Don’t Underestimate the Individuality of Marine Fish

Saltwater SmartsBy Saltwater Smarts 10 months agoNo Comments

A certain degree of behavioral variability is often seen among individual specimens of the same fish species. But what exactly do I mean by this and why does it matter to marine aquarium hobbyists?

The type of “behavioral variability” I’m referring to here is not, for example, an obligate corallivore butterflyfish (e.g. Chaetodon larvatus) suddenly deciding it prefers to eat algae, or a clownfish observing a parrotfish cloaked in its nighttime mucus cocoon and thinking, “Hmm, very clever. I might give that a try myself. To heck with hiding in this anemone!” (Of course, I’m being ridiculous here. Everyone knows clownfishes don’t speak English. They speak Tagalog.)

Rather, I’m referring to different individuals within a given species exhibiting varying degrees of a particular behavior or characteristic, such as the level of inter- or intraspecific aggression shown to tankmates or the tendency to nip at corals or other sessile invertebrates.

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  Fish
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 Saltwater Smarts

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Saltwater Smarts is a unique online resource created by long-time aquarists Chris Aldrich and Jeff Kurtz to inspire and entertain a new generation of marine aquarium hobbyists while helping them acquire the reliable, authoritative knowledge base they need to succeed with a saltwater system. By clarifying key concepts, techniques, and terminology, as well as sharing expert insights from fellow enthusiasts and industry professionals, Chris and Jeff hope to promote a more accessible, sustainable, and enjoyable marine aquarium hobby. Read more about our mission and the contributors who are part of our team.

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