MARINE FISH AND INVERTEBRATES TO AVOID

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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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Given how little I paid for them I believe them to be wild caught. These guys only spent about 14 hours in shipping so I went ahead and drip acclimated them. A couple of them ate while they were waiting in the bucket which I took as a good sign. They look healthy now, but I know that doesn't mean much.

They'll chill in this observation tank for a couple of days before going into the QT protocol. Anything else I can do to improve their odds?

PXL_20230922_153832301.jpg
No - just be sure to feed them multiple times a day and give them good water quality.
These could be captive raised - they seem kind of smallish.

Jay
 

dennis romano

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MARINE FISH AND INVERTEBRATES TO AVOID

While selecting good quality animals and then properly quarantining them is vital for acquiring long-lived specimens for your aquarium, some species start the process with one or more strikes against them. Knowing which species have extra challenges helps home aquarists avoid heartbreak down the road. The following are some species that may pose problems for you, despite the level of care that you offer them.

This list only includes fish known to have specific issues that affect their longevity in aquariums. Any fish, poorly handled, or for which you are not prepared to properly care for, is not going to thrive for you.


Banggai cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni – wild caught Banggai cardinalfish frequently develop an incurable viral disease. Mortality rates from this seem to be higher than 80% in affected fish. If tank raised fish are housed with wild ones, the disease can transfer to them.

Blonde Naso tang, Naso elegans – For unknown reasons, this species has shown declining durability in the past four or five years. What happens is the fish arrive and either do not start feeding, or begin feeding, but die from unknown causes in a few weeks to months.

Blue-spotted jawfish, Opistognathus rosenblatti – This species does not thrive at tropical temperatures and is prone to developing severe external bacterial infections.

Cirrhilabrus fairy wrasses or flasher wrasses, Pseudocheilinus – some of these fish will develop the incurable, “Unknown Neurological Wrasse Disease” (UNWD). The rate of infection of this is not known, but may run about 5 to 10% of these fish. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/unknown-neurological-wrasse-disease-unwd.901856/

Clownfish, Amphiprion sp. – all wild caught clownfish are prone to developing Brooklynella hostilis, an external protozoan disease that is difficult to treat without resorting to formalin. Even captive raised clownfish can develop this malady if housed with wild caught clownfish at some point.

Green chromis, Chromis viridis – this species commonly develops incurable Uronema infections when first acquired. Additionally, because they are low value fish, they tend to be handled poorly while in the supply chain.

Orange anthias, Anthias squamipinnis – this species commonly develops incurable Uronema infections when first acquired.

Yellow “Coris” wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus – This species commonly develops Uronema infections that are usually incurable. They also can develop the “Unknown Neurological Wrasse Disease”.

There are other species of marine fish that are more delicate, or that adapt poorly to captivity no matter their source. The following tables identify most of these “poor doers” that are currently found in the trade. These listings are for typical wild caught fish. Tank raised fish of the same species often fare better, as well as wild caught fish from short supply chain sources.

Anampses sp. Red Tamarin wrasse
Aspidontus sp. False cleaner fish
Chaetodon austriacus Exquisite butterflyfish
C. baronessa Triangular butterflyfish
C. melapterus Arabian butterflyfish
C. meyeri Meyer’s butterflyfish
C. ornatissimus Clown butterflyfish
C. triangulum Triangle butterflyfish
C. trifasciatus Red-fin butterflyfish
Exallias brevis Leopard blenny
Labroides phthirophagus Hawaiian cleaner wrasse (wild caught)
Plagiotremus sp. Mimic blenny
Pseudanthias pascalis Forktail anthias
Solenostomus spp. Ghost pipefish
Stethojulis spp. Orange shoulder Wrasse
Marine fishes that almost never survive past the year mark in closed system aquariums


Centropyge (Paracentropyge) multifasciatus Many banded angelfish
Chaetodon citrinellus Citron butterflyfish
C. lavartus Masked butterflyfish
C. reticulatus Reticulated butterflyfish
Doryrhamphus sp. Banded pipefish
Holocanthus tricolor Rock beauty angelfish
Gorgasia preclara Gold-banded garden eel
Macropharyngodon sp. Ornate wrasse (may be hardier once established)
Ostracion sp. Boxfish (some cowfish as well)
Oxymonacanthus longirostris Orange-spot filefish
Platax pinnatus Red-rimmed batfish
Pseudanthias tuka Tuka anthias
Pygoplites diacanthus Regal angelfish (Except Red Sea)
Rhinomuraena quaesita Ribbon eel
Scarus sp. (large specimens) Parrotfish (except bicolor)
Marine fishes that rarely survive past the two year mark in typical home aquariums


Chromodoris, Phyllidia & related sp. Nudibranchs
Dendronephthya (Roxasia) sp. Soft coral
Goniopora sp. Flowerpot coral (wild)
Hapalochlaena sp. Blue ringed octopus
Iodictyum sp. Lace bryozoan
Lamprometra and related spp. Crinoids
Lima sp. Flame scallop
Pseudocolochirus violaceus Sea Apple
Spondylus sp. Thorny oyster
Trikentrion flabelliforme with Zoanthid Red spider sponge
Invertebrates that rarely survive past the year mark in closed system aquariums.


Cone shell - Conus spp.
Blue ring octopus - Hapalochlaena spp.
Stonefish - Synanceia spp.
Many other scorpionfish have toxins in their spines that are unknown in their effect on humans – treat ALL unknown scorpionfish as if they are as toxic as stonefish!
Species capable of causing serious harm/death to humans through true venom.
Nice discussion Jay, but I would like for you to add another category, "Those Fish that grow too big for most normal Aquarium. I shake my head when I walk into a LFS and see Panther Groupers, Emperor Snappers, and little Miniatus Groupers. Most customers don't realize that these fish, when adults, are measured in feet.
 

Solasis

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Only person I know who’s done one successfully is @blaxsun
Thanks. Hopefully they can chime in. I keep reading that they drop dead after a few months and are also tough to QT since they hate sterile systems.


I messaged elliot from Marine Collectors who sells QT'd quoyi parrotfish. He told me has them eating nori and PE mysis. He recommended waiting until the tank is 6+ months old to add one in. That would be my source for it if I do get one, incase this "drop dead" phenomena is related to some type of internal parasites.
 

blaxsun

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Only person I know who’s done one successfully is @blaxsun
We've had our Quoy's parrotfish for 2 years now (we call him "Beaker"). Our tank was roughly 3-4 months old when we added him (we'd migrated from two smaller tanks a few months earlier, so most of the sand, rock and water were new).

He gets along pretty well with all the other fish, inverts, etc. He's left all the corals completely alone but does scrape the rock quite regularly for algae (depositing mists of white substrate in his wake). He eats everything: various types of pellets, wafers, seaweed and anything frozen we've offered him. The fish get two manual feedings, seaweed plus 6x automated pellet feedings every day.

Our tank is fairly high in nutrients (nitrates 35ppm+). I'm the only one locally I know of that's managed to keep one successfully for more than 4-6 months (and the only one I know of who has one that's lived this long).
 

Debramb

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Unpopular opinion, but I would go with Hippos.
I love our “goofy” blue! Anyone notice how if he’s alittle hidden, they act like we can’t see them? 6 years ago he disappeared in our overflow! What scare.
Also, Jay, special thanks from all of us who try to be good at keeping our fish healthy and happy and to the “vet” crew who share!
Debra
 

CasperOe

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Very informative article as always! Thanks for writing this- and for sharing this with the community! :) I am sure many of us are taking great inspiration from @jay and a lot of other experienced reefers here on R2R!
 

Troylee

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Crazy list.. I’ve gotten most of the fish on it and no issues thankfully..my blonde naso is doing great and getting super fat, I’ve had him about 4 months now and was aware of the issues before hand.. besides the chromis I wasn’t aware of the yellow corris or orange anthias which I have all 3 and no deaths after the 4 months. My fish came straight from quality marine and never hit the store tanks locally thou.

I will add that convict tangs are doing super poorly now a days! I’ve lost 3 within the first week before giving up…
 

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Nice discussion Jay, but I would like for you to add another category, "Those Fish that grow too big for most normal Aquarium. I shake my head when I walk into a LFS and see Panther Groupers, Emperor Snappers, and little Miniatus Groupers. Most customers don't realize that these fish, when adults, are measured in feet.
Let's not get started on golden trevally/pilotfish (Gnathanodon speciosus) and, heaven forbid, juvenile nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum).
 

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1698100839042.jpeg


Cannot forget these; Zanclus cornutus. Beautiful, but have yet to see them thrive for very long in an aquarium.
 

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1698100839042.jpeg


Cannot forget these; Zanclus cornutus. Beautiful, but have yet to see them thrive for very long in an aquarium.
older thread but thought I'd update as I've kept a few idols, so just some bullets:
- IME THE BIGGEST issue is getting one that eats (or getting one
TO eat) in the first place
- 2nd biggest issue is diet; like tangs veggies are a must IMO. My Idols goes nuts over NORI sheets & Formula 2
- Idols need space and swimming room

-I've kept multiples together; BUT its not a requirement and IME doubtful to work past juvies grown up together. Even if you can get multiples to work again: they need LOTS of swimming space
 

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Just my experience and opinion on a few more fish that require specialized care, disease prone or high mortality
- Boxfish (high mortality)
- Blue reef chromis: doable singly, but in groups/schools often knock each other off
- Erectus & Reidi Seahorses: VERY doable but has specialized needs
- Rock Beauty: also IME VERY doable, but like moorish idols biggest issue is finding a "eater" in the first place, the oft mention "sponge diet" req for captive specimens is likely parroted non-sense
 

Sharkbait19

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What type of fish to keep in a 55g? Easy to keep and can survive long term?
Plenty of options (too many to list).
Most dwarf angels are an option, as are many of the halichoeres wrasses, fairy wrasses, most damsels + clowns, most gobies, most blennies, basslets, dottybacks, etc.
Most of these are pretty easy groups (the wrasses can be sensitive) to keep.
Liveaquaria has good tank size estimates and basic care, but I wouldn’t buy fish from there.
 
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Jay Hemdal

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Just my experience and opinion on a few more fish that require specialized care, disease prone or high mortality
- Boxfish (high mortality)
- Blue reef chromis: doable singly, but in groups/schools often knock each other off
- Erectus & Reidi Seahorses: VERY doable but has specialized needs
- Rock Beauty: also IME VERY doable, but like moorish idols biggest issue is finding a "eater" in the first place, the oft mention "sponge diet" req for captive specimens is likely parroted non-sense
Boxfish fish and rock beauties were on the secondary list.
 

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