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newbie stocking questions
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.03(Mon)11:59    Post subject: newbie stocking questions Reply with quote

Hello Everyone Smile

Here is my deal, I have been successful at freshwater tropical fish keeping for about 6 months now. My hubby and I live in an apartment and have a 55g and a 20g. When we eventually purchase a house, we want to have several more tanks running. One of these tanks I would like to be a saltwater. I fell in love with the volitan lionfish. Yes, I realize that is NOT a begginer fish, hence why I am posting now. The lionfish would be at least 2 years in the future. But, in order for me to buy one and not be a begginer, I would like to start a smaller saltwater tank now so I can get the hang of it and be an "expert" when I have the right size tank for the lionfish (would 55 gallons be acceptable or would I need to think larger, 75? 125? even bigger?).
I read in one of the sticky posts that 30g is the smallest recommended size for a starter marine tank. My biggest question is what could I stock in that tank that would eventually (2 years down the road) be good tank mates for the volitan lionfish and be good starter fish? I have TONS of research to do before actually setting up the tank, but I want to know what fish to be looking into before I start the research mode (that's how my brain works, can't research without the end result in sight). I know once I have an idea of what fish I'm going to plan on getting, I'm going to have a million more questions, but I'll stick with that for now.

Thank you in advance for any insight Smile
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.03(Mon)13:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally don't have any experience with lions but it is recommended that you keep it in a tank of at least 55 gallons. Since they can grow to over 1'3 in size though and because they prefer live foods to frozen foods, I would actually recommend going bigger. The live food would make the tank a lot messier and could build up lots of ammonia and nitrate in water, both of which aren't good. I would personally recommend going bigger just because of those two reasons but that's just me.

As for suitable tankmates, any tankmate you get must be bigger than its mouth. Lions will eat absolutely anything that they can swallow whole. Any fish or invertebrate smaller than its mouth will be dinner. Also, since your lion will most likely be taking live foods more than frozen foods, it is best to keep the livestock to a minimum because of the ammonia/nitrate problem listed above.
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AquariumChicky
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Joined: 08 Jun 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.03(Mon)15:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want a Volitan Lionfish, I would recommend at least a 90 BECAUSE they are messy eaters, and need room to swim. I'm not quite sure of tankmates, but I have heard of people keeping larger Eel's with them. This is just MY opinion.

If YOU feel you would need more experience before trying your hand at the Volitan, I would say try a smaller tank with some tried and true hardy species. Some good beginners species I recommend are: Ocellaris Clowns, Firefish, Flame or Coral Beauty Angel, Bangaii Cardinal fish, and many others.

If you try a smaller tank with more hardy species, you will get the hang of testing water, working equipment, and gain knowledge. BUT, this is for if you think you need to.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.07.03(Mon)16:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barby, P. volitans will need at least (read minimum) a 6 foot tank at adult size, that's about 125 gal. The good news is, they are considered a hardy species as long as you understand the required husbandry and you can usually find a juvenile 1-2 inches which will be okay in a smaller system for a while... then you can always move it to bigger quarters later. There are also some dwarf lions that will remain smaller than P. volitans, but alas, not as spectacular IMHO.
Forget about mixing the lionfish with small species; they will always eventually end up as prey items. I suggest staying with smaller species until you have a larger system ready, plenty of hardy fish for you to choose.
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.04(Tue)13:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies! I have some follow up queries. I looked into the dwarf lionfish and I think I'd be just as happy with him as the volitan, and I think he'd work for my 55g if I decide to convert that to salt after I upgrade for my main fresh water. For the 30g "starter salt" tank I'm most likely going to get, I was looking at the ocillaris (or something! forgot how it was spelled!) clowns, getting a pair of those, and maybe one other fish and a couple invertabrates. Would those clowns if they were full grown be lunch for a dwarf lionfish? And, if I bought the dwarf lionfish (talking about the future in a larger tank, not the 30g) would it still require live food or could I do frozen if I got it as a juevenile and raised it on frozen? I bought myself a saltwater tank for dummies book to learn the terminology and differences between salt and fresh so I don't look like too much of an idiot when I ask future questions Smile
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AquariumChicky
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PostPosted: 2006.07.04(Tue)14:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dwarf Lion I'll leave to the experts.

If you decide to get a small tank (the 30gal) and you want to get a pair of Ocellaris Clowns, try to get them in different sizes. Like, one small, and the other medium. That way, the bigger one will turn into a female. Just a suggestion though. I will leave the rest of the stocking issues to the experts.

Some other books I highly recommend are:(For a Fish Only With LR)

The Complete Encyclopedia of the Saltwater Aquarium (Nick Dakin)
Explains about setting up an aquarium and gets into more detail of the fish than the New Marine Aquarium book. Downside. Does not list many species.

The New Marine Aquarium
Explains about setting up an aquarium and tells about different fish family's. (Clowns, Gobies, Lions, etc.) Downside. Does not go into detail of the different fish.

Marine Fishes
Talks about many different species, they're needs, suitability to aquariums, and they're size.

Some other books I highly recommend are: (For a reef aquarium)

The Reef Aquarium Vol. 1 + 2
Explain corals, and they're needs, and such. Often referred to as "The Reef Aquarists Bible."
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.07.04(Tue)17:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barby Girl wrote:
Thanks for the replies! I have some follow up queries. Would those clowns if they were full grown be lunch for a dwarf lionfish?

Yes, they will if the Lion can fit them in its mouth and believe me he will try. Please abandon the notion of mixing small fish with any Lionfish or other predators.

Barby Girl wrote:
And, if I bought the dwarf lionfish (talking about the future in a larger tank, not the 30g) would it still require live food or could I do frozen if I got it as a juevenile and raised it on frozen?

Lionfish do not require live food; this is a myth and it's actually much safer/better to use frozen... even picky predators can be weaned over to a variety of chopped/frozen foods and this should be the standard procedure... unfortunately goldfish and other FW feeder fish have killed many Lionfish and are still sold to ignorant hobbyists.
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AquariumChicky
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PostPosted: 2006.07.04(Tue)17:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a little tip. I read to help get predatory fish weaned to frozen, you can put it on a feeding stick and wiggle it around to imitate live food.
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Barby Girl
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PostPosted: 2006.07.04(Tue)19:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

FloridaBoy wrote:

Yes, they will if the Lion can fit them in its mouth and believe me he will try. Please abandon the notion of mixing small fish with any Lionfish or other predators.


I guess the question I'm really trying to ask is, how large would a tank mate have to be with the dwarf lionfish to NOT be a snack, that question is really more to the point. Then I can look just at fish of that size and figure what would be appropriate for the 30g. I found info on how large dwarf lions get, my antiquated generic aquarium book, with little actual info but lots of pretty pictures, says they'll get between 5-10 inches, closer to 5 in captivity, but does not actually say how large their mouths are.

The more research I'm doing, the more I'm thinking I'll eventually need two SW tanks if I'm going to be able to have everything I want (just like I needed a second FW tank, and I'll STILL need another one of those in the future to finish off my "want" list). In researching I think I want to try a reef tank, which would never work with the lionfish (if my understanding of my research is correct). Maybe I'll keep the 30 as a reef tank and worry about a lion friendly environment when I have space for another larger aquarium. I think I've caught multi-tank syndrome big time Smile

While I'm posting, quick probably stupid question... Is the beneficial bacteria in a freshwater tank the same as that in a saltwater tank? Could I use my freshwater filter media to seed the SW tank? I have not gotten into the specifics of the nitrogen cycle in a SW tank yet, but I'm curious about that.
Thanks!
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Michael L.
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Joined: 20 Nov 2005
Location: Nanaimo, B.C, Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.04(Tue)20:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

The freshwater bacteria dies in salt water. I tried it, even though I knew it wouldn't work. Guess what... It doesn't work. Laughing It is easier to just start from scratch.


The good thing is, it is all the same concept between SW and FW, so the nitrogen cycle is easy to understand if you have already kept freshwater fish.
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