Doug's 1400 gal Dream Marine Aquarium - 1st Topic: Better compatibility in larger Footprints?

DJKNOX

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A warm greeting to fellow enthusiasts. Some background first is appropriate. I was an avid reef aquarium hobbyist back in the 1980s/90s until I moved overseas. I would classify myself as intermediate to advanced back in the day but am certainly out of date on some things. Retirement is approaching and I am planning a new house with a large island marine aquarium prominently positioned between dining and living rooms. The fish room will be directly below in the basement. I have paid attention to the hobby over the years albeit on an at arm's length basis as I have had no aquarium in operation. First, I am amazed at how this hobby has grown: equipment availability, livestock availability and general expertise. Lots of youtube videos but serious books over the pat 10 years seem lacking. This retirement project is going to be a big challenge and cost for me, but I believe I have at least the fundamentals to build upon. I am an experienced engineer in the field of power generation and so suffice to say that by nature I will be focused on the system engineering aspects of a large aquarium. I hope this community will be supportive in my new learning curve and that one day I will be able to pay it forward.

The first topic that I don't see too much discussion on is just how the size of the aquarium influences fish selection and compatibility. Obviously parrots will munch on coral and puffers will snack on hermit crabs regardless of the aquarium size, but is it possible to maintain multiple species of the same family when the tank gets large? The reason for this query is that I am still contemplating whether to have multiple (2 or 3) smaller aquariums dedicated to different personalities and diets vs one monster aquarium with necessary compatibility restrictions? My recollection is that many fish from a similar family/genus (by family I mean say Butterfly or Angel for example) tend to be aggressive towards sister species. And some species can be very aggressive towards each other. But with more real estate, can they become more compatible especially if there is larger numbers from each family or species?

Are there any monster tank owners who can give me an idea of what might be possible from their experience?
 
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NautiTang

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I dont have personal experience with your question about fish compatibility but I have been looking into the same ideas myself and here is a video that I have found inspirational.
 
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DJKNOX

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I dont have personal experience with your question about fish compatibility but I have been looking into the same ideas myself and here is a video that I have found inspirational.
Hey thanks for sharing that video. I think that tank is proof that competition and aggression can be minimized with good planning and lots of feeding!
 

El_Guapo13

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Welcome to R2R and welcome back to the hobby!!!

From what I have seen around here, it is possible to keep more than one member of a family of fish in the same aquarium, procided the aquarium is large enough, depending on the particular species (plural) you are looking at. For instance, general rule of thumb with wrasses is to not mix them as they will be aggressive towards each other, some moreso than others. However, I have seen threads in which larger aquariums house nothing but various species of wrasse exclusively, with none of the usual aggression being present.

But I am no expert, and I have yet to have a tank larger than 29 gallons.

So let's get #reefsquad members in here!!!
 
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DJKNOX

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Welcome to R2R and welcome back to the hobby!!!

From what I have seen around here, it is possible to keep more than one member of a family of fish in the same aquarium, procided the aquarium is large enough, depending on the particular species (plural) you are looking at. For instance, general rule of thumb with wrasses is to not mix them as they will be aggressive towards each other, some moreso than others. However, I have seen threads in which larger aquariums house nothing but various species of wrasse exclusively, with none of the usual aggression being present.

But I am no expert, and I have yet to have a tank larger than 29 gallons.

So let's get #reefsquad members in here!!!
Ya thanks El Guapo… I like wrasses but recall they can be very territorial. The tank I had back then was 180 gal - which for some may be large but in my books is still a smallish to medium marine tank...
 

MBinNY

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A warm greeting to fellow enthusiast. Some background first is appropriate. I was an avid reef aquarium hobbyist back in the 1980s/90s until I moved overseas. I would classify myself as intermediate to advanced back in the day. Retirement is approaching and I am planning a new house with a large island marine aquarium prominently positioned between dining and living rooms. The fish room will be directly below in the basement. I have paid attention to the hobby over the years albeit on an at arm's length basis as I have had no aquarium in operation. First, I am amazed at how this hobby has grown: equipment availability, livestock availability and general expertise. This retirement project is going to be a big challenge and cost for me, but I believe I have at least the fundamentals to build upon. I am an experienced engineer in the field of power generation and so suffice to say that by nature I will be focused on the system engineering aspects of a large aquarium. I hope this community will be supportive in my new learning curve and that one day I will be able to pay it forward.

The first topic that I don't see too much discussion on is just how the size of the aquarium influences fish selection and compatibility. Obviously parrots will munch on coral and puffers will snack on hermit crabs regardless of the aquarium size, but is it possible to maintain multiple species of the same family when the tank gets large? The reason for this query is that I am still contemplating whether to have multiple (2 or 3) smaller aquariums dedicated to different personalities and diets vs one monster aquarium with necessary compatibility restrictions? My recollection is that many fish from a similar family/genus (by family I mean say Butterfly or Angel for example) tend to be aggressive towards sister species. And some species can be very aggressive towards each other. But with more real estate, can they become more compatible especially if there is larger numbers from each family or species?

Are there any monster tank owners who can give me an idea of what might be possible from their experience?
With enough space aggression can usually be managed.....within reason. At the 1000+ gallon range you should have a large enough footprint for multiples of same genus. I have personally kept multiple Pomocanthus in a 300 gallon aquarium for extended periods of time. In the 600 I’m building now I plan on adding said angels and adding 1 or 2 more.
 
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DJKNOX

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With enough space aggression can usually be managed.....within reason. At the 1000+ gallon range you should have a large enough footprint for multiples of same genus. I have personally kept multiple Pomocanthus in a 300 gallon aquarium for extended periods of time. In the 600 I’m building now I plan on adding said angels and adding 1 or 2 more.
@ MBinNY thanks for your feedback. Multiple Angels as well as Surgeons and Clowns (with multiple anenomes) is one of my goals and I suspected it would be possible as you suggest. The 2nd half to this question is whether the large footprint can provide some shelter to crustaceans being attacked by wrasses, puffers etc.. I imagine size and feeding schedules would come into play as well. I guess I will eventually find out as I do like invertebrates ;-)
 
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ca1ore

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I have found that space helps to curb aggression, but does not eliminate it. I don’t think even a 2,000 gallon tank would be large enough if two tangs decided they wanted to kill each other.
 
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DJKNOX

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I have found that space helps to curb aggression, but does not eliminate it. I don’t think even a 2,000 gallon tank would be large enough if two tangs decided they wanted to kill each other.
Thanks ca1ore for your feedback - so true! But I suppose I'm looking at probabilities as in the case you sight, I would just remove the aggressor.
 
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DJKNOX

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So I have been reviewing literature on fish compatibility. With the exception of placing predators with small fish, which obviously won't work, the issue that most impacts compatibility is space. My annoying sister-in-law isn't so bad if she hangs out in the opposite side of the house lol! ca1ore adeptly pointed out that two fish who want to get in on will do so - like two Tangs or Angels. BUT, a lot of the compatibility between species is in the "yellow zone" where they might not bother much with each other given sufficient real estate. The thing is, I never encountered too much hostility in my 180 gal tank other than the occasional territorial dispute. But I have heard of some real epic battles between fish nonetheless. Would love to hear from some more monster tank owners on just how much they manage to get away with? The decision between one monster tank and 2 large tanks is a tough one for me as my experience has blind spots.

For example, what kind of corals do Angels, Surgeons and Butterfly fish like to eat?
 

MBinNY

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@ MBinNY thanks for your feedback. Multiple Angels as well as Surgeons and Clowns (with multiple anenomes) is one of my goals and I suspected it would be possible as you suggest. The 2nd half to this question is whether the large footprint can provide some shelter to crustaceans being attacked by wrasses, puffers etc.. I imagine size and feeding schedules would come into play as well. I guess I will eventually find out as I do like invertebrates ;-)
@ MBinNY thanks for your feedback. Multiple Angels as well as Surgeons and Clowns (with multiple anenomes) is one of my goals and I suspected it would be possible as you suggest. The 2nd half to this question is whether the large footprint can provide some shelter to crustaceans being attacked by wrasses, puffers etc.. I imagine size and feeding schedules would come into play as well. I guess I will eventually find out as I do like invertebrates ;-)
larger wrasses and puffers are opportunists I’ve never had luck with any mobile inverts aside from a giant hermit crab. Maybe sps could stand some chance, but keeping Inverts is more an act in futility or a deliberate feeding/enrichment method for the wrasses and puffers. I have a 10” dragon wrasse in my sons tank it follows him around the tank begging for food.
 
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DJKNOX

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Well noted. I realize that if I want predators (like wrasses, puffers, lions, eels, frogfish) I will need a 2nd tank. I just can't quite decide if I want 2 large tanks at the expense of my dream monster tank :)
 

MBinNY

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I’ve seen some pretty interesting additions to reef tanks. There’s a tank on YouTube that has a baby Epaulettes shark in it. golden morays are often added as are blue throat triggers and such. As long as the structure is sound as bigger morays and catsharks can be bulldozers sending frags flying. And your ok with experimenting with things like skunk cleaners and others go for the bigger tank and let the games begin.
 

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