Stocking suggestions for 90g classroom FOWLR tank?

Eric R.

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Hi all. I've been keeping a nano mixed reef tank in my HS biology classroom for the last year, along with a planted FW tank, and now a couple species only tanks, one for a mantis, and the other is macros and an attempt to breed Elysia sp. Another science teacher in a neighboring classroom has a large, empty tank in their room that they suggested we stock with something, and so I started a school aquarium club. Students seemed most interested in a SW tank with interesting fish (I had suggested a seahorse tank with macros and soft coral, but they seemed more excited about predatory fish. Surprised?). So I thought a FOWLR tank might not be a bad place to start. However, I don't personally have experience with FOWLR tanks or predatory fish.

Any recommendations on some simple to keep, hardy fish that students would find exciting/interesting?
 
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lion king

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Arguably the ultimate 90g predator tank could be a pride of lionfish. Click my name and "find all threads" to find a ton of info on lionfish. This may be too much for a classroom setting, as they are venomous and you'll likely be feeding live foods. there woukd be alot to teach and learn with these fish. Here's my 90g Pride.

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A triggerfish grow out tank would also be fascinating. triggers are also considered one of the ultimate predator. In this case just make sure you have the resources to rehome them when they outgrow the tank. There are a few triggers that routinely come in as itty bitty, around 1-1.5". A lfs or local maintenance companies are some to check with for rehoming. Depending on the specific species you could have as long as 2 years. Here's a couple that I have raised.

1669697481603.png



Oh, I just saw the hardy, easy part; triggers, yes; lionfish, no.

It really depends on what your definition of predators is.
 
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Eric R.

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Arguably the ultimate 90g predator tank could be a pride of lionfish. Click my name and "find all threads" to find a ton of info on lionfish. This may be too much for a classroom setting, as they are venomous and you'll likely be feeding live foods. there woukd be alot to teach and learn with these fish. Here's my 90g Pride.

1669696420794.png



A triggerfish grow out tank would also be fascinating. triggers are also considered one of the ultimate predator. In this case just make sure you have the resources to rehome them when they outgrow the tank. There are a few triggers that routinely come in as itty bitty, around 1-1.5". A lfs or local maintenance companies are some to check with for rehoming. Depending on the specific species you could have as long as 2 years. Here's a couple that I have raised.

1669697481603.png



Oh, I just saw the hardy, easy part; triggers, yes; lionfish, no.

It really depends on what your definition of predators is.

Thanks for the response @lion king

I think that what would probably be best would be something visually interesting, active (?), and with interesting behavior. Something that has academic/educational value, as far as either behavior or evolutionary adaptations would be a plus as well. There are pluses and minuses with live feeding - we clearly discuss predator-prey relationships, as well as tertiary levels (primary vs secondary vs tertiary consumers), so it has some academic value, but clearly would have to be done thoughtfully and responsibly. Plus the added requirement of having to regularly supply live foods.

So far the thing that students have consistently found the most fascinating are the asterina starfish in our small mixed reef tank - I've considered doing a touch tank of some kind. People (students and staff) also seem to be generally attracted to soft corals with lots of movement (xenia and GSP gets more attention than any of the SPS or LPS). I'd like to eventually do a nice, large indo-pacific reef and a caribbean biotope, but that's probably a couple years down the road if I get something well established. I'd like to eventually work toward something like they have at EO Smith in CT, or the Bellevue HS Marine Lab.

One student expressed interest in eels, but I think that wouldn't be a good idea to start with. A puffer came to mind. The reason I thought of predators was because there was an interest in things like sharks and rays (clearly we don't have anywhere near a large enough tank - maybe someday I could have a large classroom lagoon tank!). I'm thinking mostly a FOWLR setup, with the possibility of some macro algae or hardy soft corals like xenia, GSP, kenya tree, a leather.

I also may or may not be at this school for more than the next year - all my classroom tanks would go with me, as those I've paid for and setup out of pocket. I'd be teaching the students and another teacher how to care for this tank, which is owned by the school, so it should be a relatively simple thing. The other teacher, who is the lead science teacher, has already committed to summer care, though something that doesn't need frequent feedings or that can be fed via auto feeder would probably be a good idea as well.

Thoughts?
 

lion king

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Puffers, eels, and triggers could all live together. Snowflake eels are good choices. Dogface puffers are literally like puppy dogs. Do some research on trigger fish, they are very intelligent and resourceful. I remember reading one study where the trigger fish would find food out those pet toys people use to hide treats. All the species I mentioned are interactive with humans and outside the tank. You can hand feed all of these and there is alot to teach about each. A 90g is a small tank for species I would consider "true predators", again just be mindful they will grow out of a 90g. An eel like a snowflake could live in 90g for it's entire life. There are other small pebbletooth eels that could also be happy in a 90g. So an eel tank could also be fascinating. They are escape artist so there needs to be strict responsibility to keep the lids tight.
 

lion king

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Someone I know suggested an engineer goby, which I thought was an interesting idea.

They are interesting but I wouldn't consider them predators, in the sense of what most people would consider predators.
 
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Eric R.

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They are interesting but I wouldn't consider them predators, in the sense of what most people would consider predators.
This is true, but they do visually somewhat resemble eels, which I think the students will find interesting, and when I spoke to the teacher who has the tank in her classroom, she wasn't thrilled about having an eel.
 

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