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jacksonpt
09/19/2017, 11:42 AM
I'm looking to add a couple more fish to my tank for a bit more life/action, and was wondering about people's experiences with the following fish (liveaquaria's descriptions looked good in general, with 1 or 2 causes for hesitation).

Background -
It's a 38g tank (roughly 36l x 12w x 21h) with a sump, about 50 total gallons.
I've currently got a Maroon Clown who defends both of his nems and a Pudding Wife Wrasse who is fat and happy on pods and similar.

I try to keep my tank as close to self-sufficient as possible, so I like critters that will find stuff to eat on their own and not be solely reliant on my feeding them. The last thing I want is a fish that will turn to corals/clams should they start to feel underfed... but I also don't want anyone to starve to death.

Here are my current considerations -


Tailspot blenny - should graze off the rocks
Bicolor blenny - another grazer option
Midas blenny - listed as an omnivore, but will it actually graze/scavenge for anything?
Royal Gramma - will have to be fed, but hardy, friendly, and colorful
Sunrise Dottyback - same as above
Arc Eye hawkfish - it's just a cool fish


Anyone have any thoughts/experiences with these fish?

TIA.

Kremis
09/19/2017, 11:45 AM
tailspot blennies generally just graze off the rocks. Mine only just started eating prepared foods 3 months after I got it. they willll do fine without any food.

cch1321
09/19/2017, 02:08 PM
I'm looking to add a couple more fish to my tank for a bit more life/action, and was wondering about people's experiences with the following fish (liveaquaria's descriptions looked good in general, with 1 or 2 causes for hesitation).

Background -
It's a 38g tank (roughly 36l x 12w x 21h) with a sump, about 50 total gallons.
I've currently got a Maroon Clown who defends both of his nems and a Pudding Wife Wrasse who is fat and happy on pods and similar.

I try to keep my tank as close to self-sufficient as possible, so I like critters that will find stuff to eat on their own and not be solely reliant on my feeding them. The last thing I want is a fish that will turn to corals/clams should they start to feel underfed... but I also don't want anyone to starve to death.

Here are my current considerations -


Tailspot blenny - should graze off the rocks
Bicolor blenny - another grazer option
Midas blenny - listed as an omnivore, but will it actually graze/scavenge for anything?
Royal Gramma - will have to be fed, but hardy, friendly, and colorful
Sunrise Dottyback - same as above
Arc Eye hawkfish - it's just a cool fish


Anyone have any thoughts/experiences with these fish?

TIA.

Do you have any shrimp or anything? Hawks are notorious for eating shrimp (and on occasion tiny fish).

I find blennies tend to waste away without a good feeding even if they do some grazing.

Grammas are great small fish. They can be skittish, though and hide a good bit.

Dottybacks can be very aggressive in smaller tanks to similar shaped fish, but would probably be alright. Definitely don't add him with the gramma.

Midas blennies are (if I remember correctly, and someone correct me if I'm wrong) fang blennies and don't actually graze. So it would also need a good feeding.

All of these will be ok if you miss a feeding here or there, though.

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jacksonpt
09/20/2017, 08:15 AM
No, no shrimp. A few hermits, occasionally an emerald crab, but no shrimp.

The gramma/dottyback is an either/or question.

To be clear, I don't "miss a feeding here or there"... I simply don't feed often. 2x a week is pretty standard for me, and that's mostly target feeding my nems... fish get scraps, but I don't intentionally feed them.

kevin21
09/20/2017, 10:24 AM
Can I ask why you don't feed your fish? Nutrient export issues I understand. But there really is no other reason not to. Although cool to have a self-sustaining reef, fish need to eat. Grazing rocks is simply not enough to give them the nutritional needs they require. Unfed fish and malnourished fish become sick fish which can end up harming your tank and nems. If you want to truly have a self-sustaining reef, you need sources of live foods available inside the aquarium such as pods, live bring shrimp etc.

I would feed your fish every other day or every two days and stop target feeding your nems. No need to feed them, photosynthesis is plenty for nems. Sometimes feeding them can cause harm to the specimen. I believe there was a sticky or good thread on this in the anemone and clownfish forum somewhere.

To contribute to your question, I prefer tailspot blennies. Will graze the rocks every now and again, but will wither away without additional omnivorous foods. Great personalities.

jacksonpt
09/20/2017, 10:56 AM
Nutrient/algae issues is a big reason, but ultimately it's because I really enjoy all that goes into keeping a balanced system.

I understand fish need to eat. I'm well aware of my responsibilities for keeping live animals. I am no less considerate of my fish than I am my dogs. That's a large part of why I asked this question... it's part of my research for finding animals (in this case, fish) that are well suited to my system and my style of reefkeeping.

I have an omnivore in my clown who is very happy.
I have a carnivore in my wrasse who is also very happy.
I'd love an omnivore/herbivore that would help a bit with nussiance algae, which is why I asked about the blennies. I don't think my system could support a lawnmower blenny as I don't have that much algae that consistently.
If I could find a 4th fish, another omnivore/carnivore, that would be great. But it would have to be the right fish. Again, thus my questions.

kevin21
09/20/2017, 12:19 PM
Interesting. Pretty cool stuff. I am going to pull out of this though because out of the fish you listed, I feel they all need to be fed at least every other day. Years ago, I had a midas blenny and was feeding my tank every 2 days. I noticed my blenny slowly become emaciated over time, thinking it was a parasite. Turns out, I started feeding every day just to check and the blenny bounced back. Im sure others can chime in on self-sufficient aquariums.

jacksonpt
09/20/2017, 12:24 PM
Please, don't back out if you have advice to offer; that's why I asked.

If the fish I mentioned won't work well in my system, then say so (which you did, so thanks)... that's part of what I want to know and what I'm trying to glean from my research.

Based on what I'm trying to do, if you have other suggestions for possible fish, I'd love to hear them.

Floyd79
09/20/2017, 03:20 PM
Blennies are great. They have character.

midas blenny which is beautiful and swims around alot. Did well with my clowns, gobies, and jawfish

bicolour was cool but was aggressive compared to the others i've had. liked to sit in my corals which ticked them off

Starry Blenny is really cool. super friendly, pecks off the glass, eats easily, even perches on my hand when I do work in the tank.

My least favourite has been the tailspot. Very finicky eater. Their mouths are small and even the smallest pellets were an issue. I've tried them twice. Same experience both times. They also wouldn't touch nori or flakes.

Sk8r
09/20/2017, 03:26 PM
Advise you go for royal gramma, avoid dottyback. The tailspot blenny gets along with most and will eat a little urchin eggs or R.O.E. from Reef nutrition, but depends on some algae and film. The Starry blenny is also a good company for him, but he eats almost exclusively rock film and algae, so you cannot knock your phosphates to zero. Firefish are also good colorful citizens if you have good jump protection. I'd avoid hawkfish and dottybacks because they can trouble other fishes.

jacksonpt
09/21/2017, 08:27 AM
Thanks... I'll look into the starry blenny.

running scott
09/21/2017, 09:04 AM
I think the main problem you will have in the future will be the maroon clownfish in 38 gallon tank. Maroon's are very agressive fish when mature even a tank three times bigger than yours. As far as dottybacks vs royal gramma, I have both a Neon dottyback, and a royal gramma I put in the tank at the same time and that works. Neon dottyback in one of my favorite fish I have ever had. Always out, very curious, loves to make eye contact with me.


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