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FAQs about Small Marine System Livestocking 1

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Related FAQs: Small Marine System Livestocking 2 , Small Marine System Stocking 3Small Marine Stocking 4, Small Marine Stocking 5, Small Marine Stocking 6, Small Marine Stocking 7, Small Marine Stocking 8, Small Marine Stocking 9 Small Marine Stocking 10, Small Marine Stocking 11, Small Marine Stocking 12, Small Marine Stocking 13Small Marine Stocking 14, Small Marine Stocking 15, & Cnidarians for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Small Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes and More for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Blennies, -oids for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Damsels, Clownfishes for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Dwarf Dwarf Angels of the Genus Centropyge by Bob Fenner, Jawfishes Suitable for Small Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Little Basses for Small Systems by Bob Fenner,

Eusynstyela cf. misakiensis
. An incidental invertebrate of LR that you may be fortunate to inherit.

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Hi Bob,
Are there any marine fish that thrive in a smaller system? Not necessarily fish that are small enough to be kept in a small volume of water, but fish that are suited to living in a smaller environment, if that makes sense! I am getting some equipment (hopefully) for Christmas and I want to set up a small aquarium, no more than 15 gallons.
I am thinking about small, inactive fish that do not need too much room in their daily activity.
Any suggestions?
Have a great Christmas!
Toby Leighton 

            Thank you Toby. And what a propitious question! I am in the midst of penning several installments of what I hope will be a book on small marine aquariums, including of course their appropriate stocking. I assure you that the number and variety of organisms suitable for systems of diminutive dimensions is large. Though most folks laud the great numbers of small/er species of goby and blenny-like fishes, there are other families like the Damsels (Pomacentridae), Cardinals (Apogonidae), Scorpionfishes of small size, smaller Angler/Frogfishes, many Seahorses and Pipefishes, Dwarf-Dwarf Centropyge Angels, Grammas, smaller Hawkfishes, the littler Jawfishes and Pseudochromids/Dottybacks (particularly the easier-going species that are tank bred and reared), even some of the smaller species of Basses like the Hamlets (Hypoplectrus) and Serranus.
            And don't limit yourself to simply considering fish life. There are macro-algae galore to choose amongst, as well as vast numbers of invertebrates: Sponges, Stinging-Celled life ('corals' and more), Crustaceans, Molluscs, and Echinoderms (some Stars and Cukes)'¦ Take a look about for information in print and on-line re nano-reefs. There is much available for stocking small systems. Best to gather data re your choices, and set about systematically gathering this life, placing it in order of lesser to more aggressive, quarantining all in advance of placement, mixing some of your main/established system's water with the isolation/quarantine system every few days to accustom new organisms to the old. 

First Coral in a Nano? Thanks Jim, But I got another ? for ya. Since your an experienced Nano reef keeper, what would be the first coral I should buy? I'm running it with 8 watts per gallon , its been up for a month and the water is perfect.  Is it too early for anything yet? I was looking for a nice leather coral, or some beautiful Acroporas!!! What do you think? >>>Hey Alex, I would go with green star polyps, or some kind of Corallimorpharian (mushroom) rock. Stay away from Acros and such, you don't have enough light, nor likely the required water conditions. Leathers, Sarcophyton species and such, get much too large. Jim<<<

Compatibility issues Hi Crew, <Samuel> I have a six line wrasse and a clown goby in a 10 gallon tank which is 1 1/2 years old and very stable. I want to add a royal Gramma. <... I would not do this... too small a volume principally> I searched through responses and found the question, but the answer was 'it would be nice if you can pull it off'. Did you ever get a confirmation as to whether the 2 did tolerate each other. <Maybe not... I and sometimes Marina and Anthony place the ongoing "FAQs", and try to put them in order...> I know my tank is small but I would like to try it if there is a chance it will work. <Not a real good chance... if you do try this, be prepared... put the new animal in early in the day when you can be around to observe it... and have means (like a plastic, floating colander) for separating the new addition, okay from the store to return it> From my own small experience I have found that what looks like a good match may not last. I used to have 2 peppermint shrimp for over 6 months and then they disappeared without  a trace. I have no doubt it was the wrasse since at that time I found him with an injured eye. <Good observations. Bob Fenner> Nano Reef Dear Bob, <Hi Jerry, MacL here with you this fine and lovely day.> Your site is a God send, I've been keeping f/w aquariums for about 35 years. I have a 210 gal Malawi tank and 5 months ago set up a 18 gal. reef tank (wish it was much bigger) that I love. <Great!!! There is joy to be found in both kinds.> I have dual 40 watt 10ks and dual actinic lights, an aqua clear 250 filled with bio/max and a Fluval 204 with bio/max and bio/chem Zorb (I know I need a protein skimmer). <Probably> I had problems with protein on the top so I incorporated a Fluval top skimmer, it took care of the surface film. Now comes the part that you may go geezy weezy, I have 2 fish, Sailfin tang and a 6 lined wrasse, 20 pd.s. of live rock, blood shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, emerald crab, sally light foot, 2 hermits and 3 turbo snails. Also housed in the same Nano cube are bubble coral, Xenia, leather coral, gold polyps, fl. Xenia, 3 feather dusters, hairy mushrooms, mushrooms, star polyps and polyps that are green and orange. Please be gentle, <HA HA HA you get me instead of Bob and Anthony and I'm very Gentle!!!> I do 2 gal water changes every week, my ph is a constant 8.3, specific gravity is 1.023, cal. around 400, iodine 6, total Alk. 6, mg is 900 (a little low I know). Am I heading for disaster with this setup? <You just want to tell me what you already know. You have a small tank with a very heavy load that could be a potential disaster but on the bright side if you watch it closely and take very good care of it, all might be fine.>  Everything in the tank looks great right now, my calcareous algae is abundant. I am meticulous when it comes to feeding and maintenance, my fish get a variety of foods (not too much) they are always hungry, but I'm careful not to over do it. Should I do a larger percentage of water weekly? One day I'll have a bigger tank but for now I'm learning. <I understand and I'm glad you are so concerned for your tank Jerry.  You'll just have to watch your tank very closely and be prepared to address anything that should happen.> Thank you for your site and the wealth of info that goes along with it. <You are very kind> Jerry Sollenberger.  

Fish addition Hi Crew, <How goes it, Michael here this evening> I have a 10gallon SW setup for a year, 1-2 inches sand, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 nitrates. Two PJ cardinals, 1 clown goby and a Sixline wrasse, snails and hermits and a peppermint shrimp for the past 6 months. <A bit much for 10 gallons IMO>  I  just tried to add a royal Gramma (to replace a rainfordi that was starving) but the wrasse did a job on him.  Is there any way to add a fish to this setup? <I most definitely would NOT recommend it; overcrowded as it is> There is no rockwork to change to make the wrasse think he is in a new place just a plastic 'cliffs&cave' on one side where they all hang out after the lights go out.. <Definitely don't add anything else to this set-up, and look into finding new homes for the cardinals.  M. Maddox>

Fish for a 16 gal HI Crew!  Thanks for always being there.  Just a quick question as my tank has been up for two to three months now, and I'm thinking about fish.  I was at my LFS recently and put my name on a list for a Stonogobiops yasha.  I was planning on also getting a symbiotic shrimp.  My tank is only 16 gallons, so this would be my feature and probably only fish.  If I do decide to eventually go with another fish, I was thinking either 6-line wrasse, cherub angel or royal Gramma. << I'd say not the Gramma, but the other two would be fine. >> My tank specs are as follows: 16 gallon 96 watt pc remora skimmer aqua clear mini with carbon 2 micro-jets Temp 78 Sg 1.025     Alk 9.8 DKH Ca 430 Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate 0 (I would like a little nitrate, but can't get it - maybe because the tank is so small with frequent top offs dilutes nitrate and aggressive skimming with the remora). Please comment << Sounds good.  With a 16 gal a two gal water change goes a long ways. >> 1 Trochus (had 2, can't find the other one for about a week-possible crawled into the skimmer box?) 3 Astrea 2scarlet reef hermits 1 blue leg hermit sm. green star polyp sm. finger leather sm. yellow leather sm. pulsing xenia 1 purple Bullseye mushroom 3 various colored sm. button polyps 20 lbs. LR 20 lbs. LS sand bed ranges from about one to two inches under rock to three inches near glass.  (Probably not good, huh?  Should be less that inch or greater than 3.  Should I bother to mess with it now or let it go.  Please comment.  << Let it go, but probably 3 inches is ideal everywhere. >> Please let me know how I'm doing, as your input means everything to us reefers out here all alone in this cold, dry world.  (I shoulda been a crab-oops, I am!  I meant a hermit crab-oops, I am.  I spend waaaaay to much time in here looking at this darn tank! << Good luck. >>   Thanks!!!  God Bless you guys.  p.s.  We need to talk about all this evolution crap! << Like what? >> Susan Cestaro-Smith <<  Blundell  >>

Stocking for 30 gallon tank    Hi, <Hi MacL here with you today. Please disregard if you have already received a response to your question.> I have a 30 gallon tank with 30 lbs. of live rock and about 15 lbs. of base rock. It has no fish in it as of yet, and has been running 4 weeks. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are at 0. I was planning on adding a flame or falco Hawkfish, followed by a Pseudochromis fridmani, and then a cherub angelfish. <I think they would all work together, they are all pretty voracious eaters. The one the worries me the most would be the fridmani, who might get out competed in my experience.> I am wondering whether these tank-mates will be too aggressive for a 30 gallon tank. Thank you for you're insight; great site.  <Thank you for your kind words.>

Gobies in a Nano Hello crew members <Hello! Ryan with you> I have a 20 gallon long and I would like to add a few real small gobies. <Gotcha> Can all different species in the goby family live together or will they fight. <Likely fight in this small a space> Would they fight with a blenny too? <Perhaps> I thought that since they were so small they would be good for a  Nano tank and like 4 or 5 of them would not be a big bioload if you stay on top of water changes. <Most successful Nano-reefers I know stick to one species per tank.  In such small confines, it's difficult to contain aggression, and weaker fish have less coverage in which to hide.  2 Gobies of the same species would be my selection. Ryan>

Nano Questions (3/7/04) First, your site rocks!  <Steve Allen here. I love it too. I've learned a lot both as a reader and as a crewmember.> Second, got a quick "reef" question for you.  I currently have an Eclipse 12 with roughly 15 lbs of live rock, well established, with a 50/50 Actinic 13 watt light. <power compact?>  My pursuit is a "mini-reef" setup and my question is this: what (if any) kind of corals/anemones, etc could I use in my tank.  I currently have no fish in my tank (another part of the question) and wonder what I am capable of keeping.  Some say Percula clowns, some say gobies, some say only one fish, some say several.  I have heard so many differing stories from different LFS's, I wanted to hear it straight from the pros! <Well, I'd say experienced amateur. As for LFS, you have to remember that they're in it to make money.>  Thanks for your help! <I hope this helps: First, I strongly recommend no anemone. Too hard to get the pristine water conditions you need. Also, not enough light. The low light and small size also limits what you can do with corals. Some more light would really help. Mushrooms should be OK. Perhaps a Fungia if you have a patch of bare sand. Zoanthids might work. As for fish, probably only one, perhaps two if small. If you have good filtration, you might be able to do a single Percula clown or Royal Gramma. A Firefish would be nice and you might be able to keep a shrimp goby with it. You could also go with a fish and a shrimp -- a Firefish and a fire shrimp, perhaps.>

Nano SPS tank Hello again crew members. <Hello, a fellow SPS Fanatic at your service :)> I need advice about a choice in coral I made that I think is a mistake now. I have a SPS Nano tank that is 20 gallons. I even have a Nano calcium reactor made by Myreef. It is very cool and does the job. <Sounds nice!> I do have some soft coral that I added. It is now my concern. A frag of Zoanthids and a toadstool leather. I know that these two corals and my SPS do not like each other and fight. <Correct.> I wonder if I have any chance of keeping them together when I am doing water changes of 10% each week. And that I add active carbon fresh each week. <Both the genus Sinularia and Sarcophyton will release chemicals into the water column which acts as a growth inhibitor. This chemical (defense) usually targets Acropora and Porites. I highly discourage mixing species in such a small aquarium because of this. Along with the chemical issue, physical warfare can occur if these corals get too close to each other. Yes, it can be done successfully if you run carbon constantly, but as I said above, I discourage mixing soft corals with SPS corals in such a small aquarium. Overall, if you run carbon constantly you shouldn't have too much to worry about.> Thank you, Karl <Take Care, Karl! Graham S.>

New to Salt, but not to Water >Hi there, I just got a DIY 16 gallon aquarium (21"L x 10"W x 18.5"H) with a built in wet/dry from a friend today. The wet/dry is built on the outside of the tank, so it doesn't take away space from the tank. The bulkhead has a 1" opening. I have been doing freshwater for years and wanted to try saltwater. I know it's a small tank, but I already have a 55 gallon and a 40 gallon FW running in my house. >>It well qualifies as a Nano, however, these *can* be done and be done well. I would not normally recommend a Nano for a first time salt keeper, though. But, it is what it is, yes? >I read a bunch of FAQs and planned out my new aquarium. I want to double check with you guys to see if I'm okay to keep mistakes to a minimal. >>Alright. >I plan on 15-20 lbs of live rock (not sure which type, open to suggestions) >>Everyone has their favorites, personally, I'm open to anything that's wild-collected and has as much life as possible. I also prefer to cure myself, as that's the best way of ensuring that *I* get as much of the original life on that rock as possible (there's die-off each time it's shipped). >20 lbs of live sand >>In my opinion, unless you're in a huge hurry, just get sand, let the rock that you've cured yourself seed the sand.  >Either a 28 watt or a 55/65 watt CF >>Lighting depends on what you want to keep. In such a system I say start with stuff like green star polyps, yellow polyps, some mushrooms (watch out for Rhodactis species, some are fish-eaters), maybe a Tridacna derasa clam, stuff like that. >I was thinking about keeping 1 clown, 1 goby, 1 seahorse, 1 cleaner shrimp, and maybe a few other invertebrates if space permits. >>I must object to the seahorse. If seahorses are what you want, then DEDICATE the system to them. Your little DIY'er is perfect for them, but don't add fish that can out compete for food. Also, they do *not* do well in the high flow systems where these other animals are normally found. >Also, I need to buy a powerhead to run the wet/dry. How many GPH would you recommend? >>For most "reef" type systems, we want to see 10x the TOTAL volume of the system. Include the capacity of the wet/dry when factoring this. If you want more (and much better) information on seahorses, go to http://www.seahorse.org/  and (!) please do not buy wild-caught animals. The reasoning goes thusly; seahorses have no proper 'gut', and as such, are essentially an 'in-one-end-and-out-the-other' creature. This being the case, wild-caught animals are practically starved when they reach the wholesaler. Also, while depletion for the aquarium trade is nominal when compared to the Asian medicinal trade, it certainly doesn't help the problem, whereas patronizing breeders minimizes this effect. (Just my two cents) >Thanks for your help. Thomas >>You're welcome, and good luck and HAVE FUN! Marina 

New 20g tall stocking questions 4/13/04  1) I just started a twenty gallon (tall) marine aquarium-it has just cycled and my wife and I are about to go out and get our first fish- The tank has some live rock (9lb) and a couple of hermit crabs, a camelback shrimp, 3 medium sized snails, plus a chocolate chip starfish. My question; What four fish would you recommend? We want them to be very colorful and of course hardy-damsels don't do much for me. I would also like to add a couple of cleaner shrimp. I keep a 45 gallon tank of Cichlids but Saltwater is a different world.  <In a tank that size, you are limited to smaller fish that aren't active swimmers. Clownfish, blennies, gobies, Firefish and cardinal fish are all decent choices. Most of the above are size/activity appropriate for your tank (or at least will have a couple of years before outgrowing it). Beware that some gobies and Firefish are potential jumpers.>  2) We had a lot of algae, hence the hermit crabs and the snails-they seem to have really done a number on the live rock-which is practically white now. I am using half/half lighting, 12 hours a day. Have I hurt the live rock?  <Coralline can be killed by being overgrown with nuisance algae. Also, coralline algae requires vigorous water movement (ideally 10x the volume of the tank per hour) and proper maintenance of calcium and alkalinity.>  Have I made a mistake with the Choc. Chip star fish? ok three questions.  <That depends. Chocolate Chip stars are voracious carnivorous predators. It probably isn't a threat to any of your fish, but it will need to be fed a pea size to marble size piece of meaty food at least every few days.>  Appreciate your help. Best regards Rob  <Glad to! Best Regards. Adam>

Nano selections 4/28/04 Hi Anthony! Thanks for the expert advice. <always welcome :) > I was planning to buy a small hammer coral to place in the tank to be the only coral inhabitant, but I'll follow your advice not to buy them. <Hmmm... if it will be the only coral, and you get the phaceloid/branching form and not the wall form, then you may be able to keep it after all. It would kill other corals attempted in such a small tank... but yet could be trimmed easily if branching> Those were the only corals I saw available from different LFS here in the Philippines, and I haven't seen button polyps, which was my 1st choice. A lot of anemones here, but as they are very hard to take care, and I have a Nano, I didn't consider. <very wise my friend> I spoke too soon about the skimmer. It did perform its job, was collecting foam with yellow-brown gunk. <good to hear... do try to adjust it to produce dark coffee colored skimmate. If its too light like tea colored, then the air or water flow is up a little bit too high> I'll wait for the clowns to get well. I've completed their malachite green treatment, but I think I may have stressed out the 2 false Percs, as they are not eating. They have no visible specs or mucous. The saddleback is eating a lot. I'm offering them TetraMin flake food, very small pieces of shrimp and squid. Thanks again for all your help! Romel <wishing you the best. Anthony>

That Final Fish! I currently have a Lawnmower Blenny and a Firefish Goby in my 20 gallon reef tank with corals, crabs and snails.  I was thinking of getting a small Percula Clown but what fish would you recommend as a fourth and final one?  Something that is colorful and small would be great.  Thanks <I'd consider either a Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) or  some other type of small, substrate-dwelling goby. Many to chose from! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cinnamon Clown in Nano Cube> Hi Guys!, <Hi Jake, MacL here tonight to help> I was just wondering. I have this 1 1/2 inch cinnamon clown and a coral banded shrimp in my 55 gallon tank. I am taking it down because I'm setting up a 120 gallon FOWLR tank and I want to start a small (very small) reef also. I was wanting to buy a Nano-cube because it's the easiest way. <There are several sizes of Nano cubes, so this makes a difference.> Would the clown be small enough for the cube or not. <If the clown is the only animal in the cube it would probably be okay. When you think of stocking remember the largest size your fish will attain.> Also, on a different note, I know clowns can survive fine without a host anemone, but I think it would be cool to see it in it's anemone. If I put an anemone in there, would it host the clown or not. <It truly depends on the individual fish and the type of anemone.  Your problems are going to come in making sure the anemone doesn't over load the tank with waste and keeping it happy and healthy by meeting its demanding lighting requirement.> Thanks for your help, Jake Clown in Nano follow Mac, <Hi Jake!> Sorry I didn't clarify...I meant THE Nano cube, the 12g cube shaped Nano-reefs made by JBJ. I think an anemone would be alright as they come with power compacts and wet-dry filter system, nice water flow, etc. It would be the only fish, however a coral banded shrimp would be in there too. <Whew I feel much more confident for you in that case. You are meeting the anemone's requirements. yes I think one clown in there would be good.  Good luck Jake, MacL> Jake

Live Rock And Tank Mates hey this is Miles again. <Hi Miles, MacL here tonight. Sorry for my delay I had to get rid of a nasty bug.> I know you got my other e-mail on the coral beauty tankmate. <I did get it. I decided to answer them together because adding the live rock makes a huge difference.> I was wondering I have a 30 gallon aquarium  of course. and have 30 pounds of live rock. I am trying to make it a reef tank  without the coral. IN your opinion about how many pounds of live rock do I need  in the 30 gallon system with a coral beauty. <I think the 30 gallons would work but personally I prefer one and a half pounds per gallon. The thing I have mostly noticed is that it depends on how it "fits" within the tank as well. You don't want to have the tank totally Filled with live rock, you'll need room for the fish to swim. Mow about fish compatibility with your coral beauty I would suggest going with some of the small gobies. Perhaps some of the blennies and then some shrimps. I personally love the fire shrimps. I think you could be very happy with that tank, a few fish and some invertebrates.> thanks for your help <Good luck, MacL>

Advice for stocking a new 10 gal Nano tank. Hello, << Blundell here this late night. >> I have kept freshwater fish for 10 years and African cichlids for a year, when I lived in New York. I recently moved to Sarasota Florida and decided to set up an aquarium here in my new apartment. I was initially was going to set up another freshwater system but decided to try a marine set-up. << Welcome to the dark side.. haaa haaa haaa haaa (in an evil voice) >> I know that a good starter tank would be a 40-55+ but in my current apartment there isn't much room for a large aquarium. So, after much research on many sites including saltwaterfish.com, nanoreef.com, and a few books, I decided to try a Nano Reef. I know I am asking for trouble with such a small set up on my first time out of the gate but I guess I like to inflict pain and suffering on myself =). So this is what I currently got set up.    10 Gallon Glass Aquarium    2 Aqua clear 20 (Formerly 201) Power heads 127 gph each max (too much movement?)    1   50w Ebo Jager Heater    Aqua Clear 300 set up as a refugium (Some LS/LR in it now) no filter media in it    20lbs Arag- Alive Sand substrate (20 too much for 10gal?)    11 lbs of LR bought from LFS    20" Coralife Aqualight™ Deluxe Series - Single Linear Strip with 96 watt 50/50™ "Quad" Compact    I am looking to put a few hermits, few snails, a Arrow Crab, a Cleaner Shrimp, and 1 (ONE) Fish preferable a clown or a Damsel, then slowly add beginner species type corals when tank is a bit older. << I would go with coral first, and your lighting will be the big issue.  Also, I think I would pick either the arrow crab or the cleaner shrimp, but probably not both. >> Is this too much bioload for the 10 gallon set-up, which is actually 7 ? gallons after the LR/LS are in there. << It is isn't too much bioload, just maybe the wrong bioload.  I would be careful on the inverts, and like I said I think the coral should come first to get the tank stabilized.  One Anemonefish or other damsel would be fine. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Blenny Blunder? (Moving a Blenny Into A Nano Tank) My Lawnmower Blenny was doing very well in my 125 g until I "rescued" a black-tipped grouper from a LFS that was going out of business.  After about a week of what seemed to be peaceful co-habitation between the current tank occupants, the blenny was obviously worse for the wear (no damage, but was so exhausted that I scooped him out of the corner of the tank without a fight). <Good move!> By the way, the tank parameters are:  1.021; amm=0; nitrate=0; nitrite=0; phos=undetectable;  calcium=380;  pH=8.2; temp=79-81; it's an All-Glass 125 FOWLR with 122# of LR and 150# of LS;  lighting is 2 X 10,000 96W and 2 X 420 Actinic 96W. <Sounds good!> Anyway, I removed the blenny to my HOB refugium where he is eating and recovering nicely.  Now the question (usually that's the reason for these notes, eh?)....I'm considering relocating the blenny from the refuge to my 12g Nano...parameters the same as above with the noticeable exception of lighting and 1.023 salinity.  The Nano has 13# of LR and houses Xenia, Yellow Star Polyps, a couple of small colonies of Zoos, and 3 small hermits.  The only occupant, fish-wise is a Yellow-head Jawfish, who has built a considerable underground village under the LR which is supported by PVC.  As the blenny is not the world's smallest (about 3.5"), I wonder would he be comfortable, for about 5 months, in the Nano considering the current, happily running environment.  I'm adding a reef tank after Christmas of 90 gallon size to which he would later re-locate.  I don't want the blenny or jaw (or corals for that matter) to suffer during this time period.  I'd rather give the blenny to another hobbyist if we can anticipate problems in the Nano. <Well, the main problem might be that the two inhabit similar "niches" (i.e.; towards the bottom). You also don't want to push the bioload to far in such a small tank. Fish, with their greedy appetites and copious metabolic waste products can tax water quality quickly. I'd say go for it, but be prepared to move someone if things get out of hand.> Thanks and sorry for the length of the note. Grunfeld in Detroit <No problem on the length. Your accurate descriptions help us do a better job of helping you! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Questions about stocking a Nano? Hi Crew! << Blundell here. >> You guys really do an awesome service. Many questions as have been in freshwater for years, and now --- the dreaded Nano reef! 16 gal. bowfront 96 w. 50/50 CF 3" above surface 19 lbs. live Fiji pink 7.5 lbs. live Tonga Emperor 280 with BioWheel still in glass strip to prevent Emperor splash! open of front and back of strip 100w. titanium heater=78 deg F. consistent Next item will be skimmer.  I've been thinking remora w/Rio800. Or, ditch the Emperor (too much splash!) and go with BakPak? If remora, remove BioWheel?
<< I like emperors, and I like BioWheels. >> Is it too much sand or too little?
<< Three or four inches of sand is perfect. >> How much LR and how quickly.
<< As much as you can afford, and I put it all in at once. >>
 I was thinking another 7-8 lbs. in about a week.  7-8 more two weeks after that. Too much light?
<< You can't have too much light. >>
 Currently I have the glass strip which I would like to remove but want to protect the light.  Maybe I could remove it if I get rid of the Emperor.
<< I like glass.  Simply for cleaning.  It is much easier to clean than a bulb.  But I don't really have strong preferences here. >> Should I use the light during cycling?
<< Yep. >> What kind of corals and critters and when.  Cleaning crew in 4-6 weeks, then some fish (1-3) or corals? << Corals first.  With a cleaning crew maybe.  But don't put fish in yet.  I'd let the tank go a while first. >> Thanks soooo much? ss <<  Blundell  >>

Sick Feather Duster I just got a my aquarium set up. It is a 1/2 gallon tank.
<Way too small, I recommend at least a 29.>
 I started with a domino damsel and a clown fish, a small feather duster, a small hermit crab and a little bit of live rock.
<You need to start small (and stay small with this size of tank) and let it cycle with live rock before adding any livestock.>
 a couple nights ago It got real cold outside and in the house. Because my tank is so small it didn't come with a heater, just a lamp, and the water must have gotten way to cold because the next morning my damsel was dead and the clown fish didn't survive the morning. The hermit crab is okay and there are still plenty of organisms within the rock and sand; however my feather duster began discharging a mucus. It is clear with flecks of red. I don't know if it is dying or just sick. What should I do?  
<Just watch him and do water changes.> Should I quarantine it or is it some kind of disease that can be cleared up with a medication. I looked every where on the site but couldn't find anything quite like this. Please help.  
<You can find more info at www.wetwebmedia.com.  Keep reading, learning, and get a bigger tank.  Best regards, Cody>

Tiny Tanks, Yellow Polyps... I started out a few months ago with a 5.5 AGA tank. My inhabitant's (Yellow colonial polyps) Were doing well, multiplying in only a couple weeks. I had an AC MINI on the tank for circulation. I used 2 6500k pc bulbs. Last weekend, I moved some LR and LS into a new 2 gallon cube that I got from a friend. In the last week, the polyps have taken a turn for the worse. Only a couple will open partially during the day, and they seem much skinnier and are wider in some spots than others. The bottom of the polyps are very skinny, and the tops are big. They look so much smaller than they used to be. I'm using the ac mini on the 2g as well, and think it may be too much current in the tank. <Well, they actually do better with stronger water movement. They also tend to maintain their yellow color better when exposed to  light that is heavier in blue. Just give them high water quality and consistent conditions, and they should be fine. They may just be reacting to the changes in their environment...Be patient with them!> Could it be the polyps have still not adjusted to the new tank? What else could be the problem? I've searched the forums religiously  everyday, and still have not come up with a probable cause. <Well, really hard to guess, but I'm leaning towards possible changes in the water quality/conditions, and reaction to a different lighting regimen...> I have not listed any specs, as my test kits were accidentally thrown away, but I used all new water, and LS/LR from my existing, cycled tank. I know it's hard to make a diagnosis without water specs, so I hope to get new test kits this weekend. <Really a worthwhile investment, IMO!> Thanks in advance, Daniel <Good luck to you, Daniel! Hang in there, use basic good husbandry and a few water tests, and these polyps should be fine! Regards, Scott F>

- Damsel Question - Hi, I just added 7 pounds of live rock, doubling what was in my 12 gallon eclipse already. <Zoinks! That doesn't leave much water.> My domino damsel has been acting differently ever since as he isn't as active and is showing a small white spot towards the back end of his body. <Was the live rock cured? If not, your damsel could be in a world of hurt...> He used to be the king of the tank but is now just hiding a lot.   I do 25% water changes weekly and I was going to do one tomorrow as an extra precaution. <I would, along with a full round of tests.> What do you think has happened. <As I mentioned before, this is a small tank which has just gotten smaller due to the displacement of the extra rock. If the rock wasn't cured, it is curing now, and that would make the water a toxic brew for even the hardiest of fish.> Thanks in  advance, Jon <Cheers, J -- >

Small Tank, Big Future! Hi crew, <Hello! Scott F. with you tonight> I have a 60 Litre tank, which I guess is a 15 gallon tank in your language. I am finding out slowly that this is more like the size of a quarantine tank, which of course makes me feel sorry for my fish. <Well, if you have fishes that are suited to small areas (like Clownfishes, gobies, frogfishes, etc.), or don't move around a lot, a small tank is not a recipe for disaster, and, in fact, can make a nice display that you and the fish will enjoy. However, husbandry issues (water changes, filtration, stability, etc) are critical in tanks with small volumes of water.> My fish seem really happy though. I have in there a Moorish Idol juvenile (pretty small for a MI) two small clowns, a starfish and a coral banded shrimp. No corals or anemone. I think the tank is too small for corals, so will keep it as a fish only tank (unless you think otherwise). <Well, not too small for some corals, but a combination of different species would be ill advised, as the "chemical warfare" that would take place in the confines of this tank would be disastrous for them. You're really at your tank's maximum capacity right now for fishes, particularly the Moorish Idol, which is a notoriously difficult fish to keep. Even many public aquariums have a tough time with them. It's going to need a much, much larger tank in the near future, and highly specialized care. Perhaps the fact that you have a small one may give it an outside chance of adapting to a captive diet...Sadly, most Moorish Idols die in captivity in a very short time. Since you have the fish, please do everything possible to give it the best possible care, or offer it to someone who can if you're not up to the challenge...> I am falling in love with the Blue Tang. I know there are issues with white spot and other diseases, but I was told there are supplements you can add to the water to help out the tang with some mucus membrane for their skin. <I'd rather rely on good selection, careful quarantine, proper feeding, and high water quality to accomplish the same thing! Yes, these fishes can be a bit "touchy", but with proper conditions and diet, they can make spectacular pets for many, many years!> Is my biological load already too high to get another fish? <I'm afraid so...As mentioned above- you really need to find a more suitable home for the Moorish Idol; and you should not even consider the purchase of any tang unless you can provide substantially larger quarters in the very near future. As you correctly surmised, confinement to such a small tank for one of these fishes is cruel. Better to stick to smaller fish with less demanding requirements until you get a larger tank. Lots of interesting small fishes to choose from!> If not, can I get a blue tang and successfully keep him without a QT, just using chemicals to treat his white spot? This would be the last fish I would get for a long time. Thanks for your advice, Jared <Well, Jared- I'd quarantine any new fish that is added to a tank. In addition to giving you the opportunity to prevent disease from entering your display tank, quarantine gives the new fish a chance to "relax" and recover from the rigors of capture, transport, and acclimation. If disease does manifest itself in the quarantine tank, it's a much easier process to treat the fish there. Even though you may be discouraged by your tank's size right now, don't be! Take the time to study your selections, enjoy some smaller, more suitable fishes, and gain valuable husbandry skills, and most of all, have fun! When you move up to that larger tank (as I know you will one day!), you'll already have the 60 litre tank for a quarantine system! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mixing corals in a small reef tank 4/19/03 Good evening, <cheers> Quick question but take your time in answering. I am following your advise and not mixing hard corals with soft ones.  My 29g reef tank has several varieties of Corallimorphs.  Would introducing star polyps violate the principle of avoiding the "mixed garden effect?" Thanks <in such a small tank, there will always be prominent issues with aggression. The Star polyps may be fine with the 'Shrooms if their growth is checked. Both can grow quickly, however... and both are very aggressive. Best regards, Anthony>

- Greedy Shrimp in a Nano Tank - Greetings Gang: <Good morning, JasonC here...> You guys perform such a great service.  Thanks for your support. I have a 5 gallon Nano-reef, which includes all the living rock I could cram into it, several varieties each of red and green macro algae, several snails, including a small bumble bee snail, a small orange sea star,  a red legged hermit crab, assorted types of button corals, a hammer coral, a Euphyllia, and two hungry peppermint shrimp (to control the Aiptasia). This tank has been set up for several years and has a great balance.  I have been feeding the stony corals frozen Mysis shrimp and frozen zooplankton, rotating on  a daily basis.  I keep the water clean with very regular water changes every other day and have not had any problems, until I had a heart attack and spent a week in the hospital. <Good grief - I hope all is well with you now.> After coming home I noticed the Euphyllia was not very happy (hammer is doing fine), so I immediately got back to the water change thing.  Problem is that part of the Euphyllia looked like it was just not going to make it. <Probably not - a tank this small, with as much life and live rock in it as you have, has much less than five gallons of water in it, and that balance you speak of is precarious at best. Without the water changes, things would go south quickly.> I noticed last night that my two peppermint shrimp were busy cleaning up the last few remaining polyps off the skeleton.  Do peppermint shrimp pose a threat to a healthy Euphyllia? <Not to a healthy one... and not if they've been getting fed with other items, but... again, the week off... your system was out of balance.> Now I'm not sure if the coral died due to water quality or is being irritated and digested by the shrimp because I've seen them walk over the coral and seem to irritate it. <I'd think the changes in water quality would be most likely.> I would like to keep the remaining half of the Euphyllia alive and not sure how to protect it from the peppermint shrimp, or were the peppermint shrimp just performing housecleaning duties? <Most likely the Euphyllia was on its way out.> One of the peppermint shrimp is extremely red while the other one is more subdued and in the past have watched one of them giving birth to dozens of baby shrimp.  I am impressed how they can "walk" upside down on the surface of the water.  It is truly hard to believe so much life can survive in such a miniature ecosystem. Also, I am having trouble controlling the razor Caulerpa.  The Bubble is a little easier, but both require constant harvesting.  Do you have any ideas regarding natural controls while keeping the size of my tank in mind? <Not in a tank of this size - you're just going to have to continue to remove it manually.> I was thinking along the line of either an invertebrate or small fish which feeds on the stuff. <I think it would throw your system off... make it harder to maintain.> I have tried to pull it out but, as you probably already know, totally getting rid of it is impossible. Please don't suggest upgrading to a larger tank. <Ok.> We are in the process of adopting two otherwise homeless children and this tank is not a priority. Thank you very much for your assistance.  You guys are very helpful.  I have submitted questions in the past and your advise is always right on. <Cheers, J -- >

Green open brain coral and leather coral 5/31/03 Hello, <Cheers> I am going to buy a green open brain coral but am unsure of a few things. First I keep reading conflicting information on your site as to how often to feed it ...some places say no more than twice a week and other places say at least 3-5 times weekly so I need to know how often I actually need to feed it. <the difference here is the case by case e-mails we receive. An aquarist that has a large or heavy bio-load (other/large fishes, heavy feedings etc) will need to feed an open brain less often. Yet, if you have few fishes that are fed lightly, you will need to feed the coral more often> Also I need to know what to feed... I feed the tank Mysis shrimp are those the right size and healthy enough for it? <as you may have noticed in the archives repeatedly, you will need to feed a variety of meats of marine origin. Mysids are a good staple, but not complete or to be fed to exclusion> If not than what would be best? How far apart do green open brain corals need to be form each other? <a minimum of 10" (25 cm) between all corals is a fair start for the 2 year pictures. Still... some fast growing corals will need more room> I want to have 2 or 3 if possible. I have a finger leather coral (I attached a pic of it from when I first stuck it in the tank) that I fragged into 3 parts... all three parts are doing good. So I need to know if this coral needs to fed and if so what? <nope... they cannot be target fed (polyps are too small). Rely on a fishless refugium instead and feeding on DOC's> I was told and have read that they don't need to be fed ,and that they need to be fed so I'm not sure. <they need to feed and eat, just not organismally (particles)> Is it normal for them to expand open there polyps and then after several hours shrink? <quite common> or are they suppose to be open during the whole day? one more thing ....since they're the same coral does it matter how close they are to each other? (the picture is before I fragged it ) <frags from the same colony can touch> I have a 29gal. <yikes! This tank is too small for more than one brain coral... the leather will also outgrow this tank soon> tank with 110watts of pc lighting that has been up for 6months. here's what I plan on having (corals) finger leather (already have it) 1-3 green open brain corals milk leather coral or toadstool leather coral cabbage leather coral colt coral probably some mushrooms and/or green star polyps and maybe a candy cane coral and/or bubble coral if you think any of these is a bad mix or too many than please tell me what to leave out thanks allot, Eric :) <it really is too much for a 29 gallon my friend. Forego the mushrooms and perhaps the star polyps for their aggression (need a larger tank to spread). Also resist the LPS like the bubble and other brains in smaller aquaria. Your best bet IMO is a variety of hardy leathers that you trim as necessary. Best of luck, Anthony>

20 Gallon Reef Hi, <Howdy, Don with you today> I have a 20 gallon setup using a bio wheel mini, a used in-sump protein skimmer that I retrofitted to be a hang on (not sure which kind.  It uses a Rio 800 and produces medium dry foam with about 1/8 cup brown stinky liquid a week).  Lighting is 2 55w PC bulbs.  A 10000K and an actinic.  There is a yellow tail damsel, 2 Astrea snails, 3 small red legged hermit crabs, a bunch of tiny tiny snails and two 1 inch long light green tentacle like things (they come out at night) that stowed away on the live rock, 16 pounds live rock with about 20 brownish Zoanthids and 2.5 inches sand.  A coral tank is my goal, with maybe 1 small fish and or 1 shrimp.  What corals would you suggest?  The tank is 3.5 months old.  I am open to all suggestions. <Hmmmm, first, remember that a tank this small will be difficult to keep stable which will make this adventure more of a 'challenge'. I would suggest a 40G minimum and maybe use the 20 as a sump. With I would say you could do most anything you wanted short of anemones and clams. I would try to stick with corals that have a common need for light and water movement. With a 20 it will be difficult to keep the water stable so maybe some of the more hardy Corallimorphs and soft corals? I would suggest you check out the Book of Coral Propagation by Anthony Calfo and Aquarium Corals by Eric Borneman as well as our forum at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/forum All excellent resources. Hope this helps, Don>

Nano reef power heads and Caulerpa I have a 10g Nano-reef with 10lbs live rock and 15lbs live sand and is stocked with various corals. I was wondering what powerheads would provide sufficient water movement and not take up to much space. I was thinking about getting mini jet pumps from aquarium systems. <personally, I like these; nice sizes, good output, and they seem to last quite a while> I also have a large growth of Caulerpa prolifera which is also taking up to much space. The Caulerpa is an essential part of my tank by absorbing nitrates. <yeah, I hear ya on that.  Have you considered doing a small refugium?  That'd keep the Caulerpa in the system, but not taking up space in the tank.  I've even heard of folks using a power filter with no media in it for the purpose - just a bit of rock for the Caulerpa to hold on to> I was wondering if I could take the Caulerpa out and in its place do more frequent water changes. <you could, conceivably, but it really is nice to have something for nutrient export.  Perhaps try Chaetomorpha macroalgae instead?> Sorry for any inconvenience. <Don't be, that's what we're here for!> Kevin        <Sabrina>

Re: Nanos 'n' Caulerpa I was thinking about putting in a refugium. but I think I will just try a different type of macro algae. Thanks a lot <sounds good, hope all goes well for you> Kevin <Sabrina>

Too small, too soon  (9-17-03) Hi,<Cody, Cody here today!> This is my first mail. but I have been reading the articles on your website for quite sometime. very informative. I have a 12 gallon saltwater tank.. and have recently a week back) introduces a Blue Damsel and an Ocellaris Clownfish. Damsel dude seemed to be fine. but the Ocellaris color have faded. fins are droopy. Water condition is fine. temp around 80f. salinity around 1.024.
<This is way too soon to have fish.  Do you have any live rock or anything?  Did you go through a cycle.  Have you checked you ammonia, nitrite, or nitrite?> By the way, was it a good idea to have a clownfish and a damsel is a 12 gallon tank. is this size too small?
<It is a bit small especially with a fish as aggressive as the blue damsel.> Any help will be greatly appreciated.
<Answer these questions and get back to me.  Other than that just keep reading and learning and you will get it with time.  Cody> Ajish C

Small Tank- Big Considerations! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. at your service> I was wondering what I should put in my new 25 gallon marine set-up. I have kept marines for some years and have other tanks. I am torn between keeping a solitary dwarf lionfish or having a few smaller fish like clowns/dwarf angels etc. <I'd stick to one small pygmy angel, like C. fisheri or C. acanthops...Even a dwarf lionfish might be pushing it a bit..> I have a T8 lighting system with 1 actinic tube and a daylight tube. The filtration is an Ecco 2233 suitable for a 40 gallon aquarium. I also employ a protein skimmer. <Excellent, especially for a smaller tank> The only problem is that I purchased some sand which packs down quite a lot so I think I will need some clean-up crew like hermits but I want to keep them as small as possible. Can these tough little critters be kept with a small dwarf lionfish? <I don't think that it would be a major problem> Also for molting, do cleaner shrimps require extra calcium/iodine in order to successfully shed their exoskeleton? Thanks a lot. Ari <They sure do, Ari. In my opinion, however, a well-maintained tank (in which you conduct regular water changes), you will, in most cases, not need to supplement additional iodine or calcium. In a reef tank, the situation might be different, as there are usually plenty of animals that utilize these substances. All good things to consider, and I think that you're on the right track for success. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Nano Corals? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight!> I just setup an eclipse 12 as a desktop reef tank. Right now, I have a flower pot coral, a little finger leather coral and tiny (1 inch) blue regal tang. I know my tank is on the small side for the tang, <Okay...We're talking MAJOR understatement here!> but I have a 75 gallon tank to move him into when he grows a tad bit. <Much better...For a while, anyways...> My question is this. 1) I live in Texas where the weather outside is consistently 100 degrees. I have my house set to 70 degrees at all times, but my tank is getting up there in temperature. Currently the temperature in the tank is 82 degrees. Is there any thing I can do to safely lower the temp? 2) I have been searching endlessly for a pc lighting kit with no prevail. I am stuck using the light that came with this unit. <A lot of Nano keepers use small desktop fans, blown directly across the water surface, to help encourage evaporative cooling...> Are there any low light corals you would recommend? Some suggestions I have heard was most polyps and mushrooms. <Some, but not all...Do read up on the FAQs regarding specific varieties...Many species of mushrooms would work...> I was really wanting to get a frogspawn, but I don't know if the lighting would be suffice. <Not just the lighting...Think about the wallop of a sting that these guys can pack, especially in the confines of a 12 gallon tank...Sweepers could be devastating to other corals and sessile inverts...> Thanks, Paul <I'd stay with some small mushrooms and some polyps...Read up a bit before choosing animals...So many possibilities, but you're on the right track...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

A New Tank <Hello! Ryan with you> My friend just started a 20 gal reef with my old tank.  I wanted your input on stocking -33 lbs live rock -30 lbs aragonite sand not live (yet) -2 pumps for circulation 1 penguin mini Plan to get a backpack skimmer soon.<Perhaps an AquaC Remora is in the budget?> it has a 36 watt power compact. 1 rock with green star polyps. <Hmmm...1.8 watts/gallon is pretty low.  Please read up: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm 16 hermit crabs 10 snail 1 sally light foot crab to clean up <Overkill.  Skip the Sally Lightfoot, it belongs in a bigger setup.  Try 8 hermits, 5 snails.> fish. 1 Pseudochromis purple 2" 1 maroon clown 1 1/2" <Too large, too aggressive.  Perhaps a small wrasse, goby of some sort would be a better choice.> My friend wants to add a long nose hawk. <OK...then certainly skip the maroon.  Only 2 fish of this size will coexist happily in 20 gallons of water.> I know the maroon clown will get bigger will it be too big? <see above.  With a small system, the water can pollute very quickly.  It's important to keep it under stocked, with a good amount of live rock for a balance.  Best of luck! Ryan>

Stocking a 20g.  (10-9-03) Hi<Howdy, Cody here today.> I have a 20g High saltwater aquarium with about 20lbs of live rock and a 5.5in deep sand bed that has been cycled for quite some time.  The tank has lots of "pods," small tube worms and at night I can see worms just under the top of the sand moving around.  I took your advice from the web site and let the sand bed mature for about 6 months before adding any livestock.  During those 6 months I have also been dosing Kalkwasser at night and have beautiful purple, red and pink algae on the rock.<You won't be disappointed that you waited.  This is a part of setting up a new tank many over look.  The benefits will be well worth the wait as you are already witnessing, also gives you a chance to recover from the initial start up costs J.>After reading an old Martin Moe book, I got curious and decided to acclimate two black mollies just to see how my system would react. Well, they have been in the tank for about a month and I have noticed that they constantly pick at the live rock and most interesting of all, they have this habit of scooping up large mouthfuls of sand and sifting it through their mouth.  Any time the sand gets even the hint of brown algae forming in a small area it is usually gone by the end of the day from these mollies eating it? <Not sure what a mollies eating habits are but it could be they are eating it or they just sift through it and it gets  stirred up.> Also is it necessary have a clean up crew of snails and hermit crabs? <You will probably need one in the near future and it is always best to get it before it strikes.  Limiting the amount of nutrients in your tank also helps.> Seems to me these mollies are doing a pretty good job on their own.  In the future I'm planning on adding some mushrooms, leather coral, some macro algae and possibly some Zoanthus (are they really poisonous to humans?). <I have had heard of some pretty bad cases from them but I have never had a problem handling them.  It is always a good idea to wear gloves when ever you are working in the tank though.>: I do a 5% water change in the middle of the week and a 10% change at the end of the week.  I have a ViaAqua Multiskimmer and two power heads for water movement and 96w PC lighting.  Right now, all water parameters are "spot on."  Thanks in advance for your opinion.<Looks like you are on the right track so far!  Good luck, Cody.>

- Livestock for a 23 Gallon Tank - Hi, Could you recommend some fish Suitable for a 23 gallon tank. Regards A.D.M <I do hope you mean saltwater ;-) I'd pick three, perhaps four fish maximum that are generally peaceful and stay small. Perhaps an Ocellaris clown or two, a neon goby or two, and perhaps a Royal Gramma. Cheers, J -- >

- Euphyllia in a 20-gallon Mini-Reef? - Hi folks! I just started reading WWM a few months ago, and I've decided to set up a mini-reef tank. Here's my setup so far (it's been going for about 2 months): Standard Top Fin 20 gallon tank 96w Aqualight PC hood (2 10,000K and 2 Actinic) < I wasn't aware that they made a 4 lamp 96w Aqualight, are you sure it's not just a 2 lamp unit? Power compact lamps at first look like a double lamp, but they're simply one long thin tube bent in half w/ pins on only one end.> HOB filter with floss and carbon 25lbs live rock ~18lbs "live" (wet-bagged) sugar-fine aragonite sand <I personally love this stuff, nothing worse than the classic week-long cloud from un-washed sugar-fine aragonite!> Yellowtail Damsel 3" Bubbletip Anemone Cleaner shrimp Emerald Crab 2 x Astraea Snails <Wow, somebody finally spells Astraea right!!! You win... well... nothing, but cool nonetheless!> Various small hitchhikers PH 8.2 Alk "Med-High" (according to test kit) <Sounds like you need a new kit, get one that gives you readings in Alk or dKH.> Temp 80 degrees Calcium 450 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0.1 Weekly 10% water changes, monthly carbon changes <If you run carbon monthly, only leave it in for a few days (a week at most). It absorbs and adsorbs just about all it can in short order and can re-release...>, trace elements and iodine additives, small amount of reef builder in top-off water (trying to get that coralline to grow). :) Anyway, after much deliberation and research I've decided to trade in the BTA for some kind of centerpiece coral. I've got a 2.5" Yellowstripe maroon clownfish in my quarantine tank right now, itching to get in the main tank (not literally, thank goodness). I'm considering getting some kind of Euphylliid, probably a hammer coral since there is a beautiful 4" or so specimen at my LFS (Pet Kingdom here in San Diego) and I'm hoping my clown will host with it. <It might, although it's almost guaranteed to pair up with your BTA> I'm also planning on adding a Skilter 250 with air stone within the next week or so and turning the HOB filter into a mini-refugium. <Eh, even with the air stone, the Skilter would still be a bit cheesy. How 'bout a SeaClone (gasp!) or even an AquaC remora run by a Rio 800 instead of the MaxiJet?> Will a hammer coral or frogspawn do ok in a 20-gallon tank?  <Sure, go with a frogspawn so you can break parts off if it gets too big, this is very risky with a hammer of the classic growth form.> Also, what other types of corals would you recommend, and how far should they be from the Euphylliid? <Hehe, you'd be surprised how long the sweeper tentacles can get. I'd wait to see exactly how bad they are before choosing a neighboring coral...> I was thinking some zoos, mushrooms, and maybe some yellow or green star polyps. Or... would I be better off with a finger leather for the centerpiece? <That's up to you, a leather coral would be a less aggressive centerpiece though.> I know they're easier to take care of, but I feel confident that I can care for the hammer coral, if the tank size is acceptable. <It's fine, just plan ahead for growth.> I also plan on upgrading to a 50-75 gallon tank within a year, to account for growth and so I can get more fish and corals, maybe start trying to breed maroon clowns. :) <Excellent, have you purchased Joyce Wilkerson's clownfish book yet?> Anyway, thanks for putting together such a great website! It's like having a second, much smarter brain! <Haha, I wish! -Kevin> Jarin

Choosing a fish Any suggestions for a small marine fish to go in a 10 gal nanoreef? I want something unique and interesting but don't want a goby or clown. any ideas?<small damselfish, this is really a small aquarium, not many choices here, good luck, IanB> James

Micro-Acropora Reef Possibilities? Hey Everybody, :) <Hello!> I've been toying around with the idea of setting up a micro-reef in a spare 5.5 gallon tank I've had laying around for awhile.  I had a very successful set up for about a year with a 5.5 gallon tank housing a single blue damsel, a Firefish dart goby, some mushrooms and a bunch of Halimeda that I harvested regularly for nutrient export.  I was surprised at the diversity in such a small system, in the likes of sponges, worms, amphipods, snails, small brittle stars, etc.  I eventually tore the system down and moved the Firefish to my main 75 gallon mixed reef and sold the damsel back to the LFS.  The tank has been laying idle for awhile (after a brief stint as a freshwater fancy tailed guppy tank on my desk) and I have decided to finally try another micro-reef.  My LFS has a small compact fluorescent fixture for 5.5 gallon hoods that is 10 watts at 6500K (comparable to 30 or something like that in incandescent lighting) which I was thinking about getting two of.  I would use a fairly thick 3 maybe 4 inches of sugar sized aragonite sand, with some live rock to cycle it.  Adding a small power head or two aimed at the front glass panel for random diffused currents and possibly a small skimmer/filter contraption or something else for additional filtration.  I was wondering if it would be possible to house a few small frags of Acropora in the tank.  I know they are very difficult to house and I was wondering what your input would be on this idea.  What problems would you foresee?   <I guess I don't need to preach to you about the difficulties of micro marine tanks. I even had trouble with a 5 gallon freshwater tank! I can only speak for myself on this one...but this would be a difficult challenge. All of the problems inherent with keeping Acro in large tanks will be magnified...everything from water chemistry to salinity to temperature, Alk, calcium, etc., will be compounded in a tank this small. Large reef tanks can crash fairly easily if good husbandry is not followed daily/weekly. In a 5.5 gallon tank?...I don't even want to think about what could happen while you are on a 1 or two week vacation...>   What variations to my plan would you suggest?   <Honestly? A larger tank...> Any advice from the experts would be very welcome.   <I'm not an expert on Acros...But I do see a lot of difficulties with a micro system that holds delicate corals like Acros. This will be much different than the Halimeda, mushrooms, etc. that you kept in the old tank> Thank you guys so much in advance and keep up with the excellent work.  :) <Thanks my friend! I invite you to not necessarily accept my opinion but research through other literature/websites and decide if this is a gamble that you want to take. You're going to be climbing a tall mountain...> Sincerely, Dan <Best of luck! David Dowless>

Nano Reef Hey David :) <Hello again!> Thanks for your honest reply.  It seems you're echoing the same thoughts going through my head about the problem of tank size.  What do you think the minimum set-up would be to keep a relatively small tank stocked with some Acropora frags?   <My friend...anything will be an improvement over 5.5 gallons> I have a small terrarium (false bottom set up with small power head forcing water from the dead space below into a piece of cork tube that looks like a tree and some moss and a few small tropical plants) on one side of my desk and would like to put a small comparable in proportion saltwater tank on the other side.  A 5.5 gallon would fit perfectly on the right and match the terrarium in size, but like you mentioned, the size is one of the greatest problems in and of itself.  I was just wondering what your thoughts might be on the minimum size should use.   <Well...A 10 gallon tank would be twice as large as a 5.5 gallon...Geez...That's really a small, small, minimum> Oh, and my terrarium was a freshwater tank for three years before I converted it this past summer.  It housed a Betta, some feeder guppies I allowed to reproduce to feed the Betta, some freshwater mussels I harvested locally from a river, for a short while a blue crayfish (until he was moved to his own tank a few months later and ultimately traded back to the LFS), and a LOT of Java moss.  That stuff grows so fast that it does an excellent job of nutrient uptake and eventual removal, just like a refugium on a salt tank.  And, you can trade it in at the LFS for some credit towards other gadgets and critters, usually.   <I've had that experience with Caulerpa and Halimeda. It is nice> :)  The best part of the tank was the Java moss itself, since when left nearly undisturbed for a good while between harvests, it formed what looked like fern covered hills in the tank with such a small scale.  That, coupled with the fish swimming around them, it was quite a sight.   <I'll better it was... Sounds great!> Anyway, a small freshwater tank has proven to be very easy as long as I use plenty of Java moss, and a small normal saltwater tank was also fairly easy as long as I kept plenty of Halimeda.  So, perhaps I should try another form of nutrient export if I give this venture a go.   <Hmmmmm...It seems that you are planning to fit a particular area on a desk...with dimensions that fit the 5.5 g? That's what makes this hard. If you had room, I would suggest buying a long tank that isn't very deep...Then you wouldn't need really strong lights. Tank depth is a lot of what sucks the life out of lights. A 10 gallon would be better than a 5.5 but...I've had experiences with 10 gallon quarantine tanks...They're still too small for me...Water chemistry, temperature, ammonia, nitrite, and top-off just change too fast. Okay...I'm going in circles here. A 10 is more stable than a 5.5, a 20 is even more stable, 55 even better. Let me hasten to add that since you seem to know what you're getting into...maybe with a lot of diligence, a 5.5 might work...Who knows? Many people that try these things don't know the odds they are up against and that is their main problem. What you are proposing won't be easy. You'll notice that I didn't say it was impossible. Success in this hobby is determined when critters live for years and that is hopefully your goal. At some point you will need a bigger tank if everything survives and thrives long term>   Any ways, I'd best be going now and I hope you have better luck next time with a smaller freshwater tank and let me know what you think about the size of the tank for the Acros.  :) <Thanks for the encouragement! Believe me...I have a 100 gallon reef and it's just about all the work I can handle...HA!> Thanks again, <You're most welcome! David Dowless> Dan

Marine Set-Up Hello, I have a question about lighting. <Will try to help- Scott F. here tonight> I have a 20 G mini-reef tank (with a 10 G miracle mud sump) that has 2 55 W power compact bulbs (50/50).  I have several sp of mushrooms (most which have reproduced), some star polyps and buttons polyps, a Condylactis, a Mespilia sea urchin, a few shrimp/crabs, and a pygmy angel, Firefish, neon goby, and a "rusty" goby.  I am going to be moving this reef into a 29 G tank with a 20 gallon miracle mud sump.  I hope to add an Entacmaea quadricolor anemone to host a pair of False Percula clowns. <I'd have to tell you right off the bat that this is a bad idea. I really don't advise mixing two species of anemones in a tank, especially a relatively small system like this. All sorts of problems can occur that could end in the death of both specimens. Stick with one or the other and they'll be much better off!> I have the opportunity to put 3 24" VHO lights on the 29 G.  Per my calculations this would produce 225 Watts of light.  Would this be too much?  Would it be better to just add one more 55 W power compact? <Well, I don't think it would be too much, per se- but there will be some acclimation issues for your mushrooms, which may be used to the lower light levels that you currently have. Any changes in lighting regimens in reef systems should involve careful consideration for the placement of the animals and their proximity to the new lighting. Do read the excellent article on the subject by Anthony Calfo on the WetWebMedia.com site> Finally, what is your experience with protein skimming and the miracle mud sumps?  I have read that you should not do it and to date have not. <I have seen quite a few "mud" systems run with skimmers, and, quite frankly, if it were me- I'd rather have the skimmer than not.> Thanks for you help. Steve Thornton MD P.S. What is the smallest clownfish (adult size) regularly available in stores? <I'd say the A. Percula is generally the smallest of the common Clownfishes, topping off at about 2 1/2 inches>

Stocking a twenty long I sent an e-mail to Kent tech support asking about the reason for the drop and other ingredients besides ascorbic acid.  I will forward the reply whenever I receive it.  Until then, I hope it's okay if I ask a couple of questions about my own tank (the whole reason I was on your site to begin with; I need to be shot for lending out my copy of TCMA ;)).  It is a 20 gal long Nano-reef that has been up and running for over two years.  Recently, we had some things happen and basically ignored the tank for 2 months. <Oh...> Between evaporation and Caulerpa die-off, I had a mess when I finally cleaned it up last week and we lost all inhabitants (BTA we've had for nine months, maroon clown, 3 hermits, couple of snails) except for a couple of hermits.  However, everything seems to be stable now and we are planning on restocking the tank after the holidays over a course of 2-4 months.  This will have given the tank 3 weeks or so to sit fallow (all water qualities are stable now) just to be safe.  Here are the tank stats: Prizm skimmer, Rio powerhead (the total per hour turn over is ~13x so we will probably add another ph), JBJ compact fluorescent hood (1 65-watt actinic blue and 1 65-watt daylight), 30+ lbs. of well-seasoned LR, 2.5" LS bed, Amm: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: near 0, Temp: 81 in winter, 82 in summer, Alk: 10 dKH, Calc: 340 ppm (going up), and pH: 8.2. I would like your opinion on stocking the tank.  Here is what I would eventually like to have once the calcium level has stabilized around 450 ppm (all sessile inverts will be purchased at 3" or less and traded in as they grow too large): 2-3" of fish (I want a pair of Carpenter's wrasses, <A bit too "jumpy" for such a small volume> neon gobies, or Catalina gobies <Not Lythrypnus... a coldwater species. Will attach article here> and my fiancĂ©© wants a Firefish, so we'll see what we end up with), 6 blue-legged hermits, 6 snails (turbo, margarita, or Nerites), 3 peppermint shrimp, 1 cultured squamosa or derasa clam, <In a twenty? I wouldn't do this> 1 star polyp , 1-2 Corallimorphs, 1 Alcyoniidae or Nephtheidae, 1-2 feather dusters or Christmas tree worms, 1 Faviidae, and 1 small bunch of Halimeda (maybe). I realize this is probably too much; what do you think is most likely to cause problems or will simply not thrive in this set up? <What I have listed to leave out, I would. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much for your time and expertise. Laura Lawrence

Candy Coral I probably should have given you a more detailed description about this little guy. <A picture would be nice.> He as approximately 5 almost invisible "fingers", 3/16" long, that comes out of a tiny hole from this one polyp. The hole is off to the side so I know it is not a natural orifice, although this hole looks "healed" and has somewhat of a ridge around the opening, like it's been in existence for awhile. This tiny "hand" pops up out of his hole and twirls around gathering food and then pops back into it's hole and does this repeatedly, usually in the evening. My main concern is whether this thing will multiply and cause trouble with either another polyp or spread to another coral. <Both of these are possible.> All of this is going on in a 5 gallon Nano reef that has been set up for two years, although the coral have been recent additions, which includes a hammer coral, another unidentified LPS, a tree coral (placed as far away from the LPS as it could get), assorted button polyps, both a red and a blue hermit crab, two peppermint shrimp, a tube anemone, a lime green feather duster and is packed with as much live rock and live sand as I could cram into this 5 gallon, maintained by a 6 watt blue PC and a 27 watt 6700K Ultra-Daylight Linear Quad turned on by a timer for 10 hours a day, water temperature runs around 78 degrees at night and goes up to 80 degrees during the day due to the PC lighting. I have a Whisper 5-15 filter hanging on the back which gets changed every couple weeks. A lot of work has gone into maintaining this reef tank and I would hate to see this little kingdom destroyed by an unwelcome predator. <This is likely a commensal relationship.> Can I include another question while I'm at this? <Sure> I originally inherited this set-up from my daughter who lost interest and it was overwhelmed with Aiptasia, which was the reason for the two peppermint shrimp. Now that the Aiptasia are all gone, what do I feed the peppermint shrimp? <They will eat just about anything.> Since they devoured about 30 small Aiptasia I have been feeding them and the tube anemone small chopped up pieces of a frozen food called "Angel Formula" manufactured by Ocean Nutrition. Oddly enough, it has turned the peppermint shrimp a dark orange. I have been feeding the coral "Micro Vert" manufactured by Kent. <Please check the ingredients and see if anything listed is truly needed.> All of the rock now has purple coralline algae growing on it, with numerous red and green macro algae growing everywhere, including a healthy piece of Halimeda growing so fast I have to harvest it regularly. <A very good sign> I also harvested most of the bubble Caulerpa, it looked so healthy I was afraid it would go asexual. I make weekly water changes of 1 gallon to maintain the water balance. Any advice or changes you could offer regarding this setup would be greatly appreciated. <Everything sounds fine to me.> I certainly appreciate your opinion and any more information you could give me, or direct me to, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much. <It seems like you are ok, if not a bit crowded. Now that you are successful, maybe think about a larger set up. -Steven Pro>

Mis-stocked mini-reef Hi, Mr. Fenner.  I need some advice, or direction.  I have a small 10 gallon reef setup. About 7 lbs of live rock, one flower pot coral, <Not a good choice> 2 anemones, <Ditto> 2 peppermint shrimp <Good> and a flame scallop <Another poor choice> I cannot keep any fish alive in it for the life of me, but the corals and inverts are flourishing. I don't know what the problem is.  I love clownfish. I recently put two small Perculas in it. They were healthy for about 3 days, swimming in the carpet anemone, then suddenly they start losing color, and dead. <Clowns need more space> That happened the last time I put fish in it.  I do frequent water changes, and add this chem clean stuff that helps against bacteria, <I'd leave that stuff out> and my salinity is good.  It is just making me crazy that I cant keep any fish alive, and everything else is doing just fine.  I don't think I am going to put in anymore fish <Good choice> but I was thinking about a seahorse or two, w/ more corals. <Order the Ocean Rider seahorses. They are tank spawned and tank raised. This will tremendously increase your chance of success without damaging wild populations> <<A note. Do first remove the anemones if you're going to try the seahorses. RMF>> Any suggestions. <Skip the fish. The tank isn't large enough> Thanks in advance for your help. Doughy <You're more than welcome! David Dowless>

Plants and/or fish for a small marine tank Hey Ananda, <Hey yourself....> Thanks for your response concerning my 35 gallon tank with live rock and 2 black damsels. Here are all the details I should have filled in with my first email: the damsels look just like the one on this page (which they call a black damsel or yellow-back or royal...) http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm cls=16&cat=1844&articleid=2026 <Hmmm. You did read this, note its "one black damsel per tank" suggestion? And that the suggested minimum tank size is 55 gallons? Also, that is based on a maximum size of 5" -- but www.fishbase.org data is that they grow to 7". Having two of them in a smaller tank is not a great idea, to put it mildly. I would suggest a significantly larger tank -- well over 100 gallons -- should you keep one of these for any length of time.> I am not solely relying on live rock for filtration. My tank also has an Eheim Classic 2213 biofilter and a Powerhead 301 for circulation. <Canisters are generally not favored for saltwater systems...the Eheim you have, being rated for 66 gallons of freshwater, is not really sufficient for your saltwater tank. I would really suggest more live rock. It will also help with your aquascaping, providing something for your macro-algae to grow on.> The lights (Life-Glo and Marine-Glo) are both 30 watts and are 36 inches long. <If you are not doing corals (which your damsels may eat), the actinic Marine-Glo is less useful. Your Life-Glo has a lot of green. If you switch the Marine-Glo to an Aqua-Glo, you'll balance that green light and still have enough blue light, as the Aqua-Glo has a nice spike in the actinic range. (Check Hagen's web site for details.) I have an Aqua-Glo over my planted freshwater tank and like the color it adds to the full-spectrum bulb I also use.> The "gravel" in the tank is aragonite (which presumably is not at all live sand). <Aragonite is good, and will become live eventually if you have good live rock.> The idea of a clownfish and/or Dottyback is great. <Personally, I would suggest no more than three or possibly four fish for a 35 gallon tank, and that's presuming you have a skimmer. Without a skimmer, I would stick to two fish.> I'll be looking into these. I also don't have a skimmer yet but will look into that as well. <It will help with water quality.> Any thoughts on a couple of plants that would do well in a tank like this? I'll be reading up about it but some suggestions would let me know if I'm on the right track. I'm worried about maintaining sufficient lighting and nutrients for the plants to grow. <Many types of macro algae will grow in your setup. Nutrients will be provided by your fish, though you may want to use some iron supplementation once the macro algae is established.> thanks, Derek <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Stocking 12 gallon Nano Thank you for all your help, but what would you recommend as some good starter reef fish? (I have a 12 gal. tank and I'm looking to fit the most fish possible into it.) <A 12 gallon is very small, this will limit your choices because of size and stability. Please check out marine stocking at WetWebMedia.com.  Make sure you under stock your small reef. Also be mindful of the fish' habits and the corals you wish to keep.  Have fun!  Craig>

Small Marine Aquarium [question sent in two parts] {part1} I was wondering if I could fit a few sea anemones and a few Percula clown fish in a 12 gal. tank? <if you are an experienced aquarist and can provide a stable environment, two hardy A. Ocellaris clowns in a 12 gallon tank with live rock would likely work. The anemone will not be possible (or at least responsible) in there under almost any circumstance (lighting, water quality issues, etc)> {Part 2} ......along with some other reef fish. <Hmmm... this follow-up to your first question makes be wonder if you are inexperienced and new, or just joking with us. It would not be possible to add 2 clowns, and anemone and "some other" fishes to a 12 gallon tank for the size of the vessel (barely big enough for 2 clowns and a few invertebrate shrimps, polyps, etc. Assuming that you fit the former category, let me suggest that you please get a good reference book before buying a single thing. Start with Mike Paletta's New Marine Aquarium book and then follow that by reading Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Also, look for a local marine society in your area. They are wonderful places to network for great fellowship and information. Best regards, Anthony>

- Starter Reef Fish - thank you for all your help, but what would you recommend as some good starter reef fish? (I have a 12 gal. tank and I'm looking to fit the most fish possible into it.) Thanks <Greetings, JasonC here. I must say, you don't really have a lot of options with a tank of this size. Likewise, your stated desire to "fit the most fish possible" will lead you to more frustration that you may want. If you want to enjoy this tank for any amount of time, please consider stocking it with only one or two fish or perhaps one fish and one cleaner shrimp. I would consider a Royal Gramma or perhaps a Neon Goby but not much more than that. Marine system don't need to be complicated, but the smaller they are, the quicker things can spin out of control. Likewise, if you haven't already, please read through the WetWebMedia site as there are many, many articles on the various fish you would want to keep and how to keep them. Cheers, J -- >

29 Gallon Small Reef Hi!   <Hello! Ananda here, answering the small reef questions...> I set up my first saltwater tank last September (after several freshwater endeavors, two of which are still thriving) and have found your website to be very helpful in the care and maintenance of my aquatic friends.  I work at a petstore and frequently direct my customers to your website and books due to the amount of good information I've been able to glean.   <Thanks! Glad we can help.> My latest tank is a 29 gallon small reef tank.  The system is lit by a 110 watt pc unit (1 bulb 6400K, the other actinic 03) and contains 35 lbs of live rock, 20 lbs of live sand and 15 lbs of a slightly larger grade aragonite.  I have an Aqua-C remora protein skimmer with a surface skim box and bubble reducer and an Aquafuge refugium (approx 2.5 gallons) lit by a 13-watt 50/50 PC.  There is also a penguin 170 for mechanical filtration.  Two sponge-filter equipped penguin powerheads provide 320 gph of circulation with the protein skimmer, filter and refugium adding to the flow as well.   <Very nice setup, very similar to the one I'm planning.> Right now the tank has a red hermit (not sure of species, but it's not the large variety), a 6 blue hermit crabs, one Ocellaris clown and a small Bubble Tip Anemone (located on an isolated stand of rock to prevent movement around the tank). <Ack! I'm not a fan of keeping anemones in tanks this small or this new. And I suspect the anemone might still be able to move around. Read here, and follow the links to related articles: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm> My eventual plan is to maintain a few soft corals in the tank along with a single Mandarin, the Ocellaris and the small cleanup crew. <Please skip the mandarin! Your tank is not large enough, even with the refugium, to sustain a sufficient pod population for a mandarin. Please use the WWM search tool and read the mandarin pages (there are several).> The refugium is aimed at sustaining colonies copepods and amphipods (which abounded in the smaller tank (a 10 gallon micro-tank w/ a twin lamp eclipse hood and regular harvesting of macroalgae as nutrient export that this is an upgrade for).   <I am also upgrading from a 10 gallon Nano.> Now the questions.  What are some hardy soft corals that would work in this setup? <I have a Sinularia dura aka flower/cabbage leather that has tripled in size in less than a year (in the 10 gallon tank). Green star polyps work well, as do Zoanthids and most types of mushrooms. Come to think of it, most photosynthetic soft corals should be "relatively hardy". Just avoid the non-photosynthetic varieties.> In addition, are there any other small fish that may work in this setup? <Yes, several. Smaller gobies, some of the Dottybacks, blennies, grammas, *some* of the small wrasses... a much bigger selection compared to a 10 gallon tank.> And, would it be ok to not run the Penguin all of the time and instead use it as a mechanical filter during water changes or other events that might disturb the sand bed and cause debris to enter the water column? <I would suggest that you keep it running, with carbon. Your softies are going to wage some chemical warfare, and the carbon will help alleviate this.> Let me know what you think and any comments/suggestions!  Thank you very much for your time and all of the helpful advice in your publications! -Christopher Fulkerson <You're quite welcome. Do wander over to http://www.nano-reef.com and its forums. The people there specialize in smaller tanks (generally less than 30 gallons). I have learned a lot from them. --Ananda>

Reef tank Hello. I currently have a 10 gallon reef tank with live rock, 2 small hermit crabs and a yellow tail damsel, my question  would I be able to put soft corals- anemones in the tank? I was told she would eat the soft creatures, is this true? can you suggest any other creatures that would be compatible with my damsel fish? <I am not aware of yellow tail damsels eating corals. You make no mention of lighting. I would stay on the low light/hardy scale with a mushroom, Ricordea, or maybe a polyp of some kind. I would stay away from anemones. A cleaner shrimp would be an interesting addition. I would stay away from any other fish because of the tank size and aggressiveness of the damsel. Hope this helps. Don> Thanks, Dan

Marine reef tank Hello WWM Crew, < You got Cody today!> Well how shall I start.. I have a 29 gallon aquarium which has been lying around and I have looked into setting up a marine reef/fish setup in the 29 gallon.. what I wanted to know was what a re some good marine fish to keep with corals and that would work in a small (29 gallon) tank... pls help.  <Some of my favorite are royal grammas, Firefish, Dottybacks, and neon gobies.  There are many choices though and they can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Cody>

12 g system The system I got is 12 g with a built in wet dry filter and Clear for life venturi protein skimmer with 27 watts 6700 K and 9 watts 7100K lighting. Is the tank lighting good enough for my stocking plan and do I have enough space for these invertebrates: Emerald Crab x2, Red Leg/Left Handed Hermit x9, Scarlet Reef Hermit x6, Bubble Tip Anemone, Harlequin Shrimp x2, Bumble Bee Scavenger Snail x3, Burrowing Cerith Snail x3, Anemone Shrimp, Dancing Anemone Shrimp, Anemone Crab, Yellow Polyps, Button Polyps - Colored, Feather Duster - Pink and White, Breadcrumb Sponge <Of the above, I can only recommend the following; 2-3 Scarlet Reef Hermits, 2-3 Bumble Bee Scavenger Snails, 2-3 Burrowing Cerith Snails, Yellow Polyps, and Colored Button Polyps I would leave out the rest. I will give you a few more suggestions, though. 2-3 Astrea Snails, 2-3 Turban Snails, a Cleaner Shrimp or 2 Peppermint Shrimp and Various Colored Mushroom Anemones.>

Hey - Setting Up Mini Reef, Seahorses and Cnidarians... Ugghh Hey Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am looking into setting up another Marine set up in a 20 gallon tank I had used for sea horses. (I was looking to get back into freshwater but after 3 years in the marine world the fish just don't appeal to me like they used to) So far I plan to have a normal 20 gallon glass tank, a Prizm protein skimmer,  <do consider upgrading the skimmer... Euro-reefs are quite effective, and lest anyone think I am a strong proponent of this specific brand that I recommend so often...my first choice is a Tunze> 40 lbs of live sand, and live rock. For lighting I am going to use 110 watts of PCs.  <hopefully you'll be growing seagrass for the seahorses under this nice light, otherwise too bright long term for them without diffusing it> I plan to keep a pair of seahorses from Ocean Rider, and possibly one of the following: a mandarin, a 6 line wrasse, or a pair Percula clowns. <the latter two species just would not be responsible... their activity will out-compete the seahorses for food even without aggression (which you may very well expect from the feisty six0line)... the Mandarinfish...I just don't even want to go down that road <G>> The only way I would buy a mandarin is if I could fine one at the LFS that was already eating frozen Mysis shrimp to the sea horses. I know that it is hard to find one that accepts food but hopefully I will have some luck.  <no comment on another Mandarinfish likely to die within months (I guess that was a comment...hehe)> I have also read that the 6 line wrasse will eat frozen Mysis and I have seen a 20 gallon tank with sea horses and the wrasse in it.  <even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes> The clowns would be the third option if the other two did not work out.  <how about some more appropriately slow and passive fish like Firefish?> I also want to try my hand at some easy corals and possibly a clam.  <unnatural for seahorses and mandarins from their seagrass habitat. They are stung and killed by anemones and coral more often than any other fishes in captivity because of this unfamiliar exposure to stinging cnidarians. The clams are OK, however> Could you suggest some corals that would live on my 110 watts of light and would want a low to medium current?  <plenty, but none with seahorses> This time around I am going to use patience to my advantage and hopefully this system will not end up how the last system housed in this tank did. Thank You, Jonathan Pac <kind regards, Jonathan... Anthony Calfo>

25 gallon reef Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead, Ari> What a site! For a beginner (I'm on my second tank) this is Heaven-sent. Thanks. <thank, you!> My question is relatively basic. I have just purchased a 25 gallon reef tank -- equipped with everything I need. In Chicago we have a great shop called Old Town Aquarium that is very customer service oriented, <huge and famous!> so that's the first step. My question, however, is about which kinds of fish I can put into my reef tank once it has matured and the inverts and [some hardy] corals are thriving. Believe me ... I'm through the trigger and eel phase, but I'm still enamored by the fish themselves and would like to have a tank with some good fish (maybe 2). I know that gobies and blennies are good, just as Royal Gramma are, but do you have any suggestions outside of these? Any would be great. < a shoal of Firefish (royal/queen sp if funds allow), or cardinal fish would be great...very peaceful and small. Also, Blue reef Chromis (Blue with black stripe...not the blue/green pacific sp)> I heard that I cannot have one of my favorites -- long nosed hawk fish -- because of its appetite.  <pretty frisky, and may harass snails and shrimp. Probably OK though> Thanks for your time and assistance. Best Regards, Ari Klein <do look into joining a good local aquarium society like CMAS/Chicagoland. Also. there is a good marine conference in Chicago in 2003 to look forward to (www.theimac.org). And on March 23rd of this year, The Midwest Marine Conference as well with four speakers including myself and Eric Borneman (www.masm.org, follow link for conference). Anthony>

Nano Marine Systems and Sand Beds Hi WWM Guys, <Steve Pro in this morning.> I'm planning on converting my show tank to LR, DSB and sump/Refugium filtration with a Protein Skimmer. I would like to experiment first with a 10G setup. <Ok, but everything is far less stable in small aquaria and not always a good example if things do not work out well.> My current QT, is 10G with UG filtration. I plan switching to a Rubbermaid container with sponge filter that is run in the sump of my show tank (once I add the sump). Anyway for this 10G tank, I was thinking of a 4" DSB and no less than 10lbs of LR.. I plan on having 1 false Percula and maybe an anemone for it. (I can't remember if they live around anemone's or not)..  <Ocellaris clownfish, as well as all clownfish and several damsels, are associated with anemones, but I cannot recommend an anemone in such a small tank.> Finally one or two hermit crabs. <I prefer the scarlet reef hermits.> I don't plan on having a skimmer or other filtration. An air pump and stone for aeration and one or 2 Rio 50 or 90 PHs, for wave action. Do you think the bioload will be low enough to have just natural filtration? <One fish in a ten should be ok.> Thanks, Glenn <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Ten Gallon Nano Stocking Level Hello Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I enjoy reading your column. I find it very helpful and informative. My question is regarding a ten gallon Nano tank that I started up five weeks ago. I would like to know if I can safely keep the following animals in it. I currently have: 2 True Perculas 1 Watchman Goby 1 Dragonet (pinkish in color) <The key word above is "safely". I would not recommend keeping anymore than two fish in a ten gallon tank safely.> 1 Bubble Tip Anemone <And I do not recommend people get host anemones unless they are willing to work hard to provide the utmost of care for those challenging animals. A ten gallon is just not large enough.> 2 Peppermint Shrimp 2 Blue Legged Hermits 6 Small Red Hermits 10 Astrea Snails 1 Sand Stirring Starfish (beige and brown in color) <I would remove this guy. He will surely starve in time in such a small tank.> 18 lbs of live rock 2 inches of crushed coarse coral Remora Protein Skimmer (Berlin Method) 1 Rio 90 Power Head 1 Rio 180 Power Head 10 Gallon Via Aqua Tank 1 32 Watt 50/50 SmartLight 1 18 Watt 50/50 Light Yesterday in my LFS, I learned that my Dragonet eats only Copepods. I'm fearful that this one will eventually run out of food. <Yes, he will if he hasn't already.> I'm planning to return the Dragonet and possibly replace it with another fish. <See above note. Just return, do not replace.> What kind of fish do you think would be a good fit with the Goby and Perculas? I'm thinking of adding a second Goby, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea. I have the Maxi Jet 1200 on the Remora so I have plenty of skimming, water flow and live rock filtration going on. Am I pushing my luck if I keep 2 Percs and 2 Gobies? Would I be better off in the long run if I just kept 2 Percs and the Watchman Goby? <Yes> What would be best to feed the Anemone and how often? It doesn't like Krill much, but seems to like Silversides. <Please read this article to see what is required of you to successfully house these creatures, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubbletipanemones.htm> Will the Goby be okay eating formula1 and frozen brine shrimp? Brine shrimp is not a great food. Try finding some Mysis instead. The Formula I is fine.> I'm new to the hobby so any advice you can give me would be very helpful for me. Thank you very much for your advice. <My best advise is to get Bob's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and read it.> Sincerely, Scott D. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

C. argi or C. acanthops in a Nano Bob: <Steven Pro answering questions at the moment.> I am new to salt water and have set up a 10 gallon Nano-reef that is thriving (at the moment). I would love to add a C. argi or C. acanthops to this system (though I realize already that it is very small); the LFS has one of each that are only about 2.5 cm long and of course I am considering moving my little reef to a bigger tank (or simply starting another reef in a bigger tank where the fish could be moved). In general, is one of these species better for a reef tank than the other in terms of personality, aggressiveness, hardiness, or anything else? <They should be about the same. A bit of a roll of the dice as to whether either will eat any inverts you care about. Could only be recommended for your ten gallon tank as the only fish. -Steven Pro Thanks, Steve

Tank capacity and other things, An Addition to a 30 Hi Bob, How are things? <Steven Pro in this morning doing pretty well.> I wrote to you a while back about some weird stuff happening with my tank (Ich and my six-line wrasse), but now all is fine. I now have a pair of Ocellaris clowns which I think are bonding into a pair (not 100% sure)...but they used to be exactly the same size a few months ago, now one is a lot bigger, a lot lighter, and more aggressive. The good thing is, they are not overly aggressive towards each other and follow each other around *everywhere*, rarely are they apart. <Yes, sounds like they have pair bonded, quite normal with clownfish.> I also have a new six-line which is doing very well and a royal Gramma. None of the 4 fish are over an inch and a half yet, though I know they all can get much bigger. This is a 30 gallon tank (I know, small!), but I want to add perhaps a butterfly and/or a pygmy angel. Am I already at the limit or would 1 or 2 more fish be too much? <Definitely no more than one small fish. All of the Butterflyfish would be too large. One of the Cherub pygmy angelfish would be ok.> Eventually I will spring for a much larger tank, but for now I'm quite happy with it! The best part I think is that the 4 fish get along without any harassment, like a family with zero aggression! Thanks for chattin'! -Jack <Talk to you later. -Steven Pro>

Thank You, Invert ?s Hey, <what?> Thank you for your help.  <you're welcome...now what do you want?! Heehee <smile>> I have decided to stick with the Sixline wrasse for my setup. I do have a question about inverts. in my tank. I will have 2X55 10000K PC lighting over my setup (20 gallon). I have never kept or tried any kind or corals. Do you think this will be enough light and could you suggest some corals that would be good for a beginner?  <plenty of light for many corals and invertebrates. Trust me on this one... I have a lot of experience with the subject <wink>...avoid all LPS hard corals (many reasons...aggression, wild populations, sensitivity to handling by newbie, etc). Also resist most SPS and hard coral in general until you have a clear understanding of the difference between pH, Alkalinity and Calcium... and how to test and control/maintain these levels consistently. Instead... enjoy most soft corals, Corallimorphs (mushrooms) and Zoanthids (button polyps). Because of the size of your tank... you can easily find some attractive creatures from these groups and be assured of success> Also, would an Anemone be possible for the clowns and would any of the clams work? <not even close to being possible. Anemones an corals absolutely don't mix...especially in a small tank. They are also relatively to very difficult to keep successfully for most people. Never for beginners. And the hardy clams that will tolerate a new tank and lower light grow too big (T. squamosa and T. derasa grow to 18-24"). The blue clams need quite a lot of light for long term success. Trust me... stick with soft corals only and you will do wonderfully as you make your way up to bigger reefs <wink>. Not a matter of if, but rather when...heehee! With kind regards... Anthony> Thanks, Jonathan Pac

Help needed! (Tale of incredible crowding, livestock mixing, attempted in a much larger system) Dear Bob, <Actually, Steven Pro this night.> It has been over a year since we last talked. I needed some help with my shark and you were wonderful. I now have a huge, totally different problem I need you to help me with. I just moved from NY to Annapolis, MD. I rented a house here, and I asked the owner if I could move my 300 gallon aquarium in the house. He told me there was no problem at all and that actually I could keep his little 12 gallon desktop aquarium and that he was leaving the little aquarium and his inhabitants for me in the house when I move in. <Wow, how nice!> I was quite happy to keep it and actually didn't even ask him what kind of fish he had in there, since it was such a small aquarium. To my surprise, I moved into the house yesterday and found the little aquarium to have not only a few inhabitants, but it's totally overcrowded! There are species in there I've never dealt with and some species I have of my own. I'm giving you the list of what's in the aquarium, but beware, you will not like the news! <I will brace myself.> The aquarium is one of those Tenecor desktop, reef ready aquariums. It has: -12 gallon acrylic Uniquarium with built in Wet/Dry filter -Clear-for-Life Protein Skimmer - specially designed for the Uniquarium, it is placed in the provided chamber at the back of the tank where it is completely out of sight. -Air Pump and tubing (to operate skimmer) -Power Compact Reef Lighting -one 9 watt 7100K -one 27 watt 6700K -polished reflector -splash lens -remote ballast with 6' cord -separate power cords for dawn and dusk control <Ok, not bad so far.> Now, the fishes are: 1 tiny (1") Panther Grouper (a real cutie) <Wow, only needs a tank about 20 times this size.> 1 Porcupine Puffer (small) a real clown <And 10 times for this one.> 1 Purple Nudibranch (never seen those before) <Please see the coverage of these written here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nudibran.htm> 2 Cinnamon (?) Clown Fish <Finally, something appropriate!> 1 Bubble Anemone (I don't know the species) about 3" <See here for care info and pictures for proper ID http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm> 1 Purple Linckia Starfish <Ok> 2 Anemone Shrimps <Can be tricky, but manageable.> 1 Red Ball Sponge (?) about 4" <Very difficult, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm> 1 Pseudochromis Strawberry fish, very small <A soon to be mean little bugger.> 1 tiny Purple Lobster <Not to be trusted, predatory in nature.> 1 Purple/Orange Sea Squirt <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidians.htm> I wouldn't know all these species myself, but he left a list with their names on the table. And that's it. He left no notes on how to care for them or anything. Just plain gave me the aquarium totally overcrowded with all the fish and corals. Pretty sad, I know, but I need your help with this. I can't move any of them to my other tank because, even though it's large, I made it mainly with aggressive species. I have my Epaulette Shark in there, a blue ribbon eel, a few lion fish, a Miniata grouper (adult), a queen parrotfish, one warty frog fish, one fishing frog fish, one harlequin tusk fish and a bunch of cardinal fish as food for some of my large predator fish. I also have lots of crustaceans and snails, but they are either for food or as a clean up-crew purpose. I can't move anyone from the small aquarium to my large one because they will become food! Health wise, all the species in the little tank, including corals, are looking great! <For the time being> Water temperature, salinity, NO2 and NO3 levels, ammonia levels and all other tests I've done are within normal ranges. The tank actually is quite healthy, considering the overcrowding situation. The owner didn't want anything to do with it when I called (I actually wanted to yell at him, but I kept my manners to myself) and he said he had the aquarium for about 4 months now and that the only new addition has been the little Panther Grouper, which he bought 2 weeks ago. What do you think I should do? <Remove just about everyone except the anemone, clownfish, starfish, shrimps, and perhaps the Pseudochromis. Perhaps you have a local marine aquarium society that could help you find good homes for the extras.> I certainly don't want to spend huge amounts of money buying another very large aquarium. Is a 60 gallon large enough for some of the fish species in there? <No> Can I keep only the corals and the clownish in the little tank? <My thoughts exactly> How do I feed the corals? <Please read the links I gave you above.> What about the wiggly Nudibranch? <More than likely will die.> What do I feed that? <No clue. Most are very select feeders and fail to live in captivity.> Can I actually leave them all in there, since they all have been doing so well at this point, and wait until the grouper gets larger and move him to my large tank? <No, someone will die, perhaps several, and you risk having them take the whole tank with them because of the small volume of water.> Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Marcela <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Compatibility, stocking a Nano Yet another compatibility query. (YACQ?) First off, I did consult the compatibility tool, but as this is to be my first reef (and a Nano at that) I wanted to ask someone directly. I have just ordered a new MRT from CPR, a self contained 13 gallon tank (including the overflow into the skimmer / sump). I am planning on adding ~15 pounds of your Pago live rock to it, ~12 pounds of live sand, a couple of fish and inverts. I am most concerned with the fish compatibility. After much research, I am quite taken with the Banggai cardinals and would like to keep two to see if they might breed. I would also like to keep a 6 line wrasse as I am planning to put a couple of clams in the tank as well and it may help with pest control. Will these 3 fish (and a couple of clams, some star polyps and not much else) be ok in such a small tank? >> IMO, not really... I would limit this small system to just one Banggai (they can be quite territorial), and maybe one other small fish... and not a Pseudocheilinus as one of the choices... and would definitely not place giant clam species in this size/type of tank... they're not easy to keep in vacillating water quality.... but the star polyps should be fine, and some other species of soft corals, Zoanthids, Corallimorphs would go... Otherwise, keep saving for a bigger system. Bob Fenner

15 gal.s stocking Hey I have a question. I have 15g tank. What fish would you recommend in that tank? Thank you >> Maybe a couple of small fishes... like Grammas, smaller species of more peaceful damsels, a Basslet, an Engineer Goby, or a Gobiosoma Goby... maybe a couple of hardy invertebrates like a Cleaner Shrimp of some sort, a leather coral or two... a species of macro-algae... Maybe take a long look at the Selection (Marines in general and Reef), and survey pieces of livestock groups posted at my site: www.wetwebmedia.com for putting together your assortment. Many species/groups detailed there re their suitability, survivability, average maximum size in captivity... Bob Fenner

Eclipse System Six questions Bob, I'm hoping I've finally found a resource to get this question answered. I've talked to a few folks and am getting different answers about how many fish I can keep in my Eclipse System Six aquarium. I've had it up and running for about three months and have so far lost three different groups of fish. I've had Tiger Barbs (which I think are cool) but for some reason I keep killing them - actually they keep dying, it's nothing like homicide at all! This last time I talked with a fellow at a local shop who said that 3-4 was the maximum for that size tank. After looking like things were going well the fish developed white spots which the gentleman said was Ick and sold me some treatment which I used. After five days of this treatments I had two fish left and am now down to 0 Barbs and one algae eater. I'm getting kind of concerned. I really would like to have a tank but I'm getting kind of bothered about all the fish I've been killing. <3-4 of what size, type? Am concerned with these sorts of "rules of thumb"... one thing I would encourage you to do is actually add an airstone, pump, tubing, check-valve to give you and your fish livestock more "margin of error" and increased circulation, aeration... the Eclipse systems are good for what they do, but do not provide enough of these two qualities... and if the system pump goes, or the tank is accidentally overfed, a fish dies... the air pump/stone may well save the day.> I've tested the water and the only thing consistently wrong is that the PH seems to be to high. It is currently at 8.8 thought the gentleman at the shop said that he didn't think a high ph alone would be killing them. <It will with any detectable ammonia... and this is a real concern/problem with new systems... the two coupled together (ammonia/nitrite and high pH) are deadly.> I've thought about picking up some stuff I've read about called Proper PH which keeps the ph at around 8.2. Is this a good idea? How many fish can I keep in this tank and any suggestions for what kind I should try this time? <Yes to the pH product... and once the tank has been going for a while, you probably won't need it, or anything else... just frequent partial water changes... as the water has a tendency to "go acid" over time, and the new water will readjust it slightly upward.> Thanks ahead for any answers you can give me. Mandy Buckner Water trail Adventures LLC <Be chatting, Bob Fenner, Home Page >

Hello I need your help! (too small tank...) I have been through three Emperor Angels. Two I killed due to copper. <Really> The third was definitely not my doing, It kind of behaved and looked like one of those overly-brightly-colored disoriented specimens from the Philippines and Indonesia. (cyanided and doomed) who knows! I unfortunately too late have been told you can't use copper on Angel fish. So I'm going to try a Pomacanthus annularis This weekend. <Perhaps a better choice... or another source for a healthier, more Indian Ocean or Red Sea Emperor...> He is extremely healthy for I've had my eye on him for about 3 months at this LFS. Eats, very social! I DON'T WANT TO KILL IT! I looked on your web site for some info and found very little on Annularis. Can you fill me in. <I will try... saw many specimens of this species the last few weeks diving in Malaysia and Indonesia... was the most common species of Angel as a matter of fact> I keep what my test kits say is very clean water! I have 65 gall tank with 40 watt UV and Protein Skimmer. I have a lot of rock and hiding places. Will he beat up my Flame Angel? The Quarantine tank is an always running 10 gall with a sponge filter and mini BioWheel. This fish is not tiny he has already matured and is about $150.00 Can you Help? <Likely I can, but you not be initially happy with my advice: your tank is too small for any of the Pomacanthus Angels... I encourage you to stay with or seek out a different member of the genus Centropyge instead (just one in a sixty five)... all covered on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com.  Bob Fenner>

Help please (small system, maroon clowns, live rock...) Mr. Fenner, Oh boy have I gotten in over my head. A friend gave me an aquarium, 30 gallons with live sand/coral. She told me it had been cycled (she had it a long time) and was ready to go. I let it run for a week, then bought a cleanup crew and some rock. I realize I have a bunch of questions and will be very grateful if you can answer a few!  <I will try> I have read a lot of your info on your site...but this is overwhelming. I'm confused about the rock and I'm reading and hearing conflicting information. <There is plenty of this in our interest... and therefore a need for a clear, discerning mind, and searching, ferreting out on ones own> I purchased pre-cured live rock from FFExpress. According to them, I could add one or a few pieces a day to my tank. I put it in a separate container with a powerhead and heater. It's obvious to me from my levels. that I can't add it that fast.  <Yes, I do believe my personal experience over any stated "fact"> Now my fish and other stuff (think I ordered too much) is here and I've had some deaths. Should I just leave the rocks in the separate container for a while? How long? Is a powerhead and heater all I need until the rocks stabilize? Should I take out the two rocks I've put in my tank already? <Please read over the "Live Rock Curing FAQs" areas on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. I would NOT add any more live rock, so-called cured or not, to this system till all stabilizes there (by measuring aspects of nitrogen cycling: ammonia, nitrite). I would engage water changes with pre-made water should either measure approach 1.0 ppm. I would feed nothing to very little to the livestock there during this period. This may take days to a few weeks. Your curing container set-up should be fine; do test the water, change it as needed there as well. I would likely NOT move the rock in the tank already.> I'm a little hesitant to take out the rock because it is sheltering some of the fish. I think I was a little misled about what fish to get. I got a pair of Maroon Clowns, a Flame Angel and a Banggai.  <For a thirty gallon? I would trade out the Flame Angel> The clowns were supposed to be a pair...but the little guy is picking on everyone.. including the mate. I was led to believe this was a good combination. What can I do if they don't get along? <You could sell them, trade them for other livestock... I would likely wait on the Maroon Clowns at this point... as they are likely too stressed to be moved. This is too aggressive, large a species to keep in such a small tank> Thanks for your help.....I have a million more questions, but will continue to read your site. Sara <Very well my friend. Do contact me if there is something more I might do. And do weigh more than one opinion (yes, even mine) in judging important matters in the hobby. There are many good people to help you (perhaps sign up to one of the listservs re reefs, marine aquariums); listen to all, decide for yourself. Bob Fenner>

Re: help please Thank you Bob for your answer. The larger clown died within hours (he looked bad on arrival...maybe that's why he was being picked on.)  <Sorry to hear/read of your loss> The smaller one is behaving better now. I guess I'll see how he does. Everyone else seems ok. I'll keep my fingers crossed and an eye on the water. Thanks again for your help. Sara <My thoughts are with you. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Question (actually, questions... on marine set-up, small tank, too much stock too soon...) Hi, I got a 20 gallon show tank set up. Just started with the anemones and don't know much about it. <Much to learn my friend... anemones are not easy to keep... especially in such a small tank. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm> I got a penguin 380 filter, 2 24inches long 20 watt each, one white and one actinic blue ,10lbs live rock, royal Gramma, Percula clown, flame scallop, purple tip or pink but the pet shop man said its a long tentacle anemone and a very thin tentacle anemone with long tube, probably a curlicue anemone. Not sure what it is. My question is the light enough for my set up? <No...> And if so how long do I keep it on? <Please read over the entire "Marine Set-Up" sections and FAQs parts of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com, and get your hands on a couple of good general marine aquarium reference books... You will save yourself a lot of heartache, money and lost livestock by studying now. Bob Fenner>

7 gallon bowfront question(s) Dear Bob: I have an AGA 7-gallon bowfront tank with a CSL 2-32 watt bulb hood with fan. I have a Skilter 250 which has been modified with an airstone and 12 pounds of live rock. There is 1/2 inch of CC for substrate. There are no inhabitants yet as it is still cycling (been 15 days with a cocktail shrimp). <Yum, I'd pull the shrimp> Ammonia is 0, nitrites are between 3 and 4 ppm, nitrates are 100 ppm. <I'd definitely pull the shrimp... it's rotting...> When the nitrites are 0 will it be safe to add 2 snails and a red-leg hermit crab?  <I would still wait... till the nitrates are below 20 ppm> I plan on adding either a blue damsel or a small TR clown after that. Which would be better? <In seven gallons? The tank raised clown> I'd also like to add a cleaner shrimp or coral banded shrimp....which would be better? <Hmm, the Cleaner if it's small...> Do I need to add a small power head or airstone, or is the Skilter sufficient?  <I'd add an airstone... or next in preference, the powerhead> I have left the carbon and the white floss in the Skilter. Is this a good idea?  <Yes... but don't change the carbon till nitrites gone, nitrates greatly reduced.> Is 9/watts per gallon too much light for polyps and mushrooms? <It's on the high side... do take care to photo-adapt new specimens... place them near the bottom, perhaps wrap some aluminum foil strip over half the lighting to cut down on intensity.> Sorry for so many questions, but I want this little tank to be a success. <Me too> Grateful you are there, <I as well. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Janey

Nano Clean Up Crew Hi Bob and great to talk to you again. I have a 7.5 gallon Nano reef set up with 10 pounds of live rock and 5 pounds of live sand. The lighting is a 32 watt CSL retrofit. What would you recommend for an adequate clean up crew for a tiny system like this?  <Maybe a snail or two out of favorites: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm like Nassarius spp., and one, two small Hermit species:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitcrabs.htm Possibly a tiny sea cucumber species... you can find this and articles on marine, reef maintenance, sand sifters, marine scavengers... on the WWM site. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help again.

Compatibility Hi...I currently have a Nano reef (@7.5 gallons). I have one 3-striped damsel in the tank, but I would like to add more fish without having to get rid of the damsel. Some have suggested a clown fish, others have recommended Pseudochromis...any suggestions? I'd like to add more activity to the tank, but without having to nix the damsel. Thanks for your help! :) <Please read over the "Reef" and "Marine Selection" pieces and about the groups of fishes you list, and small reef systems... on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Comment on "planted" marine tanks Mr. Fenner, I have been researching your articles on WetWebMedia.com for a 3.5 gallon (Eclipse) marine tank that I have recently set up. Your articles have been a great help! Just wanted to let you know. <Very glad they have been of service to you> My plan is to actually created a "planted" marine tank. My exp has been in fw planted aquaria, thus the attraction. I would like to maintain the standard filtration and lighting over this tank. So, I am looking for species of "corals" or plants/algae that I can maintain in such an environment. <There are many choices> I used live water/live sand/live rock frags, so my tank was more or less "pre-packaged". I didn't have to wait to cycle it which was nice. I've already got some cup Caulerpa, "turtle grass", and Gracilaria (?)  <Gracilaria> to start off with. If you have any comments or suggestions concerning other species (or if you can comment on the above - esp. the Gracilaria and turtle grass re. propagation) I would be more than interested. <The Turtle Grass (likely a Thalassia sp.) is not easily kept in such a small system... and the consequences of its loss would/will be troubling... I would continue to seek out other true algae and leave off with embryophytes like Turtle Grass. You have seen the macrophyte articles posted on WWM? Bob Fenner> Thanks so much again, Joe Anderson, a new convert to salt, Joe's Aquatic Lounge www.aquaticlounge.aquariumplants.cx Oklahoma City Aquarium Association www.okcaa.aquariumsociety.com <Be chatting>

Very Small Marine tank. Hi Bob, I have contacted you before re: Brackish tanks and skimmers. I have another question (as you were most helpful with the previous questions). First details on tank, system and contents. I have a marine tank which is very small 30x20x20cm, 12litres using the "don't touch" principal. contains the following: 1 powerhead 200 for increased current. 1 interpret combined pump heater with filter unit removed. 2Kg's of live rock with assorted attachments (Polyps etc.) 2Kg's of calciferous rock (being used to make more live rock for expansion) 1 home designed 150W Metal Halide lamp unit. <On a four gallon system...> Feeding: Rarely or never once a week to once every two months. Either very little live brine shrimp (for polyps eaten vigorously) or a couple of drop of Liquifry no.2 or brine shrimp food. Maintenance as follows: clean pumps once every three months (or when output sufficiently reduced). top up with RO water every 5-10 days depending on loss. stable for 6 months. after fights between all the different algae and micro crustaceans have subsided) The tank is my first step into Marine, it has been purely non-fish thus far, I have: 6 macro strains of pretty green algae. 2 strains of macro red algae. 3 of coralline pink/red algae. 1 type polyps. 11 types of tube worms (5 identified). 2 type bristle worms and 1 unidentified type looking like a millipede. 1 unidentified Bi Valve mollusk. 5 or 6 type of sponge. 2 type of glass type anemone. 3 type unidentified micro crustaceans. Probably about 100-500 other unidentified species of other things (still learning) <Well-stated> My most recent addition is a orange legged hermit crab (hairless) to try and cut back on some of the macro green algae i.e.. the strains of: Caulerpa, Acetabularia, Ulva (lettuce), 2 unidentified bristle or string algae. They are by no means overgrown but I would like to tip the balance in calciferous algae production. What I wondered is can you suggest a VERY SMALL fish (or other life form) for the following: a) Assist in the control (but not eradication) of some green macro algae (must not touch other plants corals). b) Start war on Glass anemones (not enough for full diet so must go back to (a) above when run out). BTW: Nothing in the tank is overgrown or growing rampant. Thank You in advance, Alex (Sandgate in England) <Look to a Berghia verrucornis Nudibranch for the Glass Anemones... fish... a tough one... Perhaps just a small tank bred/reared clownfish... or a goby or blenny. Please see the coverage on all posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Clownfish ? Stocking a saltwater tank with a Crowbar Hello Robert, <friend, author and Malt Ball lover Anthony Calfo in your service> I was reading through some of your articles online and noticed the section that said a reader could email you with a question. Here is mine: I have a 6 gallon saltwater tank, which successfully held a clownfish.  It originally came with 2 cardinal fish, the clownfish, a Basslet, anemone, live coral and a Featherduster (not sure what they are called)  <My heaven's... was it stocked with a crowbar? Hehe... that really is a dreadful bioload for 6 gallons and rather cruel of the previous owner> One by one these things died leaving the clownfish and the Basslet the longest. The tank had those tape worm looking things and just fell apart quickly. It was a gift and an unexpected one at that. I'm thinking there was far too much in there.  <excellent intuition...very well> I went away for a month and took that time to put the survivor - the clownfish - in a tank at a pet shop....he was all by himself. cleaned out the aquarium totally, put in shells and one large rock. conditioned the water and put survivor back with a new friend. This was in Sept. A couple of weeks ago the original died.  <the tank is beyond it's critical threshold with even two fish... if you must keep a 6 gallon, please keep only one small fish indeed> His mouth faded in color although I didn't see any white spots or threads that the articles refer to. His gills were sticking out and his lower "lip" was quivering all the time. he was lethargic and finally died about 2-3 weeks ago. <not indicative of any specific pathogenic symptom unfortunately> The remaining fish was fine until about 10 days ago. his gills aren't sticking out nor is he as faded around the mouth. He is extremely lethargic and always in the lower corner of the tank at a 45 degree angle. We think he is blind because he used to shoot to the top of the tank when we'd even walk by in hopes of being fed but now he moves but doesn't track our fingers anymore. we feed him in the a.m. and at night. I haven't seen him eat in days. <please test the water chemistry (pH, ammonia, salinity)... really bad things can happen so fast to water chemistry in such a small tank even if you test the parameters weekly. It really is a torture chamber as marine aquaria go by virtue of its size> The water temp was 86. I lowered it to 80-82. <yes, a must. The low dissolved O2 in that small tank was much lower still at such high temperature and could have easily killed the clownfish> Any other suggestions? <honestly... do consider a larger aquarium... and if not, just one fish and weekly maintenance and water testing please> Do you think he has the parasites? <not symptomatic... more likely water quality> Thanks, Christine
<kind regards, Anthony>

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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