My Tropical Marine Tank IV
By Ibrahim Khalil
The tank presently has five fish and several corals. You might wonder how a 200 gallon tank can only have five fish. Well, the reason is that when you decide to house corals in your tank then the types and species of fish you can keep in the same tank becomes sort of limited. In my opinion the most beautiful marine fish are those that unfortunately feed or at least pick on corals. In general all species of angel fish and butterfly fish can not be kept with corals. This applies to trigger fish too.
I did experiment with some species of angelfish and butterfly fish that I read that might not harm corals but it never worked. They did attack corals and I always had to remove them from the tank. The main fish species that are common and can be safely housed with corals are surgeon fish and damsel fishes (including clownfish). Of course there are many others such as blennies, gobies, cardinal fish, Pseudochromis, and last but not least my favorite, Anthias.
The five fish in my tank are :
- Yellow Tang ( Zebrasoma flavescens)
- Clarki clown ( Amphiprion clarki)
- Blue damsel (Chrysiptera cyanea )
- Three striped damsel (Dascyllus aruanus)
- Royal gramma ( Gramma loretto)
All the above fishes have been in the tank for at least four years, Some of them were actually transferred from my earlier 200 liter tank.
One word about Damselfishes. These are small, hardy but extremely aggressive fish. They can harass fish triple their size, and in case they are in the tank for a long time (like in my tank) they become extremely territorial and it becomes very difficult to add new fish. If I have the chance I will remove both damsel fishes from my tank (although I know it is task next to impossible, unless I remove all the rock first). So my advice is to stay away from Damsels or at least make sure they are the last fish to be added to the tank.
For quite sometime I was investigating which fish to add to the tank. Of course I want nice and beautifully colored fish. As I mentioned earlier the really nice fish are the ones that cannot exist with corals in the same tank. That kept me away from the nicest fish (in my opinion), Angels and Butterflies. I could have added some other fish (gobies etc..) but I felt they are not my “Type”. One fish caught my attention and decided that by hook or crook I must have them in my tank. The Lyretail Anthias (Pseudoanthias squamipinnis). This fish is nicely colored but has some demanding (and quite interesting) requirements. First of all in the aquarium they should be kept in a school consisting of one male and several females. If kept singly it will not survive. If the male in the school dies then the most ”senior” of the females will change to a male. Anthias also require several feeding a day. They cannot survive on just one feeding. Additionally at the beginning they will not accept prepared food and will have to be first fed with live food (such as newly hatched brine shrimp) and slowly weaned into flake and frozen food. In the last year I have asked several aquatic shops in Athens to order them for me, but none has lived to their promises. Recently I asked Andreas Kamarinos to order these and he promised he will (so please Andreas, I am waiting).
As for corals I just want to say that it is not my intention to have a full fledged Reef tank. Reef tanks are crowded with corals and have very few fish (to minimize the bioload). The reason I established the tank is for it to house fish. With the addition of corals it will be a community tank. Currently it has some soft and leather corals (Sarcophyton, Sinularia, Cladiella) and some mushrooms. These are in general easy to maintain but the key for their success is lighting since all of them feed on the products of the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae ) embedded in their tissues. They require no feeding.
Once the Calcium level in the tank hits 400 ppm I will start introducing some of the easy hard corals.
That was some insight to my marine tank. Hopefully as its population expands I will be posting photos of its new inhabitants as well as other related information.