Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 8:47 am Post subject: marine life for beginners-the good,the bad and the ugly!
we seem to have a lot of people interested in marines here at IAH and many of us have stocking and compatibility questions..this thread aims to provide a list of many of the commonly offered fish and inverts in india which are not for beginners..
i am starting this thread because buying an unsuitable organism not only results in heartbreak and monetary loss but also affects the reef from which these orgainsms come..
so here goes the list...
require lots of lighting,pristine water quality,short lived in captivity and yes..your clowns will be happy even without one
difficult even for expert keepers..need phytoplanktion-IMO not worth the trouble
can take poison the entire tank if spooked killing all the organisms
need constant phytoplankton feeding,do not travel well
some small species are suitable but many grow too large eating your corallinae algae and many even hurt you
these are banned!if that doesnt stop you from trying them..they require supplementation of trace elements,intense lighting and good water quality
can be tried only after some experience is gained with more hardy organisms
many are suitable additions to your tank but some of the species ive seen in stores can eat your inverts-be sure of the species before buying
bad choice for your tank because they can eject ink and kill your tank inhabitants..also escape very easily
these fish look gorgeous,but not suited for beginners because they need a big tank and are difficult to get to feed even for experts
buy only if you see them feeding at the store....many species are coral eaters and will not survive in your tank
many get too big for a beginners tank...having a small tank and hoping your koran or blue ring will adjust to the tank size is a very bad idea!
Should you have a large tank(atleast 150 gal) and have good water quality they are great to have.Even the dwarf angels shouldnt be crowded in too small a tank..they need lots of swimming space
so you have lots of algae in your 20gal tank and the guy at the store sold you a tang-bad choice!any tang requires atleast 75 gal and a supply of greens like macroalgae or seaweed..shoul you be able to provide these you can keep them happy
waste away in most tanks,removal of these fish from the wild affects the reef badly-please do not encourage trade in this species
lionfish are hardy fish but you need a large tank with an efficeint skimmer and a filter capable of handling lots of waste to keep them happy
that tiny polkadot might look great in the shop but hes gonna grow to more than a foot,eat your other fish and pollute your tank like crazy
many of the smaller varieties are alright but the bigger ones such as dominoes and sergeant mjors can terrorise your other fish
they get huge,escape through the smallest opening to their own death and can eat smaller fish
triggers and puffers
very aggressive period.need a large tank,lots of rock and no inverts should be present.should you be setting up a predator type fish only tank they are great fish to bring home
get too large,difficult to keep alive in captivity
that small guy may look cute but even these tiny guys can grow big!(18" sometimes).
difficult to feed as they prefer live foods.need a separate species tank as they will be harassed by other fish
ive just complied this list from researching in the net and talking to fellow hobbyists around the world for the past 4 years..anybody whod like to add more species to this list please go ahead
before you buy!
if you like a fish or invert at the dealer's tank do not buy it on impulse!
post a thread here or on any other good forum giving your entire tank details including light,filtration,gallonage,current inhabitants etc.
if you get a favourable reply then you can plunk down your cash on that specimen..this way a lot of undesirable loss can be avoided
another common mistake made by beginners is to get a juvenile specimen hoping to upgrade to a larger tank as it grows..if you ask me this is a bad idea cos marine tanks are expensive and a huge 180 gal cannot be setup just like that!constraints such as space and budget may prevent such an upgrade at later stage and your inhabitants suffer for it.
my list of species above reflects my opinion and may be unacceptable to some dealers who would like you to believe that that gorgeous anemone will survive with one single fluorescent bulb and that the butterflyfish you have your heart on can thrive on simple flake food!please do not support such dealers because what we choose to have or not have in our tanks has a direct impact on the reefs..we do not want to destroy the reefs do we?
so please choose well to ensure that both you and the organisms in your care are happy
hope you are not disappointed by the long list....there are quite a few species that are suitable for beginners(thank goodness!)
if anyones interested i can also make a list of the suitable species
hope this helps..if even one person reads this list and resists an impulse to buy a species that is almost certainly doomed to die,i think this list would have served its purpose
Last edited by pironya on Wed May 24, 2006 11:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
Nice post / info and after having kept a marine for more than a year I can vouch for the fact that everything mentioned in the article is bang on.
and hey i like the signature of yours..should have been another hot tip that got left out in my first post...
all of us would definitely be better off knowing that only bad things in a marine tank happen fast..patience wins in marine aquarium keeping!
another fact is that following as natural a method as possible for maintaining your tank is the best bet..i mean avoid adding high tech gadgetry and pouring a cocktail of additives into your tank when simple live rock,protein skimming and partial wcs will do!
keep it simple - your pocket and your tank will be much happier that way!
however when i say simple it doesnt mean that one can overstock the tank and skimp on water changes while running only a simple ug filter!
i meant that live rock and a skimmer and frequent water changes are good enough to keep most marine systems thriving-you dont need ozonisers,uv sterilizers,calcium reactors,canister filters,denitrators,chillers etc except in special cases or advanced systems
ps:i'd like to see more members contributing to this thread and add their input also!
Nice article. Keep up the good work. One more thing.... the more you give, the more you have to give...
With this list of aquatic life not to keep, and the next list of aquatic life for beginners, how about a list of fishes with behavior patterns...
please note: I'm looking for aggresive fishes ....
thanks for the great feedback
im definitely interested in sharing all the info i can with the others..like author robert fenner says...
"marine aquarium keeping is still part science,part art or craft and part voodoo"
and i think most of us are absolutely amazed when beginning this hobby and unfortunately end up making the wrong decisions...trust me i have in the past 2 years crashed my tank twice,killed quite a few fishes and even bought an anemone that i know i shouldnt have!
and sharing knowledge among fellow hobbyists is definitely important esp in india where good knowledge seems hard to come by
now for my next list:
as i had promised im going to list out the species that are suitable for a beginner.this list is by no means exhaustive and i am also considering the cost while compiling this list because many beginners end up losing a lot of money in this hobby which i think is unnecessary
you will find that many of the families that i said are unsuitable in my previous post are listed here..i am listing them here because i am also giving the conditions and species which are suitable for beginners even in these families
tank setup and other info might be coming in a later thread...not decided yet but most probably id be writing it by this week
anyway here goes the suitable species list
the quintessential starter fish which have even been used for cycling the tank..damsels are nearly indestructible and make great first marine fish...their small size also makes them suitable for smaller beginners tanks
however,aggressiveness is a problem with this group and make sure you give lots of cover to prevent loss of damsels due to infigthing...some of the nastier species include the dominoes,sergeants and the humbugs
the smaller ones such as the blue damsels are also aggressive but dont do much harm because of their size
water quality can be less than other marines but i think good water quality will definitely result in better individuals..feeding is not a problem..accept flakes,frozen,freeze dried or fresh foods
these fish are related to the damsels and have gorgeeous iridescent coloration....unlike their cousins these are not aggressive and are one of the only marine fish that school in the aquarium..buy a group of 3 or 5 chromis for your aquarium as they are schooling fish and should not be kept alone
chromis are quite hardy and stay small enough even for a 20 gal tank
feeding is not a problem either..an ideal beginne fish
everyone knows clownfish are great beginner fish..they are good looking and are quite hardy...however beginners would be advised to make sure they select good quality clowns as i have seen that the wild caught clownfish in india suffer from diseases like brooklynella(clownfish disease) which is fatal
look for a fish that is alert,feeding and does not show any whitish patches or rapid breathing
clownfish can be kept in even 15 gallon tanks...some species like the percula and ocellaris are less agressive whereas the tomato and maroon clowns can be very nasty!so choose the species you want according to the tankmates
one important thing to be said here is that anemones are not necessary for clowns..you can even breed them without one...please dont buy an anemone if you do no have a proper system for it..your clowns will even ccept a bunch of rubberbands as a surrogate anemone and you can still enjoy watching the clown among the tentacles!
the so called pseudochromis...should be kept as pairs or as single individuals as they are very agressive and at the same time very hardy
they are brightly coloured and do not have any feeding problems...do no put these fish in a tank with timid species like cardinals,gobies or blennies
the dottybacks are jumpers-cover your tank
they are quite tiny-mostly only a couple of inces and can be had in a small tank..make sure you give lots of cover
these are tiny nocturnal fish that are great to watch after turning the tank lights off....do not keep them with more aggressive fish of fish large enough to eat them..require frozen or fresh food..wont thrive on flake
gobies and blennies
small interesting lively fish for the beginner...make sure you research the species before buying because some have special requirements like fine sand,hiding places etc
some blennies are nasty nippers and hence be careful of what you are getting
neon gobies can be used for cleaning parasites off fishes
wrasses are good hardy fish as long as you know the species you are getting and provide an adequate sized system for it...some wrasses stay small and are reef safe(fairy wrasse) while others can get huge and eat up all your fish and crustaceans
please avoid buying cleaner wrasses!
the dwarf species (fuzzy,fu manchu etc) can be kept in atleast a 40 gal tank
the larger volitans and radiata lions require atleast a 120 gal,efficient skimming,good skimming and freq water changes as they eat and defecate a lot
lions have huge mouths and will eat damsels,clowns or any other small fish..they do not harm inverts and require hiding places..esp if you have bright lights
these fish can sting you with their spines...be careful when handling dead or live specimens
lions should not be fed feeder goldfish as they can be trained to accept other meaty foods of marine origin..goldfish lessens the lifespan and causes water quality problems
they require lots of space as they are a group that cruise large areas of the ocean and do not do well when confined in a small space....atleast a 75 gal is a must for any tang..the stripes sailfins seen commonly in india can get to atleast 12" and need atleast a 120 gal
tangs are great herbivores and canbe used to get rid of algae in your tank..they also need meaty foods and seaweed should also be fed for good health
tangs require well oxygenated good water and will be the first to die if your water quality falls
this family is also prone to ich and quarantining is an absolute must!
and please stay off the powder blues..these seem to be very popular but are quite difficult to keep
tangs are called ich magnets and should be kept only after you have got a bit of experience and a large system
these are most of the beginner fishes that are reef safe...any clarifications please feel free to ask
coming soon...aggressive fish,non reef safe fish and inverts that are suitable for beginners..keep watching this space!
hope this helps
Last edited by pironya on Mon May 29, 2006 8:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
mmm..could add more info so that this thread can be made a sticky....i think this thread combined with aquascapes' thread on skimmers,fuges etc will be one nice info resource for beginners and experts alike!
lets see how it works out..i hope to add more beginner suitable species as i said in my previous post..i consciously gave less information in the unsuitable species list so that people do not try to keep such species just for novelty value and to be different from the rest
Joined: Dec 19, 2005 Posts: 2753 Location: Surat, Gujarat
Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 4:20 pm Post subject:
mmm..could add more info so that this thread can be made a sticky....
I agree! I would also urge you to upload some pictures of fish (let me know if you want any fishy pictures!)
so that people who are absolutely unaware of the fish can easily id the fish!
Very nice work buddy - keep it up!
the article idea was what struck me first...i decided to do the thred so that inouts from people with more experience in the hobby can also be included...
anyway as i hav already started the thread i think id better finsh it!
one more idea of mine (more like a dream) is to have a very small scale website for marine hobbyists in india...i think the website should have the database of all the marine aquarists along with extensive details of their tanks,fish and invert profiles written by indian marine hobbyists,as well as detailed articles on aspects like stocking,lighting,filtration,quarantine etc...
links to good marine sites and contact details of good quality lfs and livestock suppliers can also be included
this website will work very well in tandem with iah because we can continue to interact and learn through iah and at the same time have a one stop library like information trove on which we can always fall back on for any kind of info on marine keeping in india...the proposed site will provide lots of info which i feel is not readily available to marine hobbyists in india.
please share your thoughts about this idea of mine....it pains me to find that though we have many experienced hobbyists in india we have to refer foreign sites and books...so do tell me if you think this idea is alright or if you dont like it also pleae say so!
thanks for your patience
ps:this website,if made should in no way affect our participation in iah as this is where the forums are whereas the site will be more like a library
and yeah..i am currently working on the remainder of the beginners suitable species thread..watch this space for updates!
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