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Rapid Fish Growth. What to do with fish?

RyanFish

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Hi all,

I have a pretty odd question/“problem” regarding my fish only tank. I purchase most of my fish near the 3 inch size range. But then some of them hit huge growth spurts while others don’t. I prefer them to stay a manageable size and not outgrow the others too much. I spend time waiting/looking for certain fish then purchase them, quarantine, teaching to eat, they grow big, then fish stores basically say they’ll only accept them for free or not at all because they don’t want to deal with feeding and cleaning up after large fish and there’s not a demand for large fish.

I give the fish away because I believe they deserve a larger space and rarely because they start fights with tankmates due to their dominant size. Also not too many people I know around me besides public aquariums that want 7 inch tangs, triggers, and groupers because most people don’t have large enough aquariums to correctly support these fish and give them enough space to swim. So I’m down a fish that I like and that has developed a personality in the tank and down money.

6 months ago I purchased a beautiful Mata tang, leaflip soapfish/grouper, miniatus grouper, picasso trigger, and a niger trigger. All about 3-3.5 inches. They were and are all friends. The Mata tang is now huge. Probably over 7 inches, thick, and healthy. The soapfish eats a lot but has only become fatter and maybe is now 3.5inches. The miniatus grouper looks like a serpent at 6.5inches but doesn’t eat as much as the soapfish. The picasso has just become chubby. And the niger is easily 7 inches (scary teeth ^~^).

So now what? Give away these beautiful large fish and start the process over of looking, buying, quarantining, teaching how to eat, enjoy the fish for 6-8 months then say bye? (Most of my fish don’t hit these insane growth spurts! I’ve had many of them for several years. My undulated trigger has been 3 inches for close to 4 years. He’s a healthy dense tank. Wouldn’t mind if he gained an inch haha. Same story for Nasos, powder blue, convict tangs etc.)

Am I picking the wrong fish? This has happened with so many different fish. I’ve had a french angelfish that stayed the same 4 inches for years and another french angel that doubled in size in 6 months and ran the tank. But my current and only imperator angel I’ve ever had hasn’t grown at all since I got him 3 years ago. I thought he would grow a bit and develop straight lines.

What do you guys do with your large fish? I live on the west coast of the united states so the hobby isn’t as popular here as the east coast and the tanks people have are typically smaller.
 
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RyanFish

RyanFish

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My tank is about 250 but I don’t believe that’s enough space for a 7 or 8 inch fish. They need much more room to swim and stay healthy. Do people with 50 gallon or 100 gallon tanks just keep swapping out fish? The fish in their tanks look the same size.
 

E_reefer

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Well I never purchase a fish if it has the possibility of outgrowing the tank, and if I did I have a neighbor who has a 300 that I could give to. Also a 250 (8 ft long I assume) can support them, but I agree with you it looks weird and seems way too small for larger fish as they can’t really swim around, it just looks depressing for them. Maybe go to 500 lol.
 
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RyanFish

RyanFish

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I wish it was 8 feet! Its about 6 feet long. Would’ve preferred it to be wider rather than taller.
 
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Kris 2020

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What do you buy?
I have a 65 gallon mixed reef, I have clowns, pj cards, royal gramma, neon goby, and an orange strip prawn goby. Fishes that don't get big. Some of these guys have been with me for 8-9 years. I get fishes for keepsies.
 

OrionN

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Hi all,

I have a pretty odd question/“problem” regarding my fish only tank. I purchase most of my fish near the 3 inch size range. But then some of them hit huge growth spurts while others don’t......

What do you guys do with your large fish? I live on the west coast of the united states so the hobby isn’t as popular here as the east coast and the tanks people have are typically smaller.
Very easy solution. I just don't buy fish that will our grow my tank.
 

saf1

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Hi all,

I have a pretty odd question/“problem” regarding my fish only tank. I purchase most of my fish near the 3 inch size range. But then some of them hit huge growth spurts while others don’t. I prefer them to stay a manageable size and not outgrow the others too much. I spend time waiting/looking for certain fish then purchase them, quarantine, teaching to eat, they grow big, then fish stores basically say they’ll only accept them for free or not at all because they don’t want to deal with feeding and cleaning up after large fish and there’s not a demand for large fish.

I give the fish away because I believe they deserve a larger space and rarely because they start fights with tankmates due to their dominant size. Also not too many people I know around me besides public aquariums that want 7 inch tangs, triggers, and groupers because most people don’t have large enough aquariums to correctly support these fish and give them enough space to swim. So I’m down a fish that I like and that has developed a personality in the tank and down money.

6 months ago I purchased a beautiful Mata tang, leaflip soapfish/grouper, miniatus grouper, picasso trigger, and a niger trigger. All about 3-3.5 inches. They were and are all friends. The Mata tang is now huge. Probably over 7 inches, thick, and healthy. The soapfish eats a lot but has only become fatter and maybe is now 3.5inches. The miniatus grouper looks like a serpent at 6.5inches but doesn’t eat as much as the soapfish. The picasso has just become chubby. And the niger is easily 7 inches (scary teeth ^~^).

So now what? Give away these beautiful large fish and start the process over of looking, buying, quarantining, teaching how to eat, enjoy the fish for 6-8 months then say bye? (Most of my fish don’t hit these insane growth spurts! I’ve had many of them for several years. My undulated trigger has been 3 inches for close to 4 years. He’s a healthy dense tank. Wouldn’t mind if he gained an inch haha. Same story for Nasos, powder blue, convict tangs etc.)

Am I picking the wrong fish? This has happened with so many different fish. I’ve had a french angelfish that stayed the same 4 inches for years and another french angel that doubled in size in 6 months and ran the tank. But my current and only imperator angel I’ve ever had hasn’t grown at all since I got him 3 years ago. I thought he would grow a bit and develop straight lines.

What do you guys do with your large fish? I live on the west coast of the united states so the hobby isn’t as popular here as the east coast and the tanks people have are typically smaller.
The hobby is fine on the West coast / California. Not sure why you would think that.

Well there are probably two things you can do. The first one is the most important and that is to buy fish that are appropriate to your system / display tank. Size, number, actual water volume in display vs. tank size (tank size - rock - substrate = actual usable water). There is a calculator somewhere on the web that will give you water space. Anyway this is job one. The onus is on the hobbyist to know what they are buying, how to keep it, and all things related to a healthy life in captivity. I'm not here to say you pass or failed. Just answering your question what you do, so now what, etc.

Second one is to capture and return to the LFS for credit. You will probably get 1/3 of what you paid if that. Another option is to post here and resell to fellow hobbyists for money or frags. People here have large systems and can maybe take them in. LFS store though may be better. Public aquariums are not going to take in our fish unless it is rare same goes for corals. They take in rare and large clams. That sort of thing. Not a Naso Tang...

Honestly. Upgrade to a larger system that they can live in. Otherwise you trade them in and buy the proper fish. Not much else you can do other than ignore it and ask the same question in a year from now with probably the same answers...
 

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