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Aggressive reef

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Would it be possible to have a reef tank with aggressive fish, like lionfish? Minus the decorative shrimp.
post #2 of 40
Originally Posted by gilbert View Post
Would it be possible to have a reef tank with aggressive fish, like lionfish? Minus the decorative shrimp.
Absolutely. It is, IMO, the top-tier of aquariums.
post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
I think that would be awesome. I don't care about the decorative shrimps as much, but it would be great to have a mixed reef with a lionfish and trigger.
post #4 of 40
Originally Posted by AquaKnight View Post
Absolutely. It is, IMO, the top-tier of aquariums.
LOL....Well put.
post #5 of 40
Thread Starter 
So the only reason lionfish are normally labeled non reef safe is because they eat shrimp, right? Not because they eat coral or something like that?
post #6 of 40
Originally Posted by gilbert View Post
So the only reason lionfish are normally labeled non reef safe is because they eat shrimp, right? Not because they eat coral or something like that?
As far as lionfish specifically go, that is pretty much correct. Lionfish don't really have the teeth/mouth to eat coral. They will however eat other fish that are small enough to be palatible.

Other aggressives, like some species of triggers and puffers, might nip coral to grind their teeth on. Also triggers are known to pick up smaller coral frags, and use them sort of as a toy, dragging it around the tank.

Generally you don't see aggressive reefs for a few reasons. This will get a bit ranty... The obvious one is that most clean up crews will be eaten. It's been so ingrained in every aquarists mind that CUC are absolutely necessary, when in actuality that couldn't be further from the truth. Proper feeding habits, stocking levels, filtration/etc, will prevent the need for a CUC. Secondly, is bioload. Most aggressive fish put a sizable bioload on the tank. Generally speaking, most people who kept FOWLR's tend to just put up with poorer water conditions (not actually poor, just nitrates levels that would unacceptable in a reef tank). To stock a reef tank with the typical amount of fish a FOWLR has, you'll need massive filtration, and a stringent water change table. Third, cost. Most aggressive fish are aggressive, because they are large fish, and need an accompanying large aquarium. Large FOWLR tanks and medium reef tanks are typically negligible in costs. Large reefs, are obviously a pretty penny to run. Finally, and this is perhaps IMO the biggest hurtle, experimentation. People tend to unwilling, rightfully or wrongfully so, to risk mixing questionable fish in with their corals. It will take a bit learning to decide if that Clown trigger is safe will just SPS, or what happens if I mix in a large brain coral? Since every fish is different, there is only one way to find out.

I hope I didn't long too run and elude to an attempt to suggest against the idea of an aggressive. Quite the opposite.
post #7 of 40
I tried to keep a reef tank with a drawf lion fish and it didn't work out. The bioload a lion creates is too much for certain coral. Like Aqua said, you'd need to have the best filtration to keep the water quality at coral levels and even then, I'm not convinced it can be done. You might be able to keep some soft corals but not the really sensitive ones in my opinion. For a FOWLER having 20-40 ppm nitrates is very acceptable but that's just too much for some corals.
post #8 of 40
Originally Posted by AquaKnight View Post
As far as lionfish specifically go, that is pretty much correct. Lionfish don't really have the teeth/mouth to eat coral. They will however eat other fish that are small enough to be palatible.

Other aggressives, like some species of triggers and puffers, might nip coral to grind their teeth on. Also triggers are known to pick up smaller coral frags, and use them sort of as a toy, dragging it around the tank.

Generally you don't see aggressive reefs for a few reasons. This will get a bit ranty... The obvious one is that most clean up crews will be eaten. It's been so ingrained in every aquarists mind that CUC are absolutely necessary, when in actuality that couldn't be further from the truth. Proper feeding habits, stocking levels, filtration/etc, will prevent the need for a CUC. Secondly, is bioload. Most aggressive fish put a sizable bioload on the tank. Generally speaking, most people who kept FOWLR's tend to just put up with poorer water conditions (not actually poor, just nitrates levels that would unacceptable in a reef tank). To stock a reef tank with the typical amount of fish a FOWLR has, you'll need massive filtration, and a stringent water change table. Third, cost. Most aggressive fish are aggressive, because they are large fish, and need an accompanying large aquarium. Large FOWLR tanks and medium reef tanks are typically negligible in costs. Large reefs, are obviously a pretty penny to run. Finally, and this is perhaps IMO the biggest hurtle, experimentation. People tend to unwilling, rightfully or wrongfully so, to risk mixing questionable fish in with their corals. It will take a bit learning to decide if that Clown trigger is safe will just SPS, or what happens if I mix in a large brain coral? Since every fish is different, there is only one way to find out.

I hope I didn't long too run and elude to an attempt to suggest against the idea of an aggressive. Quite the opposite.


Could he use a critter like an urchin to keep algae in control, that would be a tough critter to eat..
post #9 of 40
Thread Starter 
I think some fish can and will eat urchins, namely wrasses.
post #10 of 40
Originally Posted by gilbert View Post
I think some fish can and will eat urchins, namely wrasses.



But not the lion or trigger you want? LOL..I am one of those.... I believe in the beauty of a tank so a CUC is important to me kind of people.
post #11 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hmmm... Good point. What about a CUC of urchins, sea cucumbers, and something that bores, so it won't be seen?
post #12 of 40
Originally Posted by gilbert View Post
Hmmm... Good point. What about a CUC of urchins, sea cucumbers, and something that bores, so it won't be seen?


I have heard of folks with sand sifting stars kept with that kind of fish, a prickly urchin just sounded doable...But I really don't know anything about it first hand...Maybe someone else with more knowledge will chime in.
post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
What about tangs? A couple of aggressive, larger tangs that eat primarily algae along with a couple of sand sifters?
post #14 of 40
Primarily, low stocking levels, very strong filtration, good water flow, and frequent water changes, should take care of algae problems, without the need for a CUC. I would definitely implement some type of nutrient exporter, such as a refugium or turf scrubber. And strongly consider an ozone unit, and maybe a large UV unit.

As far as what critters are safe with what fish, we would need to talk in specifics. There is such a variety among wrasses, triggers, puffers, etc. Some guys are usually somewhat possible with aggressive fish, Cowrie Snails, Olive snails, and coral banded shrimp.
post #15 of 40
Olive snails
I. obsoleta is actually a predatory species...they really don't belong in a CUC. Nassarius sp. are a much better snail to use.
post #16 of 40
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by saxman View Post
I. obsoleta is actually a predatory species...they really don't belong in a CUC. Nassarius sp. are a much better snail to use.
That's what I was thinking. And since they bury themselves, they wouldn't be eaten, right?
post #17 of 40
Originally Posted by saxman View Post
I. obsoleta is actually a predatory species...they really don't belong in a CUC. Nassarius sp. are a much better snail to use.
Olive snails as in Oliva sayana. They are also a predatory species, mainly mollusk though, but with aggressive fish, I really don't anticipate keeping clams. And with aggressive fish, I've found Nassarius to be too consumable. They are too exposed, the shell is not strong enough, and not large/fast enough. Oliva sayana are a larger species that are mostly nocturnal. They are very mobile, and can wolf down large pieces of excess food. If you are keeping aggressive fish, and corals, there is no risk IME.
post #18 of 40
Thread Starter 
Would lions and triggers eat clams? And would an angel or large tang (like Naso or achilles) be OK? Or would they be bullied or attacked?
post #19 of 40
Lionfish would not eat a healthy clam. 85% of Triggers would. Mixing angels or tangs with lionfish or triggers, is going to depend. Again, going back to specific species. There is just to great a diversity, to label all triggers the same, all angels the same, etc. A Sargassum Trigger and a Titan Trigger are on virtually opposition ends of the aggressive spectrum. Same for a Bellus angel and a Passer angel.
post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 
Uhhh.... I haven't heard of any of those except the Passer angel... What are they, and what are their differences in temperment?
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