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dmatt56 06-22-2009 10:04 PM

Sponges and next tank mates?

I currently have a FOWLR 54 gal corner thank with the 2 clowns, 2 PJ cardinals, and a mandarin. I also have 2 chocolate starsfish, a fire shirmp, and 3-4 hermit crabs.

I would like to add some color to this "brown" tank w/o adding coral. Would sponges do well in this tank? I was thinking orange and red tree sponges. Could I add any other algae or marine plants?

I also want to start thinking about my next fish additions. How many more could I comfortably add to the tank? The PJ cardinals and clowns are good size fish. I'm looking for blue, red, and yellow fish additions.

How difficult is the flame angel? Does he require special food (tank currently gets mysis shrimp and there is plenty of algae growing on the rocks)? He would make the 6th fish.

Could I add 2 or 3 Banggai cardinals? The local fish store breeds them. (number now potentially 8)

The Yellow Goby is a yellow contender. How are Gobies in general? The Catilina Goby is very pretty too. Could I do one of each? :) (number now potentially 9/10)

What about a good blue fish? I love the pygmy angel and bi-color angel, but understand it's pygmy angel, flame angel, or bi-color (1 pygmy per tank). I think I'd like flame for red, but need a good blue suggestion - HELP! I'm thinking a little school of blue reef chromis (number now potentially 11-14). These are inexpensive and small - how many could I or should I have?

Likewise, I like to consider 3 to 5 Green Chromis would be cool to school in the tank. What would be better - school or blue reef or green chromis? How many of each?

Please don't get the wrong idea. I do understand that adding any fish is going to be a long, store, and careful process. I would like to add maybe a couple $10 fish (gobies or schools of chromis) before investing in the trophy fish (flame angel).

Likewise, I would like fish that will be very active, similar to the clowns. How do I encourage the fish to approach the front of the tank?

Would all of the fish mentioned here get along? What order should they be added? Which ones? I assume 10 - 12 fish max, correct - plus maybe some tiny chromis?

Please don't forget the first question, could I add some marine plants or sponges to my FOWLR setup?



Kellsindell 06-23-2009 06:48 AM

You could add some plants to the tank, but if you do, you will run the risk of it taking over and making it look very ugly. Calurpa is known for this. Also, you may purchase a fish that will eat it anyways and so it'll be a waste of money.

Sponges require some good lighting (not great) and they need a lot of flow. Also, they can not touch air because it'll cause them to suffacate.

Flames are great fish, but are known to be caught with cyanide and therefor die most of the time quickly. Cyanide can sometimes not show up until 3months later and kill the fish. So if you don't know what you are looking for, then i don't recommend this fish. You can only keep 1 angel fish in such a small tank. They are aggressive and will have issues as they get larger, this dosn't always apply, but better safe then sorry.

goby are great and they yellow are the only goby i really enjoy. catalina goby are cold water fish and they need to be in the 65-70F range, otherwise they will die in time.

pigmy sweepers are fish that need to be in a shole or school or single. The don't do well with 2-4 only and you need to get the female to male ratio down before you get them. This goes for chromis as well.

If you are going to add fish then you will need to add them over time so to keep from shocking the tanks cycle. 11-12 fish are too many and all these fish get close to 3-5in in a couple of years. I'd say 6-8 fish max and you need a sump and good skimmer otherwise you are going to have many issues down the road.

onefish2fish 06-23-2009 07:10 AM

there is no set number of fish. really its going to come down to using your best judgement and reading about sizes/compatibilities and feeding/territory patterns. it is best IMO to have a understocked tank then an overstocked one. for example, i have a 85 gallon reef with 40 breeder sump and a skimmer rated for 300 gallons, i currently have 5 fish. now if those were 5 reef sharks i would be overstocked up to my eyeballs, but if those 5 fish were a wrasse, a goby, clowns...... im not done stocking the tank but by no means am i in a rush, i also planned ( or atleast roughly planned ) how i was going to stock the tank and what was going to get added when and who gets added with who. i have no issues with aggression, nor do i have a nitrate reading even a few hours-day after a heavy feeding.

just to clear up what kels said about the sponges, if exposed to air they will starve to death, not sufficate. sponges feed from filtering particles from the water and if their tubes get air in them they clog and starve. if you do buy a sponge, be sure whoever bags it does it underwater, same thing goes for when you put it into your tank. im not sure if sponges health requires alk, mag and ca but i wouldnt be suprised if it did.

there are some macro algaes that wont grow to wild in your tank and some can actaully be very pretty that people pay money for a piece. i cant think of the name at the minute but theres a pink macro that IMO is really nice but uses up alot of either mag or ca to grow ( not sure which, but ultimately both )

i dont see the algae im talking about in this link but heres an example of some macros
Beyond the Refugium: A Macroalgae Primer by Sarah Lardizabal -

Kellsindell 06-23-2009 08:39 AM

That's what i ment, thanks Onefish, i'm at work :-P.

Do you mean the Kelp, Gracillaria or the red calurpa? If it's the calurpa, be aware that this is the type of algae i was talking about.

I have a 55g and only have 4 fish in there currently and the tank has been running for year next month. (I will be adding more, but not many large and not very quickly and please don't forget to quarantine all that you get)

onefish2fish 06-23-2009 02:39 PM

its not a calurpa kels, if memory serves me right.. it almost looks like a birdsnest.

dmatt56 06-23-2009 07:32 PM

How does the quarantine process work? The local fish store quarantines all store before selling them - 3 weeks I think.

So I currently have 2 clowns, 2 PJ cardinals, and a mandarin. I also have 2 chocolate starsfish, a fire shirmp, and 3-4 hermit crabs.

Would any of them have issues with the flame angel, Banggai cardinals, Yellow Goby, green chromis, or blue chromis and each of these together? In addition to these ideas, what other fish should I consider adding in lieu to some of them?



onefish2fish 06-23-2009 09:11 PM

QT involves putting a fish in a seperate tank with as close to the main tanks conditions. usually bare bottom with a piece or two of PVC pipe for them to hide and a small powerhead/hang on filter. while in the QT fish are observed for health and eating patterns. i would QT for ATLEAST 3 weeks safer at 4.

youve listed alot of fish for a 54 gallon tank. can you remind me again if you have a sump/skimmer? and the brand/model of it please.

if you are adding more cardinals please only buy captive bred specimens. these fish are on the endangered list ( or atleast very close to it ) due to overharvesting with poor techniques. personally i would add 3 more cardinals, then the yellow goby a few weeks to a month later, then the last thing a few months later would be the flame and the tank would be stocked IMO.

dmatt56 06-23-2009 09:43 PM


You've been amazing at providing feedback - THANK YOU!!!!

Yes, I do have a sump. I'm not sure the brand/model, but I'll find that.

Yes, these cardinals will be coming from the local fish store. He's been breeding them for a while - probably over 50 throughout the store!!

Should I be at all concerned about my fish having ick? These have been in the same aquarium for a while now. They've been through quite a bit of stress from the move, but everyone seems happy/healthy. They're all eating and no signs. If they haven't exhibited ick, they can't magically get it since it's a parasite, correct?


onefish2fish 06-23-2009 09:59 PM

no problem.
so you have a sump and no skimmer?
some say its always present others say it has to be introduced. ich has life stages where it can be in the water, come in on live rock, fish and so forth. giving a well rounded diet to your fish and using selcon/garlic or something to increase the nutrition value of the food is a good idea. use a mixture of different foods, feed a small amount ever few days and if its frozen food pre-rinse it using tank water/RO water with a fine mesh net a few times until the water runs clear from it. frozen foods tend to have high phosphates if you dont pre-rinse. stress will increase the chances of a fish getting ich but feeding a well balanced diet will increase their chances of not having issues. some fish dont have slime coats and are more prone to ich, like tangs but since your tank is only 54 gallons you dont have to worry about that.

dmatt56 06-24-2009 07:27 PM

Will I want to perform the partial water change before or after adding new fish to the tank? Will I change the blue/white filter at the same time as the water change? Likewise, how often will I change the carbon filter?

How long should I wait to add new fish. With this tank being so well established, will 1 week be enough or perhaps 2?

The LFS is a specialty reef shop (SALTWATER FISH, CORALS, INVERTS, LIVE ROCK, AQUARIUMS,GLEN BURNIE,MD.). They monitor their fish carefully and won't sell anything in less than 3 days. I will be okay without quarantining their fish, right?



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