found a 230 gallon (5 ft long, with a 1 foot bend angled on each side 5 foot back to the corner) tank with clamshell cherry cabinet, 250 watt metal halide lighting system, and 50 gallon acrylic sump. I added a reef octopus skimmer (my favorite) rated to 300 gallons and 4 Koralia # 3, and #4 pumps for flow. I have 25x an hour turnover now. I placed 300 pounds of live sand for a 5" deep sand bed and 200 pounds of cured Gulf live rock. The tank is cycled now and I have a few stocking questions. I am going to be adding a rose anemone with a mated pair of black Percula's. They have been held for me at the LFS for 2 months while I set the tank up. I want to add a Hippo tang, several wrasses (please advise as to species and number you recommend),
<? Please see WWM re>
a jaw fish,
<And this... some are social>
lawnmower blenny, a cleaning crew, and a school of green chromis. I also want to move my magnificent fox face from my 450 to the 230 reef. he had popeye from being spooked by all of the bullies in the aggressive tank, running into the rock and after 2 weeks of hospital tanks and antibiotics is looking like a champ!. I am going to look at a mixed corals
tank and add them gradually and slowly researching the best beginners ones. I am going to run 15,000 K metal halides for color and growth. Lastly I found a great calcium/alkalinity/magnesium formula on a reef keepers site and bought enough material at home depot to make 100 gallons of this. I was also considering dosing my 450 FOWLR with this for coralline growth. Please advise on your opinions as far as set-up and stocking levels here.
<Vague, but with some investigation... Bob Fenner>

450 reef display, set up, stkg. 11/17/09
Greetings WWM Crew,
<Hey Jim! JustinN here!>
I'm setting up a 450 gallon reef display (6' x 4' x 32") and had a few questions:
<Quite the display! Lets see what we can help with..>
Do you think a 100 gallon sump is large enough ? It is actually a Eco-System brand but, I wasn't intending of using Miracle Mud. Unless you recommend otherwise ? I was thinking of using a extra 40 gallon tank as a gravity fed refugium. Do you think a 4-8" deep sand bed will be enough to denitrify the 450 display ? or should I get a larger tank for the refugium ?
<100 Gallon sump + 40 gallon refugium sounds about right -- am I to assume that you are going to be utilizing both refugiums for their algal scrubbing abilities? I would forego the Miracle Mud as well -- oolitic grade sand is cheaper, and does just as well (if not better) for denitrifying purposes in a DSB.>
For circulation, I was thinking of going with 4 Vortechs on the back wall and Tunze wave box and streams in the rock work.
<Seems somewhat excessive -- have you looked into closed loop configurations? This may achieve your desired goals with less investment/power usage/over-time maintenance:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm Otherwise, this configuration would work, just seems like a lot of work to repair in the case of need..>
I will most likely be using 2 Reeflo dart golds for the returns going into two separate manifolds w/penductor outlets. The goals is 30-50x turnover.
<Mmm, I would aim for a lower turnover through the sump and refugium tanks -- the longer the water contact here, the more filtration that will occur.
Closed loop configurations benefit this by allowing the flow you're seeking, while still allowing a slower draw through the sump.>
The rock layout will be similar to Steve Weast's tank in Ultimate Marine Aquariums (2 separate islands with caves, overhangs, & a canyon down the middle). I will be using roughly 400# of Key Largo rock from Marcos Rock. It will be a primarily sps and a few LPSs to give some "motion" in the tank.
<Sounds nice.>
I want to go the Steven Pro route and go fishless for 6 months. I want to give the refugium a chance to build up the pods, mysis shrimp, etc. population.
<A good plan, always wise.>
I'm also a fish guy and would love to have a good mix of fish. A school of various anthias is on the desire list(any recommendations ?).
<Any of the commonly available anthias would do just fine in this setting -- get a good sized harem would be my suggestion (5 or more total specimen)>
I also would like various wrasses (mystery, solar, Scott's, etc.) and tangs (chevron, purple, Kole, etc.). I don't want any large fish with maybe the exception of blue cheek angel and blue throat trigger (I know they aren't always reef safe).
<At least in the case of the Blue Throat, they are some of the more timid/acceptable in a reef setting.>
Could I mix various pygmy angels together (flame, potter's, & my favorite Japanese) ?
<Mmm -- yes and no -- the Centropyge angels will likely 'mix' (in that they'll co-habitate -- in a setting this big, they'd likely never/rarely come in contact with each other) -- the 'no' portion comes from the Centropyge interruptus -- this fish is exceedingly rare, historically fares very poorly in aquaria, and is actually of a colder water species than most our reef specimen we keep... Won't comfortably live in a reef temperature tank for long. Reef Culture Technologies has managed to succeed in breeding of many Centropyge angels, one of which is the interruptus -- as time goes on, the possibilities of adding this stunning fish to your tank will increase, but as of now, its not a high likelihood, unfortunately.>
Any advice you could impart would be appreciated,
<Glad to help! -JustinN>

Stocking Levels and a few newbie questions. 11/2/2009
Hi Folks;
<Hello, Josh here.>
I'm an experienced freshwater guy (10 years) who is trying to plan his first saltwater tank. I've read as much as I can get my hands onto, including Calfo and Fenner's books, as well as heavy reading on WWM.
<Excellent, that is a good start, I own books by the both of them as well.>
I'm planning to set up a 200 gallon (or so, not purchased yet) tank with the largest refugium I can stick under it. I plan on a deep sand bed in the main tank, a painfully expensive amount of live rock, some LED lighting, some power compact lighting, and some metal halide.
<Hmm, not all three should be necessary here. If you are using metal halides than LED's are not likely necessary, often the fill the same niche in lighting providing usable light for coral as well as the shimmer effect, with the LED's being more expensive and electrically conservative while the halides are the opposite. As far as the power compact lighting... are you intending it for actinic supplementation?>
I am aiming for medium turbulent water flow. There will be a sump (separate from the 'fuge so I can increase its size), a calcium reactor and a protein skimmer. The only "corals" I intend to try are Zoas and mushrooms, and perhaps some leathers.
If things go well, I may try a few of the easier softies.
<There are additional benefits to calcium reactors but they are generally used when there are is a large biomass of reef building animals, probably not necessary with the mix you are considering.>
My target fish is a pair of Mandarin gobies, and I know from heavy reading on WWM this is a fish with very special diet requirements, and I can't even consider putting them in until the tank is at the very least one year old, and the pod count has to be right off the chart. I also intend to have a pod tank so that if I miss read the pod population, I can supplement the supply in the main tank for short periods if needed while I add another 'fuge.
<Excellent, good to hear you are properly planning for them.>
I'm also planning a 30 gallon quarantine tank.
So, on to what I can't figure out yet:
Most of the quarantine tanks I have seen have bare bottoms. Since the mandarin has such tight requirements, should I establish the quarantine tank with a sand bed? I'm assuming I'll have to have a heck of a supply of pods on hand to feed those fish while they are in quarantine, but of course that is far down the line.
<Mandarins generally forgo quarantine all together, you should certainly not keep them in a bare bottom tank for any length of time, generally when you receive them they have already been starved through collection, shipping, holding, and sitting in the store.>
Should you quarantine Zoas? How about snails and hermit crabs? I'm worried that the smaller quarantine tank won't have the necessary life to support some of these animals.
<Inverts are not often quarantined, but it certainly can't hurt, however if you don't have the space to do it then I wouldn't stress over it. However fish additions should be quarantined.>
I need some fish in there for that year, and I want to put quiet, small fish in. That's where my problem starts, I can't find anything that pins down what a "light fish load" is. Freshwater is pretty easy, roughly an inch of fish per gallon, but I just can't find anything on the salt side that defines it that clearly.
<There is no easy rule here, try reading some of the stocking FAQ's on WetWebMedia, when you have an idea of what you want to keep and the actual tank size you can feel free to email in your intended stocking list for advice on compatibility and bioload.>
And how in the heck do I count the necessary snails, hermit crabs, etc on the bioload?
<If you are using them purely for cleanup then I wouldn't count them at all, however please don't add nearly as many as most e-retailers suggest.>
I only want a few small fish to keep the biological cycle moving along, but how many is a "few"?
<I'm sorry I can't be more help here, but that really depends on the size of the fish.>
Do shrimp violate the "fishless refugium"? How about snails?
<Anything predatory will certainly violate the "fishless refugium" as it will eat the small animals you are trying to provide a haven for, additionally unnecessary clean up crew type animals will also violate it to a lesser degree as they will consume some of the detritus that the small animals you are culturing need.>
When I cycle the tank with live rock, when can I add Zoas? From some of my reading it seems that they might help with the cycling, but at what point?
Is it best to just wait until the cycle is done and add a Zoa or two and a small fish?
<The latter, after the cycle is over is the only time safe to add these animals, Ammonia and Nitrite are toxic.>
If I missed these questions in the books or on the web, don't hesitate to just tell me where in what book it is (and I'll whack myself in the head for missing it), and if its not one I have I'll get it.
<You're fine Jeff, it is obvious you are doing research and its not possible to absorb everything all at once, I would suggest you come up with a potential stocking list and send it in and I can work through it with you for compatibility and bio load.>
I love reading WWM, and sure do appreciate the assistance in figuring out these questions before I risk any livestock.
<You're welcome, Josh Solomon.>
Re: Stocking Levels and a few newbie questions. -- 11/03/09

Hey Josh, and thanks for the fast reply!
I've cut out some of the things in this reply to shorten it a smidge.
<Hello again Jeff.>
I was thinking a mix of lighting would provide the best results, but the PC's are planned to go over the 'fuge (on an opposite light cycle from the main tank) and over the main tank for both actinic to make the Zoas pop, and they seem a good compromise to me of light versus power consumption and heat generation.
<Excellent, over the refugium makes a bunch of sense, I thought you were discussing placing all three types of lighting over the display... wouldn't be a bad thing just unnecessary.>
The metal halides were planned as part of a dual light fixture that I would use the power compacts, but turn the metal halides on for fairly short periods during the day. (A few hours). I figure in a couple of years if all goes well, I may want to move into some more difficult to keep corals, and I would rather have the lights there and not need them then repurchase them a bit down the road.
<Excellent, very good move.>
The LED lighting still seems to be what I call an "early adopter" solution...I would do the whole thing with led's if I could find some solid reviews on a fixture, but the led market seems to be evolving pretty fast right now. The idea of punting the metal halide makes me smile; the tank is that much closer then.
<It does look like LEDs will be the way to go, but I don't think we are quite there yet, there are great advances being made though. So I think the Halides would be a better option at this point.>
Scratch one calcium reactor, and replace with dosing as needed. Check.
<I think you will be happy with that decision considering the corals you are planning to keep.>
Check. Freshwater planted tanks mean that I am used to green tanks, and I don't mind them. I know if I put things in slowly, it will balance out all the better, so they will go in slowly in small groups at a time.
Will do, and thanks again! I'll rip into my plan book now and start a firm stocking list.
<Excellent, you seem to be on the right track.>
<Good luck, Josh Solomon.>

Reef Fish Stocking -- 10/26/09
Hi Crew!
Thanks so much for your commitment to answering emails! What a truly wonderful resource WWM is!
<Thank you for your kind words>
I'm almost done stocking my 110 (6 foot) gallon tank with corals. It's amazing how successful one can be when they actually research BEFORE buying!
It's been about 8 months since the tank was started and I would like to add some fish. This is the stocking list that I've carefully created and have ranked by order of introduction leaving a good 2-4 weeks between adding specimens. I wanted to see if you had any suggestions or changes (still not 100% on this) in order of stocking. I'm still not quite sure when and what order to add the A. japonicus and the Midas Blenny.
<These two should go about last... as are near/er the apex of territoriality of what you list>
All fish of course will be quarantined. Thanks SO much! You guys and gals are TRULY appreciated!
1 Yellow headed Jawfish
1 Engineer Goby
1 Tail Spot Blenny
1 Neon Goby
2 Heniochus diphreutes
1 Powder Brown Tang (A. japonicus)
1 Midas Blenny
1 Clarkii Clown
<I think you will greatly enjoy these fishes... in time, you may want to add another Clark's clown... for interest. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Re: Stocking Question...continues 10/27/09
Hello Bob and everyone at my favorite site for marine life information!
Hoping that all is well with you.
First, I need to apologize for the lengthy letter, but there is no other way for me to set the stage for my questions.
<No worries>
I can honestly say that I would not dare to set up a 225 gallon reef tank without the wealth of information on WWM or the help that you've given me over the past year.
<We are glad for your success>
I'm onto the planning stages for stocking my tank now. Just an update, I've got my LifeReef sump/refugium/skimmer running. I've spent an arm and part of a leg on my 270 plus lbs of live rock and 300 lbs of live sand from my LFS.
They've been cycling it for me for the past months as I was waiting to receive and assembling all my important "parts". I've got to take a moment and comment on how beautiful that LifeReef system is and how smoothly it is running. It was a joy to put together but when you plug that pump in and everything is moving as planned - that feeling, I can't describe it. I've also got two VorTech MP 40s on opposite ends of the tank doing Lagoon Random Mode in anti sync - that is a really neat system!
Circulation is looking pretty good, I had to turn the speed down a little as it was blowing my sand a little. Refugium is with Chaeto and 25 lbs of live sand and 12 lbs of live rock. I'm planning on putting a few peppermint shrimps in there to "clean "detritus and make yummies for my fishes.
So here are some questions:
But first, parameters... Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ammonia 0, phosphate 0.25, pH 8.4 testing kit is API. I'm using Reef Crystals salt mixed with the RubberMaid 44 gallon tubs (some sites are reporting elevated phosphate with this container...I ran a phosphate level on my FRESH ro/di water and it is 0, phosphate level on ro/di stored in RubberMaid for 2 days is also 0, phosphate level on mixed salt water stored in RubberMaid for 2 days is also 0.) Okay, so where do you think the phosphate in the tank is from, could this be from the detritus on/in live rock and sand?
<Easily, yes; and not a worry at this juncture>
Temperature is at 76 degrees with the four 96w compact fluorescents running for 12 hours, I've got to turn on the three 250w 14K's yet - I need to stretch the extension cord so that they will work off another fuse...
<Good idea>
I've taken some of my soft corals from my other tanks and placed them in the 225 gallon after acclimating them for an hour (Zoanthids, Kenya tree, green star polyps, and frog spawn),
<The last is a Stony>
all are doing well, opening within an hour after placement. I've seen a few hermits and a baby Nassarius snail running around in there so I'm guessing that it is a hospitable environment in there?
What do I do now? Do I place more coral, put in some cleaning crew, or I'm thinking I need to put some fish in there so that there will be "food" for the corals? Or do I just feed the corals now?
<The clean up crew historically goes next... A few fishes could be placed now as well>
I would really like your suggestion as to the order of placement for the fish. I know that I need to put in the hardier ones first,
<And less territorial>
but also remembering to place the more docile ones before the more "aggressive" ones.
So here is a list of fish that I have in other tanks that I would like to move into this one and a list of fish that I would like to add:
Presently owned:
Clown fairy wrasse
Pajama Cardinal Fish (2) - should I get one more?
<Mmm, two will be fine...>
I started out with three then the smallest got picked on so bad by those two that it died after a month. The big one is picking on the smaller one now and I saw some torn pectoral fins but it is still eating well and swimming around. I don't know if a third will be better or will they both chase the smaller one like it was done before?
<Not worth risking IMO>
Flame Angel - this will probably be one of the "last" fish as I've read on WWM that they can be more territorial.
<Fine in this volume>
Would like to ADD:
Leopard wrasse
Carpenter's flasher wrasse
Mandarin Gobies (I will make sure that they are eating frozen food before I even buy them, but I'm thinking they need to go in sort of earlier on, or do you think no one really would bother them?)
Yellow eye Kole tang
Yellow long nose butterfly
Copperband butterfly (this particular fish I'm holding at the LFS because they've had it for six months living in their coral tank or else I would stay away from them due to their delicacy, if it is not this one I probably
would not dare try it at this stage)
Blue Hippo tang
Red spotted blenny
Prawn goby with pistol shrimp
Clown goby (pair)
Cleaner shrimps
Well, the above is what I've condensed from previous lists, I realized that after I put the rocks in, the tank really isn't that big so...
There is this ONE particular blue throat trigger that is about three inches long at the LFS that is ADORABLE but I remember that Bob had advised against it, so I've left him/her off my current list. I keep on telling myself -A PEACEFUL TANK IS A HAPPY TANK!
<Yes... though this Xanthichthys sp. is about the easiest going Balistid there is>
Another question, I promise that this will be my last question on THIS e-mail, is "egg crate" the best thing to use to cover the top of my tank?
My husband said screen with Velcro but I think that will cause more problems in the long run. What do you think?
<I like the eggcrate better>
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!!!
Once again, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input and all the valuable information on WWM!
I told several of my friends to study your site when they start getting interested to set up a tank of their own. I call it a reality check!
Here's to responsible reef keeping. Cheers!
Jamie Barclay
<Thank you for sharing... Your enthusiasm, positive nature is contagious!
Excelsior! BobF>
Re: Stocking Question...continues 10/27/09

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your response!
Waiting to hear what you think is the most fun of writing to you! It helps me understand my own thinking processes and challenges what I think I know. When I don't "get it" then I read more on WWM and many times that's when the light bulb lights up in my mind.
<Ahh, clarity is pleasurable>
I understand that I can add a few fish now! Yippy! I noticed on the reply that part of my e-mail was "hidden" and was wondering if you had a chance to look at the list of fishes I would like to add to the system.
<Strange... I did see/read all... and responded to all...>
I read your comment about the beautiful blue throat trigger - I've always been partial to these intelligent fish but it is more important to make the system work at this time.
I'm wondering whom from that "new" list would you consider adding at this time?
<The Kole and your Pajamas, Flame Angel>
From what you are saying, I'll be adding my Pajama cardinals and Flame angel next weekend when I do a water change on the existing tanks since I pretty much have to tear the rock work down. I'm thinking the Fairy wrasse should go in all together with the Carpenter's fairy wrasse and Leopard
wrasse... but please let me know what your thoughts are!
<I would add all the Labrids at once, when the system is a bit more established>
Thanks also for your words of encouragement!
Best Wishes,
Jamie Barclay
<And you, BobF>
Re: Stocking Question...continues
Welcome Jamie. B

Stocking Suggestions? (Something rare/different'¦ sheesh'¦ [grin]) - 10/24/09
Hello all!
<<Hey Mindy!>>
I love your website.
<<Me too! I mean, er'¦thanks!>>
I have written in questions before, and have really enjoyed discussing the answers with you!
<<We are pleased to know this>>
This time my question isn't an issue really,
I'm just wondering if you have some ideas.
<<Usually a few'¦>>
I'm not sure if you "do" these sort of questions, but I will give it a shot! =]
<<I'm happy to proffer my opinion my friend>>
I have a 90 gallon reef (50/50 LPS/SPS, clams, anemones). Current stock is a pair of True Percula Clowns, a very small Kole Tang,
<<A wise tang choice for this size tank>>
Blue Assessor, lone Banggai (trying to find a mate for some time now), 3 Yellowhead Jawfish, and a Neon Goby. All reside happily together.
I'm looking for something "different" or "rare" to add to the tank as the last centerpiece fish.
I was considering a Flashing Tilefish (Hoplolatilus chlupatyi), but I understand they prefer to be in groups, and may not reside well with the Jawfish.
<<The latter is not likely an issue, but adequately feeding/keeping the Tilefish alive may well be'¦not easy to keep>>
I have been considering a Blotchy Anthias (Odontanthias borbonius), but I don't think I feed my tank enough for one.
I was also considering a Dwarf Golden Moray Eel (Gymnothorax melatremus), but I worry about the safety of the Jawfish and the Neon Goby.
Do you have any suggestions? Something cool?
<<There is a small gamble re your inverts, but maybe Acreichthys tomentosus (Bristle-tail Filefish)'¦very cool. Another thought is Centropyge multifasciata (Multibarred Angelfish)'¦a striking Dwarf Angel that is 'different' from the usual offerings. Do also look around and write back with more ideas of your own for further discussion'¦if you wish>>
I'm also in need of a sand sifting fish...hoping for something "different". I am considering getting a common, but still cool Hector's Goby, but again I worry that it may not reside well with the Jawfish.
<<Mmm, I fear this with about any sand-sifting goby'¦possibly too destructive/invasive re the Jawfish'¦beat avoided in my opinion. And besides, they have this terrible tendency (again, in my opinion) to grab mouthfuls of substrate and 'crop dust' your corals all the time>>
Thanks for any help! =]
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
Re: Stocking Suggestions? (Something rare/different'¦ sheesh'¦ [grin]) - 10/25/09

Hi Eric,
<<Hello Mindy>>
Thank you very much for your reply!
<<Quite welcome!>>
I do very much like the fish you have suggested.
A friend has a Tasseled Filefish (Chaetoderma pencilligera),
<<Another 'very cool' fish>>
and he is a model reef citizen,
<<I had one some years back that I kept in a 'softy' reef system. Never had any problems (I also didn't have any shrimp), but I'm still hesitant to add one to my current SPS dominated reef>>
and very cool to watch,
<<Am much in agreement>>
although I don't think my friend knows the fish will grow over a foot long! Eek!
<<Hee-hee! Indeed!>>
So the Bristle Tail Filefish does peak my interest, so this is a definite possibility. Very cool group of fish. Thanks for the suggestion.
<<I'm happy you liked it>>
I actually didn't know the Bristle Tail stays small until I did some research after your suggestion.
<<Yup'¦and likely a bit more 'reef friendly' on average than Chaetoderma pencilligera>>
I have a couple Emerald Crabs, a couple Fighting Conches, and a few species of Astrea snails. I don't think the Filefish would bother the conches or the large snails...?
<<Keeping one's fishes well fed otherwise can help with such>>
Do you think I should incorporate a section of rock in my tank for some Feather Caulerpa or such to make the Filefish comfortable?
<<I would not. The possibility/probability of the Caulerpa becoming invasive outweighs any advantage re'¦in my opinion. I have seen tanks where this fish was seemingly well settled without such>>
I have never seen the Multibarred Pygmy Angel you suggested, and it is very attractive looking.
<<Yes'¦quite striking for a 'black and white striped' fish>>
I was at one point considering either a Bellus Angel (Genicanthus bellus) or Lamarck's Angel (Genicanthus lamarcki),
<<Mmm, no'¦tank is too small really>>
but they get fairly large for my tank (I don't want too many big fish...would rather have many small fish than few large fish), and are fairly common.
I am concerned about Angels picking on my clams or LPS. Do you think the Multibarred Angel is trustworthy in that respect?
<<Is always a gamble'¦and not everyone shares my claim'¦but in my personal experiences with a handful of Centropyge species I have never had such problems. But I put much of this to providing ample space for these fishes (too many hobbyists cram these small but 'living large' fishes in 55g and smaller systems) as well as 'plenty' of food from multiple daily feedings>>
Maybe I could house both the Filefish and the Pygmy Angel.
<<Mmm, perhaps'¦if you forego the sand-sifter you mentioned in our previous correspondence>>
I have always been a fan of low fish loads, so filling this tank up is unchartered territory for me. I have a minimal rock look (overhangs and caves, lots of swimming room in and around rock) with about 80 lbs of rock,
<<Excellent! I am of the opinion that all too often, hobbyists add too much rock to their systems'¦overly restricting water flow/circulation as well as limiting swimming and growing room for their livestock>>
a EuroReef RS-180 skimmer,
<<Currently my fave skimmer manufacturer'¦I have an older (2003) ER CS12-3 on my system>>
and I use Zeovit products for low nutrient environment. What do you suggest as a fish load?
<<If you add what we have discussed'¦I would say 'that's it' with all's long-term health and vigor in mind>>
Yes, I agree that sand sifters are crop dusters.
Haha! Great terminology!
I have always thought that their benefits outweigh their drawbacks,
<<Mmm, yes'¦ Even those not so inclined to float over the reef sprinkling sand about (e.g., Bullet Gobies) still do much damage to the substrate biota'¦even in vary large tanks>>
but I won't get one if it will bother the Jawfish as I was suspecting most sifters would.
<<Maybe not so much directly'¦but their 'activity' would likely be a source of stress to the Jawfish>>
Once I find a mate for the Banggai I will remove it from the tank into a breeding setup.
<<Ah'¦even better re adding both the Filefish and Angelfish>>
I lost my old breeding female to my Bubble Coral. =[
Thanks also for your opinions on some of the fish I suggested. :)
<<My pleasure>>
Thanks again for your time and experience!
<<Happy to share>>
Sorry this message is lengthy.
<<No worries my friend. Good luck with your quest'¦and do please keep me posted on the outcome. Eric Russell>>
R2: Stocking Suggestions? (Something rare/different'¦ sheesh'¦ [grin]) - 10/30/09

Hello again Eric.
<<Hey Mindy!>>
Thank you for another great response. =]
<<Glad you like them>>
Ok, so the Neon Goby had a bad day, and is no longer with us. =[
The Bubble Coral got him too. I think the Bubble Coral has to go!
<<Mmm'¦this is not uncommon, do you provide supplemental feeding to this coral? They are voracious feeders that can consume surprisingly large meals and can be (as you have discovered) quite a hazard to small fishes in an enclosed system. Providing some supplemental feeding to the coral (diced meaty foods a couple times a week) might reduce the mortality rate of your fishes re>>
The Banggai will be moved out of the tank when a suitable mate is found and will be put into a breeding system.
<<Very good>>
So that leaves the stock with 2x True Perc, 1x Kole Tang, 1x Blue Assessor, and 3x Pearly Jawfish. What would YOU do? Add a pair of Multibarred Angels (as suggested in the WWM fish profile) or one Angel and one Bristletail Filefish? I'm torn. My LFS has the Filefish in stock right now (they're cheap!), and can order the Angels for end of November (I lucked out...they're in season right now).
<<Actually Mindy, I think I would go with 'one' Angel 'or' the Filefish. Though smallish in size, Centropyge species still require a surprising amount of space for their continued well-being and I'm reluctant to recommend more than one in this 90g display given the current stocking level. As far as making a choice between the two'¦ Even though the Angel is a real beauty (but I think most any fish is!), the Filefish holds more interest for me in this situation and in my opinion would make quite the 'centerpiece' fish for your display. But like you asked'¦that's what 'I' would do [grin]>>
<<Keep me posted! EricR>>
R3: Stocking Suggestions? (Something rare/different'¦ sheesh'¦ [grin]) - 11/01/09

Hi Eric,
<<Hello Mindy>>
I will take your advice and only add one of the fish.
<<For the best I think>>
I am pulling my hair out trying to decide though because a friend told me that he knows of a Bristletail that eats Bubble Tips Anemones (I have two!), and a Multibarred Angel that eats SPS (I have lots of SPS!).
<<There is some risk, for sure'¦ It's up to you to decide if the risk to other livestock/trouble to remove a problem fish is worth the gamble to have that 'unique and different' fish>>
I think I may just have to take the plunge with the Bristletail and see what happens.
<<Obtaining an older juvenile/sub-adult specimen, along with a good feeding regimen, may curb its proclivity to feast on your cnidarians. A young specimen may not yet be too set in its ways re its feeding habits'¦and keeping it well fed is'¦well'¦self-explanatory>>
I have a friend who really wants my Tang (he has weird coloring...maybe a hybrid) and he has a 6' tank, so maybe I will give the Tang that opportunity, and replace him with the Angel
...albeit I think the Angel will be just as active as the Tang.
<<Pretty much, yes>>
Now I'm just thinking out loud (er out letters?)
<<Hee-hee! All understood'¦>>
...I will send you pics in some weeks with my decision! =]
<<Please do!>>
Thanks again for your help (and stressing me out trying to decide!! hahahahahaha)
<<Ahh'¦is but my pleasure to assist [cue evil laugh]'¦ Eric Russell>>

Hello! Please help me with some information!
New SW\Reef tank Stocking & Anemone Health 10/16/2009

<Ð-дÑ'авейÑ'е Kate!>
Please help me with some information! Thank you for being there!
<My pleasure.>
I am from Bulgaria, English is not my mother language.
<Not a problem.>
I want to ask you to help me identify the problem in my salt reef tank.
We bought it second hand - all fish, coral, anemone, etc. from a guy that did not have the time to look after it.
We had a fresh water tank full of Discus fish before. No troubles, we just dreamed about a reef one.
<Welcome to the hobby.>
It is maybe four days since it is at home. It was emptied - water in buckets, the filters attached to batteries so the fish could survive 200 kilometers. Then the water was put back in, the stones, corals, actiniae, etc.
Here is what is in:
It is A 230 LITER reef one.
One living leather coral.
two yellow clownfish
one blue tang
one Yellowtail Blue Damselfish
one actinia malu <A very difficult species to keep.>
one blenny fish - it is from Black sea, but I could not find its exact name, please excuse me.
<No worries.>
one cleaner shrimp - that one with the two red stripes on the back
<You can read about them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hippolytidae.htm >
one Banded Boxer Shrimp
one Camel Shrimp
one Peppermint Shrimp
some Zoanthid/Zoanthus
some other polyps (like red discs)
~Sigh. This is all I think~
<Very good.>
So, my questions are as follows:
I. The actiniae died two days after the tank arrived at home.
<I am not surprised. They are very delicate and difficult to take care of under the best of circumstances.>
1. Can the actiniae die if I give it too much food? It was fed twice for
one day. By accident.
<Over feeding it one time is not going to hurt it.>
2. The tentacles of the actiniae were lifeless, it looked like a dead flower. Is there a chance it was alive, but asleep or stg.?
<Anemones do deflate from time to time, but I would not worry too much. Do read here about them:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hetmalufaqs.htm >
II. There are some little white pieces in the tank. They are everywhere - on the coral, on the rocks, on the sand... They look like very small cotton balls. What are they? Are they threatening the other inhabitants?
<Likely Syconoid sponges They are actually a good thing in an aquarium. Very common when there is a lot of nutrients in the water. You can read about them here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongeidfaq2.htm >I searched Google, but obviously I could not ask the right Q, so I could
not find an answer for my Q.
III. Are the Bristle worms dangerous for my Aquarium?
<Unless there are hundreds or thousands of them, no. They are actually very good for your aquarium.:http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm >
IV. Can I have one or two seahorses in this tank?
<No. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm >
Please help me with information or sources of information.
<Read the linked pages I gave you. That should get you off to a good start.>
Thank you for your help!
< добÑ'е доÑÑ.л >
Best regards

coral... Sel. re comp., reading 10/14/09
I have been keeping marine fish for sometime now but I am a novice when it come to coral. I have a 150gal tank that I have had set up for about 9 months now. I am ready to start adding some coral.
<... some...>
I have been reading several books and doing some research online. I keep reading differing opinions on what corals are easy and good for beginners.
Take the Colt coral for example. Most of what I have read says that it is fairly easy to keep, but others say that it releases chemicals that can be bad for other corals.
<Both are factual statements>
It seems the more I read the more confused I get.
<Mmmm... well... like other esoteric fields (ones you don't have a structure to hang facts, discern these from non-facts), how do you propose going about informing yourself? Perhaps one fast/er path might be to settle
on one reasonably accurate, significant, meaningful collection of material... Like WWM... instead of bb-land where any non-qualified opinion counts for about the same>
So I am here for suggestions. I was planning on getting some mushrooms, polyps, Zoas, colt, frogspawn, leather, and Candycane. Will these do well together?
Are there others that are better? Thank you for your time and sorry for such a rookie question, but i would like to provide the best environment so I am asking the experts.
Thanks again.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidselfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Question...continues... reef 10/12/09
Greetings everyone at WWM,
I just started installing my LifeReef sump/refugium/skimmer and putting together my Hamilton Belize Sun for my 225 gallon reef tank (72x24x30), the excitement is oh-so-overwhelming!
It's really neat seeing things coming together after months and months of planning. As I take a break from all the technical stuff, I surf your website, educating myself on the potential inhabitants of my reef tank -
so I pose my first question - how many inches of fish can I stock?
<More accurate/useful to think/measure in terms of cubic inches...>
I know it depends on the fish and how much waste it produces and how much room it needs to roam and so many other things but how does one figure this out.?
<Rough approximations on the basis of likely initial size, maximum per setting, growth rate... some integrals tossed in for likelihood of compatibility, feeding...>
On the inhabitants, my husband asked me to do him a favor, it goes like this, "Sweetie, why do you pick fishes that either perch or bury themselves in the sand? Don't you like the ones that, you know, swims? Can you balance things out better and actually get some fish that will swim around the tank?"
<Gosh. Good questions>
My answer to him was, "Sure. Now I've got 72 inches, I'll get some that will swim." Well, as I surfed the net and read your site, my attention returns to the blennies and the gobies again. So in my attempt to branch out, my goal is to have fishes that are colorful and "swims" around the tank picking at the live rocks and looking pretty - ones that you can watch from across the room and then some fishes that perches on rocks and crevices that are cute and funny acting, and ones that will surprise you who hide in the sand and have interesting behaviors. I came up with three categories:
Swimmers, Perchers, and Bury-ers.
<Sounds good>
Here is where I beg for your expertise!
For Swimmers, I came up with these and I would like seven from below
(Please let me know if I can do more or need to do less):
1x Acanthurus japonicus (Powder Brown Tang) 8"
2x Ctenochaetus strigosus (Yellow Eye Kole Tang) 7" Pair
<Better individually housed in this volume>
1x Blue throat trigger 8" OR Pink tail trigger 12"
<Mmm, place the Blue Throats last if you get them... I'd skip on the Melichthys>
1x Yellow Longnose Butterfly 9"
1x Centropyge ferrugatus (Rusty Angel) 4"
1x Centropyge joculator (Lemonpeel Angel) 6"
1x Centropyge loriculus (Flame Angel) 4" - this fish is one that I already have in another tank
<I'd stick with just this one Centropyge in this system>
I can't forget my pair of Mandarin Gobies! I'm also thinking about getting
3x Leopard Wrasse (1 male and two females) but since both eat copepods is this a bad idea?
<Mmm, no... but the genus Macropharyngodon are not easily kept... I'd wait months to place them here...>
For Perchers, I would like to have seven (again, please let me know if I can do more or need to cut back):
3x Citron Clown Goby 2"
1x Bicolor Blenny 3"
1x Starry Blenny 5"
1x Linear Blenny 3"
1x Orange Spotted Blenny 3"
1x Longnose Hawkfish 4"
Now for the fish that bury themselves, I'm thinking three "sets":
Randal's Goby with pistol shrimp
Yellow Watchman Goby with pistol shrimp
Hi Fin Red Banded Goby with pistol shrimp
<And just one combo. here>
Pearly/yellow head jaw fish pair
A peaceful tank is what I'm planning as I've learned that fish fights are too stressful for them and me - every time there is battle, my husband will scream, "Jamie! Get that fish out! It'll kill so and so!" I almost have a heart attack every time and I know I don't want to go fishing in a 225 gallon with 200+ pounds of live rock and corals!
I would love to know what you think! If you look back, this is different and even more planned out than my last proposal.
Thanks to each and every one of you who make this site so fun and educational!
Jamie Barclay
<Thank you for sharing! I'd winnow down your choices from the above... and though it's hard to do (but oh so easy to suggest), DO take your time in stocking here. Bob Fenner>

Fish stocking in a 90 gallon Mixed Reef 9/28/09
Dear WWM Crew-
<Hello May>
Hello. I've been diligently reading about many different fish species, but I still feel a little overwhelmed. My tank is 90 gallons and has been running with 110lbs of live rock for about 8 weeks with stable parameters. I am NOT planning to add any fish for at least another 2+ months, but would like to start planning. I'm interested in a moderately peaceful and completely reef safe community of fish. That said, I've narrowed it down to some fish that interest me and they are as follows:
- Mimic Eibli Tang (Acanthurus pyroferus / tristis)
- Yellow-Eye Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus)
- Bartlett's Anthias (Pseudanthias bartlettorum)
<Mmm, more than one... three is a good number here>
- Flasher Wrasse
<At least two...>
- Tailspot Blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura or bicolor)
- Prawn Goby with Shrimp
- Greenbanded Goby (Elacatinus multifasciatum)
I'd like to keep just one Tang species since the Anthias occupy the same area of the water column. Which Tang species would you recommend?
And what is the difference between Acanthurus pyroferus and Acanthurus tristis?
As far as the Anthias goes it seems like Bartlett's is the best species in terms of hardiness. I definitely want to keep a harem, how many would you recommend if I were to keep them with either of the above mentioned Tangs?
<A small, odd number>
I find Pseudanthias dispar and Nemanthias carberryi lovely as well, do you know anything about these guys?
I would only keep one species of Anthias as I know it's not generally good to mix.
I'm also interested in Flasher Wrasses and thought it might be interesting to keep a single one or a small harem.
<Single... won't flash... be very happy>
I haven't settled on a species, do you have a recommendation?
<For you to read further>
Flasher Wrasses occupy the lower portion of the water column so they might compliment the Anthias well?
<Mmm, perhaps visually, for you. Won't associate if this is what you mean>
Also, if the Wrasse/Anthias combo works well should I forget about the addition of a Tang?
<This Tang should get along here, with what you list, this volume, shape system>
I'm also interested in Ecsenius stigmatura or Ecsenius bicolor. I've read that the Ecsenius Blennies can be a bit naughty, is that true?
<Yes... are territorial>
Or would some kind of sand sifting Prawn and Goby pair be a better choice than the Ecsenius? Or could I keep both without a problem?
<Likely the latter>
Lastly, I really like Elacatinus multifasciatum (I have a few in my nano tank) and was wondering if I could keep them with much larger fish without having any problems?
<Most fishes, from any ocean, recognize this/these as potential cleaners and leave them alone>
Any compatibility issues, stocking order advice, or selection recommendations would be very helpful too! I greatly appreciate your help. WetWebMedia is a fantastic resource, thank you!
<I applaud your investigating before purchasing... For now, I'd continue, and keep good notes of your findings. Bob Fenner>

Would LOVE Your Opinion On My 225 Gal Reef... (Hee-hee...Opinions are what we do best!) -- 09/24/09
Greetings everyone at WWM!
<<Howdy Jamie'¦Eric here>>
Wishing that all is well with you.
<<Okay for a Thursday, thanks [grin]>>
I apologize in advance for the multitude of questions I pose.
<<No worries>>
I've finally got to the stage of "setting up" my 225 gallon reef tank and I'm really excited to see what you think about it.
As I've done much studying on your WONDERFUL site, I've planned this according to the future inhabitants
- Reef system with live rock/sand, mainly soft corals, some SPS (maybe), peaceful type fishes. Here is a "thinking list" of creatures with associated questions:
Kole Yellow Eye Tangs - will they be more territorial if I get a "pair" or will they enjoy their lives better?
<<A pair 'might' work out, but this tank is still a bit small for such in my opinion'¦is a gamble>>
McCosker's Flasher Wrasse - 1 male and 3 females OR Red Fin Flasher Wrasse in the same combination?
<<Beautiful fishes, but they do suffer when kept with other 'boisterous' fishes'¦better kept when the system is designed around 'them'>>
Blue/green reef chromis - school of 5 or more?
<<7 to 9 if you wish'¦but'¦I think a better choice for a 'schooling' fish would be a small Cardinalfish species. There are several choices among the more 'social' species. A couple options might be the Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera), or the Longspine Cardinalfish (Apogon leptacanthus). Aside from the fact that I find the Cardinalfishes more interesting than the Chromis species mentioned, if careful about species selection it my experience that losses from conspecifics aggression are a mute point'¦unlike the so-called 'peaceful' Chromis species>>
Yellow Longnose butterfly fish - again, I'm wondering if having a pair would make them more territorial?
<<Another gamble I think'¦ Dr. Ellen Thayer is of the opinion that just about any marine species available to the hobby can be kept in pairs'¦given the right conditions/environment. Unfortunately that often equates to just sheer volume and the size of the system. For these 'roaming' fishes, 12sqft just does not 'equate' most of the time>>
Midas blenny vs. Linear blenny vs. starry blenny - which one do you think will do better in this system?
<<I don't think it matters much, but any of these may prove to be trouble for the Gobies and/or Dragonettes you have planned>>
Goby and pistol shrimp pair - their behaviour is so interesting that I can't go without a pair,
<<Do try to acquire as such>>
BUT is this system so big that they will disappear?
<<Maybe'¦but then I have seen this happen in tanks as small as 20g. Despite our wishes, animals don't always take up stage 'front and center' for our viewing pleasure>>
Pair of skunk cleaner shrimps, crabs, hermits...
<<Mmm, I'm not a fan of the Crabs/Hermits'¦ Too opportunistic for my tastes'¦though I do think I'm in the minority in the hobby re>>
Here is a list of I would like "with caution", and in need of your thoughts, again.
Mandarin goby - I would wait for a long time to get them because I've learned that my system has to be teaming with copepods for them to be successful,
<<And best supplemented 'continuously' via an inline plankton producing refugium>>
but I was wondering if they would not do well because of the other more "aggressive" feeders that I've got above.
<<This is a valid concern. These slow moving feeders (ever watch how they carefully scrutinize everything?) are easily outcompeted for available natural foods>>
Blue throat trigger - I've heard and read some success there?
<<I kept a male/female pair in my own SPS dominated 375g reef display>>
Are they worth the risk though?
<<Not the flashiest, but an interesting and intelligent fish'¦and quite docile as Triggers go'¦in my experience. A single specimen would likely be a fine choice for your system>
Dimensions on this tank is 72"L 24"W 30"H. It will have a Lifereef LF1 Berlin Filter Systems, the LifeReefugium, and the Lifereef protein skimmer.
<<I see>>
For wave action, I'll be installing two gen2 Vortech propeller pumps Mp40w --
I'm not sure where to really put them as the choices are on the back wall of the tank versus the "left" wall so I don't have to look at them, but I'm not sure if that will be enough flow for this size tank.
<<Mmm, unfortunately it is not always possible to hide such (I have four big ole' Tunze pumps in my display)'¦best to place them on opposing walls. As for whether they are 'enough''¦time will tell>>
The lighting system I'm planning on is the Hamilton Technology Belize Sun 6ft 250 W HQI 10K + 4x96W CF with LED.
<<Nice units>>
I like the more "natural" or in my mind "snorkeling" type look so I think the 10K is the one that is less blue.
<<The higher the Kelvin Temperature the more 'blue' in the bulb>>
I did have a canopy but after trying to figure a good way to cool the lighting system I thought it would be easier to just go without it.
<<Indeed this is so>>
I'm thinking of using egg crate so that my fishes don't jump out to become fish jerkies.
<<Though any fish can jump from your aquarium, the Flasher Wrasses are the only real threat re among your proposed selections'¦and just so you know, they 'can jump through' the ½' grid of the eggcrate'¦especially when 'pursued'>>
I do wonder about salt creep if that water is exposed like that - what do you think?
<<I prefer an 'open' system myself'¦ Any salt creep is minimal (as long as you don't have a lot of 'bubbles')'¦>>
I still can go back to the canopy with a retro fit kit of the same caliber but I have to raise it to be at least 12 or 14 inches so that I won't melt the top of my tank.
<<Personally, I wouldn't bother with the canopy>>
I am planning on at least 4 -5 inches of live sand. The rockscape will be extensive with lots of caves and niches covering most of the back wall with maybe a few small islands near the front of the tank.
<<Do be sure not to overdue/to leave plenty of swimming room for the fishes and growing room for the corals>>
I'm so excited to be sharing this plan with you as it has taken me months of planning to settle down on this.
<<I'm happy to conspire with you>>
I look forward to reading your thoughts and suggestions for adjustments and changes so please feel free to share your thoughts.
<<No problem'¦have done so>>
I can modify most things with the exception of the tank and Lifereef filtration system as I've already placed an order and Jeff is building it as we speak.
Thanks again for making this site available for fish lovers everywhere and thanks for taking the time.
Jamie Barclay
<<It is a collective effort'¦happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Compatibility Question (Tank Upgrade), reef -- 09/09/09
I am finally upgrading to a larger tank, a 72 with 30g refuge/sump.
Not as big as I would like,
<<They never are'¦ [grin]>>
but much better than the 45g I now have. The tank is used, and I am acquiring livestock along with equipment. I will be setting up the new tank, and eventually transferring everything to the new tank (after making sure all is well/quarantine). I will keep most of the coral from the new system and a few of mine that have proved to be fairly well behaved (not taking over the tank). The rest will go to my LFS.
<<Sounds like you have a plan>>
The fish are another story.
I currently have two ocellaris clowns, a green clown goby, watchman goby and new redheaded goby. New tank comes with a hippo tang,
<<Really needs a bigger environment>>
mandarin dragonet,
yellow gamma,
<<'¦? As in 'Royal Gramma?' A superb aquarium fish, if so>>
1 ocellaris clown and 2 yellow tail damsels. I am thinking of keeping the hippo and mandarin and getting rid of the gamma and damsels.
<<I would do the opposite here (though I consider the Damsels a push either way). If you want a Tang, there are smaller, less robust, and less 'twitchy' species better suited to this size tank (e.g. -- Zebrasoma flavescens, Acanthurus japonicus, and Ctenochaetus strigosus). As for the Dragonet, even if it is feeding well on prepared foods it may not be able to compete/get enough to eat with this mix of livestock>>
I am unsure about the other clown.
<<Not likely to be accepted by the established pair>>
Will he just be a third wheel and cause problems?
My clowns are not aggressive with other fish now, so I would hate to create problems.
<<I would pass on the third Clownfish in this case>>
My LFS will take the fish--usually for a trade in livestock or a discount.
I do enjoy seeing the clowns in my current tank since the other fish are fairly reclusive except at feeding time.
<<Cheers'¦ EricR>>

Phosphate & Stocking question: Phosphate\nutrient\algae control and stocking SW 8/30/3009
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hi Jan.>
As always, thank you for your great site. Over the 4 years that we have had our reef tank your help and advice has been invaluable!
<Thank you for the kind words.>
Our tank setup is as follows:
- 75 G Oceanic reef ready bow front with a 20 G Eco Systems refugium, about 80 lbs. of live rock.
- Water quality: 77.5 degrees F, 1.025 SG, 8.3 pH, 5 ppm Nitrate, 0 ppm Ammonia & Nitrite, 420 ppm Ca, 1470 ppm Mg, 7.0 dKH and 1 ppm PO4.
<High phosphate, but you already knew that...:) >
- 15% water change every Friday using RO/DI water with 0 ppm readings on the meter.
- 3 feedings per day with a mixture of liquid, frozen & dry foods.
<Ding! we have a winner.>
- Livestock: 2 clownfish (A. ocellaris), mated and spawning
1 Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens)
3 Blue-Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
3 Peppermint Shrimp (L. wurdemanni)
2 Cleaner Shrimp (L. amboinensis)
2 Fire Cleaner Shrimp (L. debelius)
5 blue legged hermit crabs
Various corals.
<A reasonably stocked tank.>
I have two areas where I need your advice (without which, I am reluctant to do anything in this tank).
<Fair enough.>
1. High phosphate level. Due to ???.
I'm getting a PO4 reading of 1 ppm (confirmed with 2 different test kits) which I understand to be very high. I am experiencing some hair algae growth and CBA (CBA mainly in the refugium). I use RO/DI water (which I have tested a 0 ppm PO4) and I have tested the new salt water before the water change at 0 ppm PO4. The substrate is about 2 to 3 inches deep.
All of the corals are healthy and growing. I do not now where the PO4 is coming from (the substrate?) or how big a problem this is. So, I'm confused and could use some advice.
<Two possible causes - 1st, how much are you skimming out of this tank?
Your skimmer could be undersized. 2nd: Three feedings a day is excessive, especially with liquid foods - those should be used no more than once or twice a week.
we tend to overfeed these because it is a liquid.>
2. Stocking question. Should we add a "Lawnmower" Blenny (S. Fasciatus), or not.
<I wouldn't, you are reasonably stocked now, adding anything else will be pushing the limits.>
Recently, after 3 years of healthy living, our Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) died. We intend to replace him with another Mandarinfish.
<Do give the pod population time to replenish itself before adding another.
75 gallons is on the edge of being too small for a Mandarin. They need a large tank with a healthy pod population.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandfdgfaqs.htm >
We would also like to add a "Lawnmower" Blenny (S. Fasciatus) but have some concerns. In researching this fish I understand that they can be quite territorial, even belligerent.
<Yes they can: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blencompfaqs.htm >
Given that we are going to have a Mandarinfish and that our clownfish have taken up residence in a Zoanthid coral on the bottom, right corner of the tank, should we add the Blenny? The thought of a bullying Blenny bothering the clownfish in their little home is untenable. But we need an algae eater and I love the way these crazy looking "Lawnmower" Blennies look.
<You already have a voracious algae eater in the Yellow Tang. Between phosphate control. removing any that is in danger of covering\damaging any corals, and the tang, the hair algae will quickly be under control. Adding a phosphate reactor or just using some Polyfilters can help speed the process up.>
Thanks for your thoughts!!
<My pleasure.>
Re: Phosphate & Stocking question: Phosphate\nutrient\algae control and stocking SW 8/30/3009

Hi Mike,
<Hi Jan.>
Thanks so much for your quick response! However, I have a couple of follow up questions.
1. Are you saying that the PO4 is in the food or that we're putting too much
food in the tank, or both?
The liquid foods we use are made by Reef Nutrition.
<A good brand.>
We use their Phyto-Feast, Oyster Feast & Arcti-Pods. The first two are for the corals. The frozen foods are made by Bio-Pure and we vary the types between feedings. Also, it was my understanding that 3 light feedings per day was ideal. Wrong? If so, what would you recommend?
<Unless you have a fish with a very particular diet, once or twice a day is fine. The fish will graze the rest of the day.>
By the way, the skimmer that we use is the one that came with the Eco-Systems refugium that was specified for this size tank, so I hope that's not undersized.
<Should be fine - are yo getting a lot of skimmate?>
2. Regarding the stocking question, if we decided not to replace the Mandarinfish, would the Lawnmower Blenny be OK? Our Tang, while it does peck at the rock, couldn't be described as a voracious algae eater (at this my wife says maybe because we're overfeeding!).
<Perhaps - tangs love hair algae - at least mine did.>
There seems to be plenty of algae on the rock (not hair algae!). My initial concern about adding this fish was potential aggression towards the clownfish. Or is six fish enough
for a 75G tank?
<6 is about the limit for a 75.>
Once again, thanks for all of your help!!
<My pleasure.>

Stocking 150 Reef -- 08/26/09
I discovered your web site a week ago and have read so much information that my head is spinning. I am in the process of planning future livestock for my 150gal. tank. It is set up and the live rock is curing right now.
From what I have read (so far) it sounds like I am on the right track (I think). Between my main tank, sump, and refugium I have 300lbs of live rock. I elected to go bare bottom in my main tank and deep sand bed in my refugium (refuge has Chaeto in it and uses a reverse light pattern).
Skimmer is in sump. Also have a Fluval 404 (after reading it seems it may be unnecessary but I guess it is a holdout from when I had a fish only tank 10 years ago) that has carbon, sea chem phosphate remover, and Chemi-pure.
<Sounds like you are on the right track.>
Live rock has been in place for 3 weeks and ammonia and nitrite are 0 but I think I am going to wait a few more weeks before I add anything just to be safe.
<Sounds fine, cautious is good, just don't wait too long.>
Now on to my question(s). After reading some of the information on your site I have already changed my mind about some of the livestock I am going to get. I understand that each fish has its own personality and characteristics but I want to do my best to eliminate the possible early demise due to incompatibility. Here are some of the species that I am interested in and keep in mind that I plan on adding these over the next year or so and not all at once. I just like to plan ahead.
Flame Angel
Coral Beauty
either a Flameback or an African Pygmy Angel
<Mmm, pick just one of these pygmy angels.>
Blue Tang
<I am hoping the tank is a 5 foot long 150, not the 4 foot. Please
reconsider this large fish for a tank under 6 feet long.>
Yellow Tang
Purple Tang
<Either the purple or the yellow tang, I wouldn't recommend both.>
Royal Gamma
Blackcap Basslet
Percula Clownfish
Bicolor Blenny
Carpenters Wrasse
a few green Chromis
maybe an anthias (undecided on species yet)
<Anthias are best kept in groups not alone, please do some more research on anthias and their special feeding requirements.>
Scarlet Reef hermit crabs
Dwarf Blue Leg hermit crabs
Peppermint shrimp
Scarlet Cleaner shrimp
Blood shrimp
Brittle starfish
Blue Linckia starfish
<Blue Linckia is generally doomed when removed from the wild, please do some reading on these as well.>
pin cushion urchin
Astrea snails
Corals, nothing to fancy. Mainly mushrooms and polyps.
Is there anything I should eliminate off this list? I already removed a Flame Hawkfish and Snowflake eel. I am surprised about all the fish and inverts I read about on here that have been eaten by snowflakes. I had one 10 years ago and I guess I got lucky because it never bothered anything. It even let the cleaner shrimp climb in its mouth to clean. I was really looking forward to getting another one but it sounds like I do not want to risk it. Thank you for your help and time.
<Good luck, and keep reading,
Josh Solomon.>

Reef stkg. for the most part 8/13/2009
Hi Bob and Crew
I wrote to you a few weeks ago about Bartlett's anthias and some sudden deaths.
I moved them One male four females) to their new home as suggested (265 gallon). All are well with the exception of one small female who jumped the other night ( through a tiny open strip).
<Ahh, a too-common source of mortality with captive Anthiines>
The tank has about 100 pounds of base rock and another 160 pounds of really nice Irian Jaya rock. Lots of Zoanthids popping up as well as at least five different macro algaes ( none died back during the curing in tank). Two inches of Arago sand along the bottom, 55 gallon sump with 10" Reef Octopus skimmer, two 1 1/2 overflow pipes and micron filter bags. Should I make the middle section of the sump into a deep sand bed/ Refugium?
<Mmm, I would do this here>
I am concerned about nitrates and I do have bails of Chaetomorpha in need of new homes.
As mentioned at least for now there is significant macro growth but as I will list I would like to have a group of tangs.
For lighting 3 250 watt Halides although I am leaving the center light off to create a lower light I think it looks nicer, plus actinics.
Can you please comment on my planed fish additions, they are all from other established aquariums:
Crosshatch trigger which I have been holding in a 125. I have him about a year and he has grown from 6 to just about 10 inches.
6 yellow tangs ( is the tank large enough? if so can I also add my black tang to this group?)
<Yes. The yellows may in time work each other woe>
Goldflake angel about 5 inches - has proven to be reef friendly in another aquarium for over a year
A 5 bar mystery wrasse
large watchman goby
Helfrichi fire fish (more than 1?)
<One is fine>
pair Darwin ocellaris
Two small P. hepatus
12 Banggai Cards.
Clown goby
assorted hermits, shrimps, snails
A few more small fish maybe Pseudochromis, or mandarin.
<Should fit. Do keep an eye on the Mandarin/s to assure they're not skinny>
Also, I have started adding corals slowly to the system, one question on this, I added a newly received (2 weeks) large Cladiella sp. (or what ever it is called now) from a smaller tank, that was under 150 halides to the large tank. It is not directly under the halide and it is a few inches deeper than the tank it was moved from. Looked great for two days, now it has become an enormous swollen balloon with no polyps showing. Just a huge branched blob. I never had this happen before, could this be a normal reaction to the change in environment, lighting etc. Should I move it back?
<I would leave it where it is for now, unless it appears to be deteriorating>
Thank again for all your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility/Stocking Level 8/10/09
Hello Everyone.
<Hi, whomever you are.>
This is a list of my system equipment
110 gallon glass tank ( 48Lx18Wx30H ) not drilled
48" Outer Orbit 2x150 watt, 10K HQI-MH w/ 4x45 watt T5HO & 18 Lunar Lights
Rena Filstar XP3 canister filter
AquaC Remora Pro Hang-On Skimmer with Mag 3 pump
2 Hydor Koralia pumps 1- #3 and 1- #4
2 Visi-Therm Deluxe heaters
Glass Covers on Top ( To keep the jumpers in )
All of my water parameters are well within acceptable range.
This is a list of my livestock.
1 Flame Angel
1 Onespot Foxface Rabbitfish
2 True Percula Clownfish - Tank Raised
1 Dot-and-Dash Flasher Wrasse
1 McCosker's Flasher Wrasse
1 Yellow Watchman Goby
1 Pinkbar Goby
1 Tiger Pistol Shrimp
1 Fire Shrimp
1 Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp
25 Tonga Nassarius Snails
15 Cerith Snails
A assortment of mushrooms, Zoanthids, and polyps
Colt Coral
Can I add a Purple Tang to my system?
<No, even though your tank size is 110 gallons, if affords little horizontal swimming room for a Purple Tang.>
This would be my last fish addition.
If not, can you give me a suggestion on a good addition or additions?
<I would not add anymore fish. Your surface area isn't any larger than a 55 gallon tank, and therefore only offers the same air/gas exchange as a 55 gallon tank. I say this since you incorporate no sump in your
system which can greatly increase the oxygen level in the system.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

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