Need your help stocking a FOWLR!


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Hey folks! I've always been a strict reef guy so have never really looked too closely at fish-only kinds of fish and their requirements. I have just set up a tank for a friends' bar, however, and I need some help coming up with a good stocking scheme. You all's input would be much appreciated!
Here's the set-up:

It's a 210 RR (6L' X 2W' X 30H") with two overflows; 4-1" drains and 2-1" returns. I have 3 drains plumbed to a Oceanic Systems 250 sump full of bioballs (never used those before!), and one drain feeds a Turboflotor 5000 shorty skimmer, which drains to the sump as well. I also will install a phosban reactor to run carbon and a turbotwist 18W UV sterilizer next week. The return pump is an off-brand 1/2 hp pressure pump and does the trick quite adequately.

Also, there's about 200lbs of LS and 165lbs of nice Tonga LR in it already. Lots of caves and places to hide. Lighting is 2 6ft VHO's, one actinic and one daylight (URI). Lights and heaters are controlled with a ReefkeeperII.

So here's what I need to decide:

1) should I go with a community FOWLR, or an aggressive FOWLR?
2) what fish should I put it in?

They have expressed some interest in an eel (like a zebra moray) and some other very colorful and flamboyant fish (think volitans). But I also was thinking that I would like this tank to have lots of inverts in it, and I'll explain why:

I was talking to the owner of the bar, who is also a school teacher, and I was showing him all the cool worms and brittle stars and snails that came in on the live rock (it was from an established reef breakdown), and he asked me to send him a list so of things like that so that he could make drawings of all of them to post next to the tank, and make it a game for kids to try and identify them in the tank (it's family style dining, too, and there are lots of kids). So that gave me the idea that I should pack it full of inverts, too, and put fish in there that are invert-safe.

So what do you think? Can you toss in some ideas for stocking and provide some reasoning. I'm in need of a quick education! Thanks!

(BTW, if you are ever in Decatur, please check out the tank at Twain's (corner of church and trinity) and tell me what you think. Mobius, the rock looks incredible!)
I think you should put in a Hawaiian Dragon Moray Eel. I would also put in a Gold Heart Trigger and possibly a Lion fish or some other aggresive fish.
any time I imagine a FOWLR, I picture all the fish that I cant keep in my reef. Angel, butterfly, lion, puffer etc. They just so happen to be some of the easier identifiable fish (from an outside-the-hobby perspective).
Is a 210 too small for a zebra moray? And what do they mean exactly by tightly sealed lid?
A 210 isn't too small for a zebra moray. What they mean is that there is no way that the eel can escape through openings in the hood.
From my line of work Ive setup tons of FOWLR tanks and it always comes to the people want the fish with more "personality" and the fish that everyone can see across the room. Everyone goes crazy for a fat little bubbly eyed puffer...more often than not the $40 puffer will get tons more attention than the $150 fairy wrasse in the tank next to it.
Other than that I like Bryans idea of the Hawaiian Dragon....I want one soo bad, but Zebras are really cool too and they can be housed with other eels.
I may be a bit biased,since i own one,but i have a goldentail and a jeweled eel that are much cooler (IMO) looking then a zebra eel.Not exactly Invert safe though.Just make sure whatever eel he buys that the fish with them are big enough to not be eaten.Some big angels,puffers,lionfish,triggers, etc..would be awesome. Thats what im going to have in my 500.
Good advice, all. Even though the poll is leaning toward community style, I think fishybusiness has a good point, and the experience to back it up. That said, what inverts can I place in a tank with a puffer, a lionfish, an eal, and an angel? Will cleaner shrimp, snails, and crabs be devoured?
Most inverts if not all will be devoured at some point.I have good success with Starfish thats about it.I used to think that Large enough hermit crabs will survive but i have proven myself wrong on several occasions.I have actually had better luck with small blue leg hermits and astrea snails,i guess they are small enough to kind of hide in the rocks and stay out of site.But they will need to be replinished often.
With that type of setup all the inverts would eventually be devoured. In one set up thats been running for about 4 years there are still some blue legs left from the very beginning (though its rare to see them). Everything else that we have tried only lasted for a short period of time. Also those pesty little asterina sp. </em>starfish are awesome to throw into FOWLR systems and the people love them...until they get eaten. I just pick them out of the reefs and throw them in there and give em a little bit more of a chance.
For a display tank and an attension getting fish the PP is the way to go! Add some schooling fish and some really bright colored fish such as a Blue/Yellow Tang and some interesting inverts and it will be an excellent addition to any bar!
Funny you should mention it, just added the first two tangs today! So far, here's the list of what's in the tank, in order of appearance:

Flame Angel
Scribbled Rabbit Fish
2 Engineer Gobies (one is sickly, though...)
4" Koran Angel (Juvi)
4" Kole Tang
3" Sailfin Tang
2 Skunk Cleaner shrimp
5 Emerald Crabs
3 Peppermint Shrimp
45 Scarlet Hermits
45 Blue Legs
45 Astrea snails
25 Nessarius snails
5 Fighting Conchs
2 Chocolate Chip starfish
1 Brittle star
Sally Light Foot
Decorator Crab
Miscellaneous snails that got tossed in with the others (nerrite, cerith, etc)

So far, everything is looking and doing great! I'd love folks from Decatur to go over to Twain's and check it out.
Will do. The tank went through some disease where they almost lost the Koran, and did lose the Kole Tang, Flame angel and Engineer Goby. But that was a while back and lately the fish have been doing great. It's been hard for me to take care of, since I live in Macon and the tank is in Decatur, but I get out there enough to stay on top of everything. I've since added a Naso tang, watchman goby (took a ride through the sump and got chewed up in the return pump), lemonpeel angel, heniochus butterfly, and a solar fairy wrasse. I'll try to get some pics of the fish next week when I'm there. It's funny, but now that I finally have my own tank up and running in my living room, I'm a little less motivated to be there twice a week!

Man, this is an old thread...
tsciarini;15682 wrote: any time I imagine a FOWLR, I picture all the fish that I cant keep in my reef.
This echoes my sentiments exactly. If you do FOWLR, take advantage of the fact that you don't have corals to protect.

Set up a side tank with some salt-acclimated mollies to feed the lion and eel.

Of course, I see now that this is an old thread. :D
tsciarini;15682 wrote: any time I imagine a FOWLR, I picture all the fish that I cant keep in my reef. Angel, butterfly, lion, puffer etc. They just so happen to be some of the easier identifiable fish (from an outside-the-hobby perspective).

Agreed! Maybe throw a Green Bird Wrasse in there. I like these.... they are continuously all over the place swimmin around like they are looking for something they have lost.