Reef safe? How do you define reef safe?


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I've always assumed reef safe meant "doesn't eat corals. "
My picasso literally eats rocks, my Niger smashed and ate snails but my old French angel was a princess so it's hard to tell sometimes.
There should be a category that is just "doesn't play well with others," which would include my clownfish and coral beauty, neither of which has ever touched a coral.
My clownfish bites and my coral beauty chases my trigger around so go figure.


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I love the look of corals in the tank and the fish swimming around but Im for sure fish first. Ill put fish in my tank and see how they do! They ignore the coral reef safe in my book! They nibble a little at coral but it doesnt die, also kinda reef safe! I also dont keep expensive corals, mostly zoa, mushrooms, goni, GSP and leathers!

Belgian Anthias

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Often we hear the term reef safe and reef safe caution associated with livestock in the hobby. We then see an individual say " I am getting a reef safe damsel or angel or other.
What exactly is reef safe ?
Wikipedia states: Its a term used in the saltwater aquarium hobby to indicate that a fish or invertebrate is safe to add to a reef aquarium that usually do not readily consume small fish or invertebrates. It says " USUALLY" !
There is no fish that is completely reef safe is there ? This has haunted many of us, acquiring what was regarded as "reef safe" and turned out to be a descendant of the devil himself, and in turn we get a fish that is reef safe caution that turns out to be a model citizen. This will apply to a fish such as 6 line wrasse, royal gramma, emerald crab and even starfish.
Part of the problem is, we inherit specimens from the wild which are used to killing other specimens for survival and will eat coral, shrimp, fish and other acquisitions we already have in our tanks, and we don't know how things will turn out after introduction. Then if we get lucky and all the livestock lives in harmony, along comes a parasite and tries to take our fish out.
A grouper will not touch a single coral , yet classified as "reef safe caution". Reef safe caution with coral, fish or ???
Tangs are reef safe caution because they will devour algae, macroalgae and our prized marine plants. Wrasses potentially will eat our worms, cleaner crew and shrimps.
So . . . Is the term Reef safe outdated, unclear or needs to be clarified?
Some fish regarded as reef safe are damsels, clowns, anthias, certain wrasses, chromis, many tangs, jawfish, blennies and - some rabbits such as foxface and some triggers which we know will eat coral and eat through rock to build their cave.

What is your version of reef safe ?
Do you pay attention to reef safe caution at time of purchase?
Do you have a reef safe fish that has proven otherwise?

My Harlequin tusk is an example of reef safe caution and bothers nothing. My previous one moved some coral to opposite of tank but I found, was to establish a hiding place as his was stolen by my Tangs.
My copperband also is a mode citizen, could not care less about my coral and is classified Reef safe caution.

Good question! Starting with with;: What is considdered to bee a reef-aquarium?
Important reef-builders are NOT corals. Can we have a reef-aquarium without corals?
We can display typical reef fish and other coral feeders by feeding them corals and maintain a coral farm for that purpose.
What is the target specimen one does want to display?

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