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FAQs about Fish-Only Marine System Stocking 2

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

Re: 45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 3/29/08 Dear Scott, Thank you so much for the advice! <Very welcome Michelle.> Removing the planned Sixline Wrasse since it's aggressive presents a slightly different problem, though: my LFS was saying to get the Sixline *first* in order to "calm down your current clownfish with a little healthy competition!" (since I'm removing the damsel, who currently presents just this relationship to my clownfish.) <Removing the Damsel should solve the problem of the Ocellaris clowns aggressiveness.> My clownfish isn't particularly aggressive, but then again it's been with its current tankmates since the very first. I know that clownfish *can *be aggressive, so I need to know what to add first now in order to get it used to new tankmates, something that it won't kill. <Stay away from Damsels, clowns are actually in the same family and often fight with each other. You other fish will be fine.> Now that the Sixline and the neon goby are off of the list, I was thinking of going with the cleaner shrimp. Here's my reasoning: since I'm getting a pair, if they come from the same tank in the store then I can quarantine them simultaneously and add them both together, correct? <Yes, although even one will be ok here.> One clownfish can't chase two shrimp and so they might tire it out and get it used to the idea of new "friends." I have heard that fish establish their tank pecking order partially according to the order in which they are added. <This can make a difference.> After the shrimp, I was thinking of this order: royal Gramma, Banggai cardinal, Firefish goby, and then if I still have room perhaps a pajama cardinal. Does this sound good? <I would make the Firefish first and Gramma last, for the reason you mention above.> ...And if I *did* get a Sixline wrasse (I love that fish), if I added it last of all (and made sure to get one smaller and younger than the other fish) do you think that it might be okay? <Possibly, but I still would not in a tank this size.> As ever always, people like you mean more than you know to those of us you aid daily. Thank you again, Michelle <Welcome, thank you for the kind words! Scott V.>

45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 4/13/08 Hey Scott, help! <Hello again Michelle!> I did something reeeeaaaallly naughty. My nitrates were slightly too high for me to get my shrimp from my LFS yet, and they didn't have the Firefish in stock this week, so I got suckered into a sweet little black cap Jawfish. <Ahh, the trap. The mindset of not being able to leave the store without something, I know the feeling!> The guy at my LFS said he's peaceful and will "absolutely!" leave other stuff alone, so I got him. He sounded like he'd fit in nicely. <They are generally peaceful and timid.> As soon as I got him settled he went and burrowed behind a conch shell right away, and he seems to be doing well, so I think he's all right. And I DID watch him eat at the store, so a little credit to me on buying my first saltwater fish. <Yes.> But when I got home I found out from your FAQs that he will possibly eat my shrimp if I get them. <Possibly, smaller varieties.> About what odds do you give him of doing this? Should I just not buy shrimp anymore? Could I possibly just change to some larger type of shrimp that he couldn't get at? <A medium to large Lysmata amboinensis that you wanted will be fine. These shrimp get fairly big.> I'm sorry and thank you, Michelle <Welcome, a lesson learned I'm sure! Best regards, Scott V.>

Re: 45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 4/13/08 Thanks Scott! <Welcome Michelle.> *Whew* so I can still get my shrimp (my favorite anticipated addition). But my LFS gets them straight from the ocean usually at an inch in size (w/o all the antennae), so I think that would probably get eaten. <Not too likely, especially with the current size your Jawfish likely is.> If I raise them in a separate tank for a little while until they're big enough, what should I feed them? Different sites I've seen say to feed them very different foods based on their size (everything from veggie pellets to shrimp of their own class). <They will pretty much eat it all, just stick to a marine based diet.> Or do you think it would be more advisable to order them online at medium or large size and have them shipped? <A medium sized shrimp will provide the extra security and likely be more satisfying for all that view the tank. Your LFS should be able to request a larger shrimp for you.> And once they are in the main tank, do you think they still need food supplements or will they "earn their keep" cleaning other fish? <These shrimp are quite the scavengers, they will find their own food, although making sure the stray bit of food makes it his/her way every once in a while will not hurt.> Thanks again, Michelle <Welcome, Scott V.>

45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 4/13/08   4/22/08 Hey Scott, <Hello Michelle.> Um...I bought a brown sea hare. <It sounds as though you already know the issues with this!> My LFS did not say that there were more than one species (they only had several of one kind in stock) so I don't know the specifics, only that it is smooth, brownish-green, is eating my brown algae and looks like a Hippo. And was duly named thus. I've sent a similar picture I found on the web, only mine is not as red because he eats brown algae instead of red. <I have no first hand experience with these guys, but am hesitant to recommend you try to keep it. Your tank is on the small side if the inking does occur and they are better suited to a reef setting.> But according to my LFS dude it is a peaceful sea hare with no problems in a peaceful tank (My LFS did not mention a thing about the inking. I'm glad my tank is peaceful.) I do not anticipate too many problems there, but I found out how to deal with it if it happens. <Good, be prepared.> I kind of don't understand about adding calcium and checking phosphates though. Is this something I should be doing on a regular basis now that I have the sea hare? <At least test calcium, alk and nitrate every few days. This also assumes ammonia and nitrite are 0 and your salinity is good (1.025-1.026).> My main problem is that the sea hare seems to have a habit of coming to the surface. Is he trying to crawl out or is he just enjoying a breath of fresh air? <Likely just crawling around, looking for a place to go.> Also, he appears to have taken a liking to the heater. Is this bad? <It can be. If your room temperature is high enough your heater may not be coming on at all, nor need to. In this case the heater is just another obstacle for the slug to crawl over. With heat radiating from the heater he should stay clear. One advantage of using a sump, remotely locating the heater.> To update my fish list, I have also added a copper-banded butterfly and a fire shrimp, since my LFS does not get in skunk cleaners over half an inch to an inch long. My fire shrimp hides a lot, which I hear is typical. <Yes, they do. I am sorry to tell you, but a 45 gallon system is too small for long term success with the butterfly.> The butterfly is thriving. I've been feeding (and seeing him eat with quite an appetite) frozen brine shrimp, and I got him supplements of sponge (since I have no live rock) which I'll be giving him twice a week. He appears to be at ease with his tankmates. He hides some, but I think he's still just acclimating. I've been thinking for a little while about some yellow or star polyps (only fluor. lighting); will he eat those? <He may, some do, some don't. Unless you have extra fluorescents you will have little success with these. The standard lights that come with a tank are just not enough for even low light corals.> I will soon add the firefish and Banggai. The pajama cardinal is off the list and if I still have room I will add the royal Gramma, unless he's too aggressive for the copper-banded butterfly and sea hare to handle? <They can be aggressive. With your current stock I would call it good after the firefish and cardinal. I believe in conservative stocking!> Thanks so much for the help, Michelle <Welcome, best of luck to you, Scott V.>

Uhh... inappropriate.

Re: 45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 4/24/08 Thanks, Scott, I think I've quit throttling myself now. <Good, but do learn from this!> I'm getting a calcium test immediately, and "Alk"...alkalinity? <Yes, very important for any marine system.> I'll see if they have that, too. <If a LFS does not, run!> And I really think the Jawfish was stuck, because I shook the shell (under water) to dislodge him since it was feeding time and he didn't move. Then I poked the only part I could reach through the hole, to check if he was alive (I wasn't feeling confident, since I'd just killed the sea hare and found the shrimp belly up) and he didn't budge, only flickered what I had poked, which I then saw to be his gill. If you poke a fish in the gill, it should move, don't you think? <You would think so, or maybe not. This can be quite stunning and traumatizing to a fish. One of the lessons learned, these animals do not appreciate direct human interaction.> Anyways, I've been meaning to ask for a while, is it better to do several 10-25% water changes or one 50%? <Either will work, smaller water changes offer more stability for your livestock. Less of a potential change at one time. 50% is quite a change at once, even for a small system.> Because I've been doing mostly 50%'s after school once every week or so. Maybe that's what went bad, somehow? <It can be, stability is a factor.> Not enough beneficial bacteria in the water or some such? <Not with sufficient filtration.> And it sounds like I shouldn't do a freshwater tank in college either, from what you say. <Any tank can be done, it is just easier in a stable environment'¦for you and your fish.> Most people keep a beta, which is so mundane...so I'll stick with a poisonous spiny plant (hey, they don't allow guns in the dorm to protect against attackers xD) and a cookie sheet of slime mold that lives off oatmeal. And if anyone asks you, no, I do not have a not-allowed pet slime mold living under my bed. ^_^ <Ahh, the wonders of dorm rooms!> Best regards, Michelle <Best of luck, Scott V.>

45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 5/2/08 Hello again, Scott, <Hello Michelle.> So the black capped Jawfish jumped the tank, probably this past Saturday. <I'm sorry to hear this.> I think that, since we have a lid, the only way he could have gotten out is a small gap where the filter fits on. He must have remarkable precision, though, to jump from the bottom of the tank up two feet and through a 1-inch square gap. <It is surprising what these fish will find their way through.> Anyway, I found him thoroughly dried out on the floor on Monday. Ironic, isn't it, that the only new fish I have left is the butterflyfish, who's prone to all the diseases and refusing food? He's healthy, though, for now. ^_^ <Not if he is refusing food! What are you feeding him? Try some Mysis shrimp, maybe even soaked in some Selcon to entice the fish. Also read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bffdsfdgfaqs.htm > Now that I've got (very macabre-ly) a little more room in my tank, I am updating my fish list a little: should I consider a neon goby or other such fish for clean-up purposes since I'm avoiding shrimp? <They are nice little fish. However, these are better suited for a reef tank with live rock and ideally a refugium.> Besides this I was thinking of adding a green chromis <Personally I'd opt for a cardinal instead in this system.> and perhaps some kind of Basslet (orangeback, harlequin, chalk, or blackcap, in that order of attraction.) <Only the blackcap is considered a Basslet, the rest mentioned are bass, I know nit picky.> The only problem is that some sites say they're aggressive, some say not, and everyone gives different full-grown length estimation. A little help, please? <Any of them will make fine choices with the exception of the Harlequin Bass, these get too large for your system.> And if I've still got room, how about a blenny? <Sure, with something from the genus Ecsenius generally making fine choices.> I wish you happy camping (since I'm not a happy camper xD), Michelle <The camping will get better in time. Be patient adding these new fish, no impulse buys!! Happy fishkeeping, Scott V.>

Re: 45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 5/5/08 Hey Scott, <Hello again Michelle.> Okay, so...do butterflyfish make a habit of brushing up against coral skeletons in a tank? <Not in particular.> Mine got red splotches from it, so maybe he got an infection, because he's dead now. <Too bad.> I quarantined him on his way out, and it couldn't be a disease because the other fish are perfectly fine. He was just drifting on the bottom, and in quarantine went sideways over the course of a couple of hours. <Too little too late.> My LFS gave me a 10% discount on my next purchase for the loss. <Generous.> He did stop eating the day before and that at least helped, but I wanted to check on coral scratching. <Doing it to the point you noticed is indicative of something else wrong.> I've dropped the idea of the chromis and neon goby, so I got two Firefish and an orange striped prawn goby (Randall's goby.) (Any tricks on getting the goby to eat? <Trying a variety of foods, starting with the Mysis shrimp previously mentioned. For more information on these fish see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm and the related FAQ'S> I know it's typical for these to refuse food for the first few days. I've just tried to net frozen brine down to him at the bottom, and it didn't work.) <You may need to give him time/try a variety. The best bet is to ask to watch the fish eat before purchase.> In two weeks I'll add the cardinal and perhaps a bass, but I don't feel too comfortable deciding which one without more research, so I'll get on that. <Yes, look before you leap. Add these fish slowly, one at a time to allow your filtration to keep up. Be sure to test your water too!> After that I'm done with the tank stocking. <Sounds like a good plan, sick with it!> Cheers, Michelle <Good luck, Scott V.>

Time to setup a new tank, but with some stocking questions related to large Marine Angels. Many different opinions out there. Big Aquarium- Big Fish?   3/12/08 Hey Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I had to take down my tank about a year ago and sell it, due to the real world getting in the way of my hobbies. <How does THAT happen? LOL> Now, I have a brand new 125G (72"L x 18"W) tank, about 165 pounds of live rock, 140 pounds of live sand and a bunch of different ideas for stocking! <Nice position to be in!> I have been reading WWM a lot as well as a few other sites. I hear and read a lot of differing opinions and have heard many different stories from friends to guy next to me at the LFS. I know that Bob and Scott Michael tend to vary a bit in their writings on minimum tank sizes for certain species. Maybe my answer will be in the middle. <Perhaps both Bob and Scott would tell you that they are offering suggestions for each species, and that these are based on their experiences and judgments. Like so many things in the hobby, this can vary.> The main issue that I have is that you guys say my tank is too small for a large marine angel. Others say I should be ok. Let's say the Queen or Emperor Angel I buy (just an example) does reach 18" long, so wouldn't a 215G be too small as well? It's only another 6" in terms of width. I would think that the fish would still be cramped. I hope I am not coming off as rude or argumentative, just seeking an unbiased answer. You guys write to people with the fishes' best interest and not of the aquarist or LFS. I can appreciate that, and that is why I am writing you. <I agree with you. I am pretty conservative in my stocking philosophy, and I would not even think of keeping a full-sized angel in any aquarium less than 8 feet in length. To be quite honest, I am not a fan of keeping these fishes at all, which is certainly against the grain of many of my peers. Many of these fishes range over huge tracts of reef in nature, and really deserve to live their lives in extremely large surroundings. Anything else is like you or having to be confined to our living rooms for the rest of our lives: Survivable, but intolerable over time.> I am still in the planning stage and trying to look ahead to any problems. I had a juv. Emperor for about a year and a half before he ended up dying. I just didn't have the time to take care of him or the tank properly and he suffered for it. I ended up having to euthanize him. I gave my other fishes away to a friend. It sucks, but it happens. I have to say that he really was an endearing fish and that I would really like to try again. In this sized tank, just how long would one last (assuming everything goes well and he does well in captivity) starting from a 2-3" juv. specimen? If it is a few years, then I will go for it. <I really don't think it would be that long. Maybe a year or two, if that. Although these fishes do not grow super fast, they can grow quicker than we might like, and do need correspondingly large quarters as they grow. I do not subscribe to the theory that "they will grow to the size of their aquariums."> Or, are there really any large angels that would be ok in that system for the long haul? Some say an Emperor can last for the long haul, some disagree. <Last, sure. Thrive? It depends, really, on what your definition of "thriving" is. I am probably a bit too biased, but I'm skeptical of their long-term viability in anything less than aquariums of hundreds of gallons of volume.> I am also considering a Blue Angel (H. bermudensis) or a Blue-Ringed Angel (P. Annularis). Or would it be different species, same problem? Maybe I would be better with just 2 dwarf angels. <I would definitely consider the Dwarf Angel pair or trio instead.> I am not looking more than a few years into the future regarding keeping the fishes as I have learned a lot can happen before you know it and keeping fishes may not fit into your life. We all plan/hope for the best when starting out new endeavors, but I know it doesn't always work out that way. <Absolutely. I'm glad you feel this way.> But at the same time, I believe if someone is to do something, then he/she should do it right or at least to the best of his/her abilities. Who knows, I could have the means (and space) to get a 1,000G system in a few years. If it turns out the fish outgrows the tank, I will act in the best interest of the fish. I will either donate it, trade it or upgrade to a bigger tank. I will cross that bridge when/if I get there. <Yes...and best not to assume that you will have such a system available in the future.> I would really like to try my hand again at an Achilles Tang, but maybe that one is just better left in the ocean. The last one I had I thought would be the 1 out of 10 that would make it. Seemed well adjusted socially/mentally and readily accepted food, put my Blue Hippo to shame as far as wolfing down food goes... Bob and I exchanged a few emails and he suggested Spectrum. The fish just turned his nose at it. Every fish has its own taste I guess. Everything seemed to be going great and one day I go to turn the light on and the fish is as dead as dead can be. From what I have been reading the last few months, I am not alone in this experience. I guess that is what "just not well suited for captivity" means. <Perhaps!> It seems that the Gold Rim Tang (A. Nigricans) is a better choice. But how much better is it really? I also read that it really isn't much easier than the Achilles Tang. Am I going from "darn near impossible" to "likely impossible" with the Gold Rim? Some say the Gold Rim is under the "moderate" level of care. I don't know why, but those two just appeal to me more than any other. <I'd be doing a disservice to you if I said it was an easy fish to keep. However, it is not impossible. Many criteria come into play when considering keeping such a fish (ie; the source, handling,etc. of the fish before it arrives at your LFS).> Basically what I am looking at is this: (all of them would be considered small/juv. {2-3" when purchased}) One large angel (in juv. form of the variety listed above, although most likely Emperor) One Flame Angel One Blue Hippo Tang A pair of clowns (either Maroon or Percula) Maybe one Achilles or Gold Rim Maybe a Butterfly (I wish the Ornate was on the good list) I don't think that sounds overstocked, what do you guys think? Any thoughts or opinions are welcome even if not what I want to hear. <Well, you asked. To be honest, I believe that this is too much bioload for this system. You really need to pare down the stocking list to only one of the two larger Tangs (either the Hippo or the Gold Rim).> Trust me; I don't want to be that guy who stuffed 25+ angels into a 250G tank. That article was insane. <Yep!> Best Wishes to you all, Jeremy <Well, Jeremy, I think you hit it on the head. Responsible stocking involves taking into account a multitude of factors, many of which you have already addressed. Go with your gut feelings and your fish will benefit! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Stocking Question, too crowded FO...  03/10/2008 Hi, <<G'Morning, Andrew today>> I am setting up a 55 gallon saltwater tank. The last inhabitant was a Camelback Cowfish which I had for 4 years. For the past 6 months I have been using the tank to grow Caulerpa and just recently drained it, added new water, new substrate, cleaned filter etc. . I plan on having: 1 pair Banggai Cardinals, 1 pair Black Ocellaris and 1 pair Neon gobies. <<A nice stocking list>> My question is could I add a pair of Dottybacks to this? Maybe orchid or sunrise? The fish are all captive bred. <<I would not add anymore fish to the 55 after the above stocking levels are achieved ( 6 fish )>> The Banggai's, Neons and Dottybacks will be from Inland Aquatics and will be bonded pairs. If the Dottybacks won't work could I add 1 yellow tang? <<No yellow tang in a 55, sorry>> Also depending on what I end up with and if I find another Camelback Cowfish could I add it or would that be too many fish? Thanks in advance. Tucker Minnick, Alaska <<Thanks for the questions, Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Tank compatibility... FO, NNS  03/04/2008 hello everyone. i have approximately a 700 gallon tank 132x30x42 and i was wondering if these fish put together would do ok queen angelfish majestic angelfish Koran angelfish emperor angelfish Annularis angelfish French angelfish cream angelfish 3 Heniochus black and white butterfly fish 2 majestic Foxface (the purple ones) powder blue tang 2 yellow tangs 4 regal tangs 1 purple tang 2 Scopas tangs Picasso triggerfish Volitans lionfish now i know that tangs are susceptible to ich so can i add a cleaner wrasse or shrimp because i don't want to lose any of these fish... <Mmm, maybe... this size system, number of fish/customers ought to support a Labroides> also what order should i keep them in. I have a 75 gallon quarantine tank. i really appreciate your information and you are doing a wonderful job sincerely Tommy.. <The Tangs last... the Queen of the Pomacanthids last... Will be a bit crowded behaviorally with time, but this mix can/could work. I would carefully isolate all tangs for a few weeks (quarantine) and dip/bath them per WWM enroute to the main display... The angels I'd start at 3-4 inches in total length. Bob Fenner>

thanks... Fish sel. /ayer   3/5/08 oh i appreciated so much that you answered. also you didn't answer if i could keep a cleaner wrasse or cleaner shrimp <Not the shrimp... it will be consumed...> because i don't want to let my tangs die. ok and where i live fish are really expensive you know. ok and do you appreciate my selection or am i going to have problems. <Not too much chance of trouble> also i want to try the ribbon eel <Very rarely kept successfully> because i read on a website that a person keep them successfully and reports that he has a pipe in the sandbed with 4 openings. when he tried to feed the eel he pretended that there was another eel chasing the live food using a feeding thong. the ell began eating and reports that he does this everyday and that he never saw the ell swallow the fish outside the pipe. maybe this is what most aquarists are doing wrong, keeping them in open areas. My fish store has had 2 very healthy Moorish idols with them for about 1 month. they east like pigs and are fatter than the online pictures. do you recommend i buy them? <Not in general... Zanclus can be kept... but not often> and out of the fish list, which fish do you think i should keep and which not. i take your opinion very seriously so please answer. if it helps i have been working with saltwater fish since 2 years and i mainly kept puffers and triggers then. thank you crew sincerely Tommy <I would stick with your previous list, quarantine... BobF>

cleaner organisms - 3/5/08 hello. again bob. i know im becoming a bit of a pain in the neck but i can't control my curiosity. the list i gave you, can i add 2 masked or panda puffers and a niger trigger.. also will lionfish eat cleaner wrasse or should i keep shrimp? <This, these are all covered on WWM... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Bob Fenner>

Marine Compatibility, FO  03/03/2008 Hello, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I've sent you guys emails before and received great advice in return. I have always managed and kept aquariums of my own and for others, all freshwater. But now i would like to deal with saltwater. I currently have a 35 gallon tank set-up with about an inch of sand and some live rock. The tank is also cycled by a canister filter that is able to filter tanks up to 55 gallons in size. I decided to start small due to the fact this will be my first saltwater aquarium. <<As its your first marine aquarium, keep a close eye on parameters, as these can swing pretty quickly in a small system>> My problem is compatibility of the fish i would like to stock the tank with. I have done research pertaining to this matter but i have received many different opinions from some marine compatibility charts. My desired livestock includes, 1 ocellaris clownfish, 1Orange line chromis, 1 royal Gramma Basslet and 1 Six Line Wrasse. Could you please send me something in return about this community and its compatibility. <<I would leave out the chromis as they do better in groups of 5 or more.. No problems with the clown or Gramma.. Would add the wrasse last of all. These can be a little boisterous in a smaller system such as this>> Also if this does not work out could you send me something of the sort about what would you do. Thanks. <<Maybe swap the chromis for a goby>> <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Fish stocking, Marine, FO  2/28/08 WWM <Hello> I just had a question about my 75 gallon saltwater tank. My tank has been up and running for 6 months. It is filtered by a Fluval 405 and BakPak skimmer. I Know I need to upgrade to a sump pump and better skimmer, but can't afford it at this time. <Definitely start saving for a more powerful skimmer, while I like the BakPaks it is not enough for this tank.> My question is with this filtration am I overstocked with the fish I currently have in it or fine? 2 True Percula clowns 6 green chromis (small) 1 coral beauty 1 pajama cardinal 1 Sixline wrasse 1 lawnmower blenny 1 neon goby If you could please let me know what you think, at this time all my levels test great. Thank for all your help. Also do you think a single medium sized blue reef chromis would be alright to add? <You are ok now, but I would not add any more fish.> Evert <Chris>

Fish only system, Stocking Options 2/27/08 Hi there, <Hello> I have been running a reef tank with assorted soft corals and various forms of aquatic inverts and fishes for a couple of years now. I am now bored with my current setup and wish to delve more into the realms of a fish only system where I believe I have a greater choice of fish available. I currently now have the following: 4ft (200L) tank with 10Kilos of live rock, two canister filters and protein skimmer. Yellow Tang, <Too big for a 200L (52 US Gallons). 3 x Sea Bass Anthias and 1 x pair b/w clown fishes (percula). The only Inverts I have left are two brittle stars, one large black (18") and one small grey/green (7"), <Greens are often fish eaters> but I am considering returning them to the fish shop if they restrict my choice of fish. <Have been known to eat small cave dwelling or sleeping fish.> I am particularly interested in a Clown Trigger, <Gets up too 16 inches, too big for this tank> Guinea Fowl puffer <20+ inches> and a Picasso trigger. <A good foot on these, I would look at getting a bigger tank or find smaller fish here.> I know I could have issues of aggression towards my existing fish from the Triggers (not an exact science I believe) <Pretty exact actually, they will likely attack at some point, just read an article in a dive magazine about a diver's run in with a clown, including pictures of his fins with nice 1/2 inch semi-circle trigger holes, they are territorial and an aquarium will quickly be claimed as their "house".> and perhaps an eating fish/capacity issue with the puffer. <I think you will have capacity issues with any of these fish.> Do you have any suggestions for an experienced reef keeper? <Get a larger tank, the mix could likely work from an aggression standpoint with a much larger tank.> Some bright ideas about what fish alternatives would be most welcome. <Realistically you should be aiming for fish that max out under 6 inches in my opinion.> I would like to have a "clean up crew" as well but a little unsure of what would become an expensive meal. <With triggers and puffers you need to be the clean-up crew, most anything with a shell will be lunch.> Would any species of starfish, goby, large Hermit crab be suitable? <Only as an expensive meals.> Cheers, Andrew Deacon <Chris>

Aggressive Foxface Lo... FO mix jammed into too small a volume    2/11/08 I have searched all over and cannot find any info on this. <This?> I have a 75 gallon fish only tank. Contents are 1 Volitans Lion, 1 Stars & Stripes Puffer, <Needs more room> 1 Snowflake Eel, 1 Maroon Clown, 1 Foxface. All of which are 3-4" in size and I will be upgrading to a much larger tank very soon. <Ah, good> When I got the Philbert, the Foxface, he immediately became best friends with the clown and follows the clown everywhere. I have had the Foxface for about 4 months and he has always been very docile and calm. Now the clown has also been docile, he has now started guard a certain cave. ( This is very funny to me. He seems consumed with this cave and guarding it.) <Natural behavior> Since this started the Foxface has started to become mean to my other fish (not the clown, though, he loves the clown). He will not let the eel come out of any hole or crevice. He lays his body over the hole the eel sticks his head out and then he tries to stick him with his venomous spines. This started about a week ago and the eel just ignores him and goes about his business, usually moving to another area of the tank or just burying himself under the rocks. But now, he is going after my puffer. This is stressing out the puffer because he cant really get away <The system is too small... for this mix of fishes> and find peace because the Foxface will follow him anywhere and rub up against him and the puffer just curls up and lays down on the bottom somewhere and waits till he gives up. I am worried that the Foxface could possibly poison my eel or puffer. Please help if you can. <Only you can help... either move some fish/es or get another adequate sized system... this one is too puny for this assortment behaviorally. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility Issues, FO SW   2-10-08 Hello WWM Crew, and hope you're having a good day. <Hey - lots of studying!> I have a compatibility question. <Alrighty then> I will be moving my existing fish: 2 Banggai cardinals, a maroon/gold clown, a black percula clown, a PJ cardinal a blue hippo tang, and a flame angel into a new 125 gal tank I am purchasing. <A small-ish tank for an adult hippo tang, I would go larger than this> All of the current fish get along fantastically, and the 2 clowns have their own "homes" in the tank and everything is peaceful. I am hoping moving everyone to a new and bigger home will not cause the now peaceful fish to suddenly start fighting, but I know that I should still keep an eye on things obviously. <Moving rockwork around will help break up any territorial disputes that may arise> My question is, I had planned on introducing some qt'd fish simultaneously when I do move the fish over, so that there are no established territories in the new tank. I have not purchased the qt'd fish (yet) but before I do, I wanted to ask about compatibility. I had planned on adding an Emperor angel (juvenile approx 2-3"), and a longnose butterfly. I also was thinking of adding a copperband butterfly as well. Do you see any compatibility issues I should be concerned about, and do you think the 2 butterflies can co-exist if introduced at the same time? <Once again, I would purchase a larger aquarium if you want to keep open water swimmers such as an Emperor angel or a Hippo tang. 220+ gallons is what I would recommend. Regarding the butterflyfish, I've personally never kept them, but species with similar size/coloration shouldn't be mixed. Personally, I'd go with one or the other, not both> Thank you, as always, for your time and information. <Anytime> Mike P. <M. Maddox>

Another en medea res msg. w/ no prev. corr., ridiculous, untenable FO and Echinoid mix   2/1/08 Hi guys, <JCF> Once again I'd like to thank you and come back for more advice, last time you were very helpful. <Prev. corr.?> its regarding more invaders, it seems to be a pink bristle worm, (Annelida I think not sure though), I have a predatory tank with a Picasso, undulated, Pinktail, niger triggerfish, Brazilian horned eel, lionfish, wrasse, grouper, yellow tang and 4 urchins. <Future trouble...> Do I have anything to worry about? should it be removed? cause I found 1 does it mean there's more? Will my fish just eat it? <... I'd be reading re the Systems, Compatibility of what you list. This won't work> Thanks for your time, Chris <Get reading. BobF>

Fish selection... FO to Reef  01/31/2008 Hi! <<Hello, Andrew today>> I am soon going to be setting up a 55 gallon tank. At the moment the two fish I have to be moved in are a Percula Clown and a black Ocellaris Clown. They are best buddies and spend 24 hours a day at each others side. This new tank will be a reef tank and I would like to check that my choice of fish are suited to each other and also suitable to live in a reef tank. I would like to add a couple more clowns. Would this cause problems or fighting with the two clowns I already have? Should I leave their happy relationship as it is? <<Buy them smaller than the current couple and they will either join in the pecking order or pair up themselves ( hopefully ) and take on their own portion of territory>> I would also like to add a yellow tailed blue damsel <<Can be an aggressive little fish, I would choose another if it was me>> a yellow headed Jawfish <<A nice choice of fish. ensure you have about 4 inch sandbed of fine sand for this to dig and create its burrow complex>> Possibly a cleaner wrasse. <<Best left in the ocean I am afraid. Please read more info here on the cleaner wrasse. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm >> Can you see any potential troubles with this selection? And if they will all go together is there any order in which they should be introduced in order to set up territories? <<See comments above and related reading articles>> Thanks, Jamie <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

triggerfish help... Actually, go back to go  01/21/2008 Hey, it's Sam.? I have a 55 gallon tank with a moray and a smaller puffer <... too small a volume for either> and I was wondering what species of triggerfish would be comfortable in a tank? <None> that size and with those fish.? It would be a great help if you could give me some info because I've been looking around the web for quite a while and cant find exact info, its always changing with different people. Again any info or advice would be appreciated. <Please... follow directions... read on WWM before writing us... This system is ridiculously mis-stocked already. Bob Fenner>

Stocking guidelines, SW, FO  1/20/08 Hello everyone. I am sorry to say that the one cubic inch of fish per five gallons of saltwater still leaves me confused. <Is really "just" a general "rule of thumb"> Perhaps you would be so kind to evaluate my reef system and offer some pointers to how many fish it will comfortably hold. <Sure> It is 36x18x18, 50gallons. It contains 50lbs. live rock with a 1/2in. sandbed. The protein skimmer is a Aqua C Remora. I have two FilStar xp3 canister filters filled with filter pads and Chemi Pure Elite for phosphate and silica. They create about 300 gph water turnover each. I like the canister filters because they pick up alot <No such word> of detritus when I use a power head to blow off the rock and stir the sand. This is done weekly sometimes twice weekly. The filters are cleaned later that day of sand storming so as not to become waste collectors. The lighting are two Coralife 150watt HQI hang on the back mounts. It is fairly bright but the lights are at their upper most position. I had them lower for corals at the bottom of the tank but the fish would not swim in the upper layers of water until I moved the lights up higher. Okay to the point at hand. There are two green/blue chromis. There were three but one of the bigger guys harassed the smaller one to death. So now two. One Hector's goby, one percula, who lost an eye trying to host a torch coral in another system. And a cherub angelfish. Let's see that's five fish that stay within three inches total mature size. <Yes> If I stay within those size limits could I possibly add a few more or would this cause to much waste buildup. <Mmm, depends mostly on the species chosen themselves... then to a smaller extent on individual behavior. A "psychological" crowding issue must be contemplated as well/important as physiological> My big concern is the detritus, because I have seen friends with major hair algae blooms. And I surely want to avoid that at all cost. <Might need, want to add more circulation here... and best, a refugium...> My apologies for rambling on but really would like some experienced input. I feel that I may be at the maximum stocking level for this system. However, my 2-1/2 inc percula looks lonely and perhaps a small mate would add for a swimming partner. Or even some other colorful swimmer. Thanks to All of you for being there. Gratefully----Bob Carter <Could try adding another Clown... I would... Bob Fenner> Stocking Questions, SW FO    1/9/08 Hi there. I tried to send this last night but I don't think it got through. I have had 3 fish only tanks up and running the past 3 years and I would like your advice on adding livestock. I have a 120 with a 2 foot snowflake eel, a 12" golden moray and a 8" coral toadfish. I would like to add a scribbled angel, <Mmm, no> a Rabbitfish, and a wrasse <What species?> or coral hogfish to this mix. I have a 210 with a 8" clown trigger only. I would like to add a grouper or anything else you think might hold its own with this guy. <Your gamble...> Lastly my show tank is a 400 gallon and I have a 7" queen angel, a 8" Atlantic blue tang, a 6" nicely coloring red Coris wrasse, a 6" Lunare wrasse, a 5" niger and a 6" blue chin trigger, and a 5" princess parrotfish. I would like to add 5 or 6 sergeant majors (my wife loved them when we were diving in Grand Cayman last summer) a flounder, <Will be hard to feed in/with this mix> a Sailfin tang, and some sort of hogfish or Rabbitfish. I have superior filtration and protein skimming in all tanks running 24/7 with loads of live rock and sand in each. I would appreciate any advice or alternate choices you may have. Thanks in advance as always. You guys are always very helpful to me. Paul <Please read on WWM re the Compatibility, Systems of what you list... From what you post, your systems are already full... Bob Fenner>

Stocking Questions for 215 Gallon Tank... Asfur Angel comp. mostly   1/8/08 Hello Crew: <Jason> Thank you for dedicating your time to provide an amazing resource for all of us. I have an admittedly overstocked 75 Gallon tank. The 75g tank has 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Blue Devil Damsel, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Bicolor Blenny, 1 Pearly Jawfish, and now for the bigger fish -- a juvenile Maculosus Angelfish (approx. 3"), <Yikes! Just to let you know I'm partially awake here> a juvenile Hippo tang (3.5"), and a juvenile Atlantic Blue tang (2"). All fish generally get along -- nothing more than occasional fin-nipping and my water quality is good with 0-ammonia, nitrites and less than 10ppm of Nitrates. I have some trouble keeping my PH up, it is generally low at 8.0-8.1, probably due to overstocking. <Mmm> When I purchased the Angel, Hippo tang and Atlantic Blue I knew I would be getting a larger aquarium. That day has now come and I have new 215 gallon tank that I intend to keep as a FOWLR with peaceful to moderately aggressive fish. My questions have to do with stocking the 215g tank. I have done a lot of research on which future inhabitants I would like for this tank and have come up with a wishlist in addition to the Angelfish, Hippo tang and Atlantic Blue tang. <Mmm, the Angel will take up most/all of this space> I need to determine (1) if the wish list is compatible, (2) too much for the tank, and (3) the order that I should begin introducing them. First, a bit of background on the 215g tank. The tank is 72 X 24 X 28. It is cycled with 150lbs of live rock and has been running for about a month. The only fish currently in the tank are 2 Tomato Clowns (2" and 1.5"). My wishlist (in addition to the 2 clowns already introduced) and proposed order of introduction is: (1) Foxface Lo Rabbitfish; (2) Marine Betta; (3) Harlequin Tuskfish; (4) Snowflake eel; (6) Bicolor Goatfish; (6) Heniochus Butterflies (perhaps two); (7) one of either Threadfin, Raccoon or Longnose Butterfly; (8) Cuban Hogfish; (9) the Atlantic Blue Tang from my 75g; (10) Yellow Tang; (11) Hippo Tang from my 75g; and (12) Maculosus Angelfish from my 75g. This is my wishlist but I suspect that as these fish mature it may be a bit too much for the tank. <Yes... is a "good" list temperamentally... but too much psychologically in time, with growth...> I would really appreciate your thoughts/suggestions. Next, aside from space considerations, do you see any problems with compatibility of these fish with each other? Finally, how about the order of introduction? I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for your help. Jason <Can be placed in the order listed... the Butterflies and Tangs later if not placing much in the way of fresh/er live rock... But you will either have to trim the list back, add much in the way of "extra" filtration, circulation, overall maintenance, or be ready to trade in some of the "losers" as these fishes all get larger... more crowded. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tangs and a Pufferfish Compatibility/Marine 1/2/08 Hi all, <Hi Brian> My name is Brian and I'm looking to set up a fish only tank. I bought a 125gal fishbox <Fishbox, never heard that term before, heh.> (72x22x18. If I remember correctly) that I'll be putting up during the following week. Before I go out purchasing fish wildly, I decided I should consult with more than one source (person at the fish store). I love the looks of the Yellow Tang and I would also like to keep a puffer. Would I be ok to have 3 or 4 Yellow Tangs and a puffer in this tank? <No, eventually you will only have one tang. I tried that in a 240 gallon tank 10 or more years ago, and after three months I had one left out of five. The dominant tang will constantly go after the others, the weakest of the remaining usually goes first and it is generally the one that will get the least amount of food due to the aggressiveness of the dominant tang.> As far as the puffer goes, <Would not mix a tang with a puffer due to the puffer's eating habits. They will create much waste in the system and tangs need pristine water quality as it is one of their needs for survival. If you are new at this, I'd stay away from puffers and tangs, both are not the easiest of fish to keep.> I was hoping to find a smaller (8-9 inch or so) less fin-nippy one (sharpnoses seem like little bullies). I am also interested in those sand-sifting gobies that dive into the sand when threatened. Would this work? My friend says gobies may only be suitable for reef tanks and to go with wrasses. <Sand sifting gobies are not that easy to keep also, generally not enough nutrients in the sand bed to keep them alive. I've tried a few and could not acclimate them to eating prepared food. Just a chance you would have to take. Best to read/learn about these fish beforehand.> I'm not sure about the compatibility of some wrasses and the puffer. <Do search our site on fish you are thinking about keeping. Learn their needs, requirements and compatibility issues.> I read this website at work and it's a wealth of information! Thanks for all your work and keep on trucking! <Sorry, but I do not have a truck, thanks just the same. James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Brian

Specific inhabitants for a 125 FO Tank   12/30/07 Happy New Year to Bob and the Crew, <And to you and yours Howard> I know you've heard this time and again, but thank you for all the free and valuable information available to all of us via your website! It has helped me numerous times. I'm toying with the idea of a dream of mine... restocking completely my well established 125 FO tank. I would like to house a trio of Golden Butterfly, an Asfur Angel <Will need more room than this in time...> and a Maroon Clown (current inhabitant). I think that this would make a stunning display, as the tank serves as a room divider in our house. What are your thoughts? Once again, thanks so much. Howard Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida <I wish this tank were about twice this volume... Bob Fenner>

Fish Selection For 90 Gallon 12/23/07 I tried to send this email a 3 days ago. I do not know if you have received it. My apologies if you are busy and just have not had time to get back to me. <I do not know if we received it, Bob may recall.><<Didn't see... RMF>> I figured I would resend just in case. <No problem Bob.> Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I have researched all over your site. I'm trying to find an answer to compatibility and systems regarding 3 kinds of fishes. Currently I have a 90 gallon tank in the process of being setup. I will be using an oversize skimmer for the tank. Either a Tunze 9010 or an Aqua C Ev180. I will employ 90-110lbs of live rock. A twenty to twenty five gallon refugium. Finally for a water circulation I will use a Wavy Sea wave maker. The fishes that I would like to keep are, Humu Humu Trigger, Purple Tang and finally a Striped Burr Fish. Will a 90 gallon tank be sufficient to house these fish for the duration of their lives? <No, if/when they mature, it will be like putting three German Shepherds in a closet.> Will it be a healthy environment for them to flourish? <Too small a tank once they grow out, will be high nitrate producers. All three could attain lengths of close to 10 inches. The Striped Burr Fish is not one of the easiest to keep.> I am concerned about the fishes mental and physical health. I really love these 3 fish. Your input would be greatly appreciated. If this does not work would a Humu and a Purple Tang work in a 90? <As above.> Thank you for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog) Bob

Proposed stock list... FO, SW, not ready  12/1/2007 I am getting set to order an 8 foot tank (likely 240) and wanted to run my stock-list by you. First additions would be Male and Female Bluethroat Triggers, and a Pinktail Trigger. I love triggers, but wanted to get the most mild mannered I could. Next would be a Porcupine Puffer, <Mmm, the Triggers, particularly the Pinktail, may go after the puffer> and Powder Blue Tang. <Need to have this tank mature for months... then still likely parasitic issues> Last would be Juvi Emperor Angel and Juvi French Angel <Mmm, no... not the two together. Not happy> and finally a Sohal Tang. Would the Sohal be a bad choice? <Would be a likely last fish... too alpha> Would he coexist with the Powder Blue? <Maybe> I would also add either a Goldentail Moray or Mexican Dragon. Which would you suggest, and when should the eel be added? <... I would...> I thought I had settled on acrylic, however a few other salt water owners I trust are trying to steer me toward glass again. Which would you suggest? <That you read... re these animals systems, compatibility on WWM and re Tank construction... Please learn to/use the indices and search tool> Thanks and best regards, Kirk p.s. If Bob gets this, thanks for writing your book, it is my Bible. <Mmmm, is just a simple guide book. Bob Fenner>

30 gallon saltwater tank/community, Stocking 11/21/07 Hello, I have emailed the crew before about freshwater tanks and have received great advice in return and I now have one set-up and I am also managing a tank for a friend who has a small 15 gallon community. <Nice> I am emailing you guys about advice on a 30 gallon saltwater tank that I am interested in setting up. I have done some research about saltwater tanks but I would like to seek some expert advice. <Ok> I want the community to consist of the following: 1 Ocellaris clownfish, 1 royal Gramma Basslet, 1 clown goby, <Feeds almost exclusively on Acropora polyps.> citrinis, <Same problem as previous clown goby.> 1 spotted mandarin, <Will starve in this sized tank.> 1 yellow clown goby, <See above> 1 neon blue goby and possibly some shrimp and/or snails. I also would like to put live rock in the tank along with some coral/anemones. <Skip the anemones, need a large, stable, older tank to be successful.> (the less expensive) I do realize that the tank should be set-up about a month before adding any fish but I am not exactly sure about the coral, <wait> live rock <Put in to start the cycle.> or the anemones, <Skip it.> could you please send me some advice regarding this? Also I was wondering would a canister filter be appropriate to use in this tank. <Could, will need to clean weekly at a minimum.> Could you please send me some advice about my questions above along with any helpful advice that you see fit. Also could you please let me know if this particular community of fish work out. Thank you! <I think you need to rethink over your stocking list, looking at most at 3 or maybe 4 small fish at most. If it were my tank I would stick with the Clown, Gramma and Neon goby and feel pretty comfortable with my stocking level. Look through our setup sections to find our more on filtration and cycling. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm > <Chris>

Stocking sequence, SW fishes   10/20/07 I have been perusing your website for a few months as I am in the process of cycling my 180 gal saltwater tank. It has approximately 100 lbs of live rock on another 50 lbs of base rock. 300 gal rated wet/dry with Euroreef 250 protein skimmer. My question is on stocking sequence. I would like to have a dogface puffer, snowflake moray, Picasso trigger, (not as aggressive as others?) <Rhinecanthus are generally not> I know that you guys say Volitans lions are not a good idea, but is there a possibility they could fit in the mix? <Mmm, a possibility exists that the Puffer, Trigger may bite the Eel, Lions...> Lunare wrasse, Harlequin Tuskfish and perhaps an angel or two for some dramatic color. <Do investigate by species...> Would this mix have a chance at success? I know I will have to add slowly and I wanted to know if there are any I should leave out and the best sequence to start stocking. <Please take a read on WWM re the Systems, Compatibility of the actual species you intend here... This mix could work, but the Tetraodontiform fishes you list are individualistic... might bite others. Bob Fenner>

200 gal. stkg. FO  10/16/07 Just reading through your Angel compatibility FAQ's... If I was to attempt to get the best of both worlds... (i.e. an Emperor Angel and a Flame Angel) should I add both angels at the same time? <Mmm, not likely a good idea...> I do have two quarantine tanks at 20 and 24gallons. I could quarantine separately and add both at the same time. If I was to acquire both fish at roughly the same size? <A good choice, arrangement> My stock list is below and the only other fish I am wanting for my tank is a small Picasso Trigger. Would you consider the current stock and wish list understocked? Adequately stocked? A little on the high side? 2x Bannerfish 26" Snowflake Moray Harlequin Tusk Magnificent Foxface Longnose Hawkfish Hippo Tang in QT to be added in 4-6weeks. <For a two hundred gallon system? This would be tight psychologically in time with the Pomacanthus> I currently have a 4" Hippo Tang in quarantine and will be QT for about 4 weeks. Brings me to yet another question. I noticed about 3 of the 8 Hippo Tang's in the store's tank showing signs of ICK. I picked up the most colorful, active, chubbiest one who appears to be ICK free. <Appears... is, all are infested> As stated I am quarantining him now, but is it worth me giving him 2 weeks to settle in and then using a Cupramine treatment to extend his QT period to 6 weeks? <Maybe... did you dip/bath the fish going into QT?> Or should I wait and only administer Cupramine if he is showing sure signs of ICK? <... I would read... would have dipped...> I did about a 7minute freshwater temp and pH adjusted dip. I removed him at about 7 minutes as it looked like he was laying on his side on the bottom of the bucket and his gills were beating extremely rapidly. I'm fairly new to the fresh water dip process and maybe get a little impatient perhaps. Now he's in quarantine and looks to be doing well. Thanks! David Brynlund <Reading. BobF>

Re: 200 gal. stkg. FO 10/16/07 Thanks for the response... Clarification from my note below that you just responded to. I did a temp and pH adjusted freshwater dip. It sounded as though you suggested that visible or not, my fish likely also has ICK given from the tank he came from. <Almost assuredly so> Therefore, are you suggesting that I should proceed with a Cupramine treatment regardless of whether the fish is showing signs or not? <Mmm, no... not necessarily... IF your intent is a Crypt-free setting though... you will need a good deal of time, dips...> I've had him for 3 days now and have spent about 30mins a day watching him when I feed him. There is one white spot that is suspect but I have not once seen the fish display flashing. You noted the addition of a the Emperor Angel when full grown would crowd the tank psychologically, should I simply stick to a medium sized angel that when full grown doesn't exceed 10"? <I would, yes> In addition to the Flame Angel? Or am I better off sticking to just the Flame Angel? <This latter> Would the Flame Angel be able to hold it's own against a Picasso if the personalities conflicted? <No... even I couldn't do this> David Brynlund <B>

Big Fish- and Bigger Aquarium! (Stocking with Large Fishes) -- 10/07/07 I had a question I am about to start a 125 gallon tank and I was wondering if there would be a enough room to have a Radiata Lionfish, 2 Triggers ( Niger and Black Hawaiian) 1 Dogface puffer and a Zebra Moray Eel. and if not enough room how much larger of a tank would I need. Thanks, Dylan <Well, Dylan, in order to keep a group like this in harmony for anything approaching their natural life spans, you'd really need a HUGE aquarium-hundreds, if not more gallons. These are BIG fishes! In addition to being heavy feeders and producers of copious amounts of metabolic wastes, these fishes may simply not exist together in peace. There may be some simple compatibility issues here. The Lionfish will almost certainly be subjected to some harassment from the Puffer or Triggers, and the Moray may have some of its own issues! Huge amounts of physical space and a complex rockscape will help diffuse some of the aggression, and the water volume will help to diffuse the metabolites. Of course, care must be taken to provide sufficient filtration and protein skimming to help process the aforementioned metabolic waste. When all is said and done, I'd reconsider the stocking plan here. Unless you're dealing with a much larger aquarium, I'd re-work the stocking plan, favoring smaller versions of the fishes that you are considering (i.e.; a Dwarf Lionfish, a much smaller Puffer or equivalent, Golden Dwarf Moray, etc.), or other fishes which will satisfy your interest and fit in with the aquarium's capacity. I'm glad that you are considering the aquarium's capacity and your animal's needs before assembling this system! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Predator Tank Compatibility... FO sel.    9/27/07 Greetings, I've been seriously considering converting my tank in to a predator tank. I've done some readings on tank mate compatibility, but it seems the lines are somewhat fuzzy. <They are indeed... like humans, aquatic animals are "individualistic"... subject to influences from environment, development...> I have a 72 gallon tank, and would like to know your opinion on the following stockage: dwarf lionfish, Volitans lionfish, yellow tang, niger trigger, hawkfish, frogfish. <... The full-size Pterois is not a good idea with the Niger... and will eat the Hawk... The Frogfish will likely starve in such a setting... And all this life won't happily fit in this volume> I would like to get them about equal sized, all of them somewhat small. Would this group get along or is it asking for disaster. I realize this is somewhat ambitious, but if you were able to recommend which groups here would live together, it would be much appreciated thanks! <I would keep reading, taking notes for now... re the ultimate likely size, compatibility of the life you intend. The mix you list is untenable. Bob Fenner>

75G FO choices. Thinking Small For Long-Term Stocking Success!   9/25/07 Hello all, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> Pardon the length, but some history for you. After considering several options/budget issues and much research here), I am setting up a 75G with an in-sump refugium as a future home for a small group of more aggressive marine fish. The display will be lit by two standard wattage bulbs, and decorated with about 70lbs of base rock. Water will circulate through a 30G sump at about 450 gph (actual sump volume of about 15-20 gallons, including the 'fuge) and the refugium will have its own pump running around 150 gph through about a ten gallon volume which will hold a 5" DSB, some live rock, and macroalgae. <Sounds like a well-thought-out plan> The 'fuge will be lit by 36w of CF lights. All that said, my kids are "helping" with the setup and selection, and they are wanting a Yellow Tang, a Lunare Wrasse, and a Picasso Trigger as tankmates. My oldest loves the Harlequin Tusk, but not ready to spend that much just yet. <Yikes! Quite a mix for a 75 gallon tank! I hate to be a "buzz kill", but I wouldn't even mix those fishes in a 175 gallon aquarium. These fishes all require a lot of physical space, get quite large, and give off copious amounts of metabolic waste. Not really ideal in this situation, IMO.> My question is this...I see this stocking working for a max of up to two years' time, then having to trade, etc, which I don't like to do. <Neither do I. Often, the trades never happen, or the larger aquarium we intend to get doesn't come to pass so quickly. The fishes then languish in an aquarium that is too small for their long-term happiness.> I love either a Picasso Trigger or Harlequin Tusk as a single wet pet, but concerned about getting single fish syndrome. <Well, either of these fishes could do okay in a 75 for maybe a year, tops. Then a much larger system would be required.> Once I have this set up, I will seed the tank with cured live rock and some live sand, then wait for a good month before adding anything, testing the whole way. I really want this to be a one shot effort. <Your methodology sounds fine, but the stocking plan is really not a good one, IMO. It's best to stick with fishes that can live their entire lives in an aquarium of this size. Maybe you could fall in love with "smaller versions" of the fishes that you are considering. There are no truly smaller Triggers, but how about trying a smaller Hawkfish in place of the Trigger, a Halichoeres species wrasse in place of the Lunare, and a Pseudochromis for color? I really wouldn't keep a Tang of any sort in an aquarium less than 6 feet in length. They really need the room to roam! Think about smaller fishes...Trust me- it's a better long-term solution!> Thanks for a great site! <My pleasure.> PS-Can you give me the title of the newest book regarding refugiums? I can't find the reference I saw earlier.... Stan <Well, Stan, I'd consider Bob Fenner and Anthony Calfo's "Reef Invertebrates", which has a great section on refugia. Or, you could check out the latest volume of the Sprung and Delbeek's "The Reef Aquarium" series, which discusses them as well. HTH. Regards, Scott F.>

Re: 75G FO choices. Thinking Small for Long-Term Stocking Success! 9/26/07 Thanks Scott! <You're welcome!> Not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. <Well, sometimes it's necessary to be a dream crusher for the greater good, ya know!> Other choices we have considered are (unrelated list) Flame Angel, various Dwarf Lionfish, and/or a Passer's angel (though not with the Flame, if that comes to be). <Well- pass on the Passer's...gets too large!> We were originally looking at a tank of dwarf angels, but thought that would be awfully slow to look at. <Not really...but problematic in a system of this size. All sorts of possible territorial problems.> I am still leaning toward having just three medium sized fish, as opposed to a tank with many small ones, but it is looking like that is how we will go. <Smaller is never bad> Forgot to mention there will be two skimmers (until I get the big one) in the way of an Aqua C Remora and a Bak Pak. Thanks again...I'll keep at the research. Stan

Building A New 500g Saltwater FO System...Suitable Tankmates? -- 09/25/07 We are currently in the process of building a new home with a 500-gallon fish only tank. <<Ah, exciting times...and an excellent opportunity...I'm jealous! I have a 375g in-wall reef display that I installed in my existing home, but have always thought how exciting it would be to plan/design a new (and bigger!) system along with a new home build>> Our current tank is 200-gallons and currently houses a Sailfin Tang and a Clown Trigger. <<Mmm...>> Here is the dilemma we face... The tang and the trigger are both fairly big and aggressive, as we have had them for several years. <<Indeed... And I think this very much 'alpha' triggerfish will eventually decide the tang must go too>> While they don't generally chase other fish to death (as did a grouper we had years ago before our current fish), they have intimidated any recent fish we've introduced. <<Not surprising re the intimidation...and only a matter of time before direct aggression/physical harm/mayhem, I think>> Examples include a Lunare Wrasse and a Passer Angel. Both fish were a bit smaller than ours, but seemed very bold at first and then became much more subdued after a short period of time. The new fish died shortly thereafter. <<Mmm, is a shame... And since you state there was no physical aggression...this is testament to the psychological stresses such stocking mismatches can produce...and the deadly results re>> Our choices at this point seem to be one of two options: 1. Keep the fish we have and try to find suitable companions. What fish might be suitable? <<Is not worth the effort, expense, subsequent loss of life...in my opinion>> How can we improve our chances of compatibility? Should we introduce other fish to the new tank first? <<If you are determined to keep the tang and trigger, yes...though I think the latter is a mistake for sure and the former is not without risk but may well do fine if introduced last to the new 500g display. Perhaps you could keep the current 200g tank for just the Clown Trigger?>> (We aren't moving far, so for a period of time both tanks will be set up). <<This will prove very handy>> 2. Switch to less aggressive fish. <<The 'better' option here>> If so, what species have good reputations for being hardy? <<Many...time to read/research...and decide what marine 'niche' you wish to replicate. Do you 'have a plan?'>> In other words, if you could have your dream tank, which fish would you choose? <<Ooh, two 'themes' come immediately to mind. One is a Hawaiian-themed tank based on Zanclus cornutus (the Moorish Idol) as the 'center-piece' species (though not easily kept), along with other suitable fishes from the area. Another is a Red Sea-themed tank with Chaetodon semilarvatus (the Bluecheek Butterfly) as the center-piece fish. Do some looking around, maybe decide on a theme as it is best to keep fishes all from the same ocean at least...and come back to chat re your choices if you like>> Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Sharon Kantanie <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Best fish Selection for a 215-Liter tank   6/25/07 Hello there! I have a 215-liter tank, <57 gallons> With a V2 Vectron Protein skimmer, Fluvial 405 external filter and recently installed a UV Sterilizer along with two power heads! Live Sand and Live Rock. What fish selection would be suitable for the tank? I have made mistakes in the past with stocking levels, and from a Trip to Egypt and the red sea can see and respect how much space these fish need. <Careful research is necessary before you begin> Please help, as I would like the best display possible and a happy tank. < In order for me to begin to answer your question I would need to know more about your system and the type of fish you are interested in keeping? Do you plan on keeping coral, clams or other photosynthetic specimens in your tank as well as fish? If so you will need to make sure you have compatible inhabitants, proper lighting, and an effective filtration system. How much live sand and live rock do you have? What are the flow rates of your power heads? Also you may want to consider a more effective filtration system such as a sump and/or refugium, this would enhance your biological waste removal. I would suggest you start by reading the Aquarium Stocking and selection article located at http://wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm and the and the marine filtration articles at http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm. Once you have more information please get back to me so we can discuss your original question> Clint <Thanks Clint for your inquiry, Marie>

Re: Best fish Selection for a 215-Liter tank   6/25/07 Hello there! <Hi Clint, thanks for the additional information about your tank> I have a 215-liter tank, <57 gallons> My 2 Power heads are Aqua clear With a V2 Vectron Protein skimmer, Fluvial 405 external filter and recently installed a UV Sterilizer along with two power heads. Each puts out 174 gallons an hour. My External Fluval filter has two baskets of Biomax, one changed every 6 months and two baskets of carbon changed every month and a half. I have 20lbs of live sand and a healthy amount of live rock (not sure exactly how much). My lights are simply 3 Marine fluorescent ones in the hood. One blue and two white. I just want to keep a selection of fish. A group of crabs, serpent stars that kind of thing. No corals or anemones. I'm not confident enough to take on them and if I were I'd prefer to have a different set up with a sump. <This lighting is sufficient for a fish only system and may even be enough for some low light requiring species such as zoanthids/Zoanthidea or mushrooms/Corallimorpharia, depending on the type of bulb and its wattage. I have a 29 gallon JBJ nano cube nano tank at a local school with 48 watts of power compacts and I keep Zoanthids, Xenia, Mushrooms etc. in there without any problem.> I was thinking of as a selection.... an Azure Damselfish, 2-Percula Clowns and a Pygmy Angelfish.... either a Coral Beauty or a Flame Angel? Are these ok? Could I add anything more? < I think that a system of this size can handle the Damselfish, Perculas and a small coral Beauty or Flame Angel. Be sure to add any livestock slowly and make sure that your system can handle the bio-load. Test you ammonia, nitrates and nitrites to make sure. See how this works out first before thinking about adding anything more to your tank.> Clint <Good luck with your new additions, Marie>

FOWLR 75 Gallon tank with Sailfin Tang and a Rabbitfish... Lvstk. sel.    6/24/07 Hello Mr. Fenner, I have your book and read it religiously, I am trying to find a tankmate for my 2 fishes that I have now and I was wondering if you could give me a little help. <Will try> I was looking in the book, And 3 fishes caught my eye, one was a puffer, but I am concerned about the poison, the upside to that is it likes to eat algae, which is an ongoing problem in my tank even though I use RODI water. <A puffer that eats algae? Interesting> The other was a damselfish, but concerned about territory and the fact that they do not eat live algae in the tank. <Mmm, actually... quite a few Pomacentrids/Damsels consume quite a bit of algae in the wild. Do know that there is a huge range or palatability amongst the huge array of algae types/species...> The third one was a hawkfish, again concerned about territory, and also they do not like to eat live algae in the tank as well. <Mmm, methinks you're fixating on algal consumption as a selection criteria... But I do like to eat some sorts of algae m'self> I have one more on the list a filefish, but as I read in your book, they can be troublesome with other fish, but they also will eat live algae. <Mmm, okay> I would appreciate any help that you could give me in helping pick out a suitable tankmate for my other 2 fishes. Thank You, Mike Gardner <I would continue to study, read at this point... on WWM, elsewhere... When you have specific questions (or not), you're welcome to write us back. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: 300 gallon aggressive fish only with live rock. Stkg.   6/23/07 Hi Bob! Thank you for responding so quickly to my inquiry. I decided to look into an ozonizer as you advised, however have a couple more questions for you. Due to space restrictions if I make that tank 27" tall instead of 36" I can only afford to extend the width of the aquarium to 30" making the over all dimensions 72"x 30"x 27" which makes the aquarium about 250 gallons instead of 300 gallons. <May not be as spectacular in appearance... but MUCH easier to work on/in> That would be great for me cost wise but would the same list of inhabitants be happy with 50 less gallons of water even though their surface space has increased? The stock list would be: 1 Snowflake Moray Eel 1 Harlequin Tuskfish 1 Annularis Angelfish 1 Lunar "lyretail" Wrasse 1 HumuHumu Triggerfish <May become too "mean" in time> 1 Auriga Butterflyfish 3 Yellow Tangs (I added a couple more as you advised) 1 Pacific Blue Tang 1 Orange Shoulder Tang (Rather than this tang would a Naso tang better fit the personality of this aquarium? It does grow 4 inches longer, and to be honest I really prefer the Naso to the orange shoulder I was just concerned about the size being an issue). <This would be my choice... to switch to a Naso species, yes> I would love to put one to two more yellow tangs in there but I don't want to crowd the space and cause stress or aggression. <Actually will reduce this... akin to the use of "ditherfish" in FW> Below is the previous e-mail. Thank you again! Brian <Welcome Bri. Bob Fenner>

55 Gallons...Lots of Possibilities... -- 06/16/07 Hi... <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Just a few quick questions. In my 55g aquarium, I have 2 Tomato Clowns, one Copper Band Butterfly and a tiny Blue Tang. I do plan on trading the Tang for another fish when he outgrows my tank, but at the moment he is about an inch long and doing really well, although at feeding time the tomato clowns give him a hard time. Of course I supplement his diet with algae too. <It's only natural that the Clowns would give this little guy a hard time on occasion, if for no other reason than he is just so small. Do pay attention to the aggression issues and take action as necessary. He will grow rapidly if well fed, so do think about the "long run" with this fish...> I want to add some more fish to my tank. I am thinking of a Bi-Color or Flame Angel, a Bicolor Blenny and a Royal Dottyback. Do you foresee any problems with my choices? <I would be careful here, as you could hit the maximum stocking density in the aquarium just with the fishes that you have in there now as they grow...If you're inclined to add a Dwarf Angelfish, I'd opt for the hardier, smaller Flame Angel, although in this system, you're better of with a "dwarf Dwarf", like C. argi. Bicolor Blennies are fine fish that do well in a variety of situations, IME. Th Royal Dottyback is one of the nastiest fishes in the ocean for it's size...I would really pass on this fish. If you really want a Dottyback, I'd opt for a small, peaceful one such as P. fridmani..> I love the Flame Anthias so I might get 2 of them instead of the Dottyback. <Because of potential space issues, if you intend to add two of the Anthias, I'd forgo the other additions...And even then, that's pushing things a bit...Anthias do like lots of space.> I also recently purchased a 12g mini marine set up to house 2 Yellow Clown Gobies. Would they be OK with peppermint shrimps? <I've kept these fishes together and have not had any problems, but in small systems, there is always a small possibility of the shrimps attacking the docile gobies.> I am also thinking of adding 2 small hermits to clean the substrate and one snail. <Make sure that you get a positive ID on the crab and are not adding a nasty one.> I am thinking a star fish would run out of food in such a small system. <Can be problematic. In "nano" systems, stocking is so critical; you're correct in taking a conservative approach.> Thanks guys.. Albany <Glad to help! Regards, Scott F.>

How many fish 110 gallons? Stocking A System Without Losing Your Mind! -- 06/14/07 Hi there. <Good evening! Scott F. with you today!> Just a quick one, I have just bought a Percula 120 bowfront marine tank (110gallon) with the upgrade lighting. My question is- how many fish can I keep in this, I will be looking to keep small reef-safe fish (keeping it simple) I have been told about 15, Is this too many? Many thanks <Well, this is a question for which there are many potential answers. There are many hobbyists who subscribe to a " "X" number of fish per gallon" rule, and others who simply use the size of the fishes as a stocking guide. There are many variables, including aggressiveness of the fishes in question, their swimming habits, feeding, etc. The " 'X' amount of fish per gallon" rule always seemed a bit arbitrary to me, but I tend to use it as a loose rule of thumb anyways, taking into account multiple factors, as we'll see below. "Small" fish can mean different things to different people, too. And many hobbyists fail to take into account the ultimate size of the fish they purchase. A "small" juvenile Tang can grow into a 15" monster needing hundreds of gallons of water volume and literally a dozen linear feet of space in which to roam. On the other hand, 10 Citron Gobies might do just fine in a 40 gallon aquarium with excellent husbandry practices. On the other hand, some fishes remain relatively modest in size, such as certain Puffers and Lionfish, yet are "sloppy" eaters, and give off copious amounts of metabolic wastes. Perhaps a single 8"-10" Lionfish can give off as much metabolic waste as a school of a dozen Chrysiptera parasema (Yellowtail Damselfish)! It's better to take into account multiple factors, such as the ultimate size of the fish, its habits, the type of filtration system you will be utilizing, and the husbandry practices that you embrace (ie; water changes, protein skimming, etc.). The idea behind good husbandry is not to see how many fishes we can stuff into a given aquarium-it's to see how well our captive specimens can fare when provided with the best possible environmental conditions. And, there are issues in regards to the activity levels of the fish, the niche that they inhabit in the system, etc. It's enough to drive you crazy, isn't it? what is the point to my rambling here, and when did the guy wearing the hockey mask enter the room (sorry-just seeing if you're still awake)? In the end, I'd probably keep as few fishes as possible in a given volume of water, regardless of size! In a 110 gallon system, I'd avoid fishes that exceed 5" in total length as adults. If it were me, I would keep my stocking level at a maximum of around 6-7 fishes, each no larger than 3-4" in total length. Again, keep in mind that a 4" Hawkfish is an entirely different "liability" than say, a 3" Canary Wrasse. Then again, I maintained a 225 gallon system where the largest inhabitant was 3 inches in length. I am a bit weird about stocking (and other things, too, I've been told...another story for another time). There is just something nice about seeing small fishes in large volumes of water, where they can really "stretch out" and behave more naturally. In the end, there is simply no substitute for your research and good judgment. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking 180g -- 06/11/07 Hi I have a 180g and I'm in the process to decide which fish will go in there... but I'm scare <scared?> to add to <too> much, so I would like if someone could tell me if my choice is good or not, you can make suggestions too :) so I would like to have 1x radiata lionfish 1x blueface angelfish <Not easily kept> 2x golden butterflyfish (Chaetodon semilarvatus) 3x Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish (Heniochus acuminatus) 1x black back butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus) 3x potter's angelfish (Centropyge potteri) <Ditto> the lionfish and the blueface are the 2 fishes that I really want, for the rest I'm open to suggestions... What would YOU put in there?? Thanks!! <I'd be reading, thinking a bunch more here. Bob Fenner>

90 Gallon Oceanic fish only set-up, stkg.   5/30/07 Hey guys, thank you for all of the wonderful help and the great website. It has truly been invaluable. I am considering setting up a FOWLR system with a 90 gallon Oceanic tank. I wish to put in a Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) about 1.5 - 2" in length, either a Potter's Angelfish (Centropyge potteri) or a Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula) about 2 - 3" in length, and maybe 6 or so Yellow-Tailed Blue Damselfish in the tank. How many pounds of liverock would be acceptable for this setup? <A pound to a pound and a half per gallon... depending on the density...> And also, would it be possible to put any more fish in this setup or do I already have too many? <The Trigger may consume the Damsels, the Angel in time...> And I know that since the Triggerfish isn't exactly reef-safe, it is impossible to do any corals. However, I would like to know if there are any fake corals that would be acceptable or would they simply look ridiculous? Thanks so much for all the help. -- All my love, Christopher Reed Hughes <Keep reading Chris. Bob Fenner>

Mar. stkg... vague...   5/30/07 I have a 220gal tank, looking to stock it with 1x dog face puffer 1x angel fish <What species?> 1x wrasse <Ditto> What do you think would be suitable types of these fish to live together for long term. <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a Large Fish-Only Marine....Comments on Sand Sifting Star As Well   5/18/07 Good morning Fishy Folks, <Hi David.> I sent an email about a week ago, but realize you're very busy answering questions and doing whatever it is you do... <It is true most of are busy, however typically we respond within 24 hours. If in the future you don't get a response within that time, please resend due to the load/age of our system/server we do miss some e-mails. Furthermore we get loads of spam each day and it's possible your email could have been accidentally deleted. I apologize for the delay but at least you got through now!>   Figured I'd rephrase and shorten my question for you, as I am still curious to know the answer... <No worries.> This would be a stocking question: <Okay.> My system right now: 200gallon fish / starfish tank 55gallon sump with liverock filtration 210lbs of liverock in main tank creating a large centre island leaving about 8 - 12" perimeter between glass and rockwork. 3" fine sandbed Tunze Protein Skimmer (love it, almost as much as my Aqua Remora-C on my 90gallon) Pump and Tunze Streams circulate water about 30/hr. <Sounds good thus far.> 1 18" Snowflake Moray 1 Foxface 5" 1 Yellow Tang 5" 1 Royal Dottyback 2 Bannerfish <I don't see any issues here with the bio-load: tank size.> 3 sandsifting stars <I do see an issue here; Sand Sifting Stars (Astropecten polycanthus); They are predatory, and it is a problem, but probably not the way you are thinking of. They won't be munching on sessile invertebrates and crustaceans...won't bother a fish...unlike choc-chip-stars and green brittle stars. What's on the menu for these guys is all of the microfauna and micro-crustaceans in your tank; making your DSB pretty much devoid of life. And it's not a gradual slide either, this will happen within weeks. Not only that but there are challenges when it comes to the animal itself. As I said above most will decimate the microfauna population and then after that the seastar itself will slowly wane and eventually starve. A single sand-sifting star in all honesty, needs about a 36"x36" surface area with no rockwork w/ a DSB of 8"+ and a large fishless refugium to survive long term. There has been experimentation to get them to take captive fair...I've even participated in this but most of the time these animals only survive 6 months to a year in captivity. This is another creature that should be placed into the "Best left in the wild", category http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sndsftstrfaqs.htm Here are the FAQ's we don't have an article yet on them...> and 1 brown banded serpent star and 1 Harlequin Tusk fish (4") about to be introduced from quarantine tank <Watch him around the inverts.> I want to ensure that I don't overstock and I find from reading FAQ's that some people like to jam their tanks with as much as possible. <Unfortunately yes.> At the moment, my tank still looks fairly empty as the Moray remains hidden most of the time unless feeding, but I do realize the Bannerfish can reach about 10" each and the Tuskfish about 10-14"??   <Relatively accurate on both cases for captive specimens.> I'd rather remain a tad on the light side to prevent fighting over food. <...And nutrient issues, psychological issues....fighting too....> Speaking of which, my god those Bannerfish are gutsy critters trying to steal scallops and shrimp from my eel's mouth.  I can't even hang a feeder clip without them trying to steal it from my hand... thankfully they don't have teeth. <I have similar experiences with one of my surgeons...> My stocking wishes are as follows: Option #1  One of the larger angelfish up to 15" full grown (perhaps an Emperor?) <Could work, though healthy specimens are often difficult to obtain. I wouldn't get a large adult go for a mid-sized specimen in the 4-5" range. I would wait a while too, after the addition of the harlequin at least a few months (3-6).> Option #2 One of the larger angelfish up to 15" full grown (perhaps an Emperor?) as well as a small slender fish, like a different type of wrasse or blenny?  Or would the Dottyback fight with it because of the similarity in size?   <Could but, the size of your tank would help cut down on this.> I've already had to move the Dottyback out of my 90gallon tank because it would attack anything new... but I think in my 200gallon tank he's kept in check by the bigger fish and no one seems to bother him at all.  Furthermore, I would take the Dottyback back to the store if you are deciding against one of the options below because of having this smaller fish in the tank. <Well the risk is present but you won't know until you try. If your unwilling to take that risk remove the specimen beforehand.> Option #3 A smaller angelfish like a Flame Angel and a Regal Tang <The latter is quite prone to crypt/ich I would go with a lengthy QT prior to addition if you go this route.> Option #4 A smaller angelfish like a Flame Angel, Regal Tang, and another smaller fish <Same comments as above.> Option #5 Perhaps one of the more... hahaha... peaceful(?) Triggers or a Dogface Puffer? <The puffer I would say no, considering the animals you already have, as for trigger it would have to be one of the more reclusive planktivores like a blue-throat.> Perhaps you could provide some comments on each option why or why not you like the option??? <I have ^^^.> Is there another fish or type of fish that would make a good addition that perhaps I have overlooked? <I like the idea of a tank/surgeon though I would pick a different specimen, perhaps something in the Zebrasoma genus...though not a yellow because of the Foxface.> I love getting suggestions on unique additions...    <I have a very strong bias for Genicanthus angels personally, and I don't see them in display all too often.> On a last note, in your opinion would you think I'll eventually run into issues with my Dottyback as it is already bite size to my Moray and would likely become bite size to my Harlequin Tuskfish within a year or so? <Harlequins and the Snowflake are more prone to attacking inverts not fish, but as with anything in this hobby....no guarantees.> Certainly with a larger puffer or trigger? <Well I already nixed the puffer idea and gave specific guidelines re: the trigger ^^^.> Thanks again for all your help over the years... <Anytime.> David B. <Adam J.>       

Re: Golden Butterfly... really lg. FO lvstk. sel.    5/7/07 Mr. Fenner, <Kirk> I have a follow up to my question re: fish list. My wife likes the color of a purple squaredot anthias (male) with 3-4 females. <Pseudanthias pleurotaenia I take it>   Would these fish work into my current fish selection? The are going to be the first additions into my 370 gallon tank when ready, followed by two mural gobies and a couple of cleaner shrimp. <A very nice choice here> I am little concerning about the blue throat and pink tail triggers.  I do not consider them a threat to the anthias (for food), but I thought I would check with you.  I did read your bio on them in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist book. <absolutely love this book btw>. Thanks Kirk <Mmm, well, I would introduce the Melichthys/Pinktail last... and keep my eye on it... may have to be barbless-hook fished out at some point... but all will likely get along in this sized volume. Bob Fenner>

Livestock Choices for Large Fish Only  -- 05/03/07 Guys, <Hello Adam...this is Adam with you this morning.> Right now in my 240 g saltwater, I have 20 blue chromis, 2 yellow tail damsels, a dogface puffer, a Sweetlips, a lawnmower blenny and 4 large hermit crabs. <So the puffer and the Sweetlips are either too small to eat the damsels/chromis or too slow.> I'd like to add an assortment of angels, butterflyfish and tangs but want to add the right number and right kinds so that the tank remains--it's doing great now--a peaceful community. <Well; what specific animals out of the families you mentioned are you interested in? Some angels, even in a tank of this size, will not do well with co-geners or conspecifics; same with the surgeons.> Also, if there other fish to recommend please do so. <This is a matter of personal preference of course and I don't know what your set-up is like.  You have some compatibility issues already...the puffer can/will become "nippy" as he ages and if the Sweetlips lives to adulthood (most don't in aquaria) he will eventually begin hunting your smaller specimens. So before I recommend livestock choices, I'd like you to divulge a little more on your preferences and what the direction of the tank is.> Thanks, <Welcome.> Adam <Adam J.>

Re: Stocking a 240g saltwater tank -- 5/4/07 Adam, <Adam.> Thanks for getting back to me. <No problem, anytime...usually I'm quicker.> The Sweetlips is about 7 inches long and I've had him for about a year. <Good, that's longer than most folks have them.> He loves feeder goldfish <Mmm...do read this; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm .> but I mostly feed him frozen shrimp, squid, octopus, etc. <All good.> He's yet to chase the chromis or damsels. <Interesting for him to recognize the goldfish as food yet not chase fish of similar size.> Dog face puffer is the same size and is slower than the Sweetlips but a bigger eater <As most puffers are.> --eats same food as above. <Cool.> So, I'd like to have as many angels/tangs/butterflyfish in the 240 g with as much color variation as possible. <As far as angels I'm a huge fan of Genicanthus angels; they are planktivores and they can be kept in harems (one male, multiple female groups). I'm also a fan of the three amigos (though only two are attainable really; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/zonipectus.htm). As far as butterflies; a  duo of Heniochus could suit you. Surgeons, well I'd stay away from  most of those in the Acanthurus genus...they get pretty big, though a few may suit you, same goes for those in the Naso genus. Check out the Zebrasoma genus first. Much more detailed info is posted on WWM.> If moving the Sweetlips and/or puffer down the road is needed I do have room for another (4th) tank. <Awesome.> Right now I have a very peaceful 130g tank (5' x 30" tall x 18" deep) and an aggressive tank 6x2x18" that has a clown trigger, niger trigger, Foxface lo and snowflake eel. <The eel and the Foxface might actually be more suited to the peaceful tank; I'd consider swapping them out with the Sweetlips or the puffer...or even both.> Basically what I need to know is the exact different types of tangs that can live together (if introduced together) plus the same with butterflies and angels. <There's really no hard and true rules, too many variables among species and individuals for that matter. How about if you come up with a stocking list I'll look over it and/or modify it for you.> And also what's the most fish I can add at once to a 240g without upsetting any chemical/waste issues for the water. <Well obviously you need to quarantine them first, and it depends on the size temperament of the fish but generally I prefer no more than one or two at a time. Of course there are exceptions...likely with the surgeons/tangs if you choose to get more than one.> I care for the fish daily but I also have a pro come in twice a month for water changes, salinity checks etc. <Cool.> Also, I know these fish can be costly but give me advice as if cost were no object--I can always work down from there. <Use the WWM search engine on the home page and enter the animals I talked about above...there are pictures as well...see if you like any of those.> I appreciate your advice and really enjoy the site. Please let me know if there is anything else you need to know about my set-up that can help you in your counsel. From one Adam to another,
<Adam J.>

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