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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:13 PM   #1
MattL
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Lightbulb RC Marine Fishes FAQ

Over the past weeks, it was noted that many questions are asked repeatedly in the Reef Fishes Forum. To provide consistency in answers and a ready source of information to the novice aquarist (less the need to wait for a reply), a list of the most frequently asked questions was compiled.

To each question, an answer was compiled. The answer was written after careful research of all educated answers provided to the specific question through the recent history of the forum. The answer was carefully written to represent the overwhelming majority of experienced opinions provided here.

Questions and answers were written and reviewed by BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich. This effort was taken with the knowledge and permission of the forum moderator, BrianD.

It is conceivable that over time, questions may be added and answers edited. Please contact me (MattL.) and I will have a moderator edit the post.

Questions were written for beginner hobbyists.

In many cases, the answer may not be what the hobbyist wants to hear. The driving force behind the wording and tone of the answers was to save the hobbyist time, money, and heartache. And save a fish's life too. The answers were written by hobbyists who possess combined experience on the order of decades, and every single author has made the mistakes they sincerely hope to prevent others from making via this effort.

Thank you for reading this.

BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
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Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:14 PM   #2
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Lightbulb General

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: I bought a fish, added it to my tank, and I have a problem. Can you help me?
A.: Probably not. The vast majority of questions posed in the forum are seeking help from a situation with a fish already in the hobbyist's tank. The sad irony of this hobby is that a lot less help can be offered after the fish has been added. Some times, there simply is no resolution other than removing the fish in question. however, on the bright side, there are still some resolutions worth inquiring about.

Q.: What should I do before buying a fish?
A.: Lots of things. First, research your fish carefully. There are only so many fish in the hobby, and chances are, in the myriad of posts on RC over the years, someone has had the same questions about the same fish. Use the search function to this end. Second, make sure you are prepared to care for this fish for its natural life. Some fish are easy to care for. They'll eat anything and never get sick. Other fish may require live foods for their entire life. Culturing live foods is a laborious undertaking, so be prepared for the time, effort, energy, and money required. Finally, anyone who has been in this hobby for years will claim that the most important thing to do is simply be patient. Take your time. Move slowly. These fish are not going out of style.

Q.: What do you mean by a fish's natural life?
A.: Many marine fish in the hobby live for 10 to 15 years, or longer.

Q.: People are saying a fish is best left in the ocean. What’s the harm in buying just one fish to give it a try?
A.: Lots. When you buy a fish, you are telling the fish store that there is a demand for this fish. The fish store then passes this demand on up the chain of suppliers to the collector, who then takes another one of these fish out of the ocean. A cycle of collection and death results. Help break the cycle and avoid fish that should not be collected, or at least not in the numbers they are.

Q.: People are saying a fish will outgrow my tank. What's the harm in buying a juvenile and then getting rid of it after it outgrows my system?
A.: Lots. As above, many fish are collected that hobbyists are either unwilling or unable to provide for over the course of their natural life. Establishing a demand for this fish perpetuates a cycle of collection. Also, unlike many other things in life, marine fish do not necessarily increase in demand or value as they grow. Your tank wasn't big enough for the fish. Chances are, you are going to have a hard time finding someone else's who is.

Q.: The LFS has this fish I've been looking for and I need to buy this fish now because they have only one!
A.: Any person can acquire almost any fish any time in this hobby. As you build experience, you will build contacts of suppliers who can get you what you need when you want it. At the beginning level especially, there is never a need to jump on a fish in a store. Intermediate and advanced hobbyists acquire fish that may not even be listed on large online sites by going directly through suppliers. As the saying goes: there really are lots of fish in the sea.

Q.: The LFS says you guys are wrong.
A.: The LFS has something to sell you. We don't.

Q.: I have to get rid of my fish, will my public aquarium take them?
A.: Almost positively not. Aquariums do not accept donations from the public, although it may be worth enquiring about.

Q.: I need to get rid of my fish still. What else can I do?
A.: Life gets in the way. It is only natural that you may need to give your fish up for adoption. Use your online resources. Chances are, someone out there will want to help you out. People really care for these fish. Also, your LFS may accept the fish back for partial store credit.

Q.: What is this I hear about needing a second tank? The first one is enormous! Why do I need two?
A.: It is extremely difficult to go through this hobby without a quarantine tank. A quarantine tank is used to hold incoming fish to observe illness and disease. A quarantine tank may double as a hospital tank, where incoming fish may be treated for disease.

Q.: So what do I need for a quarantine tank?
A.: This is a topic in and of itself, but a quarantine tank should be large enough to comfortably hold each fish, one at a time, you plan on adding.

Q.: I'm going to buy a fish today. I just set up my quarantine tank. Is this okay?
A.: No. Your quarantine tank must be cycled just like any other fish tank. The rules of fish addition apply to any tank, whether it is for display or for quarantine.

Q.: I added a fish. It got sick. Now all the other fish in the tank are sick. What can I do?
A.: Did you quarantine this fish first? Again, the sad irony of this hobby is that a lot less can be done to help you after the fish has been added to a tank.

Q.: But the fish from the store looks perfectly healthy. Should I still quarantine?
A.: Yes. Many diseases and parasites can not be observed initially.


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Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
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Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:15 PM   #3
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Lightbulb Angelfish

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: I have a reef. Can I add an angelfish?
A.: Yes. But only some angelfish are known to be reef safe. All of the others have the potential to eat or sample your corals or clams.

Q.: My angel hasn't touched a thing. Is he or she guaranteed to be reef safe?
A.: No. Many times, an angel will be fine for a long time, and then all of a sudden, become destructive.

Q.: Can I stop my angel from becoming destructive?
A.: No. It is believed that feeding properly (multiple times a day and a varied diet) may deter some destructive behavior, but in the end, if the fish decides it wants to eat your corals or clams, that is exactly what it will do.

Q.: My angel is eating my corals and/or clams. Can I stop it?
A.: No. Once an angel takes a liking to your corals, it will not change its mind, nor can you do anything to change its mind.

Q.: What dwarf angels are reef safe?
A.: None. All dwarf angels (angels of the genus Centropyge), have the potential to sample or consume your corals.

Q.: Well, are some dwarf angels less reef safe than others?
A.: Sort of. Certain dwarf angels have a reputation for being more reef safe than others. Performing a search of the forum will lead you to see which dwarf angels hobbyists have had the best (and worst) experience with. But bear in mind: all fish are individuals. All of the different dwarf angels have been observed at one time or another by someone to not be reef safe. It comes down to luck, and what you are willing to risk losing. Do not purchase a dwarf angel if you have something that you could not bear to lose to a fish.

Q.: Are any of the large angels reef safe?
A.: Yes. Angels of the genus Genicanthus are considered reef safe.

Q.: Are any other larger angels reef safe?
A.: No. Some of the larger angels have reputations for being partially reef safe around certain corals, but all fish are individuals. At any time, an angelfish can become destructive, and once it starts, it will not stop.

Q.: Which angels have the worst reputation with regards to eating corals?
A.: Those of the genus Holacanthus.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
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Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:16 PM   #4
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Lightbulb Anthias

Q. Can I keep anthias in my reef tank?
A. Yes. Anthias are planktivores which are well suited for a reef display. They will not bother corals or other invertebrates. The smallest shrimp may be in trouble with some of the larger species, but even that is unlikely.

Q. Do anthias need to be kept in groups?
A. Generally speaking, for many of the hardy, more commonly available species, no. Often the more aggressive, outgoing species are in fact better kept as single specimens, especially in the confines of a smaller tank. Most anthias have a complex social structure, which can lead to fighting in a home aquarium. More timid species do better in groups; providing them a sense of security which a single fish would lack.

Q. How many anthias can I keep in my tank?
A. This will depend on the species, tank setup/equipment, and husbandry/maintenance. While many species are small, relative to other commonly kept marine fish, their feeding requirements can put a significant strain on a system. Often, one will run out of “space” due to increase in the bioload of the tank before they run out of physical space for the fish. They are also very active, constantly swimming.

Q. Do I need to QT anthias?
A. Yes. Acclimation to captivity is the first reason. Newly imported anthias are often starved, and unaccustomed to eating prepared foods. They will often only accept the smallest, frozen meaty foods, and then, only in tiny portions, very frequently. They must be adapted to eating larger foods, eating more food per feeding, and competing for food with other fish. This is all much easier to do in a separate QT system, without the presence/intimidation from other established, more aggressive feeders. Of course, the second reason to QT is to observe the fish for disease. Bacterial infections, as well as worms/flukes are not uncommon.

Q. Can I keep multiple species of anthias in the same tank?
A. Generally, yes, depending on the species and the size of the tank. Anthias will pay much more attention to conspecifics, than to other species around them. Even males of multiple species will often live together without problem, especially if they have females to occupy their time.

Q. How do I tell females from males?
A. Depending on the species, some can be very easy to tell apart (ie orange female lyretails vs red/purple males) while others have only subtle differences, like dispar anthias.

Q. Why are my anthias fighting so much with each other?
A. Anthias all start as females. The most dominant fish will turn into a male. If that male dies, the next most dominant female will turn into a male. Because of this dynamic, each fish is always trying to keep its place in line, or advance to the next higher position in the group. In an ideal situation, amongst a group of females, one will be clearly dominant, and turn male; and the other females will have established places in the hierarchy as well. Complications arise when females that have already begun to turn male (not easily visible to us, if at all) are placed in a tank with a full male, or even another changing female. Adding new fish to already established fish can also cause issues. It is best to add a group one species all at once. If adding more fish to an already established group, it is best to only add small females, so there is no question to their sex, or their place in the group (bottom of the totem pole). New fish must be in excellent health. Anthias will detect and attack sick individuals, regardless of size or sex.

Q. Can anthias be kept with other fish?
A. Anthias get along with most other fish. More aggressive anthias species can bother very timid fish, and of course small species can be swallowed by larger predatory fish. But otherwise, they play well with others.

Q. Do anthias need to be fed five or more times a day?
A. Anthias do best when fed small amounts of food often. Many of the hardy, more commonly available species can be acclimated to each larger amounts, less frequently, and do just fine. Again, QT is invaluable for this process. It may take weeks to months for newly imported specimens to regain their proper body mass, so frequent feeding may be critical at first.

Q. What should I feed my anthias?
A. Any and all manner of small meaty foods can be fed. Finely minced frozen shrimp, squid, scallop, clam, mysis, plankton are just a small sampling of easily obtained foods. More finicky species may require live foods at first, or even throughout their time in captivity. High quality dry foods may also eventually be accepted.

Q. My anthias won’t eat, now what?
A. Try every food you can get your hands on. Also, fast movement of the food can often trigger a feeding response. Food blown out of a powerhead is an excellent way to achieve this. Live foods may need to be tried as well.

Q. Do anthias jump?
A. Like all fast moving, active fish, anthias have the capability of jumping out of the tank. Often this can happen when individuals get excited about the prospect of being fed. This can also happen during quick chasing incidents from other fish. Otherwise, generally speaking, anthias don’t “bolt” for the surface haphazardly.

Q. Why did I have more than one anthias turn into a male?
A. There is no easy answer. Perhaps the “females” were already in the process of changing, at least internally. Perhaps whatever stimuli keeping the females from changing were not present with only one male in the system. Sometimes multiple males will change, and still be able to live in the same tank. Other times, one or more fish will have to be removed, or risk death.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank

Last edited by BrianD; 04/17/2009 at 04:16 PM.
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:17 PM   #5
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Lightbulb Butterfly Fish

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: Are any butterfly fish reef safe?
A.: Not really. No butterfly fish is considered completely reef safe. Some are the least reef safe fish possible, even being obligate corallivores! However, a few butterfly fish are considered safe enough around certain types of corals for reefers to try them and have success. But in the end, all fish are individuals, and do not put any type of coral in a tank with a butterfly fish that you cannot bear to lose. Research your intended butterfly fish carefully.

Q.: What is a CBB?
A.: A copperbanded butterfly fish.

Q.: Can I keep a copperbanded butterfly fish?
A.: Probably not. Read the copperband butterfly fish primer at the top first. Despite their ubiquity in the hobby, these fish have dismal survival records, even in the best hands. They often live for several months, and then suddenly die.

Q.: I am interested in trying a copperbanded butterfly fish. What should I know?
A.: These fish are sensitive to aggression. Never (ever) buy one that is not eating at the LFS. Be prepared that you may very well have to have to feed live blood worms and/or decapsulated live brine more than once a day, which will require culturing. These fish can be a lot of work.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:19 PM   #6
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Lightbulb Cardinal Fish

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: What is this about a cardinal fish that will school?
A.: No fish offered in the trade will school in captivity. Certain species may shoal or associate with one another. Apogon leptacanthus are reported to be some of the best shoaling fish in the hobby.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:20 PM   #7
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Lightbulb Clownfish

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: How many clownfish can I keep?
A.: Between 0 and 2.

Q. That's it? Can I keep more than 2?
A.: No, not unless you have a very (very) large tank. In that case, you can try and keep multiple pairs.

Q.: Can I keep two different pairs?
A.: Yes, but again only in a large tank.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:21 PM   #8
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Lightbulb Damselfish:

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: My damselfish is bullying another fish. What should I do?
A.: Damselfish, ounce for ounce, are extremely aggressive.

Q.: Will my chromis school?
A.: No. No fish will school in captivity. With certain fish, you may get some degree of association or shoaling, but never schooling. In the wild, fish don't school because they like each other -- they do it for survival. The theory is, a captive reef system is way too small, and thus the fish feel secure enough so as not to school.

Q.: Will my chromis shoal then?
A.: Maybe. Despite their reputation, chromis are not the best fish for shoaling behavior in captivity.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:22 PM   #9
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Lightbulb Dragonets:

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q: What do I feed my mandarin?
A: While most of them will eat frozen mysis and frozen brine, their natural tendency is to be an opportunistic grazer of copepods. That means they are hunting and eating pretty much all waking hours. As such you cannot feed mandarins frequently enough with frozen foods to sustain them absent a sufficient supply of copepods.

Q: Are Mandarins in the goby family?
A: No. They are in a family called dragonets

Q: My Mandarin does not hunt for copepods. Why?
A: Mandarins are often captured with cyanide; those that are captured in this fashion will not survive. If they sit around and do not hunt, that is likely the problem.

Q: What is considered success with a Mandarin?
A: Long term success is considered one year.

Q: Do Target Mandarins eat flatworms?
A: There are anecdotal reports, yes. It is not advisable to purchase a fish just to control a pest population.

Q. Can you have more than one Mandarin in a tank?
A: Yes, you can have one male and a female given sufficient copepods for two. Two males will not work.

Q. How do you tell a male Mandarin from a female?
A. Males have a spiked dorsal fin whereas females do not.

Q: Will Mandarins mate in captivity?
A. Yes, assuming you have a male and female and can simulate sunset

Q. What is the minimum tank size for a Mandarin?
A. It depends. Normally a 75 gallon reef tank with no other copepod feeders would be considered the bare minimum, but some people have maintained them in smaller tanks by attaching a highly productive refugium. The smaller the tank, the less your probability of long term success

Q. I hear you can train a Mandarin to eat frozen food. Is that right?
A: You can’t really “train” a fish to do anything that is not instinctive. Some mandarins eat frozen food without training, but they can be quickly outcompeted by other fish.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:23 PM   #10
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Lightbulb Jawfish

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: Do I need a sand bed or substrate for a jaw fish?
A.: Yes. They feel most comfortable when they can make a burrow. Many have had success with more shallow sand beds lately, but please have a system where the fish can burrow and conceal its entire body.

Q.: Is it true jawfish will jump?
A.: Yes. If you want to keep a jaw fish, you must have a completely covered tank. Fish are notorious for finding any hole they can fit through, however improbable. Eggcrate does not offer enough protection – smaller holes are needed.


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank

Last edited by MattL; 03/07/2009 at 10:31 PM.
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:24 PM   #11
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Lightbulb Moorish idols:

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: Has anyone ever kept a Moorish Idol?
A.: Yes. But it is not recommended for all but the most expert fishkeeper. Read the Moorish Idol primer.


__________________
Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank

Last edited by MattL; 03/07/2009 at 10:31 PM.
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:24 PM   #12
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Lightbulb Tangs

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: What tang will fit in my 30gal?
A.: None. Read the thread with the same title kept at the top of the forum.

Q.: What tang will fit in my 65gal?
A.: None. Tangs, while unfortunately ubiquitous in the hobby, have very special needs that most who buy them aren't prepared to meet. Most of all, tangs require large tanks, of which a 65 is most certainly not.

Q.: What is a large tank?
A.: Larger than many new to the hobby think. No tang belongs in a tank shorter than 4ft and/or less than 75gal. When dealing with tangs, a large tank is at least 6ft long and over 150gal.

Q.: I have a 4ft tank, can I get a tang.
A.: Yes, but choose only from the list of smaller tangs.

Q.: What are the smaller tangs?
A.: Tangs of the genus Ctenochaetus (the bristletooth tangs), the yellow tang, and the convict tang. All other tangs will require a 6ft tank or longer.

Q.: Will keeping a tang in a small tank stunt its growth?
A.: No. Tangs aren’t goldfish -- they don't stunt. While they generally grow to smaller sizes in captivity than in the wild, the difference is small.

Q.: A LFS or online vendor says that a tang will be fine in a smaller sized tank than you say.
A.: People here at RC have nothing to sell you – your LFS does. Many literature sources are outdated, still using preliminary husbandry data from before the hobby fully evolved. Other literature sources are for keeping an animal in a completely bare tank with no obstructions, for perhaps scientific or research purposes. Tank size data for tangs presented here has come from years and years of accumulated experience from hundreds of fishkeepers.

Q.: What will happen if I put my tang in a tank too small?
A.: When he or she outgrows it, lots of problems: Stress, disease, aggression, and destructive behavior are the most commonly reported.

Q.: Do tangs grow fast?
A.: Yes, but usually the larger ones grow the fastest.

Q.: I want to get a juvenile for my small tank and I'm upgrading later. Should I?
A.: No. Stock for the tank you have, not the tank you may someday probably possibly maybe have. Life can be unexpected, and we are talking about fish with life spans over 10 years.

Q.: Why can't I just give the tang away when it gets bigger?
A.: Who are you going to give it to? Most public aquariums will absolutely not accept donations from hobbyists. Also, think about what you are doing. Cute juveniles are taken from the wild and brought into the hobby because there is a demand for them. When you buy that fish, you are telling the supplier to keep collecting more cute juveniles. Part of that demand is from hobbyists who are unprepared to keep the animal for its natural life. As previously noted, tangs require tanks much larger than many novices are used to. Many hobbyists simply do not have tanks big enough to house adult tangs. Finding a home for an adult tang can be very difficult. So what you have done is provided the demand to encourage collecting more juveniles, and then dumped a large, adult fish back into the market for which there may be little secondhand demand.

Q.: What is this about length being more important than volume?
A.: Tangs are active swimmers. That is why they do so poorly in a small tank. They need to be able to swim for some length before turning around. So to a certain extent, length is more important than volume. Length is measured as the longest glass pane to the aquarium.

Q.: What is this about Naso tangs getting large?
A.: Naso is the name for a tang, and the name for a genus of tangs to which the Naso tang ( Naso lituratus) belongs. All tangs of the genus Naso grow very large, and ultimately require 8ft tanks when full grown. Except for the common Naso tang ( Naso lituratus), which is the smallest, leave the rest (like the Vlamingi, (Naso vlamingi) in the ocean where they belong, unless you have a sufficiently large system (over 8ft).

Q.: Can I get an Achilles tang?
A.: Probably not. Achilles tangs are very sensitive fish with special needs. Read the Achilles tang primer first.

Q.: Should I get a clown tang?
A.: No. That is, not unless you have a very large tank, 8ft long or bigger, and all aggressive tank mates. Clown tangs are offered as cute little juveniles. These fish are known for their large adult size and aggression, and as such, are best left in the ocean.

Q.: Should I quarantine my tang?
A.: Absolutely.

Q.: Are all tangs susceptible to ich?
A.: Yes, very much so. That is why quarantining first and then treating as necessary is extremely important.

Q.: What should I feed my tang?
A.: Tangs are herbivores. Some are more planktonovorous than others, but all require some vegetable matter in their diet. Be sure to provide them with ample green food daily. Appropriate green food is dried seaweed (nori), available at your LFS, and more nutritional vegetables that have been blanched.

Q.: Are you kidding, my tangs are perfectly happy.
A.: They seem fine to you. That doesn't mean they are. Like all wild creatures, tangs do not show weakness until they can physically no longer hide it. On the reef, weakness singles you out for predation. Therefore, a fish may be quietly suffering without you knowing. It takes a trained eye to be able to determine if a fish is stressed or unhappy in its environment.

Q.: Why are there so many FAQs about tangs?
A.: Tangs are probably the most abused fish in the hobby. Many novice aquarists are drawn to tangs, and understandably so. They are large, bright, colorful, active swimmers. The problem is: tangs have very special needs that the novice aquarist is either unprepared for or unwilling to meet, and that is where the problems begin. Perform a search in the forum for "tang" and "problem". Tangs are definitely big boy fish, and as the saying goes: don't keep big boy fish in school boy tanks. In reef keeping, the tank is one of the most inexpensive pieces of equipment. So why not just get your fish the tank it needs?


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Last edited by MattL; 03/07/2009 at 10:30 PM.
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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:29 PM   #13
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Lightbulb Wrasse, Fairy and Flasher

(All sections by: BangkokMatt, MattL., SDguy, and snorvich.)

Q.: Are fairy and flasher wrasses different?
A.: Yes. Flasher wrasses are a member of the genus Paracheilinus and there are 13 currently identified. Fairy wrasses are a member of the genus Cirrhilabrus. There are about 50 currently identified with more coming along frequently.

Q.: Are the personalities of all fairy wrasses the same?
A.: No, some are docile, some are very aggressive. In general, the females are more aggressive than the males. The more aggressive ones such as C. scottorum may eventually become intolerant of other fairy and flasher wrasses. More often though, you can mix and match fairy and flasher wrasses with no problem.

Q.: Do you need sand for fairy and flasher wrasses?
A.: No. They create a mucous cocoon when the sleep.

Q.: Do you need to have a female along with the male?
A.: No, but the "blue group" (those whose body tends to be blue based) tends to lose more coloration absent a female than does the "red group".

Q.: Can I keep two male fairy wrasses of the same species together?
A.: Generally no. They will fight. Also, in general two male fairy wrasses of similar size, coloration, and body shape can be problematical. The same is not true for flasher wrasses.

Q.: What kind of acclimation is required for fairy wrasses?
A.: Temperature acclimate, SG acclimate, and socially acclimate by floating new arrivals in a breeder cup to dispel aggression.

Q.: Will fairy and flasher wrasses jump?
A.: Yes. Not a question of IF but WHEN.

Q.: Will egg crate keep them in?
A.: No, you need quarter inch holes or a sealed tank.

Q.: What are the rarest fairy wrasses?
A.: In the USA, C. earlei, C. johnsoni, and C. lanceolatus "types" are rare

Q.: Do all males lose coloration?
A.: No. If you have females, the male coloration should remain constant and if you are lucky you will observe breeding behavior

Q.: What is a terminal male/supermale?
A.: A terminal male cannot revert to being a female. These are also called supermales.


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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:30 PM   #14
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Lightbulb Wrasse, other

*** to be completed Anyone want to write this section? ***


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Unread 03/07/2009, 10:35 PM   #15
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Lightbulb Thank You, and a note on authorship

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If any time, effort, money, heartache, and maybe even fishes' lives can be saved, the effort will be worth it.

To clarify, different sections were written and proofread by different authors, although I did want to add a claim at the head of each post noting the present four contributing authors and reviewers having contributed to (parts of) the FAQ as a whole:

Bangkok Matt
MattL.
SDguy
snorvich


Would you like to write a section? Would you like to add a question? Let us know!

Matt


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Unread 03/08/2009, 04:49 AM   #16
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Excellent reading! Thank you and congratulations for a job well done to all involved in this thread and project.


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Unread 03/08/2009, 06:42 AM   #17
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Fantastic Job, Matt! Thanks!


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Unread 03/08/2009, 09:47 AM   #18
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Great job, very informative!


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Unread 03/08/2009, 01:01 PM   #19
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You're very welcome. And again, this is an "open" document. If you feel a topic or question was missed, please add. My understanding is that this will get a sticky from BrianD shortly.

Matt


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Unread 03/09/2009, 02:12 PM   #20
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Thanks for the effort guys! This is a tremendous addition to the forum!


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Unread 03/09/2009, 03:52 PM   #21
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In the cardinal section, could you please add that Bangaii cardinals can only be kept singly unless they are a bonded/mated pair?

I also see the same question about adding groups of firefish, but you don't have a firefish section.

For clownfish, you may want to say it is usually best not to mix species unless they are from the same complex (i.e. a tomato and cinnamon can be combined as a pair, but a tomato will probably kill an ocellaris). Obviously, there are some exceptions, but that's how it generally goes.


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Unread 03/09/2009, 03:53 PM   #22
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Oh, and maybe something in the damselfish section about not using a damsel to cycle your tank, although that may be best in the newbie forum.


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Unread 03/09/2009, 03:55 PM   #23
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I would certainly agree with of these observations. Thanks Michelle!


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Unread 03/09/2009, 04:11 PM   #24
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Oh, a couple more...

Copperband Butterflies will eat feather dusters and Christmas tree worms. (I see that question a lot too, but maybe I just read weird threads. )

Copperband butterflies and yellow tangs should generally not be mixed due to their similar body shape. (I've seen a lot of threads that say "Help! My yellow tang is attacking my CBB!" I also know someone personally who did this and nearly lost a healthy, eating CBB as a result.)


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Unread 03/09/2009, 04:18 PM   #25
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Michelle, those are all great. Because only a mod can make the changes, I will wait to amass a series of added questions and then request that the change be made.

Matt


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