Saltwater Fish

  1. All About Reef Safe Wrasses in Aquaria

    Below, you will find sections about: these guidelines, wrasses which qualify as reef safe, the general requirements, feeding, shipping, quarantine, adding new wrasses to your system, mixing species and genera, the acclimation box, protogynous hermaphroditism & sexual dichromatism, “pairing” wrasses & harems, pricing and rarity, a section about each genus (Anampses, Cirrhilabrus, Halichoeres, Labroides, Macropharyngodon, Paracheilinus, Pseudocheilinus, Pseudocheilinops, Pseudojuloides, and...
  2. Why do the tang police exist?

    This captive stress often translates to a hurdle that must be overcome by the aquarist. It’s not uncommon for some tang species to be reluctant to feed and it’s not uncommon for small juvenile tangs to be harassed, if placed in a tank with larger fish. Because of this, a long quarantine period is required, which allows the fish to spend weeks alone in a tank where it cannot be harassed and special feeding techniques can be employed.
  3. 'Pairing' Wrasses: That's Not How Any of this Works!

    First, we really need some understanding of how wrasses interact and live in their natural environment. In the ocean, most genera of wrasses live in harems, which consists of a group of females to one dominant male. Often, there are a few transitional males in this group as well, which are essentially males-in-waiting – waiting for their chance to overtake the current or become the new dominant male. Within this harem, there is an established hierarchy. The hierarchy exists by the...
  4. Super Star Of The Reef: The Blue Star Leopard Wrasse–Macropharyngodon bipartitus

    Male and female Macropharyngodon bipartitus in the author’s aquarium. The Blue Star Leopard Wrasse, also referred to as the Divided Wrasse, Vermiculite Wrasse (as well as a few other common names) is one of thirteen species of leopard wrasse in the Macropharyngodon genus. As with most leopard wrasses, Macropharyngodon bipartitus is sexually dichromatic (males and females differ in coloration). Interestingly, all leopard wrasses are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they begin life as...
  5. Tinker’s Toy: The Bold And Curious Tinker’s Butterflyfish

    The Bold and Curious Tinker’s Butterflyfish Chaetodon tinkeri The Tinker’s Butterflyfish (C. tinkeri) is a member of the marine butterflyfish genus Chaetodon (familyChaetodontidae) and one of five species in the subgenus Roaps. It isnamed for Spencer W. Tinker who discovered it in Hawaii back in 1949. Also commonly called the Hawaiian Butterflyfish, C. tinkeri has quite a limited distribution in the wild; inhabiting only Hawaii, Johnston Atoll and the Marshall Islands in the tropical...
  6. How behaviorally complex are marine fish?

    Today however, advances in ethology (the science of animal behavior), sociobiology (the scientific theory that states behavior is a result of evolution), neurobiology (the application of biological principles to the study of developmental mechanisms) and ecology, scientists have a much clearer picture of both the behavior but also the conscious processes of fish.
  7. Keeping The Mysterious Moorish Idol

    Moorish Idols. Impossible to keep. Better left in the wild, right? Anyone that has been in this hobby for nearly any length of time has read things like this or can at least recognize this iconic fish. Many of us grew up seeing this majestic fish in photos and documentaries. Whether seen schooling in Hawaii or casted as "Gill", the wise Moorish Idol from the beloved Disney Pixar film "Finding Nemo", this fish is quite desirable in the hobby. Sadly, The vast majority of these fish do not...
  8. Are Captive Bred Fishes The Only Way?

    Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see a hobbyist say, ‘I’m only stocking my tank with captive bred fish.’ Of course, their heart is in the right place, and it’s understandable why most people would think this is the best route forward for wild reefs. But is it? Is captive breeding the only way?
  9. Cirrhilabrus Complexes: Inferiority Need Not Apply

    This article is obsolete. It has been replaced by the 1st revision. Cirrhilabrus, the “Fairy Wrasses”, are one of the most elegant, active, and colorful reef fish. Their appeal in a reef tank is common to many, but not all have a well-rounded understanding of the compatibility amongst them. Enter the notion of “complexes”: groupings of very closely related species within a genus. Complexes create groups in which the species have a physically similar structure; the body shape, fin...
  10. Fish Spotlight: Anthias

    A group of anthias can add lots of color and movement to a display tank that is large enough to accommodate them. Keeping them in twos is a bad idea for the poor female in that duo. A good qt protocol is absolutely important and feeding can be difficult at first. Be prepared when you buy your first group of anthias and you’ll have a group of beautiful fish for years to come.
  11. Keeping Seahorses in Aquaria #1 - Introduction and Setting Up Your Seahorse Tank

    This article is the first in a 6-part series that is designed to help those of you who already have the knowledge and ability to keep marine life in an aquarium, but want to learn the particulars of keeping greater seahorses. Five years ago, I was in the place you are now. I was interested in setting up a tank for greater seahorses and was trying to learn how to do that. The information is available but it can be scattered here, there, and everywhere. It is my hope that this article along...
  12. How To Plan a Livestock List

    The very best way to select the fish you will keep in your tank is to start well before you even purchase a tank. Wait. What? I don’t even have a tank yet and you want me to start selecting fish?! Quite simply, yes I do. In this hobby, a very good portion of the fish we keep require special needs for their care. The biggest of which is ROOM. Room to swim, to exercise, to call territory. Tangs are among the most popular fish to keep in the saltwater world and they need lots of room to swim....
  13. Picking Your Clownfish

    This article isn’t about what it takes to keep a clownfish, but more about what to expect from your clowns when picking them out, pairing up, and beyond. The temperament, size, pairing, willingness to host will all play an important role in how your clownfish will fit into your tank’s dynamic. Choose carefully, because once you have a pair they can live for upwards of 20 years if taken care of properly.
  14. Keeping Seahorses in Aquaria #4 - Selecting Your Ponies

    In our previous article on Keeping Seahorses in Aquaria, we looked at options for stocking your seahorse tank with everything other than the ponies themselves. In this article, we'll look at actually selecting your ponies and how to keep them happy and healthy.
  15. Cirrhilabrus Complexes: Inferiority Need Not Apply (1st Revision)

    Cirrhilabrus, the “Fairy Wrasses”, are one of the most elegant, active, and colorful reef fish. Their appeal in a reef tank is common to many, but not all have a well-rounded understanding of the compatibility amongst them. Enter the notion of “complexes”: groupings of very closely related species within a genus.
  16. Lyretail Anthias: Ain’t That The Truth

    So you want a fish who will brighten up your day? If you have a 6 foot or larger tank like a 125 gallon you are open to a type fish that can actually benefit your reef’s community in a way you would never expect. Lyretail Anthias are a very popular fish for larger aquariums. Before you dump one or two into your tank there are some facts to look over first.
  17. Keeping Seahorses in Aquaria #3 - Stocking Your Seahorse Tank: What to Add Other Than the Ponies

    In our previous article on Keeping Seahorses in Aquaria, we examined the process of aquascaping and achieving the excellent water quality. In this third article of our 6-part series, we will explore options for stocking your seahorse tank (looking at options other than the ponies themselves). This will include things like CUC (clean-up crew), corals, macroalgaes, fish, and other livestock.
  18. Reef Wrasse: Aquarium Duty

    Every fish has its reasons on this planet. Some are designed to control fish populations. Other fish have evolved into algae grazers. There are even fish who are designed to keep specific coral safe from predators or threats. Today’s topic is the group of reef safe wrasse and their duties in the aquarium...
  19. A Reef2Reef Spotlight: Regal Angelfish

    Species Profile By Mike & Terry Lauderdale A Reef2Reef Spotlight: The Regal Angelfish Pygoplites diacanthus Angelfishes are arguably one of the most vivid, visually appealing animals available for stocking in the marine aquarium. While their brilliant coloration and striking patterns make them highly desirable, their delicate nature, appetites, and predation behaviors create a quandary for the reef keeper. Probably no angelfish typifies this more than the regal angelfish (Pygoplites...
  20. Keeping Seahorses in Aquaria #2 - Aquascaping and Providing Excellent Water Quality

    In our first article on Keeping Seahorses in Aquaria, we looked at an introduction to seahorses and setting up a seahorse tank. In this second article of our 6-part series, we will examine the process of aquascaping and achieving the excellent water quality which is so crucial to maintaining the health of our ponies.
  21. Gupp-tastrophe: My misguided run at feeder fish breeding

    I decided it was time for a large "predator" type fish. After some research I decided a comet fish / marine beta was the correct choice for my reef. They look pretty sweet - have an 'eel eye' type spot on their tail, they're meticulous hunters, and have a good rep as far as messing with cleaners - except shrimp...my coral banded shrimp got disarmed when he tried to give him Mr. Comet a pinch. They were bffs after that. Suspect they just needed to establish some boundaries and the arm...
  22. Fish Shopping 101: Tips to Buying a Healthy Fish

    Buying a new fish for your aquarium can be both an exciting and nerve-racking experience. Is this fish healthy? Is this fish a good fit for my aquarium? If I get this fish, am I sacrificing another fish down the line? These are a few of the many questions that may pop into your head, and are all very important and relevant. When choosing a new addition for your aquarium, you should consider many things. Here are a few things to consider and look for when choosing the next fish for your...
  23. Tang Aggression - Understanding and Combating

    So what's the deal with tangs? How do I keep them together? Why are they so aggressive and difficult to keep sometimes? It's a common discussion point. Some may dissent with what I have to share but I've never had less than three tanks running at a time, up to 7, and have been in the hobby 12 years with 2 of them spent working for an LFS running their saltwater fish dept largely, for what it's worth. Root of Tang Aggression: Understand that from a tangs point of view, more herbivores...
  24. What Fish NOT To Get: How To Know

    Are you considering a stocking list for your aquarium? Probably not. If you are like most hobbyists you wish for fish but buy what you have available during that spontaneous moment, often leading to a future of regret and endless nights trying to capture your mistake. If you have not been in that situation than you are one of the few who do actually plan! We can’t all spend hours researching and not everyone has access to a reliable saltwater expert that isn’t just trying to sell something....
  25. Pipefish

    I would like to discuss one of my favorite fish, the pipefish. Pipefish to me are so much different from normal fishy looking fish that I can't help but to love them. There are more things different in pipefish than similar to normal looking fish. They are so different that at one time, in the 1800s pipefish were considered to be insects instead of fish. They probably got that idea because they have an external skeleton composed of bony plates instead of scales so when you pick one up, it...
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