FAQs about Small Marine System Livestocking 11
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Related FAQs: Small Marine System Livestocking 1,
Small Marine System Stocking 2,
Small Marine Stocking 3,
Small Marine Stocking 4, Small Marine Stocking 5, Small Marine Stocking 6, Small Marine Stocking 7, Small Marine Stocking 8, Small Marine Stocking 9, Small Marine Stocking 10, Small Marine Stocking 12, Small Marine Stocking 13, Small
Marine Stocking 14, Small Marine Stocking 15, & Cnidarians for
Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Small Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes and More for
Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Blennies, -oids for Small Systems by Bob
Fenner, Damsels, Clownfishes for Small
Systems by Bob Fenner, Dwarf Dwarf
Angels of the Genus Centropyge by Bob Fenner, Jawfishes Suitable for Small Marine
Systems by Bob Fenner, Little
Basses for Small Systems by Bob Fenner,
Small Marine Aquariums
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
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Sarcophyton species & sizes 6/30/09
Hello all, and thanks in advance for letting me bug you yet again with
another question. I have a newly-set-up 34-gallon Solana Nano that is
still cycling, so I'm in the planning stage as far as livestock is
concerned. My question is: Do all Sarcophyton species get very large,
or are there some (or even one) that stay a reasonable size for this
<Mmm... well... the most commonly available species can/do get
huge... much larger than most all hobbyist systems... They can be
"slowed down", even dwarfed... by not much feeding...
starting with small specimens, cuttings...>
I read in your account of "Soft Corals of the Family
Alcyoniidae" that S. glaucum gets to be 12" in diameter. Is
this the "cap" or the stalk?
Would this be a small enough size to stay in a 34-gallon tank, if it
was the only coral (aside from a couple of Zoanthid colonies)? And is
there a way to I.D. this species just visually, without resorting to
<Mmm, not able to discern small specimens to species myself
period... See Phil Alderslade's name... on the Net in re to>
Thanks in advance for your help. I hope I haven't peppered you to
death with questions. As always, your help is invaluable and much
<There is a broader concern than size per se with keeping this
genus, more generally the family... chemical allelopathy, no matter the
mass... Please see WWM re this, techniques for limiting its
and the linked files above>
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
<The "truth" is merely the accepted opinion of the
immediate majority; and many people consider themselves the majority,
both immediate and general.
The truth does not change at all, only our perception of
Stocking Question, sm. SW 6/27/09
Great website! After shuffling all the great info on your site,
I've "think" I've finally decided on which live stock
I currently have a 24 gallon Nanocube with around 22lbs of live rock
and about 2 inches of live sand.
I have narrowed my selection to 4 choices:
1 False Perc
1 Black and White False Perc
1 Long Fin Cardinal
<What species is this? Banggai?>
1 Black Cap Basslet
<Really needs more room...>
If I had to leave one of the list, it would either get the Long Fin
Cardinal followed by the Black and White False Perc. Would the orange
and black/white clown get along if I get them both small and introduce
If so, would you recommend keeping the 4 fish and if so, in what order
would you stock them? If you only recommend 3, which combo would you
recommend and in what order?
<The Basslet is best left out in such a size, shaped system>
I would also like to keep either 1 or 2 skunk cleaner and 1 fire shrimp
and some snail/hermit combo.
<I'd leave out snails, hermits as well...>
Will the black cap Basslet attach the shrimp?
I had a friend and his royal gramma continually attacked/killed his
shrimp which was out of character for a royal gramma. I am concerned
since the black cap Basslet will have the same characteristics as the
I am new to the marine hobby and any advise would be greatly
Thanks in advance! =)
<I'd keep reading for now... perhaps adding the shrimp... Bob
Adding a Black Cap Basslet to a 24 Gal Nano Cube
Love the website and help that you provide to fish hobbyist of all
experience levels! I have been reading a lot of forum posts and have
learned a lot regarding which fish would suit my needs best.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
This is my first marine tank and am very excited. I have a 24 gallon
Nano cube with about 23 lbs of live rock and 20 lbs of live sand. I
A mated pair of False clowns.
1 green Chromis
1 long fin cardinal
1 skunk cleaner shrimp
1 red fire shrimp
12 snail and hermit combo
<Very crowded for a 24 gallon tank, the Chromis is ill suited for a
tank this small, as they are open swimmers. 24 gallons is also a bit
too small for a pair of clowns.>
All have been getting along great after I took out a royal gramma that
seemed to harass the other tenants. Also, I strongly felt that the
gramma took out a cleaner shrimp. I was told that the gramma was a
docile fish that would not eat ornamental shrimp therefore the gramma
was one of the earlier entries into my tank.
<They generally will not, however in cramped quarters, 'all bets
I am now planning to add a black cap Basslet and have it has my last
addition before possible corals.
<Not a good idea.>
Will the addition of the black cap Basslet disrupt the harmony in my
I know that they are very similar to the royal gramma, and some have
said that they CAN be more aggressive.
<They are behaviorally the same as a Royal Gramma.>
I seem to have plenty of room for the black cap Basslet and have plenty
of live rock for the Basslet to roam.
<Not in a 24 gallon with that many fish in it already.>
My current fish all swim in the water column and the black cap would
look great in the caves. My main concern, will the black cap become
aggressive again, since he was the last addition, or will I run into
the same problem I had with the royal gramma?
<You will have the same problem.>
I am also running the Oceanic protein skimmer since it is the only one
that will fit my tank. I know its not the best skimmer, but it's
better than nothing!
So I guess my question is 2 fold: Will the addition of the black cap
Basslet overstock my fish and will the addition of the Basslet disrupt
the my tank?
<You are already overstocked, and yes a Basslet will disrupt your
Any input you have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
<I would recommend getting rid of the Chromis and not adding
anything else..read here:
Nano Cube Stocking Neon Goby
I'm relatively new to owning a tank and find your site super
I've been doing a ton of reading on your site. Its great! Thank
<Glad you find it useful.>
I have a Nanocube (12 gallons). I have several small corals, a
a few crabs & snails, hitchhiker bristle starfish, and a pair of
perk clowns and two Neon Goby's.
<12 gallons is too small for a pair of Clownfish, not to mention too
small for an anemone.>
I love the Neon Goby's, they are very cute to watch.
<They are a fun fish to own, and under the right circumstances will
readily breed in captivity.>
The fish store sold me a "pair" one larger female, the other
a small male (so I am told).
When I first introduced the Neon's, they got along great. For two
weeks there was complete harmony in the tank, both Neon's perched
in the open and the perk's were not bothered by the new additions
in the least. After 2 weeks, the larger Goby started harassing the
<The fish are crowded, unable to establish territories of their
So, at the advise of the fish store, I added more rocks to the tank.
While it gave the smaller Goby more hiding spaces, it did not eliminate
<Just not enough space in a 12 gallon.>
The small one comes out every day to feed, the larger one chases him
during feeding, but he definitely eats daily.
Its been about 6 weeks total, and the chasing has not let up. The
smaller one's fins are intact, so he's not being bitten, just
chased, and he now hides all day. He is not in immediate danger,
obviously, he's been living this way a while and seems adjusted,
but I feel bad for him and want to see him out and about again.
<The continued stress will eventually harm him.>
He tries to come out sometimes and gets chased back into the rocks so I
know he's not just shy. Is there anything I can do to bring harmony
back to the tank.
<Reduce the number of fish you have in your tank. Personally, I
would return the clownfish and the anemone, as a tank of this size is
inappropriate for either.>
I feel so bad for the little Goby. I want him to be happy in the tank,
too. I do not want to tear up the tank to try to get the bigger Goby
out (but will if I have to). Is adding another fish (small like a clown
goby or wheeler's watchman or other suggestion you may have) a good
idea to distract the big Goby from the little one?
I presume adding a third Neon Goby would be a disaster.
Is there anything else I can add (type of perching tree / seaweed /etc)
to break up the space of the tank?
<You can try rearranging the rock and keeping the lights low for a
few days, but with a tank as overcrowded as it is, I doubt it will do
much good until you reduce the crowding.>
I am desperate and open to any suggestion you have.
<Do read here:
Thank you so much, from me and Little Blu!
Doing It Right - Where to Go... Stkg. sm. SW
<Hi there Randall>
Thanks for the excellent forums. I have read through many of the posts
and found them useful. In addition, I was hoping to get some advice as
to where would be appropriate to take my current set-up in terms of
coral and additional livestock.
I have had a fish/inverts/live rock tank for 10yrs and now moving to
coral, and I want to "do it right" and be realistic. Long
term goal if feasible would be an anemone / clownfish pair. I would
eventually like to get a
larger tank, but want to cut my teeth on my current set up.
Current set-up: 15 gal (~12x12x30 wide), 10# aragonite sand 7#
liverock, converted Penguin BioWheel as sump with the wet-dry removed
and simple charcoal/nitrate screen in place. One non-reciprocating
powerhead. Set up 1 year ago. ph 8.4, nitrate always <5ppm SG 1.24
temp ~77, dKH 10-12.
Weekly ~10% water change with home RO water. Up until 1 month ago
lighting was low output CF, now have a Current Nova Extreme T5 24w x 2.
Run it ~11-12 hrs day.
Livestock: 1 damsel, 1 camelback shrimp, hermit crab, snail.
Thanks so much, I hope the level of detail was appropriate!
<Mmm... am at a loss re what you're looking for here... This
volume is too small for adding much of anything else. Please read
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
Re: Doing It Right - Where to Go... Stkg. sm. SW, part.
Thanks, and I just read over a bunch of the Nano FAQs.
I guess a specific question would be with 48w of T5, can I eventually
add an anemone, and if so what type, and any set-up modifications?
<Please see WWM re Anemone systems in general and by species. Other
than "cheapy" Condylactis species, there is none that can be
kept safely, with assurance in such a small volume as yours>
And, is adding stony corals a marginal idea or a bad idea?
<Marginal to bad. There are folks who have a modicum of success,
mostly short term, in keeping Scleractinians in so-called
"mini-reefs"... but they are few>
It seems as though half of the Nano setups in the FAQ have mixed soft
<I'd keep reading for now. BobF>
General Questions? Sm. SW sys... anommies? Not...
Other mis-stocking nonsense... reading 06/04/09
Some of these seem like they should be pretty well explained elsewhere
but I am having problems finding them (on your site or any other). So I
thought I would ask.
A bit of needed background. I have a 14 Gal BioCube that I got in an
attempt to try to keep a saltwater aquarium.
<Generally, it's a bad idea to start out in marine aquarium
keeping with such a small volume of water.>
One of my goals in this aquarium is a no fish system.
<Unfortunately, there are very few fish you can keep in such a small
I am also not interested in keeping corals. I do want to keep an
anommie in time,
<Hm, no... unless you want to keep Aiptasia or majano anemones.
Any/all of the ornamental anemones need much more than 14g.>
but I'm in no rush as I have read here that they are difficult to
keep. In short, my immediate goal is to keep a invertebrate tank. Some
of them are very interesting, more interesting to me then any fish.
The problems I am having are very basic, and I can find the information
if I had a fish system. But because few people seem to keep an
invertebrate system I am having difficulties with a few key
Feeding. I have been over feeding the tank lately (high nitrates and
phosphates when the source water has none of either). Obviously I need
to feed less. Any tips on how to measure food for such small
<This can be tough... if it were me, I'd feed very little. See
if you can find some sinking pellets, and feed only a few
I am using frozen brine shrimp (not babies) for the larger things like
the arrow crab, most everything else is algae grazing (I think, I will
give a full list later on), or eats off the bottom. I know I need to
but when you break off the smallest bit of frozen shrimp you can and
then mix it with tank water, the only thing you can do is break off a
smaller piece, but there's no way to tell if it's actually
smaller or contains less
brine shrimp. I have also started trying to feed silver sides, but the
frozen ones I picked up, while small from my perspective, are way to
<Yes, they are.>
I have tried cutting/mashing them up and that seems to work as I can
just remove any big pieces from the tank after the scavengers have had
their fill. Any tips on how to feed less when everything in the tank is
scavenger of some sort.
<Yes, Spectrum foods makes a marine pellet food that sinks.>
Stocking: I have been going pretty slow for the most part. Add a
specimen wait to see how the load reacts, add another. But with
everything being so small, very few things that I have added have had
any noticeable effect on the tank's cycle. Still I add one (or if
it's very small 2) of something, then wait and see how things
react. I am nearing my ideal stocking (having everything I want), but
with ammonia and nitrite reading 0 or only traces (between then 0 and
the second color on the chart), how can I tell if I am over stocking or
not? Everything seems to have plenty of physical room, and the
specimens do not bother one another.
With fish there's rules of thumb and what not to use as guidelines,
but no one can tell me how many inverts are safe, and in those rules of
thumb, they never count the inverts.
Phosphates: As I said, I am overfeeding. I am trying to get this under
control but having issues. This has caused a spike of phosphates. Can
you recommend a good product/method for removing phosphates. I have
read about mangroves on your site, and that seems like a decent natural
way to reduce nitrate and phosphates.
<Oh dear... where did you read this? This needs to be edited or
removed... they are NOT a good way to remove nutrients (especially not
in such a small tank). They do remove some nutrients, but they do so
very slowly and not to any degree that would be noticeably helpful in
Do I have this correct?
As promised here is a list of stock for reference above. I have
included what I feed them (or try to feed them)
3 Olive Snails - I spot feed them some left over brine shrimp or silver
side mush. It's my understanding they eat broken down food when
there under the sand as well.
5 (very small) hermit crabs - I do not feed these, they seem perfectly
happy eating what grows on the rocks.
2 Astraea Snails (I think) - no direct feeding, they love algae.
1 small sea cucumber (Holothuria forskali) - no direct feeding, he is
pooping a lot so I assume he is getting plenty to eat.
1 purple sea urchin - He eats a lot of algae and can devour a pretty
good size chunk of silver side. Won't eat brine shrimp though.
1 feather duster - no direct feeding because of size.
1 Fire clam - DT's phyto-plankton (I know he will only last 18
months at best due to their natural life span but I wanted to try, so I
got the smallest one and I spot feed it. The leftovers should be enough
to feed the
1 arrow crab - eats silver side and brine shrimp. As much as he can get
his claws on.
1 tear drop star fish (I can't find it's proper name anywhere)
Loves the brine shrimp, will eat the silver side mush, will take but
eventually reject a larger silver side piece.
<I do think you're at your stocking limit for inverts
Unknown pest eating my corals... too small volume, too much
incompatible livestock-- 05/09/09
Good Morning Crew!
For the past month I've slowly been losing a few of my corals to an
unseen horrible pest eating away at them in my tank. I'll list my
first because I know that's what most people blame on loss of
<Small volumes are very hard to stock, keep stable...>
Spec. Gravity: 1.025
- Clark Clown
- Green Bubble Anemone
<Not easily kept in tiny tanks>
- Skunk Cleaner
- Tiger Pistol Shrimp
- Red Banded Shrimp Goby
- Derasa Clam, 3" (EATEN--please read on)
<Almost impossible to keep Tridacnids in....>
- 2 Hermits (I am pretty positive they're Scarlet hermits)
<All predaceous to an extent>
- 3 Nassarius Snails
<Plus a few more you list below...>
Here is my story. Last month I noticed my small colony of Pulsing Xenia
had some of the polyps missing...it looked like something had bit them
off. I had no idea what could've done that,
<Easily the Clown, perhaps one of the shrimp>
so I figured it was a fluke and maybe they were just closed. I did a
small water change in hopes that maybe that was the problem. Nope--
next morning, most polyps have been demolished and what's left
isn't looking so hot.
The next situation is with my Derasa Clam 2 weeks after this incident.
I had placed him securely on the rockwork just above the sandbed and it
had been doing fantastic for the past 4 months that I had him. I wake
up one morning to find it on it's side on the sandbed, so I pick it
up to place it back onto the rockwork...to my horror, half of it's
flesh had been eaten.
I spoke with my LFS and told them all the livestock I had in the tank,
and they suggested it was perhaps a Nassarius Snail that was being
opportunistic when the clam fell onto the sandbed. I felt
A week later, I find that my Toadstool Leather
<You really need a much larger system... these Alcyoniids are too
chemically allelopathogenic to be kept in little aquariums>
that is almost always open was looking very limp and was secreting some
<Oh yes... smell the water>
I look closer and notice that the base had been chewed into...like how
a cartoon beaver chews in the middle of a tree trunk. Either something
had been taking big bites, or it'd been pinching/cutting parts out
of it. Another loss. I would use a small flashlight when lights were
off to try and see if I could find the culprit. No luck.
<It really is "you">
Now, just yesterday after a little over a week of no losses, I find
that one head from my Torch Coral
<You're joking, come on>
isn't open like the other heads. On closer inspection, I see that
half of the head has been ripped out and the skeleton is visible. It
seemed like this one can be salvaged, so I am keeping it in a 5gal
quarantine tank so nothing will bother and further destroy it.
Please, if anyone has any advice or insight as to what horrifying
creature could be the serial killer behind all my coral + clam loss, I
would greatly appreciate it. I suspected that perhaps it was my Tiger
Pistol Shrimp since he's got a 1/2" claw now and that may just
be what's chopping away at everything, but I do target feed him and
his goby-- I don't see why it would want to eat my coral as well,
especially since they're supposedly reef safe.
Thank you so much for your time, I really look forward to hearing a
response from you. I think for the time being, I will have to place all
of my coral in the QT tank so nothing can eat them.
<Please read re the needs of all the life you list here... Again,
you really need a much larger system. What you list can't live for
any time for well in such a small volume. Bob Fenner>
Re-stocking, reef 5/5/09
My name is Ron. I would like to thank your crew in advance, for all of
the advice you have and will give me.
I have a 110 gallon reef system. All was well, for almost a year in
this system. (Thanks to your crew advice in setting it up) Then I had a
flood in the area where my the tank is located. I hired a company to
dry out the area. The cleaning crew was over zealous, using too many
This caused a extreme temperature rise to the area and my system. All
of my fish, invertebrates and most of my corals perished.
Correction, my yellow watchman goby did survive. I have managed to get
my water back to within acceptable levels. Now I have to restock my
system and need your advice.
Here is a list of my system equipment.
110 gallon glass tank ( 48Lx18Wx30H ) not drilled
48" Outer Orbit 2x150 watt, 10K HQI-MH w/ 4x45 watt T5HO & 18
Rena Filstar XP3 canister filter
AquaC Remora Pro Hang-On Skimmer with Mag 3 pump
2 Hydor Koralia pumps 1- #3 and 1- #4
2 Visi-Therm Deluxe heaters
Glass Covers on Top ( To keep the jumpers in )
Here is my wish list of livestock, I would like to have. In what order
should I add them to minimize aggression. I would love to have a
Butterflyfish and a clam? I would be thankful for your input.
1 Purple Tang
1 Flame Angle
1 Onespot Foxface Rabbitfish
2 True Percula Clownfish - Tank Raised
1 Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse
1 Dot-and-Dash Flasher Wrasse
1 McCosker's Flasher Wrasse
1 Blue Flasher Wrasse
1 Yellowfin Flasher Wrasse
<I would limit the Cirrhilabrus selection to one species... a male
and perhaps two females of the same>
1 Yellow Watchman Goby- my only survivor of the heat wave
<And get a partner for this>
1 Pinkbar Goby
1 Tiger Pistol Shrimp
1 Fire Shrimp
1 Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp
2 Serpent Starfish
25 Nassarius Snails
25 Cerith Snails
<Just ten of each is what I'd do>
A assortment of mushrooms, Zoanthids, and polyps
Lobophyllia Brain Coral-Red Stripe
<See here re stocking Cnidarians...:
and the linked files above. A very good idea to be systematic re their
acquisition, placement... though water-mixing during
quarantine/acclimation. Bob Fenner>
Percula in 10g -- 05/03/09
Hi! I'm Clare. I have three questions.
I have seen you recommend that clownfish not be kept in anything under
20g, due to the potential instability in water quality.
<And the rest. Clownfish are territorial and fairly boisterous fish,
and they like a decent amount of swimming space.>
However, I have maintained a 10g FW tank with no problems with water
quality (other than the nasty stuff coming out of my tap, which just
means a bit of extra treatment before it goes into the aquarium). If I
can do this, would I be able to handle a true Percula in a 10g? I
don't want to crash my first SW setup!
<Clare, to be honest, if this is your first marine aquarium,
it's important to make things as easy as possible, not more
difficult. While maintaining a freshwater tank gives you many of the
basic skills, there are other issues such as salinity, alkalinity,
RedOx potential, lighting and so on. I really cannot stress how
difficult it is to maintain even a 10 gallon freshwater tank to a
decent standard, let along a marine aquarium!>
Also, what kind of stock could I keep with my clownfish in a 10g?
I know I'll need a cleanup crew of some sort, and I really like
dwarf zebra shrimp. How many of these, and how many and what kind of
shrimp and snails, would I need? After that, what else? I love fairy
wrasses, but they're so expensive!
<And also 10-gallons isn't enough space; Wrasse tend to be
"restless" fish that need more space than you'd
Any ideas for something cheaper?
<If you're starting out, there's much to be said by starting
with simple, reliable choices: live rock, mushroom polyps, cleaner
shrimps, turbo snails. Get the hang of these first. Spend the next 6-12
both here and traditional books, a selection of the best of which are
Bob's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense
Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists" is probably an
essential book for someone like you, looking to make the jump into
marine fishkeeping. It's an easy read, but with lots of
step-by-step information on building tanks, install equipment, choosing
Finally, how much LR would I need?
<The usual recommendation is 1-2 pounds of rock per gallon.>
Thanks so much!
<Suggest more reading before doing anything else! Cheers,
Re: Percula in 10g -- 05/03/09
Hey, Neale. I've seen you on TPF, where I go by LilGreenPuffer, and
I've read a couple of your articles.
Someone told me that 10g would be fine (an admin at
theclownfishforum.com, actually), but I wasn't sure (too good to be
true), so I wanted to check.
Thanks. I actually have found my 10g FW to be quite easy, after the
initial setup, but when I read posts about SW and reef stuff, I'm
lost, so I'm still seeking a site that explains what's going on
in plain old
<I'm sure people have kept Clownfish in 10 gallon tanks; and in
fact I've helped someone set up a tank like that that worked
reasonably well. But for a beginner, there's a huge advantage to a
bigger tank, and in my opinion, Clownfish work much better in at-least
15 gallon set-ups. I don't really subscribe to the "minimum
tank size" school of fishkeeping; just because it can work, some
of the time, doesn't make it worth doing. And, above all else, the
amount of space needed for a 20 gallon tank is little more than for a
10 gallon tank, and the price differential is trivial by the time
you've factored in heating, filtration and lighting. I can't
advantage to a 10 gallon tank, to be honest.>
Yep, reading is definitely in future plans - I was planning to spend
the summer prepping and get things actually going in the fall. So,
would a 20g be okay?
I do have to keep my space limits in mind, since I'm in college,
and I also have to move twice a year (only a 5-minute drive, though),
and I don't want to move anything too big. If I absolutely have to,
I can wait 'till I have a house of my own.
<Do review your college regulations carefully; a 20 gallon tank
might be over the allowance. I kept fish while at college, but I did so
by setting up a nice big tank in a lab rather than my dorm room.
Eventually I was entrusted with two 200 gallon systems in the zoology
building foyer, and much of my marine and brackish water experience
came from those. Moving fish tanks is a real chore, and with marines,
there are numerous complications. There's a temptation to spend
money when you're at college on pets that, long term, you can't
really afford. So with that in mind, do consider the alternatives,
things like Triops and carnivorous plants, which offer fun, but with
much less effort and expense. You're also more free to abandon
these sorts of "pets" while on field trips, summer vacations,
So what I'm generally saying is think carefully! Cheers,
Question about stocking a small tank, Stocking Nano
Dear Bob & WWM Crew,
< Adam Jenkins here. >
I'm in the process of getting a 28gal Nano Cube tank set up. I have
25lbs of LR and 1inch of sand, and have been researching which fish
would be best for my little tank!
< Sounds good so far. >
I've been thinking of getting 2 Firefin Gobies, 1 Six Line Wrasse,
1 Turbo Snail and a Skunk Cleaner or Peppermint Shrimp. Would a
few Blue Chromis be a better addition than the Gobies I want to avoid
overstocking the tank, but I also want a little excitement!
< All great choices on an individual level. Actually I think the
Chromis would be better additions than the wrasse. The Sixline are
wonderful fish but can be aggressive towards more mild-mannered
tankmates such as the Firefins. I would go 3 Chromis OR two Gobies, one
Chromis (The latter choice being the best option ).Either shrimp should
be fine although I am
personally partial to the skunk cleaners. I would stay away from the
Turbos and go with Cerith and/or Nassarius. >
Thank you for your expertise!
< You are very welcome. >
28 Gal Stocking Anxiety 4/20/2009
Hi WWM Crew,
Long time reader of the site, first time actually asking a
I have a 28g reef aquarium that has been running for a little over 4
months. Specs are:
40-45lbs of liverock
Fluval Canister Filter (for now at least)
Bak Pak Reef Skimmer
2x Koralia 1 powerheads
150W MH and 2x 65W actinic blue compact fluorescent
All measurements are normal (1.023sg, 8.2ph, 78.5F, 0 Ammonia, 0
<5 Nitrate, 480 Calcium)
<Sounds good so far.>
Tank is stocked with:
2x Black Osc Clowns
1x Coral Beauty
1x Flasher Wrasse
1x Circus Goby
Trumpet Coral, Frogspawn, Open Brain, Star Polyps, Acro, Maxima
<Clam is going to get large.>
Now getting to my question... I am worried that I have too many fish
for my tank.
I had originally planned to have the clowns, the beauty (seems that
information on the site is a bit contradictory on the keeping of pygmy
angels in a Nano environment), and possibly the wrasse.
<It really depends on now "Nano" the system is, what type
pf pygmy angel, and what else is in there with it.>
All the chemistry numbers have been stable thus far, but... what are
your thoughts are on the long term viability of this set-up?
<In my opinion, both the Coral Beauty and the Flasher Wrasse are
inappropriate for this sized system. The Coral Beauty will get too
large and territorial, and the Flasher will just be too
other inhabitants of your tank, to include your inverts, there just
will not be enough "elbow room". >
Very Coarse Substrate
<Stocking Level/Systems> 4/15/09
<Really, having a bad day?>
I just set up my 29 gallon BioCube and have a dwarf Hawkfish.
<Mmm, I'm guessing a Falco Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys
I plan on adding a Valentini puffer and a yellow fuzzy dwarf lionfish.
Right now I have 20 pounds of coarse substrate..broken shells and what
not. After searching and reading for hours I've come to the
conclusion that this substrate is horribly wrong considering the messy
eaters I will be housing in my tank.
<Yes, and so is your tank size horribly wrong for these type of
I plan on putting 3 inch sand bed in place of the crushed shells.
Couple questions concerning this.
Is it nesesary <necessary> taking out the crushed shells or can i
<I> add the sand on top of the crushed shells? I personally
don't think it would be a problem just adding the sand on top of
the shells. Just looking for some more avice <advice>.
<Is best to go with the same particle size, you likely will have
compacting issues. See here.
Also with the deep sand bed, what would you suggest i <I> use to
shift the sand?
<Shift or sift?>
I was thinking a cucumber of some sort but not sure? Some say snails
but I know that my puffer would eat em all up.
<Shouldn't, because the puffer should not be in that size tank,
and is better to keep puffers in dedicated tanks.>
What other options do I have for substrate shifting creatures?
<None, with a puffer, but do look here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: System Stocking: Mixing inappropriate species in a very
small volume of water, Reading 4/11/2009
Hi Rich here,
<Hi Rich, it's Mike.>
I have been researching hard and appreciate what advice you have given,
what I was told was a carpet anemone is in fact a giant elephant ear
mushroom anemone and it was the king of the tank until recently.
<With a 58 liter tank, I'm not surprised. These get to 20 cm in
diameter.><<Much more. RMF>>
It ate my regal tang a few weeks ago and continued to be large as life
but the last week or so it has gone rather limp and withdrawn.
<Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? pH, Lighting?>
My calcium and magnesium was low but I have buffed them up but he still
doesn't look too happy.
<Anemones don't actually need that much calcium and magnesium,
those are more important to stony, reef building corals. proper food
and optimized water quality are necessary here.
<<Mmm, actually Mike... this is a Corallimorph. But have similar
I am wondering if i can target feed him anything as I read he needs
large meals of Artemia ( not sure what this is ?).
<Brine shrimp - Nutritionally useless. Read here:
Although you advised me to empty most of my tank I have not been able
to do so and again although I do respect your professional opinion I
have had mixed advice and seeing as everything else in the tank seems
<It isn't OK, the anemone is dying.>
I am going to persist. I am feeding my Harlequin shrimp sea stars and
they are very happy, they have their own little domain yet quite active
as a pair, have both shed once and i believe mated and laid a sack of
<Sounds good, though if you add up what you are paying to feed
these, you will find dollar for dollar, (Pound for pound) they are
eating better than you are.>
My clown fish and domino are feeding well and getting on ( I do
understand this may change as they get older).
<No, it will change. You have a domino, a clownfish, a carnivorous
anemone, and a lobster in a 58 liter tank. This is akin to me shoving
three people and a large, not so well adjusted dog in a bathroom and
sliding food under the door. Everything will be fine.... for a little
I am target feeding my lobster at night so he seems fine ( is it true I
could feed him regular cooked prawns we might eat ?)
<Raw would be better.>
My other corals are flourishing and my snails and hermit are obviously
OK I am trying to learn as much as I can but if you could help with
these topics I would be very grateful.
<Do read where you were directed earlier. Again, I STRONGLY urge you
to return most of your livestock. You are heading for a
Marine stocking question
30 gallon Tank mate? 4/4/09
<Hi Tom, Adam Jenkins here>
I am getting ready to add fish to a 30 gallon tank that now has live
rock and two Peppermint Shrimp (though I could remove one or both of
these to my 75 gallon tank, if this was better for the 30
gallon).<Two should be fine as long as there is plenty of food to go
In my 15 gallon quarantine tank now, I have a Firefish (~2.5
inches)<Firefish are known jumpers. Please be sure incorporate some
type of cover into your tanks top> and a Chalk Bass (~1.5 inches).
I'm thinking about adding one more fish. One of my concerns is
having at least one fish that inhabits the water column most of the
My past experience suggests that the Firefish will hide much of the
time, and only come out briefly around feeding times.<This is
typical behavior for the Firefish. They tend to keep close to their
"home". Jetting out for the occasional tasty bite> Is this
true, or can I expect this Firefish to be out and about during daylight
hours? Firefish hiding may depend on who it has as tank mates. Right
now, in the quarantine tank, the Firefish seems to be out most of the
time, as does the Chalk Bass.
I have never had a Chalk Bass before. Is this fish likely to be out and
about during daylight hours, or to lurk in a hiding place, making
occasional forays out in search of food?
<The Chalk Bass will spend most of the day moving about the rock
work. Very hardy and generally considered reef safe. However, they have
been known to snack on small decorative shrimp, and can be aggressive
when protecting their territory>
If neither of these fish is likely to spend most of the day in the
water column, would a Green Chromis be a good third fish? Would it do
OK as a single fish?<The Green Chromis would make a lovely tank
mate. The tend to stay up in the water column and have even been known
to lure their shy tank mates out. Tons of personality and very curious,
they do best in odd numbers. Although most commonly kept in small
schools, in my personal experience, one should be fine.>Do you have
any other choices that I have not thought of that would be
<Personally, I would stick with something in the Chromis genus.
Peaceful and easy to keep>
Please don't suggest a Clownfish, though, as I don't
want one of them.
Thanks for your thoughts, Tom
<Hope this helps>
System Stocking: Mixing inappropriate species in small
volume of water, Reading 3/30/2009
Hi my name is Rich and I am in need of quick reliable information to
help me maintain my aquarium.
<Hi Rich, you've come to the right place, there are thousands of
documents here for you to read.>
I'm gonna be honest and say I got in to this with absolutely NO
knowledge (and still an amateur to say the least !) so please be
painfully simple with your information.
<Fair enough, but do realize that with a marine tank does come the
responsibility to educate yourself in the care of the animals you
I'll start with a run down of my experiences thus far. (excuse me
if I'm painfully simple with you)
<No problem at all.>
I set up a 58L Orca marine tank about two and a half months ago, I
filled it with a bag of live sand and Nutri-Seawater - left for 2 a
week or so - then introduced 1 large, 2 medium and 1 small piece of
live rock - left for 2 weeks to mature some - I then had a water test
done at my aquatic centre which showed the pH, calcium, KH and
magnesium was low, I treated with
Aquavitro solutions and Nutrifin cycle and my tank was good to go.
I introduced some Anemone's - a red starfish and a purple reef
<Completely inappropriate for a tank of this size, particularly a
I fed the lobster a little frozen brine shrimp two days in a row and
two days later both were dead. The mushroom anemone started to
deteriorate and a flowery worm which was attached to the same rock spat
it's self out, I removed these from the tank and returned to my
aquatic centre to do another water test.
<Which revealed lots of toxic substances in the water I'm
This revealed Ammonia, Nitrate and nitrite levels were high.
<...and there it is...>
After having been explained that decaying food caused this I followed
their course of treatment and I was good to go again.
<WHAT? No, decaying food was NOT the cause, unless you were dumping
the food in by the handfuls.>
I then introduced a Sand sifting starfish, 2 burrowing snails, a Clown
fish, a Regal Tang and a new anemone.
- this went well until my Regal Tang went missing ! A couple of days
later the mystery was solved when my large ( think it is called a
carpet cactus) anemone spat out the remains.
<Carpet anemone..... Grows to over 30cm in diameter, again,
completely inappropriate for this tank. Needs several hundreds of
liters, and specialized lighting to survive. Oh yes, they are excellent
at eating your prized fish as well.>
This was a shock to me as I never new this was possible but it was an
act of nature so not too upsetting. I left my tank for about 3 weeks
and have enjoyed maintaining my marine life.
<No, this is NOT an act of nature. You, through your inexperience,
and your local fish store through their desire to sell you totally
Yesterday I done another water test and it was in a good state to make
more introductions to my tank.
Taking in to account I had an aggressively hungry anemone I bought a
Domino Damsel, a blue striped Hermit crab, a necklace sea star and a
pair of Harlequin Shrimps.
<Thus introducing the one thing guaranteed to devour your starfish,
then starve to death, not to mention more potential food for the
Today I have learned that these beautiful little creatures eat star
fish, hence I am now a sand sifting starfish down, again not too upset
as nature IS in charge.
<Stop right there.... No, Nature is not in charge here, YOU are in
charge here. YOU choose what is put in this tank, and YOU have the
responsibility to learn what is and is not appropriate.>
My necklace sea star is now on the run !
<With two Harlequin shrimp, I'm amazed it is still
I do have a few specific questions for you but any general info or
ideas you have picked up from my run down would be great.
Should I introduce Asterina stars or will they take over ?
<Do not add anything else, you need to remove many of the things you
already have in there, as they will not survive.>
Will my necklace sea star survive by just moving around the glass ?
Are any other fish immune to anemones ?
<A few species of Clownfish, but again, the anemone will not survive
in this tank in the long term.>
Will my shrimps feed on anything else ?
<No, Harlequin shrimp only eat the tube feet of starfish.>
My reef lobster has hidden behind the rocks just like the last one did
will he starve as the 2 fish are quick to eat up at feeding time ?
<No, eventually it will get hungry enough and attack\kill\eat the
fish you have in there, until the anemone kills it.>
Could you tell me any specific food my other friends need to survive
<Before we worry about proper diet, you need to get the
inappropriate species out.>
I'm sure I could go on with random questions but I will wait for
your input first.
<My input is this, and I apologize if I sound a bit harsh. You need
to stop adding things to this tank, and you need to take the majority
of it back to the store. a 58 liter tank is best suited to some small
peaceful fish and\or some smaller corals.>
Would it help if i sent you photo's of my set up ?
<Not at this point, no.>
I'm sure you are busy answering lots of people but if you could get
back to me asap I would be so pleased. I have asked a lot of questions
at my aquatic centre but i think they are a little naughty with sharing
too much information as they are a business and want you to keep coming
back buying more, please educate me !
<I suspect they do specialize in selling anything to anyone without
asking.. It is time to educate yourself Richard, before anything else
gets killed needlessly.>
<Please get yourself to a book store and pick up "The
Conscientious Marine Aquarist" By Robert Fenner (Who also runs
this site.) Also do please start reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm and follow the links,
particularly the ones on stocking,>
Look forward to learning from you, Richard Woods.
Re: System Stocking: Mixing inappropriate species in small
volume of water, Reading 3/30/2009
Thank you for your honesty and I understand it is up to me to educate
myself, I guess I've got a bit carried away.
<You are not the first and you definitely will not be the last. I
must confess that your last email did poke one of my sensitive spots
with a rather sharp stick. Where I live, there are several shops that
sell marine livestock. All too often I see them more interested in
making a sale rather than building long term successful customers. The
end result is much like what you have: An inexperienced customer
stocking inappropriate species. After spending a large amount of money
and watching livestock die needlessly, they get out of this
I've just found out my hungry anemone is in fact a giant mushroom
not a carpet.
<Hmm.... may be semantics here. UK/US, two countries, separated by a
common language....:-) A picture would be helpful, as I suspect, based
upon this mushroom eating a fish, that you do have a carpet
I am going to try and set up a second tank much bigger to run along
side this one so i can separate what shouldn't be together and
would love some advice on where to start.
<To start with, for 58 liters, you can have the hermit crabs, the
snails, and you can keep the Clownfish for the short term. Everything
else needs to come out of the tank and should be returned. Domino
Damsel: Grows to 15cm in length, has a VERY nasty disposition as it
Harlequin Shrimp: Dismal survival record in captivity, unless you buy
rather expensive starfish for them to munch on regularly.
Lobster: Not easy to take care of, can\will eat small fish if given the
opportunity. Starfish: Generally do not do very well in
captivity, needs lots of space to forage for food. Tang:
Herbivorous fish, needs lots of space. 200 liters is generally not
enough - 400 liters. Anemone\Mushroom. Needs lots of space,
specialized lighting, and expert
care I've had a good old moan at my fish shop by the way although i
know it is predominantly my fault. So if I was to buy a 4ft tank of
around 200L what else would I need to get set up to move some of my
inappropriate creatures to safety ?
<If you are interested in anemones, 200L is a good start for a
Bubble-Tipped Anemone and a clownfish, with a few other small peaceful
fish, some hermit crabs and some snails.>
<Do read the articles on the page I gave you the address for
Most, if not all of your questions are answered there. Further, you can
find some good set up articles on this page:
thanks for your quick response, great service !
<Thank you Rich, all the best.>
Eel system: Stocking 3/26/2009
Hello WWM crew!
Hope you all are doing well.
I am looking for some suggestions for other fish I could put in my tank
with my snowflake moray. Right now I have a 30 gallon tank with live
sand and live rock. The snowflake is a baby and right now he is only
about 6 or 7 inches long and as big around as a number two pencil. I am
going to upgrade to a much larger tank probably at the first of the
year if I continue to have some success with everything. Anyways I only
wanted to add two or three small fish until I get the bigger tank. So
far I had thought about the following (please give feedback for each
because I trust your opinion over any LFS) :
A small 2-3 inch Coral Beauty angel <No>
A royal dotty back <Rather aggressive for this small of a
either a Diamond Goby or an Engineer Goby <Diamond Goby>
and possibly a Six Line Wrasse or
A multicolor Lubbock's Wrasse <Neither.>
What do you think of these and could you recommend any others that
would be OK or to avoid. Thanks again for all the info you put out
there for folks like me!!!
<Possibly a Royal Gramma or other smaller peaceful fish.>
Small Fishes for a 30g'¦and a Snail ID --
Hey Eric, hope all is well.
<<Hello Erik'¦doing fine thanks>>
Well the angelfish is leaving today; I can't wait to watch
him or her swim a couple of laps in that new tank!
<<Excellent news'¦ While Centropyge species are
generally considered a 'small' fish, they do much better
with/require more room than a 30g display provides'¦is
comparable to the smaller Tang species (e.g. 60g+)>>
I have decided with your input of course on adding that other
pair of scarlet cleaners.
But now here is the big fish question for you! I am thinking
about adding Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica) to my tank. But
as I have been reading around your site it seems many other
aquarists have issues keeping them alive?
<<Indeed'¦ I think there is a key aspect of this
little fish's husbandry that we hobbyists have not quite
figured out yet. Most all in my experience/observations have
simply just disappeared within a year or less (often much less).
And while considered a 'social' species that suffers when
kept alone'¦keeping more than one in a captive system of
most any size has also proven problematic>>
So here goes!! Would it be alright if I added Firefish to my
<<I think there are better options'¦ Perhaps one
of the smaller Cardinalfish species'¦ Maybe a trio of
Apogon cyanosoma or Sphaeramia nematoptera'¦or even
better in my opinion for your 30g display, a small group (5) of
From what I've read it seems three are pretty much required
but I don't know how they would fair in my quarters.
<<There are some who would say this is fine'¦I am
not among them. I feel certain you would only have one after a
while'¦and then not even that>>
And if it is ok, would they leave my scarlet cleaners alone or,
would I have to worry about losing a sizable investment?
<<Neither the Firefish or the Cardinal species I have
mentioned are a threat to adult cleaner shrimp>>
I haven't read anything that says I should be worried about
that but... I would much rather be safe than sorry. Especially as
I have grown attached to my little cleaners!
<<Not a problem>>
Oh, I also finally took a picture of those little snails that are
"thriving" in my tank! So if you would kindly take a
look see I would really appreciate it! If you need a closer shot
or anything else don't hesitate to ask!
<<These appear very much to me to be a Pyramidellid species
(look up the genus and see what you think). If you have no clams,
and they aren't attacking any corals, they will likely wane
on their own>>
Looking forward to your advice,
Re: Small Fishes for a 30g'¦and a Snail ID --
Thanks for the info about those snails!
<<Quite welcome, Erik>>
I think they are leaving my sponges alone and don't seem to
be bothering anyone...yet.
<<If not bothering anything in the tank now, they are not
But after I read up on them I've decided that I would rather
get rid of them now before I upgrade. I can only imagine the
hassle it would be to try it in a 300 gallon tank. Especially
since I plan on placing the same rock from my current tank into
the new one.
<<If my ID is correct, yes, you do not want to introduce
Pyramidellid snails to your new display>>
So With your approval I was wondering if adding 1 six line wrasse
to the equation would be a good idea?
<<I find this wrasse species to be more trouble than
it's worth in most cases, due to its nasty disposition
towards similarly sized and/or shaped fishes. But in this
instance, it may be worthwhile to introduce one to the 30g
tank'¦let it take care of the Pyramidellids
(hopefully)'¦and then return it to the LFS before
stocking any other fishes>>
I know that they can eat small inverts but I don't plan on
adding it right away.... not until I get those other 2 shrimps
and when they are a big enough size, so that way they won't
<< Pseudocheilinus hexataenia isn't likely to be a
problem re your cleaner shrimp, unless VERY small'¦but I
have seen them attach and harass other small fishes to death on
too many occasions>>
And from what I've read the Sixline is reef safe and would
hopefully be a wonderful little addition to my aquarium.
<<This seems to be the conventional wisdom'¦ I am
inclined to disagree'¦ But as with everything else we
discuss'¦do research other sources and use your own good
judgment to make a decision>>
By the way the Sixline would stay the only resident in the tank
<<Ah'¦okay'¦different scenario. As the
ONLY piscine resident of the 30g, yes, I do agree it would make a
'wonderful little addition' as you say>>
Now if you don't think it's a great idea, I'll go for
<<Up to you (one or the other)'¦but the Cardinals
will be of no help re the snail eradication>>
More specifically the pajamas they just seem safer as far as
aggression and invert safe. And'¦they are pretty cute
<<A great little fish (I have a dozen in my own reef
Oh! I almost forgot, my scarlet shrimp (the not preggo one) is
acting a little withdrawn. He seems to not be so into eating as
much as the pregnant one, they both were voracious eaters until
today now she seems to be eating enough for the both of them. So
do you think that maybe he is preparing to molt?
Or should I be concerned?
<<Don't know'¦and even if so'¦what
would you do?>>
Water parameters are all stable and pristine.
<<Then likely nothing to worry about/nothing you can
A penny for your thoughts'¦eh make it a dollar lol.
Thanks in advance!
<<Is a pleasure to share... Eric Russell>>
|R2: Small Fishes for a
30g'¦and a Snail ID -- 03/17/09
Once again thanks for the prompt response.
I must say you all do an amazing job here and your advice is
greatly appreciated not only by your readers but also the little
guys in the tanks!
<<Thank you'¦this is indeed our intent>>
I am sure the wrasse will be a great pest controller and beautiful
<<Very nice/attractive little fish (love the green
tails)'¦just so dang mean!>>
BTW the shrimp did molt he's back to normal!
Thanks again for all of your help!
<<Any time my friend>>
Stocking Level, small SW 2/24/09 Hi Crew, I
recently upgraded from a 10 gallon to a 24 gallon Aquapod with new rock
and sand. I have a Clown Goby, a Firefish and Candycanes moved from the
old tank. I added 3 Peppermint Shrimp, pods and snails. Can I add
either a Blue Chromis (Chromis cyanea) or a pygmy angel (Centropyge
argi) to this size tank. Or would a shrimp goby (Cryptocentrus of some
sort) be a better fit. <A better fit would be another Firefish
rather than a Chromis, will give more color to the tank and Firefish
seem to do better when more than one are present. Your tank is too
small for a pygmy angel. If you had Googled our site, you would have
known this. Sam, please Google before sending. We just do not have the
time to hand feed information that is easily found on WWM.> So far I
have had to clean the glass only once in the past 4 weeks. I guess the
nutrients have not built up yet to be a problem. <Sounds good.> I
also added an HOB skimmer which I am trying to adjust. Even though it
is not working great what little is coming out is better than being in
the tank. <Yes, a good move here in adding the skimmer.> Thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sam
29g saltwater tank stocking question 2/23/09 To
whom it may concern: <Hi> After reading your website about
keeping fishes feature in the movie Finding Nemo. I started a saltwater
tank. It has been running for 6 month now and everything seem to be
working fine. I have a Remora skimmer, 20 pounds of live rock, an air
pump, a compact florescence light with 6000k and 10000k tubes and a
power head for water flow. I have a small crown fish and a quadcolor
anemone. <Do realize that anemones are difficult to keep, and not
necessarily for beginner hobbyist.> I have recently added a refugium
and am ready to add more fish into the tank. The clown fish is about
1.5 inch long, I believe it is a mix breed clown fish. It is a false
ocellious clown, <Ocellaris> it's orange color with white
strip, but as it get bigger, it turns half black on it's back.
<Fairly normal coloration.> I originally purchased two, and the
other one got pick on so much that it eventually die. I wanted to add
more clown fish in the tank, but I am worry that it might get bully and
suffer the same fate. <Possible, but they normally pair up fairly
easily.> I was wondering if there is anyway I can ensure it does not
happen again. <Not really, just make sure you have good water
conditions and hope for the best. But Amphiprion ocellaris generally
are not too picky about their mates.> What if I over stock my tank,
and keep up with the water quality, will it make my clown fish less
aggressive? <Probably have the exact opposite effect.> All I
wanted in my tank is clown fishes and anemone, I don't want
anything else. <Ok, but only 1 pair in this sized tank.> Please
advice. And thank you for your help. <Welcome> <Chris>
2/20/2009 Jawfish sys, stkg pearly Jawfish
compatibility Hello Crew! <Hi Danny> Let me apologize
upfront, my e-mail system tends to put random question marks through my
letters. <I see this.> I've recently acquired a JBJ 24 gallon
Nano. It is currently cycling with 35 pounds of live rock and over 40
pounds of Fiji pink live sand, so I will not be getting any fish for at
least a month. <Very good!> I have in mind that the star of my
new little tank is going to be a pearly Jawfish. I've been reading
through forums and the FAQ's here of course, to find suitable tank
mates. However, I read conflicting information on whether a pearly
would peacefully reside with a black cap Basslet, Firefish (red or
purple), or royal gramma.? Just to clarify, I am considering just one
of those fish with the pearly. Some posts say their niches are too
close, others say those fish will reside closer to the rock work and
will not bother with the Jawfish. I want to make sure the pearly
Jawfish is happy and will not have any conflict with other fish or be
out competed. So, are any of those fish compatible? Any recommendations
would be great...as you can see, I am particularly found of the
elongated gobies and Basslets. :) <Well Danny, they are personally
one of my favorite fish as well. I currently have one in my 150 Gal
with a Royal Gramma, Blackcap Gramma, and a Firefish. I would say that
your best choice here would be to have just the Jawfish and a
Firefish.> Thank you for your time! <No Problem> Danny N.
2/20/2009 Jawfish sys, stkg, a bit too small for what is
desired. Re: pearly Jawfish compatibility 2/22/09
Thanks for the quick reply Mike! <Hi Danny, no problem> I have in
mind to add a pearly Jawfish, Firefish, clownfish, and then royal
Gramma (in that order) to this tank. <For a 24 gallon system, I
would add the Jawfish, a Firefish and nothing else. With a 24 gallon
tank, you are going to lose almost 10 gallons of capacity between the
live rock and the deep sand bed that both of these fish require.
Neither a Clownfish nor a Gramma would be happy in a tank of this size,
and certainly not together.> I know that is probably pushing the
fish limit on this tank. <Well past the limit I'm afraid.> Do
you think they will be all compatible then? <Grammas and Clownfish
can and do get territorial, you would have aggression issues putting
them in a tank this size. They would likely bully each other and
certainly bully the Firefish and Jawfish. A Jawfish and a Firefish
should get along well in this setup, then add a couple of hermit crabs,
perhaps a cleaner shrimp, a snail or two, and some macroalgae you would
have a very nice display that will not be too difficult to maintain. I
have intricate rockwork, lots of holes, crevices, and arches. Just want
your expert opinion. <Sounds like it will be a very nice looking
tank, but I cannot in good conscience recommend that you keep any more
than two fish in the system.> Thanks again! <My Pleasure>
Feather duster molting? aggressive hermit: is he attacking
the old tube, or is he trying to eat my feather duster? Reading... Sm.
SW mis-managed -- 2/21/09 Oh, my, my. I have had my 12
gallon Nano tank for nearly two years, moved with it, and things were
going quite well. Now, I'm afraid a crash is imminent. My first
problem was bristle worms that hitchhiked in, and they began to
multiply to the point that I was afraid they were going to take my tank
over. Yuck! <Don't panic... easily controlled> For over a
year, my tank was stocked with three big pieces of live rock replete
with the bristle worms, two hermit crabs (one, Hermes, is crippled and
has never grown, molted, or changed shells) <Something/s amiss
here... See WWM re... water quality issue most likely> and Kingston.
I think he's turning into a troublemaker. He was always larger than
Hermes, but I bought some new shells last November, and his size has
probably quadrupled since then. He now changes shells regularly,
sometimes several times in a day, and he's really big. He is now
larger than a quarter but smaller than a fifty cent piece. (Twelve
gallon tank, remember.) Last fall, just after my 300 mile move, I added
a damsel fish to see if I could keep a fish alive. She's still
swimming around, now at the mercy of a clown fish that stood his ground
against her. <Not enough room for these...> In January I ordered
an assortment of critters including the clown fish, hoping to mature my
tank, eliminate the bristle worms, and have the pleasure of watching
everything. I bought a coral banded shrimp-also growing fast,
<Predaceous... not enough room for this and the Pomacentrids> a
feather duster, some kind of red algae that looked like a clump of red
fern which they have all now eaten COMPLETELY, an arrowhead crab,
<See above, WWM re this... the same as the Stenopid> and some
kind of coral that fell off the live rock and is now happily growing on
the floor of the tank, pretty green fluorescence and all. The feather
duster has apparently outgrown his tube which began to split about two
weeks ago. Today, when I cam home, the hermit crab was all over the
feather duster's tube, and most of the worm-about three inches--is
outside the middle part of the duster's tube, and the feather
duster seems to be unable to pull inside the neck of the tube even with
Kingston aggressively attacking the tube that appears to be dying.
<Is eating it> The feather draws up tight when Kingston is on the
tube aggressively tearing at any section of the tube that seems to be a
potential meal, but the feather duster seems unable to disappear inside
his tube as he normally does when the Kingston crawls all over the
tube. The neck of the feather duster is above the higher of the two
splits, and the neck of the tube appears to be intact. The original
split is now longer than it originally was, but the worm's body is
outside a split that I never saw before today, and I have been looking
at it obsessively. Kingston, the bigger crab, is all over that tube,
crawling around and tearing at the tube with his claws. Is he trying to
eat that old tube? <What's in it, yes> Will the feather
duster grow a new tube? Where will I begin to see signs of a new tube?
What do I need to do, if anything? What do I do with the old tube if
the feather duster survives this process? I will happily ship Kingston
out if he's going to eat everything. Is the feather duster's
tube food for a hermit crab? <See WWM re... going to be ingested
here... not regenerate likely> My alarm level really shot up about
two weeks ago when, for the first time ever, I got a reading of 10 ppm
nitrates. Until then, I had straight zeroes on any chemical problems.
Last Sunday, it had increased to 15! I added water tonight to
compensate for evaporation and then had to add some salt water to bring
the specific gravity up to an acceptable level. Now the nitrates are
40, though the pH is 8.4, the ammonia is 0 and the nitrites are 0.
<See WWM re... changing some substrate, LR... natural succession
occurring here> Additionally, I am having difficulty with what I
think is micro-green algae. I added a turbo snail two weeks ago, and he
has really helped. Kingston seems to be trying to eat the turbo, too.
My new house has no spot that is really dark enough for my tank, and it
gets high light on the north side, so algae grows. I keep my light on
about four hours in the evening. I think my tank is a little cool
(72-74. I have a thermometer on the side); I don't have a heater.
<Get one> I think Kingston is hungry, and I don't know what
to feed him that is nutritious but won't add to a nitrate load. The
clown and the damsel are ravenous, too. When I put in a fish flake or
the cube of defrosted Mysis shrimp that I am now buying, the clown eats
ravenously for about one minute and then stops. I spent $15 on New Life
Spectrum Small Fish Formula (krill and fish meal formula). They
don't like it. The damsel still prefers Omega One Marine Flakes,
but I'm afraid I'll overfeed and kill everything. I still see
bristle worms occasionally, but they are much smaller and less
numerous. Maybe some of these critters that I bought with the hope that
they would eat the bristle worms are doing their job. Any chance you
can give me some help before all my critters crash and burn?
<Sure... just learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. In
other words, read> I am unbelievable fond of these fascinating
little creatures! Marti <Me neither. Bob Fenner>
Two SW Angels in 30 Gal
2/20/09 I have a 30 gallon tank with live rocks, cleaning crew
(snails, crabs, and a peppermint shrimp), an entertaining goby, a
darling baby cardinal, a bicolor angel <Too small a tank.> and a
yellow tailed damsel. I want to add a coral beauty. Is this a good
idea? <Horrible idea.> If not, what do you suggest? <Research,
looking before leaping....your system is too small for the angel
already there, muchness the prospect of adding another.> We will
eventually add another baby cardinal; as the one we have looks lonely.
It constantly stares at its reflection in the glass. Lastly, our
bicolor appears to be begging the shrimp for a good cleaning. The
shrimp simply ignores/avoids it. Why is that? <No guarantees re
behavior here, see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hipshrpbeh.htm about
this.> Thanks in advance for your help. Sonia <Hmmm, welcome, but
do help yourself a bit. Some reading, here on WWM or elsewhere will
shed some light on all of this. Scott V.>
24g Nano lighting, stkg. 2/5/09
Greetings from Tampa Bay!? <Hello Danny. Minh at your service.> I
was in the reef addicts club for a few years and took an unwanted
vacation, but I want to join again!? <Welcome back to the
addiction.> I plan on acquiring a JBJ 24 gallon Nano cube.? Lighting
comprises of 2 x 36 Watt 50/50 CF Lamp w/ Remote Ballast + (2) Nite Vu
LED Moonlights.? Dimensions are 18"x19.6"x19.7".?
<Excellent all-in-one Nano tank. I am an owner myself.> I have
read through the FAQ's that 3 watts per gallon isn't considered
moderate lighting; however, I read a few FAQ's stating that 3 watts
per gallon can be irrelevant depending on how shallow your tank is.? I
did read that light penetration weakens at 20 inches or more of depth.?
<Wattage per gallon is not a good rule of thumb when it comes to
modern reef aquarium lighting. Intensity should be the primary focus
when evaluating a lighting set up.> With that being stated, is the
factory lighting scheme of 3 watts per gallon sufficient for soft
corals or polyps in that size tank?? <The factory lighting should be
sufficient for soft corals and polyps such as Palythoas or Zoanthids
and even some LPS such as Caulastrea or Acanthastrea.> Or should I
consider retrofitting another 36 watt PC into the hood?? I had
difficulties in the past with a tall tank and my soft corals trumpeting
to absorb more light.? I do not want to replicate that problem,
although I don't want to overheat the tank!? <Although the
factory lighting is sufficient, you should know that there are other
contemporary lighting methods that are both more efficient (higher
intensity while using the same if not less energy), longer lasting and
run much cooler such as T5 High Output lighting and LED lighting.
Unfortunately, the cost of LED lighting is still out of reach of most
reef hobbyists at this time, T5 High Output lighting is fast becoming a
favorite. More information about T5 HO lighting can be found here:
http://tfivetesting.googlepages.com/ . Furthermore, there is a lot of
good information available from other Nano Cube users here:
http://www.nano-reef.com/ .> Thank you in advance for you advice!
Danny N. <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>
Re: 24g Nano lighting 02/06/09 Thanks for the
quick reply Minh!? <You're welcome, Danny.> You said some LPS
would fare fine in my tank...would that include Euphyllia?? I loved the
branching frogspawn (Euphyllia paradivisa) when I had my 45, but I am
very concerned I might not have the intensity of lighting (2x32
CF's) needed with this tank or do I?? <Euphyllia would fare well
under 2x32W PC lamps in a 24G Nano Cube. There are certain things you
can do to maximize the amount of light reaching corals. For example,
use creative placement of more light intensive corals higher on your
aquascape scheme. Also, CF/PC bulbs lose quite a bit of intensity
rather quickly and depending on the brand, may expire by the 6 months
mark so make sure to keep up with bulb replacement to maintain
intensity.> I do not want to sentence beautiful corals to their doom
needlessly.? <Lighting is only one part of successful coral
husbandry. I suspect if you maintain proper water quality along with
proper animal selection, you should be successful with the factory
lighting on the 24G Nano Cube.> Thank you again! Danny <Good
luck. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>
New year, new reef! Sm. SW set-up, Acan. use...
2/3/09 Hello Crew, <Sweta> You have saved my behind and
my fish and my corals on several occasions. Thus, I feel compelled to
consult you before I take a rather huge step in reef keeping.
<Okay> I have 2 tanks, one 75 gallon with 3 small fish, and
plenty of soft corals and Zoanthids. That is doing great. I just
started a mini reef with my 29 gallon. (Salinity - 1.25, Ph- 8.4,
Calcium- 400 - and this thanks to James' advice, Magnesium- 1400,
ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are undetectable, temperature 78). I
have over 30 pounds of live rock, and a DSB (5"). I have a
canister filter. My skimmer is not attached to the tank yet. (Aqua C
remora) Right now, all I have is a couple of Zoanthid colonies, one
small mushroom colony on its own rock, and a small anthelia freebie on
its own rock. I was kind of lollygagging about what other corals to
keep and given that my experience has always been in softies, I thought
this tank would be one of those as well. However, a friend suddenly and
unexpectedly gave me 3 Acan lord frags for free. Now, they are
beautiful and I am very very very tempted given the outrageous prices
charged for these corals and the "great" price on these. But
even free is too expensive if I can't keep these beauties.
<Nice!> Firstly, I tried my best to identify them as Acanthastrea
lordhoweensis instead of other LPS species they could be, and by my
amateur deduction, they are Lords. They are about 3 polyps each. I
pored through your site and every internet resource I could find on
these corals. 1. Lighting: I have 2 x 65 watt compacts. From what I
have read, these seem to be sufficient for them. If that doesn't
work, there is the other MH lit tank but I don't want to risk my
softies. If it doesn't fit, they go to the LFS. <Okay...
Acanthastrea can adapt to about either type/amount of light here. More
folks use MH for looks, boosting metabolism with this genus of
Mussids> 2. Growth: Your crew has been pretty honest about how mean
these corals are. I have three shelves of about 5X5 each where they
won't ever come into contact with the other corals, but am afraid
they may eat my Cleaner shrimp or grow so large they will take over my
tank. I have looked everywhere, but I have no idea what happens when
they reach the edge of the shelf. Do they grow vertically? <Mmm...
maybe will go "over the edge"... but this and related genera
(e.g. Symphyllia) don't grow all that quickly... chances are
you'll be moving, even fragging them in time> Should I take out
my Zoanthids, mushrooms or Anthelias? <Not necessarily> 3.
Feeding: I target feed my corals IPSF coral food three times a week,
occasionally supplemented with oyster eggs. They have responded very
well to this. However, I am not sure if Acans will be okay with these
foods or whether I need to pick up frozen Mysid that most people
recommend for this coral. <Try and see is my best suggestion> I
know if I keep the Acans, I am going to end up being one of those
DREADED Reef Garden keepers. <Heee! Too late... you already are>
But even though I bought the book James' recommended, I am not
getting anything on Acan Lord compatibility. Are there any corals I can
keep with this one? <Sure... with the general provisos for mixing
most all Cnidarian life... size of system, placement distance, most
importantly careful acclimation to each other... Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above>
Or should I just tell my generous friend that his corals don't fit
in my tank? <I wouldn't... I'd accept this gift graciously
and keep moving forward with your learning, appreciating, enjoying the
greater breadth of experience> Getting a new coral for me is scarier
than getting married. I'd prefer to do it right the first time.
Please help!!! <Gladly. Bob Fenner>
Re: New year, new reef! 2/5/09 Mr.
Fenner!!!!!Each time I hear from you, it is like getting a letter from
a celebrity. <?!> For people like me just learning the ropes- it
is the equivalent of a 1st year physics student getting help on his
homework from Stephen Hawking. <I could beat him in a foot race; I
think> I told the friend who gave me the Acans that you wrote to me,
and he didn't believe me so I showed him the PROOF. He actually bet
me a frag of my choice. <Dang!> I was tempted by his sun corals,
but realistically, my tank is far too small to handle the
"fouling". I also travel quite frequently- and prefer that my
husband not target feed my corals. I chose the Duncan instead. So,
thank you Mr. Fenner for my new frag. I read up a lot on this coral
before making that choice. Since I didn't want to be the
"dreaded" reef garden keeper, I moved my mushrooms, and
Zoanthids to the softie tank. Now everything in my tank eats the same
food at the same size which simplifies things. Except for the anthelia
but she is just there because the tank looks so barren. She will go out
once things look a little more full. Thanks once again for your help.
James ("Salty Dog") was also invaluable in getting this tank
"stable". <Welcome Sweta! BobF>
20 Gallon Tank Stocking Levels, Yikes!
2/3/09 Hey guys! <Hello Micah> I have a 20 gallon
saltwater setup that has been up and running for about 9 months.
Currently I have about 20 Kilos of live rock, live sand, a feather
duster, a Lettuce Nudibranch slug, a Yellow Clown Goby, <Not a good
choice here. These fish often come in malnourished and can be difficult
to feed.> 3 Green Chromis, a Scooter Dragonette, a Maroon Clown,
<This fish needs to go back, much too large for a 20 gallon
tank.> a Bubble Tipped Anemone, <Tank too small for this animal
also, will be short lived in your tank, and does not belong here to
begin with. Fish will be in danger of being stung and these animals
require good lighting and water quality to survive, and most rarely
survive more than a year to begin with. I'd see if your dealer will
take this back, most won't.>. some shaving brush plants, and a
large population of polyp corals. <What does your lighting system
consist of? You mention nothing in this regard. Did you do any
research/reading on these animals before purchasing?> We have a bio
wheel filter and a 160 gph powerhead. The power head is set up to suck
some air into the tank to aerate the tank. I was wondering if we had
too many fish or a good amount. All the fish we have are pretty small.
<Too many fish. I class 20 gallon tanks as Nano tanks and should be
stocked as such. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm> We are wanting to get
a green Mandarin Dragonette, but are unsure if there is enough room in
the tank for it. <Will starve to death, incompatible tankmates,
these fish rarely eat prepared foods. Do read here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm> That would be our last
purchase for the tank. What do you think? <I think you need to do
more research/learning about animals you wish to keep and know their
requirements and whether you are able to provide them. Is all available
on this sight. See index to our content here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm I don't mean to sound
rude in any way, but you are a perfect example of why people get in and
out of this hobby quickly. Is due to frustration from constant losses
due to lack of knowledge/understanding before diving in. Much more
reading/learning required here.> Thank you very much, <You're
welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Micah
Compatibility/Stocking Order, Sm. SW, 2/2/09
<Hi Donna> I apologize in advance if this has been asked but
couldn't find an answer. <Has been asked a gazillion times.>
I actually have 2 separate questions. I have 2 tanks that are still
cycling and want to know about fish compatibility and what order to
place. Am planning to wait 3-4 weeks in between each fish introduction
to allow tank to stabilize and fish to adjust. Both tanks will have a
protein skimmer. <Good move incorporating the protein skimmer.>
1st tank is a 24g Nano cube. I want 2 black and white false clowns, a
Tail Spot Blenny and a goby (probably a Yellow Watchman). I read if
blenny and goby are added at the same time they will do fine?
<Should be fine, the Tail Spot (one of my faves) is rather peaceful
along with the watchman. The Watchman Goby many threaten any fish near
it's cave with mouth agape gestures but that should be the extent
of it. You may want to add a Tiger Pistol Shrimp in this system, an
interesting relationship will usually form between the Watchman Goby
and the shrimp.> 2nd tank is a 36g bow front. I want 2 false clowns,
a Falco Hawk, 2 angels, and if there is room a Black Sailfin Blenny. As
far as angels I want 2 Half-Black or 1 Half-Black and 1 eibl's.
Also read these get along if added at the same time. <Not in my
opinion. A Half Black or Eibl's Angel should be the only dwarf
angel in this size tank. << Too small a volume for this.
RMF>> In smaller tanks such as yours, fighting likely will
ensue between conspecifics. I do not know your experience level, but
these two angels can be a little difficult to acclimate and both are
not good reef dwellers if corals are in your future. The Falco Hawkfish
is a good choice keeping in mind that it can/will eat small shrimp.>
If these are all compatible please tell me the order they should go in
tank. I really like my LFS but have read these guys will tell you
anything to make money. <I'd put the clownfish, Hawkfish,
<<There's not enough room for a Cirrhitid here either>>
and blenny in first, then ONE angelfish. In the smaller tank, I'd
put the Watchman Goby <<And this will very likely starve here.
RMF>> in first, then the blenny and the clownfish. Do read here
and related articles/FAQ's listed on each link.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm Here is a good video
depicting the mutualism/behavior shared by the shrimp goby and pistol
shrimp. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taChNbtKIV0 > Thanks in
advance, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Donna
Compatibility/Stocking Order, Sm. (24 gal. BioCube) SW,
2/2/09 Bob, <James> Sorry on the Eibl's angelfish.
Realizing now that this is one of the larger species (6") of dwarf
angelfish. The querior must be reading minimum tank sizes stated by
etailers as many of them recommend a minimum of a 30 gallon tank and is
likely what came to my mind at the time of my post. <Still too
little room...> On to the Falco Hawkfish. As this fish reaches a
length of 2 1/2", I am wondering why you state "not enough
room". <Too small for behavioral reasons here...> And, as to
the Watchman Goby "starving to death". I've kept mine in
a 29 for over one year before moving into a five foot tank and have had
no feeding problems whatsoever. They do not take kindly to dried foods,
but my specimen relishes Mysid, brine, bloodworms, etc. Have I been
lucky? James <Perhaps... my experiences have differed here... and am
wont to offer much anything different than "general"
experience on the "Net". B>
Re: Compatibility/Stocking Order, Sm. SW, 2/2/09
OK, Mmm, thought the Falco Hawkfish was rather peaceful. James <I
don't consider any of the Cirrhitids so... esp. when boxed in
too-small volumes. Other fishes, crustaceans will suffer. B> Thank
you, will keep this info. J <Real good. B>
From 10 gallon to 24 Aquapod, 1/22/09 Hi Crew,
<Hello> My 10 gallon (over 6 years old) has been very successful
thanks to the crew. It has sand and rock , a clown goby (5 years),
spotted cardinal (5 years) and neon goby (2 years) plus some snails.
<Nice> Also have 65w PC's and candy canes. Filter is a mini
penguin with a bio wheel. I will be closing down the 10 gallon. The
Aquapod footprint is not much larger than the 10 gallon. The length is
about the same. The width and height are larger. It has 30 pounds of
rock (cured) and will be adding 1-2 inches of live sand shortly. The
Aquapod just has a glass top so I will use my PC lighting. I tried
buying an Aquapod cover with PC lighting but they do not sell it
separate. I will try to place the coral along the path of the light and
within the same distance from the light that it was in the 10 gallon.
<Good> I plan on adding a Firefish and possibly one more, a chalk
bass or gramma. <I would not, the bioload capacity of the AquaPod is
not going to be significantly greater than the 10G due to its
depth.> But the gramma may be too much for the Firefish to handle.
<I would think so, especially in this sized tank.> The filter is
simply a pump pulling water out of the tank through a sponge and
shooting it out like a powerhead from 2 nozzles. The water flow is much
stronger than my 10 gallon. I will be placing carbon behind the sponge.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. <Adding a skimmer is always a
good idea.> I am debating whether to use my 5 year old rock from the
old tank. It is one piece about 10-12 pounds. I know it has life inside
but it also has pest algae on the outside on about 1/3 of it which is
impossible to get off other than chiseling it down. Is it worth it?
<That depends on you, will save some money and bring in established
rock, but the algae will most likely continue unless physically
removed.> Thanks, Sam <Welcome> <Chris>
Re: From 10 gallon to 24 Aquapod 1/22/09 Hi Chris,
<Hello> I do not understand the statement highlighted below.
<Can't see the highlights on our mail system.> Isn't the
bio load dependent on the volume? <That is only one factor, and a
small one in my opinion. Surface area for gas exchange and the
footprint for available territory, which just about every reef fish
will attempt to establish, are much more limiting than volume of water.
Even if you massively overfilter a tank to provide good water quality
it you can still run into problems if you do not provide the necessary
"living space" for the fish's needs. Fish need lateral
space, which the cubic design on the Aquapod does not provide a whole
lot of.> Thanks, Sam <Welcome> <Chris>
Solar Wrasse in a Puffer Tank ~ 01/12/09
Hello, <Hello Jessy here> I am about to purchase a Solar Wrasse
to replace my Coris that bellied up this weekend. <Sorry to hear. My
Coris is one of my favorite fish> The question that I have, will the
Solar Wrasse and my puffer get along? Right now I have a 30 cube with
my porcupine puffer and a clown (soon to be upgraded to a 90 bow
front)...The puffer has eaten a couple of fish when they were sleeping,
he never bothered the Coris because he would ditch in the sand at
night. I have read that Solar Wrasses do not go to sand but rather find
a hiding place in the rock? <You are right that the solar wrasse
sleeps in the rock and the Coris sleeps in the sand. I would assume
that if the puffer can fit it in its mouth the fish will be in danger
sleeping in the rocks. Just as all your other fish have fallen victim
to the hungry puffer. It will be at your own risk that you add this
beauty of a wrasse> Any suggestions would be fantastic. Thanks.
Timothy N. Wells <Regards, Jessy> <<This system is too
small for this Puffer alone... will very likely damage any other fish.
Advice regarding fish stocking, Nano Marine, 1/5/09
Hi all. I have a very precise question that I think will not be
answered by the new edition of the Fenner book (on order). ;-) <Fire
away.> This will be my first SW tank. I had intended to get a Nano
Cube 28g HQI. While I wanted a real reef tank (including SPS)--and I
think this is achievable given the info that is now out there--I am a
bit stumped by the fish I should add. <Ok> Specifically, I was
HOPING to add an Onyx Clown (tank bred), an Orchid Dottyback (tank
bred), a pygmy geometric "hawk," a six line wrasse, and a
Flame Angel. Each of these fish is good for a beginning reefer,
I've read, and each is appealing in its own right. I have a small
tank, and every fish must count. <Too much.> The question, then,
is threefold: (1) does this combination count as overstocking? <Yes,
I would not have more than 3 fish, and that is pushing it.> (2) What
would be the correct order of entry into the tank of these selections?
<They are all fairly aggressive, I would probably go clown, hawk,
wrasse, Dottyback, and then the flame, which really does not belong in
this small of a tank anyway.> (3) How safe would corals be with the
angel? <Definitely would be a crap shoot, but I would not have a
flame angel in anything less than a 55, so it should not be a
problem.> You know what answers I'd LIKE, but I really want the
truth! <Always.> By the way, I will be changing 10% of the tank
water each week and will be using 1.2 lbs of live rock per gallon.
<Good> I will be using the built-in skimmer, but I will get a
better one if this is advisable for the livestock. <Built-in
skimmers are generally pretty poor, but you may have troubling finding
another skimmer than will fit.> I guess I'll have 1-2 inches of
aragonite sand on the bottom. <The general rule of thumb is less
than 1 inch or more than 4, otherwise you are in a gray area where
detritus gets trapped but it is not deep enough for nitrogen
reduction.> Thanks so much for any light you can shed! Sam
Re: Advice regarding fish stocking, Nano Marine,
1/5/09 Thank you very much for your amazingly fast reply.
<Welcome> I included the angel in the list because I have seen
very different minimum tank sizes for it (from 25 gallons to 55).
However, some have asserted that it really is happiest in a 55 gallon
tank. So much for fish size tank rules. <Always error on the side of
larger in my opinion.> If I somehow managed to add, say, 6 gallons,
in an external sump/refugium, and replaced the skimmer with a Tunze
Nano, do you think I could keep the other four fish? (I'm hoping
the small size of the pseudo-hawk might make this possible.) <I
would not, it's a matter of available territory and aggression more
than anything in my mind.> Thanks again! Sam <Welcome>
<Chris> re: Advice regarding fish stocking Thanks Chris. I'm
sure you've saved me some heartache. <Welcome>
Any suggestions? Sm. SW stkg. 1/3/09 Hi!
<Hello Gisela, Minh at your service.> I've just set up my
first saltwater tank. It is a 29 gallon tank and only has live rock,
live sand and all of the water levels are looking fine.
<Congratulations on your first saltwater tank.> I'm getting
ready to add fish to it pretty soon, but was wondering what kind and
how many. I've definitely done my research and am leaning towards
clownfish, three stripe damsels, or cardinals. I like Firefish too. I
know I can't have them all, but what would you suggest? <They
are all are fine choices for a first time saltwater keeper. I will hold
my suggestion as the decision on which fish is a personal choice and
ultimately it will be up to you to make that decision. Rather, I will
give you some person experience with each type of fish to supplement
the information you've gathered during your initial research.
Clownfish is a great all-around choice as most are readily available as
tank-bred specimens. The Three Stripe Damsel is a very hardy fish and
provide a striking contrast in an aquarium, however, like most in the
Damselfish family, it is very territorial and may be aggressive toward
tank mates particularly in a 29 gallon environment. Cardinalfish and
Firefish are both great choices though less active than Clownfish and
Damselfish. Also, they both would prefer a calmer more peaceful
environment than Clownfish and Damselfish. In the case of Cardinalfish,
there are some excellent tank-bred specimens available.> I
definitely don't want to overcrowd, but I want a nice variety. I
know I'm asking a lot, but if you could maybe suggest some possible
combinations of fish it would be great. It doesn't necessarily have
to be the fish I named, but just some hardy, small fish that would get
along with each other. <There are several things to keep in mind
when making your decision. First, put higher consideration in tank-bred
specimens if they are available. These specimens are much more adept to
captive life and it would be the environmentally conscious choice.
Second, do your best to be patient when adding fish. After you've
made up your mind on a stocking list, force yourself to stick to it and
allow your tank to adjust to new inhabitants by giving it plenty of
time between additions. Lastly, know that although the saying,
"variety is the spice of life," it may not apply well to your
marine tank. Less is often more, in this case. So before adding
multiple species, consider their size, behavior and aggression as they
grow. The type of fish you've listed are exactly what I
would've suggested for a first time marine tank owner so I do not
think you will go wrong in selecting any of them. For example, a
clownfish pair and damselfish combination would be a great active and
energetic tank. If you wish for a more laid-back and relaxing tank, a
Cardinalfish or Firefish (Or another in the Dartfish family)
combination would be excellent. Good luck and keep us updated with your
choice. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>
Adding, removing and the rest!, Small Marine Stocking
12/30/08 Hey guys <Hello> I have a 15-20 gallon
saltwater aquarium. <Small> I am currently cycling the tank. The
fish I want to keep after cycling are a Royal Gramma and 2x T. Percula
clownfish. <Ok, but there may be aggression issues in this sized
tank with these fish.> I have been cycling with a blue devil damsel
for about four weeks now. <Better ways to cycle a tank than with
live fish.> Firstly, when cycling is complete, I am going to return
the blue devil from the tank and take it back to the store. I have
quite a bit of rockwork with caves, corners and crevices that are
Impossible to catch a fish in. So, I thought that just putting the net
in and chasing after the fish would be useless. <Probably> I also
don't want to have to take out and rearrange the rock. <This may
be unavoidable.> I was thinking that since he eats from my hand and
comes right up to the top of the water I could dip a flake in and while
holding the flake just at surface-just underwater I could hold a net up
above the water and quickly net him. <Long shot but may work, but he
will catch on fast.> I think this plan would work great but I just
want your opinion. <Worth a try, but most likely you will end up
breaking down the tank to get him out I think.> Next, with the Royal
Gramma, I am going to keep it at the LFS for 2 weeks and make sure it
is eating. I am wondering if you think I should keep it there for 3
weeks. <Could, but still no guarantee of health.> Also, do you
think I should add the clowns or the Gramma first. <Probably the
clowns, in my own tank the gramma rules the tank, so give the clowns a
chance to get a foothold.> I have heard that sometimes the Grammas
hide for the first 5-7 days, <Might be a bit timid to start
with,> I want him to be able to adjust to the new environment
without the activity of clownfish. But I have also heard that they can
be aggressive. <Both the clowns and gramma can be quite aggressive,
which may become an issue in this sized tank.> As I have mentioned I
have made the tank an environment suitable for the Gramma so he will
not feel open and vulnerable, therefore keeping stress levels at a
minimum. <That is ultimately for the fish to decide.> Thanks guys
and I hope you can give me the answers and advice that you always do.
Dean' <Welcome> <Chris>
Re: Adding, removing and the rest!, <small> Marine
Stocking 12/31/08 Would a black cap Basslet, orchid Dottyback
or royal Dottyback be better. <Pretty similar fish, although these
tend to get more aggressive than the gramma.> I live in Australia
and Basslets seem to cost so much more. Over here most of the Royal
Grammas cost between 80 dollars and 200 dollars. <WOW!!!> Whereas
looking at some American websites they are only 15-20 dollars.
<Sounds right, a very common fish over here.> I don't really
think that Black cap Basslets will be any better. <Agreed>
Although over in Australia a Royal Gramma or Black cap Basslet in a
store is a rare and special occasion Royal Dottybacks are very easy to
get and are a current resident in most marine stores sale tanks. Also
whoever it is that has to reply to this email, could you please tell me
some areas in the Caribbean in which you can see Royal Grammas
snorkeling or scuba diving. <They are very wide spread and common in
the Caribbean, but all my diving has been in the Pacific or freshwater,
I'm sure Bob can comment more on this.> I have just been to
Heron Island (Eco resort island which holds 90% of the Great Barrier
Reefs fish, corals and invertebrates. <Lucky> It was absolute
stunning and just to mention a few: Reef Sharks, Moorish Idols,
Threadfin Butterflies, Sailfin Tangs, Longnose Butterflies, Foxfaces,
Turtles, Bicolor Angels were just SOME of the fish we saw on the trip.
<Neat> Thanks guys and even though not all this email is about
the aquarium side of the hobby I have heard that most of you go on
dives and I am just wondering an area in which I can see a royal
Gramma. Thanks Dean <Wind chill is currently -4 F here today, all
this talk of tropical diving is depressing me, There are some great
places in the Caribbean to dive, although I'm not sure they compare
that well to the Great Barrier Reef,> <Chris>
Fish Keep Dying, being killed... reading
12/25/08 Hello, <Howdy> I recently set up a 10 gallon
saltwater tank (I know its small). I placed live sand, about 12 lbs of
live rock (Fiji), live plants, and some airstone. The tank was set up
for about a month and a half and cycled; The levels read: Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 PH 8.4 Temp 78 Salinity 1.023 Calcium 440 I started
adding turbo snails right when the levels were manageable. Two of the
three had died and the one is still in it. I placed 2 damsels <This
volume is too small for Damselfishes> in the tank a few weeks after
the snails died. The one damsel died the same night and the second
damsel died the next night. The second damsel that died looked fine for
a day and a half and then began breathing very fast before it died. I
went to a LFS and asked what it could have been. They said perhaps the
acclimation process <Good guess, assumption> and that only water
condition could kill a fish this quickly or perhaps it was a bad batch
of fish. So I purchased a Green Chromis <A social species... again,
inappropriate in this tiny volume. Doomed... "had you
read..."> and did the drip method acclimation process for about
2.5 hrs <!?> and placed it in the tank along with three hermit
crabs. The fish lived for two days and then died. There were no visible
marks or cysts on the fish and the breathing rate seemed normal.
Currently in the tank are 3 hermit crabs and the lone snail. The snail
has recently been falling over <Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/snaildisfaqs.htm and the linked files above re
Systems... As you'll see, you need to pay attention to alkalinity
and Magnesium levels here...> and doesn't seem to be his self.
The plants seem to becoming transparent, <Dying> which I read may
be due to light source ( I use a 10,000 K 15 watt bulb). With all the
levels checked out as mentioned above do you know why the fish
can't make it past 2 days? <Yes> If you need more information
I will be happy to provide it. Thank You! Klynt <Please read... re
the needs... at least the Systems, of what you list here, intend to
"try" in future... You're "shooting in the
dark"... killing this life out of ignorance. No sense... as you
can avoid further losses by reading about the many similar mistakes I
and my friends have recorded on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish Keep Dying 12/25/08 Bob,
<Klynt> Thanks for the quick response. I know I need to learn a
lot more and would love to. <Is a wondrous, continuing process...
for all> This tank is just a starter tank until I purchase a much
larger tank (125 gallon). I didn't realize it was too small for a
damsel since they only grow to about 4 inches. <Some Pomacentrids a
bit smaller, a few quite a bit larger than this> The 2.5 hr
acclimation I read online and was told by the LFS owner, so that was
what I thought was correct. <Is much longer than usually suggested
protocols...> I'll make sure to check my magnesium in the tank
to help my turbo snail. Would the 10 gallon volume kill my fish in 2
days? <Yes, could... very stressful> I didn't think it would
since the fish were so small. Thanks, Klynt <Do give a read re
smaller, more sedentary groups of fishes Klynt... There are only a few
that are readily offered in the trade that will go for any time in such
a small world... Some of the gobies, blennies... Be chatting, Bob
Adding Fish, small reef...
12/25/08 Hi WWM crew. <Hello! Benjamin here.> I have a
few questions related to what order I should add my fish. Firstly, I
have been cycling my tank for around 3 weeks and 4 days now with an
electric Blue Devil Damselfish. <Do refer to our pages on fishless
cycling for future use...> I have 6kg of Live Rock and 4kg of
Substrate which is fine white marble chip. <Marble? I think you will
find this unsuitable> The tank is 15 gallons and has 2 x 26w power
compact fluorescent lights, an undergravel filter and most importantly
my multi stage internal filter which is hidden behind the back ground
of the tank and consist of 4 chambers Chamber 1. Sponge Chamber 2.
Sponge and dead coral pieces in a stocking to aid in more biological
filtration capacity. Chamber 3. Sponge and filter wool. Chamber 4.
Return pump and back out through spray bar into aquarium. The filter
has chemical, mechanical and biological filtration means within it.
<I see biological, mechanical...chemical?> When the cycling
process is complete I will be taking the Blue Devil back to my LFS and
getting a discount on my next fish or money back. The fish I want to
keep are as follows. 2 x T. Percula Clowns 1 x Royal Gramma Along with
these fish I am going to be keeping various corals such as : Star
polyps, Zoanthids, Candy Cane coral, and some Mushrooms, and another
coral but I am unsure of the name. I am wondering if I should add the
R. Gramma or the 2 T. Percula clowns first. <I would advise against
two clowns in this space; they really need more room. Also, do consider
narrowing the coral list to a couple species, genera...need to be at
least 6" apart, and many mixed varieties will cause illness> If
you advise me to add the clowns first how long should it be before I
add the Gramma. <Do quarantine your clown, gramma...in this small
space, watch for signs of aggression, stress.> Thanks for the Help ,
Re: Please Help (10 gal. tank, goatfish...)
12/28/08 No it is a hang on style filter. I also use a
powerhead for movement. I have 14 lbs of live sand and about 10 lbs of
live rock. <Good.> I discovered the Goatfish was inappropriate
after I got him home and happened to run across a couple web sites that
said there minimum was way bigger than my 10. <The reason to look
before you leap!> I was going to take him back to the LFS the next
day but didn't have the chance too before he was gone.
<Unfortunate.> I am coming to realize that smaller tanks are way
harder than the bigger tanks that I am used too. <They are indeed!
Question about frogspawn, coral stocking, and Clownfish.
Allelopathy potential poster circumstances
12/11/08 Hey Guys, <And ladies too...> I've searched
far and wide on your site, I've been using it for ages now, and
once again I have to say thanks so much for everything you guys all do!
There is a real wealth of information here, and I've turned more
than a few friends who are just getting into the hobby to this site.
Apparently they think I'm an expert or something after less than a
year of reefkeeping..... <Heeee! You are> that makes me laugh out
loud, when I realize how much there is to learn about this hobby and
ALL of the mistakes I`ve made. And thus I point them to the more
knowledgeable! Anyways, I`ll give you the details about my set-up
first. Standard 29 Gallon tank, has been running for about 9 months. 35
lbs of live rock, with good coralline growth, also on the glass, (and
some really cool flaking/encrusting dark red coralline, on
everything.... looks really neat) A Prizm Red Sea skimmer, with a box
in the outlet flow area for active carbon. Converted hang on the back
filter for some mechanical filtration. 2 Small powerheads for even more
water movement, pointing at each other towards the middle to get some
good turbulent flow. Also a small heater to regulate temperature. I run
active carbon in both the skimmer box and the hang on filter, rotating
each bag out after every two weeks, so each bag (2tsp of carbon each)
is in for a month. I do 5 gallon water changes every week and a half to
2 weeks, and I let the water aerate with a powerhead in a bucket for 24
hours before adding it, with some light siphoning of the substrate.
I`ve tested the saltwater for phosphate and nitrates, and it`s negative
for both. I use R/O water for top ups and changes. I use Seachem Reef
buffer with some of the water changes occasionally, but the pH has been
pretty stable. Also add a Kent trace mineral supplement once every two
weeks. I feed the fish a mix of New Life Spectrum flakes, Mysis shrimp,
and Cyclops. Also some Nori. I've also just bought some assorted
seafood (Mussel, Squid, Mysis and Brine Shrimp), and will be mixing
these into blocks for freezing after I've thawed and drained off
all the nasty murky juice they packed it with, so the fish will have
more variety now. Also some vegetable/Nori flakes for the angel. I just
started soaking the foods in Zoecon (I'm thinking kind of like
Selcon, but not sure) before feeding. They mostly get flakes every day,
supplemented every second day with all the meaty foods above. LPS
Corals get fed every couple days. Water Chem - Ammonia - 0.00, Nitrates
almost 0, Phosphates 0.05. pH 8.3, Specific gravity 1.025, Alkalinity
is in the normal range of the test kit, and Calcium is 400-450ppm.
Critters: Two false Percula clowns (one is a notably larger, dominant
female, the other clown twitches when she swims close) A coral beauty
angel (still very small, and I know inappropriate for the tank, I'm
planning on getting a bigger tank (150ish) in the next year or so so
this guy will be happier). A purple Firefish (neon goby) A fire shrimp
Cleanup crew consisting of 2 turbo snails, one scarlet hermit, three
small blue legged hermits, about 20 or so Nassarius snails, and two
weird looking slugs, with soft looking shells, one jet black and one
white... came in with some coral, don't know what they are. Corals,
I have a white bubble coral, about 4 inches across. Also a branching
frogspawn, colt coral, 2 open brains, and then a whole bunch of
mushrooms and button polyps, all variety of colors, and a green star
polyp colony. The corals are all doing pretty good, they open well, and
are not physically touching one another. The big pink open brain I
bought was not doing too well, and I tried 'rescuing him' from
the store.... <Mmm, I would not add any more/new Cnidarians here...
in this small, established system... too great a chance of them
"not getting along"> he wasn't eating at first, but
now he is, and has regained a lot of his color.... a really beautiful
coral. Like I said earlier, I feed the LPS corals once ever two days or
so at night. The white bubble coral ejects a stringy brown mucus every
few days, for the last week or two. Okay now for problems.... Since I
added the colt coral (it's the latest coral I've added, as I
heard it is fairly toxic/aggressive and wanted to add it last), the
dominant female clownfish has started hovering around the frogspawn,
and poking her head in and 'nipping' at it. <Likely trying
to establish a bond... Clownfishes will develop symbiotic relations
with Euphyllias... among other non-anemone hosts> She doesn't
bite bits off, it looks like she just pokes around in there, but the
coral is clearly distressed and retracted, though it has yet to
jettison any mucus like stuff. I think maybe it's a dietary
deficiency, which is why I just got all the new food and feeding
methods etc, to try and add some spice to their diet (before it was
just flakes and Mysis shrimp, with some Cyclops). Is there any other
reason she would do this? <See above...> She doesn't seem to
want to host in it, she sleeps in the opposite corner of the tank from
it, and the male clown rests himself on a bed of button polyps, though
during the day while she hovers around it (facing it the whole time)
she'll chase away other fish. <Woe to them if these two
reproduce... no "room to run/hide" here> Other problems
are more minor, there is one green mushroom, with little bumps on it,
that seems to be burning run of the mill blue mushrooms next to it. Its
not a Ricordea, or a hairy mushroom, but it has more texture then the
smoother blue ones around it... do the different colors of mushrooms
generally coexist? <Mmm, can, yes... once again, if
"accustomed" to each other...> Also on a happier note, two
of the striped mushrooms I have are splitting off foot processes, which
appear to be growing into new mushrooms.... really cool! The only other
problem I have is every morning the sand is white, but by evening there
is a brown layer that looks like diatoms which disappears by morning.
Am I overfeeding? <Mmm, not likely... natural succession...>
That's pretty much it, I can`t begin to say how much I appreciate
the help you guys have given me already, you`re an invaluable resource.
My tank and myself have both gained so much knowledge from this site,
it wouldn`t be nearly as nice now if not for you, so thanks! Eric
<I'd be speeding up the process of acquiring that larger
system... and keeping steady with the regimen of maintenance you
detail... Your system is doing about all it can/should do, given all
you list... but you could have a catastrophic cascade event... with the
Cnidarians... perhaps triggered by the female Clown's behavior...
Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked
files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about frogspawn, coral stocking, and
Clownfish. -12/11/08 Allelopathy potential poster
circumstances Hello again Bob! <Eric> Thanks again for
the swift reply. I definitely agree, not much more going into this
tank, except maybe some little button polyps if i can find some cool
ones, or a mushroom or two... but for the most part, I'm just going
to let it grow. I was worried about allelopathy too, the mushrooms
don't extend as much in the last two days, or the bubble coral.
Also the frogspawn but that's from the clownfish. I changed some of
the carbon, did a water change, and we'll see what happens....
<Good moves> everybody else looks good. I also forgot to mention
the clam I have ( a small blue Crocea) he is doing alright, though
hasn't opened fully in the last day or two either. I'm hoping
that adding the colt coral didn't push my system over the
limit...time will tell I guess. Thanks for your input though, much
appreciated as always. Eric <Welcome... am hoping Santa won't
strain his/her back with the new big tank under the tree...
Clean-up crew, 12/10/08 Hello, <Hi> So I was
wondering about he cleanup crew for my 29 gallon saltwater reef tank.
Is 12 dwarf blue leg hermits, 12 dwarf red tip hermits, 10 Astraea
snails, 1 emerald crab, and 2 peppermint shrimp too much for my tank?
<Yes in my opinion.> I already have a little purple Firefish in
there and I was planning on getting a ocellaris clownfish too. If that
is too big of a cleanup crew what would you suggest? <A couple
hermits, maybe 3 snails, drop the emerald, and the peppermints. Much
more than that and they will likely starve.> Thanks, Scott
Re: Clean-up crew, 12/10/08 Thanks for the quick
response, <Welcome> Many websites say a lot more than that.
<Yep, easier to sell that way.> LiveAquaria has a reef cleaner
package that has way more inverts in it. <Yep, but way way too much
for the sized tank they recommend.> Do you think I could get by with
10 hermits and 8 snails? <I think ultimately they will starve, or
the hermits will pick off the snails as they run out of easier
food.> That is what I have used in my other similar sized tanks. I
do have sort of an algae problem. I trust your judgment but I think I
need more than what you suggested. <I think you would be better off
determining the source of the algae problems than try to combat it with
the clean-up crew. If it helps in my 46G I have a 2 Astrea, 1 Cerith, 2
Nassarius, and 2 Red legged hermits. They are all about 7 or 8 years
old now. > Thanks again, Scott <Welcome> <Chris>
Most Likely Last Fish For Nano Tank - 12/06/08 Hiya
peoples! =D (Sorry. Don't mind me, I'm just hyper.) I have a
24g Aquapod containing: 1 Green Chromis (MIDORI-CHAN!!! =DDD) 1 Royal
Gramma 1 Saddle Blenny, and 1 Signal Goby If I add either a
Flame(Hawaiian), Coral Beauty, or Pygmy Angelfish, or a small fairy or
velvet wrasse, would that be overpopulation for the tank? Would a pair
of clowns be better? <Mmm, maybe a Pygmy Angel... or the (tank bred)
Clowns... likely Ocellaris or Perculas... might go... not the
others> Thank you in advance for your advice. PS: If I could get
hold of one (or two! =D) Sebae, Two Banded, Saddleback, True Percula,
Cinnamon, Pink, Allard's,
"Stumpy"(ORA),"Teardrop"(ORA), or Clarkii clownfish
which would make the best aquarium specimen for my tank? <See
above... all other species get too large, aggressive for this small
volume> Could I put both a clownfish and an Angelfish/Wrasse into my
tank? <I would not, no> Or would that be too much? <Too likely
so, yes> Also, where on earth can I find a good pic/photo of a Rose
Skunk Anemone/Clownfish which clearly shows its coloration/appearance?
I've been searching, but I can't find one ANYWHERE! I REALLY
want to know what this fish looks like! The curiosity is KILLING me
here! THANX AGAIN, BYEZ (Lol, sorry, I'm so hyper...) <... less
caffeine... I'd take a look via Google or such with the name:
Amphiprion nigripes, look at the images... Bob Fenner>
Critters... small SW sys. stkg... 12/05/08 Hi Crew,
<HI, sorry it took so long for you to get a response. Sometimes our
crew members put emails in their folders and "forget" about
them for awhile.> I currently have a 10 gallon saltwater tank that
is 6 years old with some coral and fish. The fish are over 4 years old
and WWM is what made this successful.. Anyway, I am toying with the
idea of a critter tank, no fish or coral. Hermits, crabs, shrimp etc.
<Cool> Whatever I think can coexist. Will probably not have
snails since my experience is that the hermits will eventually take
their shell. It will be a 10 gallon with sand and live rock. What do I
need as far as filtering and water movement. <Likely the same as
you'd need for any tank.> Will a foam filter be enough? <Not
at first, but perhaps after the tank is well established (I'm
assuming you'll use live rock?> Do I need a cover? <no>
Standard fluorescent light strip. <Should be enough> Any algae
needed like Caulerpa or Chaeto? <This would help.> If yes how
much light will I need to keep it growing. <VHO lighting might be
best.> Anything else to consider? <Depending on what type of
critters you want to keep... just make sure they're not all eating
each other. I think you're essentially setting up a hermit crab
species tank. Though, if it were me, I'd skip the hermits and make
an emerald crab tank (I have done this actually). And what will you
feed the tank?> I assume I can feed them the same as my fish.
<Probably yes, but feed less.> Thanks Sam <De nada, Sara
M.> <<Mmm, this was resp. to... in recent days.
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner