One of the greatest frustrations of the marine aquarium hobby is our inability to replicate huge shoals of fish. Here’s what you’re missing.
The good ‘ol squammie is a staple of the aquarium trade, but sadly, it is a tricky beast. Some folks are able to maintain shoals, while others are left with one dominant individual and a history of fish lost to bullying, and squammipinnis is one of the easiest of the genus!
Here are a few pics of what you’re missing and what you’re trying to replicate. Or perhaps these pictures will serve to show you what life is like for squammies in the real world and just how much space they have to avoid intimidation and to find their role within the hierarchy.
Watching them in the wild gives you the chance to see the haremic structures operate. The larger males often swim further away from the reef than the groups of females and juveniles. They swim back into the shoal to chase of rivals and to keep their harem in order.
Squammies exist in such vast numbers that you can use the fish further away from you to give an indication of the strength and direction of the current. The harder they’re swimming, the harder you’ll need to as well.
Another useful lesson from the wild that’s worth noting is that the fish are constantly picking out and eating items from the plankton to maintain their high-energy lifestyle. Plenty of feedings throughout the day is necessary for the fish in captivity.