heres the list of non reef safe fish that can do well for beginners with a few months of experience with damsels,clowns etc...by non reef safe i mean the species that will eat or harm your invertebrates(anemones,snails,worms,shrimp etc).
most of the butterflies require pristine water quality and specialised feeding...try the butterflies only after you have gained some experience and your water quality is good..you do not want to put these fish in algae covered tanks which have smelly water!
butterflies are mostly timid fish and may be harassed by more aggressive fish.they require larger systems (atleast 50gal) and like some open swimming spaces as well as places to hide.butterflies are easier to keep in a tank that has live rock compared to a tank which has only artificial decor as they like the natural food from the rock.butterflies will eat anemones,corals,tubeworms,featherdusterworms etc..do not keep with invertebrates
make sure that the butterfly is feeding at the store before you buy it..most of the problems with this group are related to feeding.
know the species of butterfly before you buy it as some commonly offered ones like blue spots and eight bands may not do well in all tanks..the wimple fish(poor man's moorish idol),threadfin and pakistani butterfly are the easier to kep members of this group
the larger angels(genus Holocanthus and Pomacanthus) require huge tanks..though stores may have blue ring angels and koran angels in small tanks you should not do the same..150 gallon is the minimum size of tank..even this may be considered too small for a 12" adult!
this group should also be tried only after you have gained some experience as they are quite expensive.seeing the individual feed before bringing it home is again very important as they also suffer from feeding related problems..give your angel varied diet like algae,clams,sea fish,mussels etc and you will be rewarded with a large long lived beautiful and intelligent fish.the large angels change body coloration from juvenile to adult..dont be surprised if your juvenile koran with beautiful rings transforms into a brownish spotted adult!some people have angels in reef tanks but it is upto you to take the risk..some may leave inverts alone while others may gobble them up in no time.
this group requires extensive research before buying as most are too difficult to keep for the beginner though they may be easily available...the koran,blue ring and smoke angel(indian yellowtail) are widely available,hardy and also relatively inexpensive
can be expensive as they are not locally available and should be imported..recommended to be kept with live rock as they do not do well in fish only systems..these angels,as can be known from their name,stay small (upto 4") and can be kept even in a 40 gal tank...most are gorgeously coloured and easy to keep provided you dont have any inverts like anemones which they may eat..some of the good choices in this group include the coral beauty and the flame angel
these interesting fish can make great additions to your tank provided you provide a perch like rock on which they will lay still till a food item passes by....that is why they are called hawks...this sedentary type of behaviour might be boring to some as they spend most of their time staying in the same place waiting for food
they may eat crustaceans like crabs and shrimps as well as other fish small enough to fit into their large mouths..can get upto 5" mostly..a tank of atleast 40 gallon would be good
hope this helps
Last edited by pironya on Mon May 29, 2006 8:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
heres the beginners' aggressive fish list...these fish are quite hardy but require well oxygenated,well filtered and large systems in addition to the proper foods..having these fish in a small tank will cause you hardship in terms of deteriorating water quality and hardship to the fish in terms of stunted development due to cramped habitat...ask yourself if you definitely want these kind of fish as you will not be able to have any smaller,less aggressive fish or inverts with them.
said to be the meanest fish in any kind of aquarium,triggers vary from the comparitively small at 12" to the large species at 3feet plus and from the more docile to the unimaginably aggressive!triggers may bite you,your other fish,your rocks,your powerhead lines,your heater,your plumbing,your cat..the list goes on.be careful with these fish around!
triggers like large tanks(atleast 75 gal for the smallest..depends on species..again,research helps here) with lots of rock in which they will hide..these are intelligent fish and capable of learning from experience..a good aqua dog but they will bite the hand that feeds them.most trigger species are quite hardy and trouble free as long as you dont put them with timid fish or in a small tank..any food of marine origin can be given to triggers..some nori(seaweed) can also help..giving them mussels or clams with the shell will help them exercise their teeth
puffers are called so because they puff up by taking in large quantities of water in order to ward off predators...some smaller species like the tobies(Canthigaster sp.) can be kept in even 40 gallon tanks whereas the larger species like atleast a 75 gal.
do not expose your puffer to air or force it to puff up as this may lead to problems due to trapping of air inside its body which might cause it discomfort.
puffers will not leave any invertebrate alone..they might also nip the fins and take bites off other fish..choose their tankmates with care! like in the case of triggers,puffers can also bite your powerhead lines,heaters etc..so place these carefully in puffer tanks...all meaty foods are accepted.make sure you feed lots of clams or mussels or other kinds of shellfish as the shells help trim down their evergrowing teeth...if you ignore this part your puffer's teeth will grow to such an extent that it is not able to eat any food..such a condition will require dental surgery where the overgrown teeth are trimmed using a file..
choose only the smaller species like snowflake morays.the commonly offered honeycomb moray can be kept only if you have a large tank(atleast a couple of hundred gallons).morays require hiding spaces in which they spend most of their time..they will eat any small fish and hence tankmates should be chosen considering the adult size of your moray.
make sure your system has a tight fitting hood as many a moray has been lost due to escaping through the tiniest hole through which it can squeeze its body...feed meaty foods only once or twice a week to keep your moray healthy and to prevent water deterioration
these large predators are more suited to the dining table but if you want to keep them here are a few tips...groupers require large(atleast 180 gallons) systems as they get huge and produce lots of waste..a good protein skimmer,efficient bio filtration,proper gravel vacuuming and proper feeding will ensure healthy groupers..these fish as also the morays can be fed with meaty marine foods pierces onto a feeding stick...these fish can gobble up damsels,dwarf angels,clowns etc in no time..should be kept only with larger fis like eels,surgeons etc
these are the commonly offered aggressive fish..i am not sure if barracudas,sharks,rays etc are offered in india but but if they are do not try to keep them in home aquariums
here goes the beginners' invertebrates list..invertebrates are more sensitive to bad water wuality..do not add any medications to your tank if you have any invertebrate or live rock in it.invertebrates should be added to a new tank only after it is completely cycled.invertebrates appreciate atleast some amount of live rock and hiding places where they can feel secure.many inverts are eaten by or eat the commonly kept fish so make sure you know what you are getting
the most commonly kept are the turbo snails which are excellent algae eaters..these will eat up all the algae on the glass and rocks and improve the look of your aquarium..as many as one turbo snail per 5 gallons of water can be kept..overcrowding snails may result in deaths due to starvation..make sure you know what species of snail you are getting as some species are dangerous to you and to other livestock
these are great algae eaters and detrivores..they eat up unwanted algae and uneaten food thereby helping you maintain good water quality...provide adequate empty shells for the hermit crabs as they move into bigger shells as they grow..some of the suitable species are the blue legged and the red legged hermits..some may eat your coralline algae or other invertebrates if they do not get enough food
serpent starfish are a kind of starfish which help in cleaning up the tank..these can be kept provided you provide them with a dark cave to hide during the day as they are nocturnal..of the regular starfish the blue starfish(Linckia) and the orange starfish(Fromia) are good choices.the commonly seen Protoeaster starfish can be kept in a fish only with inverts tank as they may be too destructive in a reef tank.an important requirement with this group is that they require very good water and should be very slowly acclimatised to your system water when you bring them from the store
shrimps such as cleaner shrimps are not often seen in india..some such as the mantis shrimp are predatory while others such as the previously mentioned cleaner shrimp perform the task of cleaning your fish of parasites..shrimps may require iodine supplementation to help them molt.do read up on this process before getting a shrimp for your system.mixing shrimps with crabs may result in havoc in your system with one of the two winning in the end...many fish also prey on shrimp..so choose tankmates with care
small featherduster worms are found on live rock whereas larger featherdusters can be bought separately..they make great additions to your tank and are very hardy...they do not require any specific feeding as long as the fish in the tank are being fed..some reproduce freely in the tank forming beautiful colonies..these worms live in a tube which they secrete..any worm that is disturbed will quickly retract its featers into the tube and come out only after the danger passes..this makes an ineresting sight to watch in your system
other live rock hitchhikers
many other kinds of inverts come into your tank with the live rock..sponges,tunicates,small featherdusters,small bivalves,coralline algae and macroalgae are all suitable whereas fireworms,mantis srimps,predatory crabs and nudibranches can be quite dangerous..make sure identify any suspicious looking organism and remove it before it takes over and destroys your tank
this post completes the "good" beginner species list...comin soon is the "ugly" list of livestock that is dangerous to you and to your system
It is really a nice and concise piece of information for the beginners.
But I would beg to differ on one count.
From your list of inverts for the beginners, I would like to count out shrimps specially the Atlantic cleaner shrimp, Blood shrimps, Dancing shrimps, Anemone shrimps. These crusteceans are not for the beginners and I would like to say these cute little creatures should only be kept by hobbyist who can spend considerable time looking after them for their specific needs. These creatures need regular supplement of calcium and iodine. Also they cannot withstand high temperatues at all. As chillers are an expensive propostion in India, i would like to suggest to buy these creatues only if one has adequate cooling sloutions. Lastly these shrimps are costly to buy in India and early death of these might deter the interest of budding marine hobbyist.
i forgot to mention in my post on inverts the following info
although the list mentions a few inverts that are hardy enough for beginners,hardy in this case is a relative term..beginning hobbyists would do well to try out these only after they have gained considerable experience with fish...many of these require supplementation of calcium,iodine etc as mentioned and hence lots of research should be done before bringing any marine invert home..this will avoid monetary and emotional loss
Joined: Nov 19, 2003 Posts: 3719 Location: Chennai
Posted: Tue May 30, 2006 12:07 pm Post subject:
Great info again Arvind! I personally would disagree to classify Dwarf Angels to be reef unsafe, AFAIKept. They hardly bothered any of the Feather Dusters, Starfish, Serpeant Stars, Feather Stars, Brittle Stars, Urchins - both short and long spine, various shrimps, dwarf lobsters, Sea Apples, Sponges and other things.
Again the Coral Beauty is not the ideal beginner's dwarf. Flames can do well even upto nitrates of above 30, but are very expensive at the same time. Other starter options are Bicolour, Rusty, Key Hole, Eibl, Half Black and Herald's Dwarf.
@Apurva, Bicolours are one of the few dwarfs that don't survive for long in tanks treated with Cu.
agree with you that the pygmy angels really don't bother most invertebrates but they really go after coral polyps, specially the zoanthids & sea-mats and some species of xenia.
Also as far as selection of dwarf angels are concerned, Bi-color angels are good only if they are procured from an authentic source and are eating well. but there are instances when a bacterial infection afflicts them during summer along the line of separation of the blue and yellow colors on their body.
The Herald's angel or the false lemon peel angel isn't a very good choice as it's a very finicy feeder and most of times are cynaide caught(if I am not wrong) which attributes to their very short stay in tanks.
A better alternative is the True Lemonpeel angel.
but again agreeing with Shankar.... of the avaiable species in India , the Falme Angel is the best.. though it's also not 100% reef safe...
Joined: Nov 19, 2003 Posts: 3719 Location: Chennai
Posted: Wed May 31, 2006 10:43 am Post subject:
Rudra, i have had and have closely seen others keeping the bicolour and combination of other dwarfs in tanks with protopalythoans, Cauliflower and favites. Could be true with acropora and xenia (never kept the dwarfs with them before), as i could never successfully transport the xenia in a top condition.
And as you said, never really came across any feeding problems with the Herald's. Infact it is one of those fish that eats like a pig, as rightly described by 'mandarins' on IAH. May be you were unfortunate to buy a chemically caught fish.
Joined: Jan 06, 2006 Posts: 2053 Location: Bangalore
Posted: Wed May 31, 2006 10:55 am Post subject:
I, for one would be very happy to know more about Wrasses , particularly Fairy Wrasses.
I know the general types of wrasses available but what I want to know is the India specific story.
What is generally available, what are the good and the bad wrasses to keep ( hmm, I ve never heard of Wrasses doing anything bad except jumping) etc, etc?
Waiting for your inputs!!
Posted: Wed May 16, 2007 7:23 pm Post subject: Re: marine life for beginners-the good,the bad and the ugly!
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
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