View Full Version : Assumptions that can lead to trouble

11/13/2006, 04:14 PM
1. "my fish needs a friend/mate." It's not a primate: it thinks like a fish. Unless you have a big enough tank, it may kill the intended mate because it feels crowded.

2. "the same species ought to get along." It's actually more likely to fight, particularly if they are the same body type or live off the same thing. That assumption actually does work with euphyllia corals, but not necessarily with fish. Ask someone who has that combo.

3. "the fish looks healthy". Now he does. But you don't know what he was exposed to in the 3 tanks he was in on the way to your place in the last 2 weeks. Quarantine every new fish for a number of weeks, just to see if they come down with ich or fin rot, so they won't spread it into your tank water, sand, and expensive live rock.

4. "this is the fish I have my heart set on." ...is not the best way to stock a new tank, if the fish you most want is a tang or angel. They're fragile and do best in mature tanks. Save room for the fish of your dreams. Don't make that the first fish you ever buy. But DO make sure you buy a tank large enough for the fish of your dreams in the first place.

5. "all tanks have filters." Most reef tanks don't. FOWLR tanks may. Don't get sold one unless you have a good clear idea why you need one.

6. "I'll get a nano tank because I'm just starting out and I want to learn." The bigger the tank, the easier it is to keep alive...up to a point. A 50 is a very good beginner size, in my own opinion. A 150 is going to kill you with water changes. A pico tank is a tightrope walk, and very, very hard to keep stable.

7. "I'll wait to get a sump and skimmer." It's harder to keep a tank without one. It can be done, but honestly, the skimmer is your sewer and your re-oxygenation device, and running an ecosystem without it is very difficult. The sump gets all that equipment out of your tank, but it's not all aesthetics. It's also more water, which means more stability.

8. "It doesn't matter if I quarantine my first fishes, because there's nobody in there that can catch anything from them." Hello? Your rock and sand can catch it, no kidding. Ich is a parasite that infests the substrate. Do not let it get into your tank.

9. "I don't want any wussy fishes---I want predators" or "I just want nice, peaceful fishes." Yes, but: most fish predate on something, be it algae or small crustaceans or smaller fish, and aggression levels are somewhat relative to size and amount of crowding. Nothing is more pugnacious than a maroon clown with a nest, unless it's his mate. They don't have the rep, but they do have teeth. Respect your fishes' need for territory. If you have constant fin-nipping and chasing, you may be too crowded, or you may have some compatibility problems.

10. "I'll start with fish because they're easier than corals." Welllll, yes and no. Corals don't get up and move, and if you meet their water quality, lighting, and stability requirements, you're golden, and they happily live off light and fish poo. They do, like fish, fight with their neighbors, and they do have parasites, but those are easier cured than ich. I can't swear one is harder than the other. No coral has ever jumped out of the tank, but they take pieces out of each other and have other bad habits---most of which can be cured by gluing them to the rock. ;) Easier than fish in that regard.

11/14/2006, 06:21 AM
Good advice, thanks

11/14/2006, 07:05 AM
another nice collection, sk8r. although there are a few hobbyists in this forum that would argue with you on your last point re: coral parasites being more easily cured than ich. AEFW are trouncing some very measured, thoughtful aquarists here. just another endorsement of the ALWAYS QUARANTINE EVERY NEW ADDITION school of thought. i didn't do it for my first 2 fish, but man, i'm down with it now. (luckily, all the pests in my tank were in my tank before I added anything) :rolleye1:

11/14/2006, 04:01 PM
Yes, techreef, I haven't met AEFW...and shouldn't talk so confidently. That's one plague I'm not anxious to meet.

11/14/2006, 04:52 PM
I personally think corals (non-sps) can be easier if you have good water quality.

So many variables with fish, and once they start to go downhill it seems to be a one way street in many cases.

at least IME.