5 Circumstances that Warrant a Species (or Specimen) Tank

A large, aggressive species, such as a queen triggerfish, is sometimes best kept singlyA diverse community of marine fishes presents quite a visual feast, especially when housed in a reef system brimming with colorful corals. However, in some stocking situations, it’s preferable to avoid the “typical” marine community (if there is such a thing) in favor of a single-species or even a single-specimen tank. Ah, but if you limit your livestock to a single species or specimen, won’t that make for a real yawner of a tank? On the contrary, sometimes systems that put the focus exclusively or primarily on a particular species or individual are among the most fascinating to observe.Here are five circumstances that warrant going single-species or single-specimen: 1. The shy, specialized feeder Seahorses, which are slow, awkward swimmers, shy by nature, and very specialized, methodical feeders, come to mind here. In your average community aquarium, these fish would basically be doomed, as they’d be unable to compete with bolder, faster-moving tankmates for food and would be unable to tolerate the brisk water movement typical of such systems. Not to mention, a community tank of any appreciable size would make it extremely difficult to provide the steady supply and high concentration of suitable food items necessary to sustain seahorses. On the other hand, in a small dedicated system with very gentle current, no competition for food, and suitable “hitching posts” to cling to, a group of seahorses can make for a truly mesmerizing display

Salty Q&A: How Often Should Your Fish Fast?

For a zooplanktivore such as Anthias, who are frequent feeders, withholding food isn’t necessarily advantageousQuestionI’ve been told that it’s a good idea to avoid feeding aquarium fish on occasion, for example once every week or once every other week. I guess this stands to reason because fish in nature can’t always get a meal. Do you agree with this, and if so, how frequently do you recommend doing it?” – Submitted by Candace Brown Answer While I don’t have an issue with the practice of occasionally fasting fish, I’m always wary of making any sort of blanket recommendation such as “Marine fish should be fasted every X number of days.” In my opinion, a much better approach is to think in terms of feeding in a manner appropriate to the particular species—which may or may not include fasting. For instance, some predatory species, such as groupers and moray eels, naturally take in large prey items in one sitting and then go without eating for a relatively long interval until another prey item happens along. With these fish, it may be appropriate to feed only once or a few times per week and then allow them to fast in between meals. On the other hand, zooplanktivores and herbivores (such as anthias and many of the tangs/surgeonfishes respectively) naturally feed frequently, if not continuously, throughout the day. Thus, in an aquarium setting, it’s appropriate to provide multiple small feedings each day for zooplanktivores and continuous grazing opportunities for herbivores.

5 Cleaner Wrasse Myths

Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) offering some “dental care” to a potato grouper (Epinephelus tukula)The introduction of Labroides spp. cleaner wrasses to marine aquarium systems is generally ill-advised. Though some hobbyists report success in keeping these obligate cleaners long term, the vast majority of specimens entering the market are doomed to perish prematurely from starvation. Nonetheless, despite their abysmal captive survival rate, people continue to buy these wrasses, likely owing to some persistent misconceptions surrounding them. Among these myths are:1. If the wrasse can’t get enough to eat by cleaning, it will learn to accept other foods First off, there’s no if about it—a cleaner wrasse kept in a home aquarium cannot sustain itself long term by cleaning its tankmates. After all, in your average home system, there are going to be very few clients to service and they likely won’t have much of a parasite load or dead tissue to offer. So, if the wrasse doesn’t learn to recognize aquarium fare as edible, it’s destined to starve
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