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Aquarium Advice Freak
Mar 12, 2004
Orange County, CA
I'm a newbie and I'm just looking for any advice I can get. I just got started with a saltwater tank 5+ months ago. I thought I researched it enough, but now I feel I'm in over my head. I've got a very friendly LFS, but I don't know if he's talked me into too much.

Here's my setup:
I've got a 25 gallon acrylic tank with an Eclipse 2 hood. I upgraded the lights to 55 watts (they are set to a timer for 8-10 hours a day). I've got a Hagen Powerhead 201 (for extra current in the middle back of the tank- it's suggested for up to a 20 gallon tank), 25-35 pounds of LR, live sand and of course a heater. I've got a Sea Clone 100 protein skimmer that I'm going to install in the next day or two. My setup is largely at the suggestion of my LFS (the protein skimmer was at my inquiry).

My nitrites, ammonia and Ph are good, but my nitrates have been in the 60-80+ ppm for the last week or two. I've been doing partial water changes the last 3 weeks to get them under control, but that only helps temporarily. I'm hoping the protein skimmer will take care of this problem.

Here's my inhabitants:
Pardon my newbieness with the names (I'm going by what my LFS calls them). I've got 2 Dominoe damsels (about 3 inches long), 2 yellow-tailed blue damsels (about 2 inches long), 2 clowns (I'm pretty sure ocellaris) (about 2 and 1-1/2 inches long), and a small blue tang (about 1-1/2 inch).

I also have a bubble-tip anemone (which both clowns have taken to (and one of the dominoes once in a while)), a cleaner shrimp, a fire shrimp, a turbo snail, an emerald crab, a blue-legged hermit and a purple nudibranch (or is it a sea slug?).

All the inhabitants seem to get along well. The cleaner attends to the dominoes once in a while. I feed the fish twice a day- frozen brine in the morning and flake (algae with garlic added) in the evening. Perhaps this is too much. They gobble everything up in a couple of minutes. I feed the anemone silversides (two 1/4 inch pieces) every 2 or three days (unless the cleaner steals it from him).

My questions are: Do I have too much in my tank? Is my hardware adequate? I've got a friendly LFS, but I'm not sure if he is allowing me to overload my tank. Do you have any suggestions for additions or subtractions? Can you have too many invertebrates (or support inhabitants) for a tank? Do I have any potential enemies in my tank?

I was reluctant to get a saltwater tank. My wife wanted one and I thought it would be fun. I thought I researched it enough, but I think I'm in over my head. I knew it was going to be an investment, but not this much (I don't have a problem with it, though). I love it now, but I don't want to kill anything off. Any advice, suggestions or reprimands are appreciated. Thanks in advance!
I'm thinking it may be cramped quarters in there. I have a 29 gal tank and when the time comes I should only have 3-5 at the most in my tank. (Mind you I am fairly new at this too). In your tank I would think it would be a fish or 2 less. Right now you have approx. 15 inches worth of fish in your tank. If you or the LFS store are using the inch per gallon rule it doesn't really apply in SW.

As for hardware I would be interested in what everyone has to say about your lights and water movement in your tank. I think you may want to add a tad more current in your tank.

Everyone in your tank get seem to be compatible. Are your clowns getting along? I always thought you had use caution when having two of the same breed in the tank, since they had a tendency to be aggresive against there own kind (unless a mating pair).

That is all I can comment about (or am confident in). I'm sure you will get more educated answers from the others.
My clowns are getting along well. Actually, I lost one of my first pair. He was smaller than the other one and didn't eat as well. I didn't really see it coming when he was found dead in the morning. My wife had to have another clown and now they are doing fine together (much to my surpise).
and the bubble-tip anemone i do not think will last vary long in that tank. you might want to upgrade your lighting more before he dies. and if you nitrates are high that anemone will not last vary long either. just as a head up most people waite about a year before they add an anemone for that reason.
I personally don't think you are going to get your NO3 under control with that much livestock in a 25 gallon tank (likely 20 gallons after displacement) even if you fed them once a week. IMO for a 5 month old tank that kind of load would need a minimum or 75 gallon, 100+ would be ideal. Unless you want to do a large water change every day I would upgrade the tank or downgrade the load. If it was me I would reduce fish down to 3, and do a 50% change every week until the nitrates are back around 10 - 15. You definately want to find someone who will take the anemone off your hands or see if the LFS will give you credit as it will likley not survive due to your lighting and NO3 levels. Best of luck, and keep us posted!
My protein skimmer is in break-in mode and my nitrates are coming down (Imo not because of skimmer).

Can I get any more light into my eclipse 2 hood? I was told by my lfs that this is the best I could do.

I'm going to upgrade the powerhead and I guess I overestimated the amount of lr. I'm going to take care of both today.
I think your fish load is too high as well. All of these fish, with the exception of the yellow tail damsels, are going to grow. The tang...I'm going to hazard a guess that it's a hippo...can get 12" long. I think you will have trouble with the anemone due to the lighting and the water parameters. It's best to have a mature tank before adding an anemone. Your clowns will be fine without it. It does sound like you have ocellaris clowns...they typically will get along with each other. Most other clowns will not. Basically, with the exception of the anemone, I think you'll be OK for a little while as long as you stay on top of water changes and keep the nitrates at a reasonable level. I would recommend looking into at least a 75gal tank if you want to keep all the fish you have and the tang will likely outgrow that in time. JMHO.
Thanks for the advice. Are there signs can I look for regarding the anemone and his state of happiness?

The tang is a Regal Tang.

I just added a new powerhead and little more liverock.

Do invertebrates add to the load on a tank? Is there a limit?

I really would like to do what's best for the fish, but my wife is really partial to the anemone and the clowns. Anything I can do to keep them all happy?

Thanks again.
no inverts do not add to the bioload. well they do but do not factor them in to the 1" per 5 gal. that should be used for fish. so you can have as many snails hermit crabs and shrimp as you want.
if the wife is partial to the clowns why dont you take the damsels back the the lfs that would help the bioload. that would leave you with 3 fish the anemone, i would take that back too. i did what you did and 3 months in got one and it died just like everyone said :( but it was too late. you could always talk the wife in to a biger tank or another one the same size, use them as endtables at each end of the couch or some thing. lol. good luck,
I guess I didn't realize I had gotten the anemone when the tank was only 2 months old. Again, my lfs said, "fine" or at least something that sounded like that with an accent. I've had it now for 4 months.

What if I went to a nanocube for the anemone? Would I be able to support it and the two clowns? What would I need to add to the cube to handle them?

I'm thinking about upgrading my main tank, but I don't have the space to have the 25 gallon and another larger tank and I've spent a lot of money on the 25 gallon already with all its size specific hardware (skimmer, lights, powerheads, heater). (I'm not against spending money, I knew that going in- in fact I would love to spend a lot more.)

I now wish I had done more research on sizes of fish than just ask my lfs. Thanks for all the help.
The tang needs a much larger tank, at least, if the only fish, 55-75 gallons. Take him out and you are probably fine. Sounds like a cool tank, but i would add 15 lbs of live rock at least. Check the parameters a lot, especially with the anenome. You got to get rid of one of the damsel pairs. The tank will be overstocked at some point. (soon) i'd get rid of the dominoe's. skip the emerald crab
I now have about 40 pounds of lr. What's wrong with the emerald crab? He barely does anything as it is. He's got a favorite crevice that only he can slide into.

Levels are looking good for now. The skimmer is finally kicking in.
Where abouts in the OC are you from? What LFS have you been going to? my gf and i have been around to pretty much every LFS in this county and could help you out with the best prices and advice giving. many LFS around here just want to sell you anything and everything so when it dies/breaks, you'll have to go back and buy another.

about the bio load, i agree it is a bit much. i also agree i'd get rid of the damsels first. are the blue damsels harassing your tang at all? mine ended up killing my regal, thats when i decided it had to go (back to the LFS). now i just have a small yellow tang.
I've got no problems with atmosphere in my tank. The dominoes will chase each other and the blue damsels once in a while, but none of the fish bother the tangs or the clowns (or vice-versa).

It was interesting when I got the tang, he wanted a corner that one of the blues had and the blue let him know it. The tang didn't give up at all and now they all share.

What was the caution, Duaman, about the emerald crab?
Update on my tank. I passed the dominoes on to a friend. The clowns and bta have their own 12 gal nano. That leaves the other two damsels and the tang (who is about 2 inches right now). I added a protein skimmer (SeaClone 100) and am looking into a 20 gal sump.

How does my tank look now? How much size of a tank does the tang need now? The tang will get a tank upgrade in the future.
of coarse I am new but if dead fish and anemonie count I got some exp my anemonie kept sucking himself inside, I had to little LR and I quess to little light, can you get refug , or sump this would double water capacity, hid your skimer, provid pods, could get double LR and snad, as well as bio balls, I wonder if nitrate is coming from over feeding. Does this happen, I have seen most say they feed every other not twice a day
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