I've upped my tank size again. Please assess the suitability of these fish. Thanks.

Zionas

Member
Today I had another look at a video of my apartment, and I thought I would probably be able to fit up to a 100-gallon (up from 75 gallons) tank that's 36"x24"x26". Would a 100-gallon tank be even more on the stable side? Would it be significantly harder to maintain?

I've been considering the following fish due to an increase in tank size, and I would like your suggestions on the suitability of the following fish. I'm rating them for hardiness (for a beginner), lifespan, reef safe (or not), temperament, and whether they're likely to jump. Not only do I want a fish that fits, but I need one that is able to live comfortably and healthy.


Here's what I have in mind:

1. Tomini Tang / Square Tail Bristletooth Tang (these are the smallest tangs at 6" and 6.5" tops. Tangs are renowned for their longevity, but as much as I'd love to have one, I've heard they're very susceptible to Marine Ich and other diseases and I have no room to provide a quarantine system.)


2. Marine Betta (I absolutely love these and I heard they can be really hardy once established, but I've heard from many a keeper that it's hard for them to start eating, that they practically require live foods. They grow up to 8" and I'm worried they'll eat smaller fish and inverts. My specimen will almost certainly be wild caught from Indonesia. I do know that these fish can live long.)


3. One Spot Foxface (they're the smallest of the Foxfaces, growing to 8". That's still pretty huge. They're hardy and can live long, from what I've heard.)


4. Lyretail / Axilspot / Coral Hogfish (they're semi-aggressive and can all get to 8", though I heard they're hardy. Do they jump a lot like the other wrasses?)


5. Klein's Butterflyfish (heard they're the easiest of all the butterflies to keep but there could be more species)




Their tank mates will be:
1. x2 Ocellaris / Black Ocellaris clownfish (Max 3")
2. A Basslet (x1 RG or Swissguard Basslet, x2 Yellow Assessors, 3" Max)
3. x1-2 Yellow Watchman Gobies (Max 3-4")
4. A Dwarf angelfish (one of the 3"-4" species, one of the hardy species like Coral Beauty, Cherub / Flameback, maybe Flame-heard these are more fragile, Rusty, Half Black)


Maybe:
x1 Wrasse / Yellow Candy Hogfish (Wrasse will be one of the Lined species or a Halichoeres, YCH gets to a max of 4")

x1 Aiptasia Eating Filefish


x1 Chrysiptera genus Damselfish


Any non-noob friendly fish should be crossed from the list. Thanks!



The tank will be on the second floor of an apartment in a 23 SQM room.
 

Zionas

Member
I plan to keep some soft corals but no stony corals. I will stock no more than 8 fish but it’ll be no more than 7 for the first 1-2 years.
 

cody6766

Super Best Friends!
Premium Member
If you get a foxface, plan on finding a new home for it in a few years. An 8" fish in a 3' tank looks a lot bigger in reality than it does in your head. That said, they're great workers and pretty fish. I bought a very small one for my 60 cube to clear up some algae. I'll keep him until he's too big (1-3 years, I'm guessing).

You could probably get away with the same thing with tangs. I've kept a Kole and Sailfin (different times) in my 60 cube. They were both small and spent a lot of time swimming in/out/around the rock, not pacing the glass. Both were successfully relocated.

You're still dealing with a relatively 'small' tank in the saltwater world. IMO, a standard 120g is the tank that puts you into 'big kid' territory, where you can add several larger fish long term. Big fish need lots of swimming room, so I'd limit your tank to one big fish, and only if you work your aquascape so that the fish can swim around and through the rocks. Also, be prepared to have to pull the fish in a number of years.

The good news is you're also dealing with a tank that is almost a 'big tank,' which makes it perfectly suitable for several smaller fish. I think a flame or coral beauty angel would be perfect for your tank. They are great looking fish and very active. Some people have complained about aggression, but my CB doesn't bother anything (coral/fish/snail) in my tank.

I also like any of the flasher wrasses, anthias (read up on feeding requirements), yellow-tailed damsels (only one, and the only damsel I'd add), green or blue chromis (only one), and clownfish (of course).
The damsel and chromis add a lot of movement and color, plus they're cheap. I had issues in my old 120g with multiple chromis. 6 turned into 3 quickly, then I got rid of 2 to keep them from being harassed to death.

If I was stocking your tank, here's what I'd probably do:
2x clowns
1x flasher wrasse
1 SMALL foxface (or yellow/kole/sailfin tang...realize that adult sailfins are much bigger than the others)
1 CB or flame angel
1 ywg
1 green chromis
1 yellowtail blue damsel
...then I might consider a lyre-tail anthias down the road...possibly a small group depending on how busy the tank looked and how it's handling the current bioload.
 

Zionas

Member
Thanks for the insight. One problem with the Blue Green Reef Chromis, from what I’ve heard, is that it can be very susceptible to a kind of disease. Forgot its name but heard it’s quite common among them. About the Damselfish, would any member of the genus Chrysiptera work? I’ve heard they’re all peaceful for damsels and that other members like the Talbot’s, Rolland’s, Starck’s, and Springer’s are quite good too.

One thing that concerns me about the Flasher and Fairy wrasses is their tendency to jump and their short lifespan. I’ve heard on average they do 5 years only, and I have not seen a single person say they’ve kept them for over 6-7 years.

I’m maybe fancying a basslet like a Royal Gramma, Yellow Assessor, or Swissguard / Swales. What do you think? Maybe even a Yellow Candy Hogfish or a Halichoeres genus wrasse?


I’m also curious and concerned about the lifespan of fish. How many years on average do you see a wrasse (non-Fairy / Flasher) or a basslet living for?

From the info I’ve come across, YWGs seem to be the longest lived Gobies by far. I’ve read quite a few accounts of people keeping them for over 10 years. Clowns are known for making it past the 15-year mark, even 20. I’ve also read people who’ve kept damsels for up to 10 years or more, but I am not sure about Chromis.

I’ve read stories of people keeping dwarf angels for 10+ years (including CBs and Flames). Tangs, butterflies, large angels, maybe Foxfaces tend to have longevity too.

The fish whose lifespans I’d be the most curious to find out about are the dwarf angels, wrasses/ Hogfish, Basslets, and the Blue Green Chromis.
 
Last edited:

ThRoewer

New member
...
2. Marine Betta (I absolutely love these and I heard they can be really hardy once established, but I've heard from many a keeper that it's hard for them to start eating, that they practically require live foods. They grow up to 8" and I'm worried they'll eat smaller fish and inverts. My specimen will almost certainly be wild caught from Indonesia. I do know that these fish can live long.)
Who are those idiots spreading such misinformation?
A. Healthy Marine Bettas are easy to get to eat frozen and even flake food. All mine do fine on flakes as their primary food.
B, Marine Bettas (Calloplesiops species) don't eat fish! I tried and they would even refuse to eat frozen fish as long as they were still identifiable as fish.
They will however eat most shrimp that fit their mouths. That said, my guys have left my cleaner shrimp alone.
They will also eat all pods they find. I see my guys picking pods all the time.

In short, I would consider Marine Bettas among the fish that are well suited for tank life.


Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 

Zionas

Member
Well, I have bad news. The retailer called me today and said that a 100-gal tank (my original intention) would require additional support because the height of the original dimensions was 26”. They told me tanks 26” would require extra support. That means my tank will only be 36”x24”x24” according to their recommendations. That leaves me 85 gallons to work with. So:

-No tangs, I won’t get a small one until I can fit it into a larger system (at least 120 gallons) so it can mature. Even then I’d only do a Tomini or a small Kole Tang.)

-No butterflies. This is sad because I think they’re stunningly beautiful but yeah.... LA recommends a minimum of 120 gallons for pretty much all of them, even the 5”-6” ones. Some are listed as 75 gallons for their minimum tank size but much like Tangs I’ve determined that they need a ton of swimming room. My retailer has also recommended against keeping any butterflies for now because he says they’re perhaps the most difficult type of marine fish on average.


-No more Foxface of any kind. Again, I’d rather save my money and just get one when I am indeed able to upgrade to a larger system. They are active swimmers too.



-I have scrapped the idea of keeping two basslets in one tank or keeping two dwarf angels. I’d rather not risk all the fighting.


-None of the 8” Hogfish I was considering. Again, they’re active swimmers and semi-aggressive. The only Hogfish I would consider is the Yellow Candy.



I’ve got a few more questions:

1. Since my tank will only be 85 gallons, which of the dwarf angels would be suitable?

2. About the Blue Green Reef Chromis. I only intend to keep one. Is it really less hardy and more fragile than your average Damselfish, as some have noted?

3. About adding a Chrysiptera genus damselfish, how peaceful are these guys? I’m worried because they’re damsels after all. If I decide to add one, when should they be added?

4. Between the Royal Gramma, Yellow Assessor, and Swissguard Basslet, which species is the hardiest and longest lived? Which species is the most peaceful?


5. Between the Halichoeres wrasses and the Yellow Candy Hogfish, which is hardier and more peaceful?



6. The Marine Betta, by far, would change things up should I decide to add one. If I decide to get one, should I get less fish overall in my tank? This will be sad but maybe I’m thinking of axing the dwarf angel or the Basslet if I make a Marine Betta the centerpiece of my tank.



Here’s what I envision my tank to look like for at least a year:

Without Marine Betta

x2 Ocellaris / Black Ocellaris pair

x1 Yellow Watchman Goby + Pistol Shrimp

x1 Royal Gramma / Yellow Assessor / Swissguard Basslet

x1 Blue Green Reef Chromis

x1 Chrysiptera genus Damselfish

x1 dwarf angelfish (CB, Flame, Cherub / African Flameback, Half Black (reef safe?), Rusty (Reef safe?))




With Marine Betta:

x1 Marine Betta

x2 Ocellaris / Black Ocellaris pair

x1 Dwarf angel/ Basslet

x1 Yellow Watchman Goby + Pistol Shrimp

x1 Blue Green Reef Chromis / Chrysiptera Damselfish
 

ThRoewer

New member
If you can, get a tank that is deeper that high. 24" should generally be the limit on height for a number of reasons, one being that it is pretty much the most people can reach. If you swap your original height and depth dimensions you keep the volume but increase the bottom surface area which is kind of the limiting factor on fish and corals.

I would strongly suggest staying clear of any Chromis - they are potential Uronema bombs and ultimately kill each other off until only one is left. And a single one is really a sad sight.

I would also advise against Assessors in a community tank - you will hardly know that they are there because they will go into hiding for most of the time. Those are fish for a species or cave biotope tank that is completely geared towards their needs.
A group of Gramma are the way to go for you if you want colorful fish that are out in the open and don't create a stink with others.

Dwarf angels are fine as long as you keep them in pairs (dwarfs) or harem groups (pygmies). IME, single dwarf or pygmy angels tend to either get neurotic or destructive by nipping on corals out of pure boredom. I never had many problems with pairs in those regards. I had several single C. argi that went outright insane, swimming the same loop over and over again though never observed this with harem groups. So even with pairs or harems, coral nipping may still be an issue because that is in their feeding pattern.

Similar goes for damsels. Single ones become nasties or outright the terror of the tank while 2 generally channel their aggression into more productive things...

If you want to be on the safe side for corals I would suggest ditching the angels and butterflies.

This would be how I would do it following your basic selection:

x2 Marine Betta, (one ~8cm/3", one 1/3 to 1/2 of the smaller's length larger)

x2 Ocellaris / Black Ocellaris pair

x3 Gramma loreto - start with small ones (~4cm/1.5")

x2 Yellow Watchman Goby + Pistol Shrimp - these gobies change sex either way

x2 Chrysiptera Damselfish (2 juveniles ones should give you a pair)
or x2 Orchid dottybacks (same as damsels, a small and a larger get you a pair)
 
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