By Bob Goemans
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Bob Goemans corresponds with Jacques Tayar

Jacques Tayar writes...

Hi Bob,

With the help of your website "Aquarium Library" I am planning the population of a 400L tank (105 US gallons) with 50 kg of live rock and a skimmer. Amongst the top ten best Butterfly Fishes you quote "Chaetodon lunula" and "Forcipiger flavissimus." For the first one you write: "Can be kept with members of its own species (add all at one time) and/or other family members." For the second one you do not write same, but add only "One per tank."

Would it be sensible to try two or three of each (all at one time)?

Also, would you be kind enough to send me the ISBN of your book the 'The Marine Fish Health and Feeding Handbook,' as without that it might be very difficult to get in France.

Also, what is your opinion about adding 5 or 6 Pomacentrus alleni - is more possible?

Thanks for your help,

Jacques Tayar

North of Paris


Bob replies...

Hi Jacques,

Thanks for the email, and let me first answer your questions surrounding the use of the damselfish Pomacentrus alleni, which is called the Andaman Damsel. Its better maintained in small groups, such as 5 or 6 and does better in peaceful tanks without aggressive tankmates.

As for the Raccoon butterflyfish, it's quite hardy and likes to retired at night in cave-like areas, and yes, more than one can be maintained in the same aquarium. But in a small aquarium, such as yours, would suggest no more than two, and only one of Forcipiger flavissimus, as they are often aggressive to their own species. I would consider 6 damsels, and three butterflies the max bioload for your size aquarium.

The Marine Fish Health & Feeding Handbook, ISBN 978-1-890087-95-1.

Did you take note that my website contains translation software? Wondering how it handles the French language!



Hi Bob

About your translation software - You have to take into account that English is not my native language and my translation is not professional-like, but anyway the software you use is a bit scary! Kidding aside, it will be a help for a French aquarist who is poor in English when he/she looks at the genuine text, but I am afraid it should not be used stand-alone. Do not worry at this problem, as Google translations are not really better.

You told me that 6 damsels and 3 butterflies make the max bioload for a 105 gallon tank. "Max" looks like a red traffic light to me. Do you mean that it would be wiser to keep to six damsels and two butterflies?

Best regards


Bob replies...

Hi Jacques,

Thanks for the reply, and as to fish-load, the 6 damsels and 3 butterflies is a bioload I would not exceed, however, less is always better in the long run yet not necessary in your case. But 'bioload' usually dictates the level of success one will have with their aquarium!

I suggest going to to check their supply of my book.




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