Difficult and Special Care Species List

Discussion in 'Fish Discussion' started by Ike, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Ike

    Ike Well-Known Member

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    Fish To Be Avoided::Fish that have incredibly low survivability in aquaria or are totally unsuitable for home aquaria


    Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus): A few success stories, but miniscule amounts live long, difficult feeder, mystery deaths, and even when accepting prepared foods often slowly starve

    Rock Beauty Angelfish (Holacanthus tricolor): Nearly impossible to meet the dietary needs in home aquaria

    Multi-Barred Angelfish (Centropyge multifasciatus): They don't adapt to aquarium life well, rarely eat, and are very secretive, though not fatal, they also seem particularly prone to Lymphocystis

    Venustus Angelfish (Centropyge venustus): See the Multi-Barred Angelfish above

    Butterflyfishes (Chaetodon spp.): Many problem feeders in the group and most are corallivore that are almost guaranteed to starve to death in aquaria, do a lot of research before purchasing any butterflyfish

    Clown Tang (Acanthurus lineatus): VERY ich prone and a finicky eater, horrible survival rates, when they do live they are terribly aggressive and often take over a tank

    Twinspot Goby (Signogobius ocellatus): Terrible survival rates in captivity, rarely accept prepared foods or survive long even when they do

    Clown Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides): Difficult feeders and rarely adapt to aquarium life, should you manage to get one to live they get quite large

    Oriental Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus orientalis): See Clown Sweetlips, in general this can be repeated for most species in the genus Diagramma and Plectorhinchus

    Pinnatus Batfish (Platax pinnatus): Gorgeous fish when young, very very few success stories, diet, disease, and stress from aquarium life are big issues

    Tiger Tiera Batfish (Platax batavianus): See Pinnatus Batfish above

    Orange Spotted Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris): Specialized coral polyp feeder and almost never accepts prepared foods

    Ribbon Eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita): Rarely eat in captivity and are excellent escape artists

    Snake Eels & Garden Eels (various genera): Difficult feeders that require specialty tanks

    Cleaner Wrasses (Labroides spp.): Specialized parasite feeders that rarely live long in captivity, leave them in the ocean where they can do their job

    Tamarin Wrasses (Anampses spp.): Very poor shippers and need tanks with their special needs in mind, even then they often starve to death, their best chance is often a large established reef aquarium with large amounts of live rock, peaceful fish, and something to prevent their escape from jumping

    Leopard Wrasses (Macropharyngodon spp.): See Tamarin Wrasses above, but there are more success stories, both these and the Anampses are boderline being in this area of the list and the next section

    Pencil Wrasses (Pseodojuloides spp.): Very sensitive, they almost always die in transit so you don't see them very often if ever in the trade

    Parrotfishes (Family Scaridae): Very specialized feeders on mostly dead (some live) coral skeletons and the algae and organisms associated with them, they adapt poorly to aquarium life in almost all regards

    Tilefishes (Family Malacanthidae): VERY timid and must be kept in a covered aquarium with lots of space and docile tankmates, in general they just don't adapt to aquarium life

    Cartilaginous Fishes (Sharks, Rays, Skates): With very few exceptions, unless you own a massive aquarium that is several hundred gallons stay away

    Grunts (Family Haemulidae): Rarely adapt well to aquarium life and should probably only be considered in a large species tank

    Jacks (Family Carangidae): See Grunts above

    Drums (Family Sciaenidae): Poor shippers, being very shy and fragile they rarely live long after being collected

    Trumpetfish (Aulostomus spp.): Too large and too specialized for 99.9% of the aquarists out there, also poor shippers

    Remoras (Family Echeneidae): Unless you have a large Shark or Whale in your backyard oceanarium it's probably best to stay away

    Leopard Blenny (Exallias brevis): Specialized coral feeders that rarely live long in captivity

    Chambered Nautilus (Nautilus pompilius): Though technically not a fish, there are a plethora of reasons to leave them in the ocean, simply not suited for typical aquarium life
     
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  2. Ike

    Ike Well-Known Member

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    Fish Best Left For Experienced Or Knowledgable Hobbyists:Finicky nature, parasite prone, specialty feeders, require specialty tanks, or threatened species


    Anthias (family Anthiinae): Require a good amount of swimming room, peaceful tankmates, and frequent feedings, often unhealthy and starving by the time they make it to dealers tanks, some almost require special tanks with their needs in mind and others often refuse to eat and starve quickly in aquaria, do plenty of research before purchasing any Anthias

    Teira Batfish (Platax teira): Can be very hardy once acclimated but there can be problems feeding, they stress easily, are disease prone, and will also outgrow most aquaria

    Majestic, Blueface(Pomacanthus Euxiphipops spp.): Can be hardy once acclimated to aquarium life and eating well, that's often easier said than done though, larger juvenilles are often the best way to go with these fish as tiny specimens are quite fragile and large specimens have the hardest time adapting to aquarium life, this is true for many large angelfish

    Regal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus): A problem feeder, specimens from the Philippines and Indonesia rarely make it long in captivity, Red Sea Specimens tend to be hardier and more willing to accept prepared foods partially due to collection and holding techniques, the more recent trend to keep this fish in reef aquariums helps with survivability

    Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus aka Apolemichthys arcuatus): Very similar to the Rock Beauty above but with a much smaller sample, at their price you'll probably do your research, if you don't you'll most likely learn an expensive lesson

    Bicolor Angelfish (Centropyge bicolor): Concerns with drugs used in collection and frequent unwillingness to accept prepared foods, also one of the more common coral nippers

    Heralds's or Yellow Angelfish (Centropyge heraldi): Often collected with the use of drugs, be very wary of newly collected specimens, this can be true with many Centropyge but seems especially problematic here

    Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissima): See Herald's angelfish above

    Potter's Angelfish (Centropyge potteri): Mixed results with this one with a lot of mystery deaths early in captivity, if they've been eating and active at the fish store for a few weeks they usually end up being quite hardy

    Golden Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge aurantius): Adapts poorly to aquarium life, only attempt if you find a healthy specimen and have a larger reef aquarium containing less boisterous fish with a lot of rock to graze on

    Swallowtail Angelfishes (Genicanthus spp.): Can be hardy once acclimated, but lots of problem specimens due to the depths they are collected at, take extra special care in examining and observing them before purchase

    Angelfish in General (Centropyge, Chaetodontoplus, Apolemichthys, etc. spp.): Just a general note, Angelfish are among the more common fish collected using cyanide, so paying particularly close attention to their behavior and appearance before purchase is advised

    Butterflyfishes (Chaetodon spp.): Very few are suited for a reef tank or a beginner hobbyist, do your research

    Copperband Butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus): Like the Regal Angelfish, this one has gone from nearly impossible to having some success with the popularity of them being kept in reef tanks, even then, longevity is questionable

    Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicunda): Typically will not do well longterm in tropical conditions, if they do live long that cute little fish turns into a large territotial nightmare

    Trunkfish, Boxfish, and Cowfish (various genera): Most are rather sensitive and can release toxins when stressed or dying

    Clown/Gumdrop Gobies (Gobiodon spp.): Poor shipper, once established can be a good surviver with less boisterous fish, will nip "SPS" corals

    Catalina gobies (Lythrypnus dalli): Not a tropical species and will not live long in the temperature of the average marine aquarium

    Mandarin "Gobies" and Scooter "Blennies" aka Dragonets (family Callionymidae): Require large amounts of live food, quite often starve to death, providing larger tanks (50+ gallons) with large amounts of live rock and little competition for food has proved successful, do not treat with copper medications

    Radiata Lionfish (Pterois radiata): Tough to acclimate to aquarium life and foods, more sensitive than others in the genus

    Fu manchu Lionfish & Dwarf Zebra Lionfish (Dendrochirus spp.): All the dwarf Lions require tanks with their needs in mind, these two also seem very sensitive, very shy, are poor shippers, and can be particularly difficult to ween onto aquarium foods

    Anglerfishes and Frogfishes (Order Lophiiformes/Antennariiformes): Most get very large and can consume fish nearly their own size, often will only consume live foods which is troublesome since feeder fish are rarely nutritious enough longtern

    Achilles, Powder Brown, Powder Blue, and Gold Rim Tangs (Acanthurus spp.): Ich prone and fairly sensitive to water conditions, they also require large amounts of swimming room, very risky to consider one without quarantine

    Bristletooth Tangs (Ctenochaetus spp.): Ich prone, some of the hardier tangs once established but can starve when detritus and algae aren't available in decent supply, so overly "clean" aquariums are not a good choice, the Chevron is probably the least hardy of the genus and can be particularly difficult

    Seahorses, Seadragons, Pipefish (Family Syngnathidae): Need quiet species tanks and large quantities of nutritious live food, wild caught specimens ship poorly and have high mortality rates, tank raised seahorses are often already accepting prepared foods and are much better candidates for aquarium life, they still need a tank with their needs in mind though

    Hawkfishes ( Family Cirrhitidae): Hardy fish but they are notorious jumpers, be very careful with ornamental shrimp, crabs, and small fish

    Porcupine Pufferfish (Family Diodontidae): Can be hardy but some are very disease and parasite prone, most require large fish only aquariums

    Fairy and Flasher Wrasses (Paracheilinus and Cirrilabrus spp.): Require peaceful tankmates and do best in reef aquariums, they stress easily and the first few weeks in captivity will often make or break their longevity, known jumpers

    Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus): Will sometimes not accept prepared foods and will starve to death in tanks without a natural algae food source

    Diamond, Golden Head, Sleeper Gobies (Valenciennea spp.): Sometimes starve to death even when accepting prepared foods, tanks with large sandbeds containing lots of food will help as will frequent feedings when they will eat, mated pairs may help as well

    Courtjester/Rainford's and Hector's Goby (Amblygobius spp.): Often will not accept prepared foods, need established tanks with a fine sandbed full of life

    Fourline Cleaner Wrasse (Larabicus quadrilineatus): A cleaner when small, but are coralivores as they enter adulthood so are not good reef aquarium inhabitants, some of the Tubelip Wrasses are know for a similar behavior and rarely live long in captivity

    Cephalopods, Octopi, Cuttlefish, Squid (Class Cephalopoda): Not fish, but including them here because of their intelligence compared to the dumb lumps of goo that are most invertebrates, the Nautilus from above is in this group as well, these must have species tanks and require a lot of research before attempting them
     
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  3. Ike

    Ike Well-Known Member

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    Fish That Require Huge Aquariums (200 gallons or more):


    Cartilaginous Fishes (Sharks, Rays, Skates): Require tanks much larger than 200 gal. and should just be left out of home aquaria, Nurse sharks can grow to 14ft. long!, repeating this one so it sinks in

    Groupers & Seabass (various genera): Especially take note of the cute little Panther Groupers commonly offered in the trade as they can attain over 2' in length

    Snappers (Family Lutjanidae): Those little Red Emperor Snappers seen in the trade get over 3' long

    Unicorn Tangs (Naso spp.): They will even outgrow common size aquariums such as 125 gal. and 180 gal.

    Moray Eels (Family Muraenidae): Do your research as many are not suitable for home aquariums

    Squirrel and Soldierfish (Family Holocentridae): Some of these are borderline, do your research

    Batfish and Spadefish (Family Ephippidae): Probably best left to public aquaria

    Twinspot Wrasse (Coris aygula): Take special note of this one as they're often offered as small attractive juveniles, they get very large and very mean, up to 4' long

    Red Coris Wrasse (Coris gaimard & Coris frerei): Sold as tiny juvenilles they can grow up to be 2' beasts, beware the size of most Coris wrasses, though the common Yellow Coris Wrasse is actually a smaller fish from not in the genus Coris but belonging to the genus Halichoeres

    Dragon Wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus): Offered as very small juvenilles they grow to be about a foot long and are known to flip aquarium decorations and rocks when adults

    Flounder (Paralichthys spp.): Rarely suitable for aquarium life, also becoming increasingly rare due to overfishing as a food fish

    Tassled filefish (Chaetoderma pencilligera): Often offered when cute and tiny but grow quite large

    Angelfish (various genera): When purchasing any angelfish that isn't Centropyge be sure to check their ultimate size, take special note of the French, Gray, Blue, and Queen which are often offered as small juvenilles ang will outgrow most aquariums

    Triggerfish (various genera): Most will be fine in large aquariums of around 100 gallons, but there are a few that would be unsuitable for all but the largest home aquariums, do research on their ultimate size and temprament before a purchase is made







    Venomous and/or Toxic Species:


    Stonefishes (Synanceia spp.): Believed to be the most venomous fish in the world

    Scorpionfishes/Rockfishes (various genera): Rhinopias has gained in popularity recently

    Toadfish (family Batrachoididae)

    Lionfish (various genera)

    Rabbitfishes/Foxfaces (Siganus and a sub-genus Lo)

    Coral Catfish (Plotosus lineatus): These also get up to a foot long and become more solitary as they grow

    Blue Ring Octopus (Hapalochlaena spp.)

    Fang Blennies (Meiacanthus spp.): Venomous bites that can be painful

    Flower Urchins (Toxopneustes pileolus): Rare in the trade, but outside the trade there are reported deaths from this species

    Black Longspined Sea Urchins (Diadema spp.): Can inflict painful wounds, some debate exists whether or not they are really venomous, but it's wise to handle all urchins with care

    Cone Shells (Conus spp.): Rarely encountered in the aquarium trade, can be deadly

    Stingrays (familly Dasyatidae): Many have venom associated with the spike on the tail which they use in self defense, fatalities are very rare

    Sea Snakes (various genera): I know you're not going to try to add one to your reef aquarium, but included for good measure

    Box Jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri): Quite deadly but of no concern to aquarists

    Hell's Fire Anemone (family Actinodendronidae): While all anemones are capable of stinging, this is the one of the few to be concerned about, very painful stings

    Hydroids: usually just cause skin irritation if anything

    Fire Coral (Millepora spp.): See hydroids

    Sea Mat, Button Polyps, Zoanthids (family Zoanthidae): Some of these can contain Palytoxin which can be quite dangerous, they're quite frequently harmless but if you want to err on the side of caution rubber gloves are a good idea when handling them, as are goggles when fragging them







    Extremely Aggressive Species:


    Undulated Triggerfish (Balistapus undulatus): Perhaps the meanest aquarium fish available and one to avoid unless you don't mind having a large aquarium with one fish

    Queen Triggerfish (Balistes vetula): Not quite as bad as the Undulated, but pretty close and what they lack by comparison in aggression they more than make up for in size

    Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum): Pretty similar in demeanor to the above two

    Blueline Triggerfish (Pseudobalistes fuscus): Not so bad when young, but a beast once it grows, probably the least aggressive of the four triggers mentioned

    Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer): Probably the meanest of all Angelfish, some of the larger Angels may look like delicate beauties, but some can be quite aggressive

    Damselfish (family Pomacentridae): They're not all bad, but ounce for ounce some of them are the meanest fish around, think long and hard about adding them as some of your first specimens

    Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus): Females get quite large and they can take over medium size tanks, they're also probably the least tolerant of other clown species

    Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal): Much hardier than the Clown Tang but just about as mean, probably best to keep them as the lone Tang, and if you must keep one in a community reef tank make it your last fish addition

    Bicolor Pseudochromis (Pseudochromis paccagnellae) A lot of Pseudochromis get a bad wrap, but this isn't one of those cases, very nasty fish, P. porphyreus, P. diadema, and P. aldabraensis are others to be weary of







    Special Notes:


    Clownfish (Amphiprion spp.): Various species often acclimate poorly to aquarium life and suffer greatly from collection stress, I've seen estimates that as little as five percent of those collected live to be in home aquaria, when possible buy tank raised specimens

    Bangaii/Borneo Cardinals (Pterapogon kauderrni): Rather limited in range and rumors of an unsustainable population if the current rate of collection continues, there are also stories of poor survival after collection, buy tank raised when possible

    Tangs (various genera) Should have larger aquaria to provide them with plenty of swimming room, no a tang is not suitable for your nano or 29 gallon tank, when small 3'-4' aquariums can be suitable for short periods of time or smaller species, though bigger is recommended by many

    Angelfish (various genera): Their compatibility with corals and clams is often brought up and debated, outside of Geniacanthus there really is no such thing as a "reef safe" Angelfish and even those have the odd exception, before purchasing one consider how difficult one would be to catch out of your display tank after it decides your corals and favorite clam are delicious, they can be model citizens but there is always a risk associated in reef aquariums
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
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  4. dougers31

    dougers31 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Great thread! I was just reading a book a couple of days ago that said cleaner wrasses are fairly easy to care for(what a joke). It really is ridiculous how much bad info there is out there.
     
  5. m and m

    m and m Well-Known Member Photo of the Month Award

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    Greath thread i think this needs to get its own spot on the top of the page, this will help out alot of reefers.
     
  6. LPAJ5280

    LPAJ5280 University of Northern CO

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    I must say, I'm not sure I agree with all of the fish in this thread. I've seen plenty of moorish Idols live in captivity, for one. We keep butterfly fish here at the University and they do great. I've personally owned a leopard wrasse who died from old age. All tangs are particularly prone to ich, but i wouldn't say "don't get them" for that reason. We've also got Twin spot gobies here and they are thriving. our hawk fish and anthias are hearty as long as they're fed. I suppose I'm asking this...What are you basing these recomendations on?
     
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  7. Breakin Newz

    Breakin Newz WINNING! Photo of the Month Award

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    Awesome thread! R2R needed this!
     
  8. HappyHoney41

    HappyHoney41 Well-Known Member

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    The Red Corris Wrasse is a complete jerk and should not be in a reef tank. They flip crud over and disturb the dsb. I call mine El Diablo, because he IS the Devil... I hate that fish. He eats my clean up crew, no matter how much he gets fed. Flips rocks, corals, and even pries them off of their putty/mounts. Just noticed he's now gotten FANGS! He's impossible to catch. I get within view of the tank with a net, and he burries himself in the sand under the substraight. The jerk spits sand all over the corals. He'd be ok in a preditory fish only... I wouldn't even feel bad if he ended up as some other jerk's meal. It's a good thing I don't own spear fishing gear or a gun... I'd probably snap some time and shoot through the glass at him. Just sayin', I wouldn't ever recommend one of those fish. He's the bane of my existance.
     
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  9. HappyHoney41

    HappyHoney41 Well-Known Member

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    I've tried for 3 days now to catch this wrasse in a diy fish trap. I've only been feeding the other fish after he's gone to sleep. Instead of going into the trap, he's eaten my red & white coral banded shrimp, a couple snails, and a small hermit or two. >:-/
     
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  10. christye

    christye Member

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    so where does he sleep? he should be easy to catch, then. Mine is changing, and beautiful. Have had him almost 4 years, and bought him scrawny, in terrible condition from a fish store going out of business. He is in a fish/rock/sand tank and doesn't bother anybody. On the other hand, I regularly replace snails and hermits, as he is not the only invert-eater in this tank. I keep different tanks with different populations...eating inverts doesn't make a wrasse a bad fish, just a wrasse. And my coral-banded shrimp in my nano has eaten a ton of fish, when he can get them. He grabs the big cardinal and rides up like hooked to a blimp, eventually to let go and drift back to the sand. Good bye to firefish, clown gobies, and a couple of damsels. Send me your red coris, I'll send you my mean shrimp!
     
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  11. Myst

    Myst Active Member

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    Awesome Thread, Full of info.
     
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  12. HappyHoney41

    HappyHoney41 Well-Known Member

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    He sleeps under the sand, under the live rock. I'll try getting a different fish trap. I don't want to use a hook. I'll end up catching every other fish in the tank first, and I don't want to hurt them.
     
  13. lilqtpierikki

    lilqtpierikki Well-Known Member

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    My maroon clownfish is the calmest of all my fish! He's not aggressive at ALL! Now my clarkii clown is a bully to my maroon... I'm trying to get rid of the clarkii right now, anyone in hawaii want him?

    And my blue damsel is also really calm. He's been with me the longest and was the first in the tank so he technically should be a bully, but he hides most of the time, until feeding.

    This is a good write up BUT, not 100% true either. It's a good basis though!

    Kinda like saying all pit-bulls are bad dogs, some are not. Just like some fish are not bully's.
     
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  14. REEFKEEPER10

    REEFKEEPER10 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I have a male and female scooter blenny and they have been eating pellet food since day one and I just recently had a white spot outbreak and had to treat all my fish. I use copper and they are fine other than a little thin from quarantine.
     
  15. EcoFrags

    EcoFrags Well-Known Member

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    just as a point of reference some people do have the right set up with the right water flow and rock and light and temp and whatever else they got lucky enough to do right by chance to inspire a difficult fish to not give up on life day 1...they are more guidelines than absolute truths so if you are a little adventurous in the hobby sometimes you get a nice reward...i've got about 18 anthias in my 180 gallon with a sixline, 2 helfrichi, and a purple frigmani dartfish and 5 of those anthias are longfin's or ventralis whatever you call them...its a bit of luck and putting yourself in a position for the best chance at success
     
  16. Nathan Pettigrew

    Nathan Pettigrew New Member

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    Must appreciate.
     
  17. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Partner Member Article Contributor

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    Welcome to R2R!

    We appreciate your membership!

    Thanks for joining and please make sure and post often!
     
  18. erndog

    erndog Well-Known Member

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    Nothing is ever written in stone. There's always going to be an exception to the rule and somebody is sure to take it to task.. lol
    My maroon attacks me every chance I give it. Doesn't seem to bother the other fish in the tank tho. And he's been in there the longest.
     
  19. Eienna

    Eienna Well-Known Member

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    There are two unbreakable rules. Fish must live in water, and all aquarists must mind the nitrogen cycle.
     
  20. eatbreakfast

    eatbreakfast Fish Nerd Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Showcase Editor Expert Contributor

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