Why so few pairings and harems?

username in use

Sciencing Daily
I see so many people stocking their tanks with one of this and one of that till it is full. Clowns are probably one of the only fish that people regularly pair up in their tanks. Why aren't more people working towards pairings and harems in their reefs for a more natural behavior of the fish.

A harem of wrasses is wonderful to watch, especially when they begin spawning daily in the tank.

Even basslets and the various grammas are not regularly paired or grouped in the hobby. I think it adds such an amazing depth to the environment when you can see male/female interactions and I wish more people advocated for the practice.

It also has the benefit of allowing more people to document what it gets to take certain species to spawn and moves us towards more captive bred species.


Discuss/
 

GSMclowns

A Reef Enthusiast
I don't know about other people but for me, I find that it is very hard to get a pair.
Clown fishes are easy, so I am not going to talk about that. I once have a mated pair of Potter Angel fishes but after 4 years, the male die. So I went out to buy another big male. QT it for 4 weeks but during that time, the original female changed to a male in my display tank. So that didn't work out so well. Then I have another pair of Lyretail anthias that live for about 7 years. But one day the female died. So I bought another female and QT it for another 4 weeks. It turned into a submale in QT. That doesn't work out so well either. Right now I have a huge Royal Gramma in a 120 gallons tank. I would love to pair it up with another female but everywhere I read, they all said that it can't be done. I don't want to push the envelop and make the new fish suffer so I just don't do anything. So I think the biggest problem that preventing me from getting more pairs is the fact that reef fishes keep changing sex in QT tank.
 

username in use

Sciencing Daily
So I think the biggest problem that preventing me from getting more pairs is the fact that reef fishes keep changing sex in QT tank.

:lol: That is a unique problem you are having.


That's it's important to do the pairing with juveniles. Hence why your potters did well originally. But even there, a trio may have allowed to to introduce another if one had died.


Grammas are fairly pairable, but again, it is best done as juveniles.
 

KafudaFish

Cyprinius carpio
Team RC
They are in Brayden's tank. With how "we" designed the rock work and floor with gorilla glue there are numerous hiding spots so you have to sit down and watch the tank in order to see them.
 

OllieDog

New member
I see a few reasons,
1st. its very hard to sex many fish. so you end up with 2 males that kill each other over territory.
2nd. Pairs and trios can become much aggressive when they reach spawning age. Clowns for instance will tear you up if you reach in their area when they have eggs.
3rd. People like variety. So they tend to get various fish, rather then lots of the same.

I agree, its nice to see schools interact, or pairs doing their thing. but many people dont have the space or the desire to deal with the other aspects that are associated with keeping pairs/trios/harems. etc.

Just my opinion though.
 

rgulrich

greybeard
Hmm, a recent addition of a trio of neon blue Gobies has rounded out the collection a bit more; appears to be one male and two female. Other than that:
A mated pair of Dragon Face pipe fish (I have no hope of ever salvaging any of the spawn, but they are neat).
A harem of 1 male and three female Resplendent Anthias.
Harems of 1 male and two female; and 1 male and one female Ignitus Anthias. These are fun to watch at sunset as the males go at it and flash all their fins. No aggression seen otherwise.
A mated pair of Ocellaris Clownfish (again, no hopes of salvaging the spawn in this reef).
A shoal of five blue-green Chromis I've had going for a year-plus now. I think there's a mix of at least one dominant in the shoal, but I can't really tell the difference between them other than size.
 

username in use

Sciencing Daily
I see a few reasons,
1st. its very hard to sex many fish. so you end up with 2 males that kill each other over territory.
2nd. Pairs and trios can become much aggressive when they reach spawning age. Clowns for instance will tear you up if you reach in their area when they have eggs.
3rd. People like variety. So they tend to get various fish, rather then lots of the same.

I agree, its nice to see schools interact, or pairs doing their thing. but many people dont have the space or the desire to deal with the other aspects that are associated with keeping pairs/trios/harems. etc.

Just my opinion though.
I agree with most of your points. But for space, I had a spawning trio of yellow coris wrasse's in a 40breeder and was still able to have a few other fish that fit in personality wise. Every night at the same time, the three wrasses would start their ritual and eventually spawn. It was awesome. In addition the male took on coloration that you don't see otherwise.



Hmm, a recent addition of a trio of neon blue Gobies has rounded out the collection a bit more; appears to be one male and two female. Other than that:
A mated pair of Dragon Face pipe fish (I have no hope of ever salvaging any of the spawn, but they are neat).
A harem of 1 male and three female Resplendent Anthias.
Harems of 1 male and two female; and 1 male and one female Ignitus Anthias. These are fun to watch at sunset as the males go at it and flash all their fins. No aggression seen otherwise.
A mated pair of Ocellaris Clownfish (again, no hopes of salvaging the spawn in this reef).
A shoal of five blue-green Chromis I've had going for a year-plus now. I think there's a mix of at least one dominant in the shoal, but I can't really tell the difference between them other than size.

Nice
 

St Pete John

New member
I love grouping fish and wholeheartedly agree that they are way cooler to watch.

I have;

Perc and ocellaris pair
Mandarin pair
Lyretail anthias pair and want another girl soon
Firefish trio
Cardinalfish quartet
Skunk shrimp pair
Blood shrimp pair

Future plans in the 240ish;

Flame angel pair
Disbar anthias trio
yellow tang pair...

Maybe more, who knows.
 

pinnatus

King Kennard
Premium Member
I have to say that for most of my years of keeping marine fish, 1 per tank of most anything was the rule. Plus with the cost of these fish, I didn't want to get two of something when i could get a different fish.

Lately my goal has been to have more than one of most things. However, this has turned out to be not so easy. I do have 2 adult emperors right now, but I will say that they mostly tolerate each other rather than be a pair. The large one keeps the smaller one in the rockwork for the most part. I had a group of grammas, but they whittled down to two, then I had a tank issue an that was the end of them. I had two Nasos several times, but one or both seem to die, most I think due to cyanide in their capture, but the last one I believe was due to flukes. I plan to try another Naso soon (to add to the one i have), and also to try another group of grammas. I also tried a group of blue devils, and ended up with just one.

So in summary, it is harder to accomplish than it seems.
 

justinky

New member
I've kept a 13 clownfish harem successfully together for 8 months in my care but I think the breeder had them for another 6-8 months as well. If my tank was larger then 82g I'd have a anthia harem and wrasse harem as well.
 

Paul B

Premium Member
Almost all of my fish are in mating pairs except the copperband (I wish)
Mandarins, clown gobies, bluestriped pipefish, dragon face pipefish, watchman gobies, ruby red dragonettes, bangai cardinals, fireclowns, bananafish, and I am sure I missed some are all mating pairs. I am looking for a mate for my possum wrasse
 

Waters40

New member
I do not keep pairs mainly due to space. I have a 60 gallon reef with limited space for fish.......unfortunately I like a lot of different species so rather than have 4 of 1 fish, I prefer to have 4 different fish. Now if I had a 100 gallon+, things would be different :)
 

TigeBell

New member
I try to get pairs of fish also.

My pair list is:
Dwarf Flame Angel
Bangaii Cardinalfish
Occ Clownfish
6 Line Wrasse
Green Dragonet Mandarin

Planning on some Anthias in the near future also. But Paul has me beat and I am sure others might also. :D

Seeing what happens when the lights are slowly turning off is the best time for viewing IMO.
 

Dmorty217

Saltwater Addict
Fish that I would pair up would be Bandit, Maze, clarions... Hell any angel but that can be a risky and expensive fail if the pairing doesn't work out. When my big tank is up and running I am going to have a pair of orange shoulder tangs, nothing special really. Harlequin Tuskfish are another pair I plan on having that you don't see often. I am also going to attempt a pair of clown soapfish
 

SoloChromis

New member
Almost all of my fish are in mating pairs except the copperband (I wish)
Mandarins, clown gobies, bluestriped pipefish, dragon face pipefish, watchman gobies, ruby red dragonettes, bangai cardinals, fireclowns, bananafish, and I am sure I missed some are all mating pairs. I am looking for a mate for my possum wrasse

Your bananafish don't bother your smaller fish/inverts?
 

igot2gats

Deeeetroit Basketball!
I see a few reasons,
1st. its very hard to sex many fish. so you end up with 2 males that kill each other over territory.
2nd. Pairs and trios can become much aggressive when they reach spawning age. Clowns for instance will tear you up if you reach in their area when they have eggs.
3rd. People like variety. So they tend to get various fish, rather then lots of the same.

I think #3 is probably going to be the most popular answer if you took a survey.

With smaller tanks (under 150g), people are going to want variety over harems. Hard to do both, so I think that's why people choose variety.

With bigger tanks (150g+), that's another story. You can have variety AND harems....and it looks more realistic vs. boring (lots of the same).
 
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