Butterflyfish/Angels with Coral?

Discussion in 'Fish Discussion' started by 679x, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. 679x

    679x Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning on getting a Red Sea Reefer 350 (a 73-gallon, 4-foot-long tank) in about a month or so, and I'm nearly ready, but I'm still trying to figure out which fish I will get. This will be my first saltwater tank. Note that I may get the Reefer 450 if I don't get any coral (the decision depends on whether I get coral because of the cost of an expensive light for growing coral, and if you make the tank bigger, the cost adds up more.)

    I've spoken to my family and they seem to prefer more fish and less coral, compared to more coral and fewer fish, so even though I was looking at a reef full of hard coral and small, reef-safe fish, I'm now rethinking it.

    If I'm going to focus on fish rather than coral, I'm really interested in some butterflyfish and small angelfish, because I wouldn't get either of those in a tank that is focused around the coral. However, if possible, I would like to fit some coral into the tank.

    Which brings us to the reason I'm posting this thread: to find out whether there is any type of coral that is generally avoided by "reef-safe-with-caution" fish, OR if there are butterflyfish/dwarf angelfish species that are typically less likely to destroy coral.

    On the topic of coral: I don't want zoanthids, palys, or mushrooms, and I don't want any coral like Xenia that is going to spread EVERYWHERE. I really like Montipora, Euphyllia, and neon-green nephthea, so I'm hoping these corals don't often get eaten.

    If anyone can tell me whether it's too risky to mix certain butterflyfish/dwarf angels with coral, it'd be appreciated, thanks.
     
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  2. R€€F @DD¡ÇT

    R€€F @DD¡ÇT Well-Known Member

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    In my experience euphyllia and plating montis don't get eaten. I'm sure you could try Birdsnest too.

    Chrysurus angel, sharpnose puffer, navarchus angel, coral beauty, flame angel are the fish that I've had or my dad has had with those corals.
     
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  3. ndrwater

    ndrwater Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member SCMAS Member

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    Copperband and Pyramid Butterflies can be put in a tank with corals generally without predation. Copperbands can be difficult to get eating, but one acclimated to prepared foods are a great addition.
    ALL Angels can be nippers of coral. Some more or less, but the potential is always there.
    That said, many people keep "dwarf" Angels from the genus Centropyge with good success in Reef tanks.
     
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  4. Maritimer

    Maritimer Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member

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    In general, angels seem to leave Euphyllias and SPS more or less alone, and bang on zoanthids and "meaty LPS" such as acans and wellso.

    Each fish is different though, so... YMMV.

    ~Bruce
     
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  5. 679x

    679x Well-Known Member

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    I quite like coral beauty angelfish and REALLY like flame angels, I'm not sure whether mixing them in the same 4 or 5 foot tank is a good idea or not though.

    I was looking at the pyramid butterflies, a group of them would look quite nice I think.

    That's good to hear, I don't want zoanthids anyway so that's fine, I would've wanted some acans but I'm fine without them.

    With all that being said, I'm thinking of getting lots of Euphyllia because my family likes the movement of coral and stuff, and if they're generally OK with angelfish then I will be quite content. Perhaps I will get a Coral Beauty angel, a Flame angel, some Pyramid butterflyfish, and perhaps a few other fish depending on tank size.

    Thanks for your replies
     
  6. Maritimer

    Maritimer Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member

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    I've got a coral beauty and larger flame in a 65 gallon, 3' tank.

    The flame often gives the CB a short chase, which ends quickly. They've been getting along like that for several months - but I'm glad that my plans include moving them to a 220 across the room.

    ~Bruce
     
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  7. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Member

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    Fish are like people and their preferences for what they are willing to eat and not willing to eat will vary by the individual. Having said that, it is very helpful to lookup and see what specimens are recorded to eat in the wild and this will tell you right away what is not compatible, and sometimes, what you need to provide to keep the specimen. Additionally, looking at other species in the genus will give you an idea of what they might be willing to taste if the prize food is missing.

    The best source for this information is Fishbase, hands down. There is language on natural habitat, symbiotic relationships, specific foods eaten and even direction and gut check reports.
    www.fishbase.com

    For example, the Pyramid Butterflyfish mentioned above is generally regarded as reef safe. If you look it up on Fishbase:
    http://www.fishbase.org/summary/5586
    ...you will see the fish is primarily a planktivore. This puts it in the same feeding class with our common reef fish such as chromis, darfish, gobies, etc. Take it a step forward and look into the diet tab:
    http://www.fishbase.org/trophiceco/...nusname=Hemitaurichthys&speciesname=polylepis
    ...and you will note this fish has 83% of its diet as plankton copepods. Cyclops and calanus would fit this bill nicely. This is as coral safe as a butterflyfish can be :)

    There are some other good suggestions in here. For my tank, the Atlantic pygmy angel will be one of my next additions and these are noted to be herbivorous, 100% plants with detritus. As with all fish, mileage will vary, but I keep a dirty tank and will hopefully keep the fish from taking a walk on the wild side.

    It's a great site that is underused in this hobby IMO. Give it a try, you will learn a lot about the fish you like!
     
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  8. R€€F @DD¡ÇT

    R€€F @DD¡ÇT Well-Known Member

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    Maybe try some photosynthetic gorgonians too. That doesn't get nipped either.

    Just my opinion but this would be my List:

    Regal angel
    Flame angel
    Coral beauty
    3x Pyramid butterflies
    Filefish
    Maybe a few wrasses to have some smaller fish swimming around.
     
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  9. becks

    becks Well-Known Member

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    My coral beauty attacked my purple photosynthetic Sea fan like it was nori, sadly the CB had to be evicted, as much as I like angelfish I won't ever risk one in a reef again
     
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  10. Xanthurum

    Xanthurum Member

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    I have been hearing lots of success stories from people getting captive bred coral beauties. Seems they never know that coral can be food so they leave it alone.
    Lots of good info so far in this thread, all fish are different and what works for one may not work for another.
    Angels tend to leave euphyllia alone but I would also add that soft corals are generally not touched either.
    SPS corals are a pretty safe bet to be left alone by angels but many butterflies have a diet that is almost exclusively made up of them.

    Here is my opinion. Get the tank that YOU want not the tank your family wants. That's not to say you should be rude and disregard any of their wishes but this is your tank. I always consider what my wife wants to see in the tank but ultimately I get the final say because I know more about the hobby so I know what works and what probably won't.

    I would suggest a longnose butterfly over the copperband simply for the fact that coppers are well known to be more difficult. Might I also suggest Genicanthus Bellus. Not my favorite Genicanthus (swallowtail angel) by any means but it's one of the smallest and the females are colorful in both appearance and personality.
    Keep searching and researching before you spend your money, the answers to all of your questions are right here on this site you just have to look.
     
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  11. jd371

    jd371 Well-Known Member

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    I have a 75g mixed reef and added a CBB recently. I can't say that he's been picking at my acans because I haven't seen him do it, but they don't look full and puffy as before I had him. If he is causing this, it's a trade off I'm willing to except because I love my CBB.
     
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  12. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Member

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    Coral Beauty are my absolute favorite fish for coloration. If you go back and look at the fishbase website I referenced earlier, you will see coral polyps accounts for 20% of the food items in the fish studied. They are primarily herbivore, as most pygmy angels are, but many of them have a side diet. The preference for gorgonian is surprising, but then they don't exist where CB's naturally live, so it makes sense they would not exist in their gut samples. Gorgonias are not toxic like the Pacific soft corals. This issue has more to do with mixing species, which results in unpredictable results...kind of like Atlantic fish not knowing to be afraid of lion fish.
     
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  13. apathium

    apathium Member

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    I actually just started looking into this topic myself because I'm hoping to begin adding corals to my tank, but I currently have a copper band butterflyfish. I recommend this page as a good resource for checking coral/butterflyfish compatibility: https://orphek.com/butterflyfish-compatibility-with-corals/

    As another poster mentioned, copper band butterflyfish are notorious for being very picky eaters! I've had mine now for about a month, and he LOVES fresh brine (as do all my other fish, naturally). I've been feeding fresh brine every day since he joined my tank, and now he's even started eating my fish flake food. If you search the forums, I'm pretty sure you can find a bunch of threads on dietary recommendations.

    Also also -- agreed with those who said that your tank should be about what YOU want, not what your family wants. Are they the ones financing it/taking care of it daily? Nope! You are!
     
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  14. 679x

    679x Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I was thinking of getting a cheaper light and using the saved $ to upgrade to a Red Sea Reefer 450 (5 foot), but I can't find a light that is very good and is cheap enough to allow me to upgrade without spending more than I would on a Reefer 350 Deluxe. So, because of that, I'll probably be going with my old plan of the 4-foot Reefer 350 Deluxe.

    I have completely revised my stock list from a few weeks ago as well. I'll definitely get at least one Pyramid butterflyfish, they're really nice looking and in a group would be fun to watch. Next, if dwarf angels won't eat my SPS or euphyllia, then I will get a Coral Beauty angel and a Flame angel. I was thinking of these a while ago but even though I saw videos of them in a reef, I thought they ate coral too much so I didn't consider them when I was thinking of what fish to get. I'm hoping they will be fine together in a 4 foot tank?

    There are a few other fish that I like as well... ocellaris clownfish, green wrasse (Halichoeres chloropterus), longnose hawkfish, mandarin dragonet.

    In the end I'd like to know how many fish I can safely fit in this tank. If possible I'd like to fit the fish that I mentioned I liked above, but I have no idea what amount of fish / size of fish is safe in a given tank size. (For coral I'll get a bunch of Euphyllia and SPS, I saw a Euphyllia-dominated tank on youtube and it looked really awesome)
     
  15. apathium

    apathium Member

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    In terms of fish per gallon, there's no real set rule, but I believe most people follow the general rule of thumb of 1 inch of fish per 3-5 gallons of water. Some sources will claim 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon (um....do not recommend), but I think it's always better to under stock rather than risk overstocking and inviting serious ammonia problems.

    If you'd like a more *precise* estimation, there's this tool online too: http://www.howmanyfish.com

    There's probably a bunch of calculators online, so go to town! //edit: definite yes to getting clownfish, they are awesome. I have 8 of them myself
     
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  16. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Member

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    When using rules of thumbs or calculators, just remember that inches of fish are not all the same. An inch of a tang is not an inch of hawkfish and are a lot more than an inch of a goby. Metabolism plays a big part in this. The calculator also does not account for territorial nature of the fish. Oscelaris clowns? Yes, they will form a group and co-exist with other fish. Maroon clown, good luck :D

    Also, in this hobby we do not discuss feeding habits enough. It's not by coincidence that the most successful fish in this hobby are planktivores and the ones that we struggle with are grazers. Unfortunately, the most beautiful and desirable fish are the grazers (my personal is a Queen Angel). Our feeding habits and food sources benefit planktivores, not grazers. In many cases, we are overstocking the tank with grazers. Tangs, Angels & Butterflies all fit in that grazer category and tanks with a lot of grazers required much more attention to detail than say clownfish, chromis and wrasses. The Pyramid Butterfly is unique amongst the Butterflies in that it fits the plankitove category instead of the grazing category. With planktivores, thinking in terms of X fish per gallon is somewhat useful in terms of open water. With grazers, you need to think more about how much rock work you have. Not much different than with say a mandarin, where how much open sand with pods is a factor.

    I'm not saying you can't do what you want, just be aware a successful tank will need you consider this in your feedings and rock arrangement. For example, Pyramid Butterflies would mix great with pygmy angels as those butterflies will open water feed naturally and this tank will be more sustainable than one that was all grazing butterflies with pygmy angels.
     
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  17. Xanthurum

    Xanthurum Member

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    In my experience, with proper planning you can keep as many fish as your water quality will allow. If you can keep up the water quality and you do the research on fish you want you can and will have success. The people that get in trouble are the ones who do not QT and buy on impulse rather than research.
    There are right ways and wrong ways to stock a tank. What to add first, what to add last and the specific needs of each fish should be considered. For instance you can create an aquascape that would allow you to better suit the fish that you wish to keep. It all boils down to be patient and follow the proper steps when selecting and adding fish. Learn from others who have already made the mistakes rather than making them yourself.
     
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  18. 679x

    679x Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Here are some of my thoughts on my tank's stocking list:

    1. I've just read some nasty things about green wrasses, so I probably won't be getting one.

    2. Next, I looked at the colours of the 'main' fish of the tank (butterflyfish and angelfish, the ones that are biggest/stand out the most) to see which colours I was missing to try to get the full spectrum of colours in the tank.

    3. To go with the butterflies and angelfish, I needed something fully blue and fully yellow... the butterflyfish are yellowish, and the coral beauty angel is blueish, but I thought I needed more blue and yellow.

    4. To fix #3, I would've liked a blue hippo tang, but the tank is 4 feet which I highly doubt is enough for one long term. Instead, I may get a yellow tang (for the yellow, obviously.. plus I realized I wanted some sort of tang), and an azure damselfish for the blue and a bit more yellow. Yellow stands out a lot in a reef so I can't get too much of it.

    5. Last but certainly not least, for personality I'd like to add a longnose hawkfish. I didn't think much about getting one of these until I saw it at an LFS and instantly knew I needed to get one some day. I haven't felt that way about fish before so I must really like this fish lol. I'd say it's a must.

    Here is my current stock list plan:

    -Yellow tang
    -Pyramid butterflyfish (3 of 'em)
    -Flame angelfish
    -Coral beauty angelfish
    -Azure damselfish
    -Longnose hawkfish

    Is this too many fish for a 4-foot tank (Reefer 350)?
     
  19. ice fish

    ice fish Well-Known Member

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    Personally i would say yes. The amount of bio load there would seem a bit much for a 75gal? Cut one of the angels and one of the butterflies or the yellow and i would think you have a decent stock list. My personal experience as well, Most pygmy angels will not get along with eachother. I worked for a aquarium company that serviced clients. Out of the 100's of tanks i worked on, maybe 1 was succesful in keeping pygmys together. It was also a larger tank. Both angels are gonna graze on the same rocks. you are looking more at a territory thing with them for food source. When i had my coral beauty it grazed on rock as much as my tangs did. Just something to keep in mind. Otherwise all those fish are great additions and good start. Longnose might go after shrimps if you are wanting to add those down the road. Just a FYI :)
     
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  20. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Member

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    This mirrors what I was saying about two many grazers. I think the 3 Pyramids will be fine. But a Yellow Tang, and Coral Beauty and a Flame Angel is too much grazing for only a 4-ft tank. I don't think the azure damsel, or any damsel, is a good addition to this tank. I do like the long nose hawk, but limits you on the clean up crew in that shrimp are a NO.
     

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