FIRST QUARTER 2020 I VOLUME 14
FINDING THE RIGHT HOME FOR YOUR
KEEPIN' IT CLEAN: REEF FILTRATION BASICS NEMIPTERIDAE BREAMS REEF SPOTLIGHTS: DARK SIDE OF THE LAGOON, SUCCESS CUBED, AND GADELHA REEF
Reef Hobbyist Magazine
GADELHA REEF: A DATABASE OF COLORS Leonardo Gadelha is a 44-year-old dentist and hobbyist fascinated by small-polyp stony corals. This incredible tank is a simple statement of what's possible when you put time, attention, and high-quality products into your reef.
KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN: REEF FILTRATION BASICS Keith Moyle is a 40-year-veteran reefer and writer on reef topics. The success of your reef tank hinges on your ability to maintain high water quality. Read about various filtration options here for upgrading your current system or planning your next.
DARK SIDE OF THE LAGOON Daniela Letourneau has been an aquarist for 12 years and can be found on Nano-Reef.com as Clown79. Nano reefs pose unique challenges to reefkeepers but also allow for some amazing results. Learn the secrets of the dark side in this nano-tank spotlight.
ON THE COVER FINDING THE RIGHT HOME FOR YOUR CLOWNFISH Sabine Penisson is a French photographer and author focused on coral reef fauna. With all the clownfish and anemones available, it might be hard to choose the perfect match for your tank. In this piece, Sabine shows you all the most common pairings (and some rarer ones). Cover image by Julie Bedford/NOAA
SUCCESS CUBED David and Richelle Bailey are avid reef enthusiasts from Southern California. Sometimes, setting up an awesome system takes more than one try. Enjoy this review of the beautiful tank that proves persistence is golden in the reefing hobby.
UNDER-APPRECIATED FISHES FOR THE AQUARIUM: NEMIPTERIDAE BREAMS Robert Fenner is a longtime aquarist who can be reached at WetWebMedia.com. Breams are a relatively unknown group of fish in our hobby, but they are wonderful, peaceful, and colorful choices for medium to large systems.
FIRST QUARTER 2020 | Volume 14 Copyright © 2020 Reef Hobbyist Magazine. All rights reserved.
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A DATABASE OF COLORS
efore setting up my first tank in 2016, I studied YouTube channels like AquaShow, Help Reef, and Reef Show to help me decide what size tank I wanted and to learn what maintenance was required for various types of systems. I started out manually dosing everything, but after 8 months, I transitioned to Red Sea’s Reef Care Recipe for mixed reefs. After my first year in the hobby, I decided to set up my second (and current) tank, which is 200 gallons. I chose the Reef Care Recipe for ultra-low nutrient systems for this tank. Like all beginners, I had my struggles. I battled cyanobacteria, red bugs, white bugs, and planarians, all of which gave me many sleepless nights. With care and patience, they were treated without great loss to my livestock, and I learned some valuable lessons.
I celebrated my third year in the hobby recently, and I finally have the feeling that I am on the right path. I recently became the CBAP (Brazilian Aquascaping Contest) champion in aquascaping marine tanks in the category of 138 gallons and larger. For this tank’s maintenance, I change 10 percent of the water weekly. I supplement using Red Sea’s Trace-colors A, B, C, and D (25 ml daily of each) and dose NOPOX to control the nutrients. Recently, I built a frag tank to hold all the frags that are clipped from the rampant coral growth. There are colonies that I’ve had since the beginning and dozens of others that I’ve fragged. I track all the corals in my system and currently have records of over 100 coral strains in my care. This database allows me to refine my care as
Sunset Millepora caption
Reef Hobbyist Magazine
Transitioning Emperor Angel
Reef Hobbyist Magazine
I continue to learn more about the individual preferences of each coral that I keep. SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS Volume: 200 gallons Lighting: (6) AquaIllumination Hydra 26HD, ATI 8 × 39-watt T5s Skimmer: RLSS DB10-i Controller: Apex Ozone: Ozotech Poseidon 200 UV Sterilizer: 36-watt Oceantech Monitor: KH Guardian Wavemaker: (2) Maxspect XF350 Reactor: Bubble Magus PARAMETERS Specific Gravity: 1.024 Alkalinity: 7 dKH
Calcium: 430 ppm Magnesium: 1,360 ppm Nitrate: 0.05 ppm Phosphate: 0.02 ppm FISH - Ocellaris Clownfish - Regal Angel - Emperor Angel - Sohal Tang - Purple Tang - Yellow Tang
- Longnose Hawkfish - Blue Tang - Melanurus Wrasse - Green Chromis - Flame Angel - cleaner wrasse
At this time, I have not decided if I’m going to build another reef system. For now, my goal is to learn a little more every day and continue to enjoy the immense beauty that this reef tank displays, and I’m happy with that. One thing is for sure, though: I will keep reefing on! R
KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN: REEF FILTRATION BASICS KEITH MOYLE INTRODUCTION “We keep water, not fish.” An old adage, perhaps, but it certainly proves true since attention to maintaining excellent water quality is essential for the reef hobbyist. Using appropriate filtration is fundamental to providing optimal conditions for fish, corals, and invertebrates. Filtration goes beyond the life-supporting biological systems underpinning all reef aquaria and also includes physical, chemical, and natural filtration methods. BIOLOGICAL FILTRATION Fish waste produces ammonia, which is toxic to marine creatures and must be rapidly removed from the aquarium. The bacteria-driven nitrogen cycle converts ammonia into less toxic nitrite and then to nitrate. The conversion of nitrate into nitrogen gas, which is released into the atmosphere, completes the cycle. Oxygen-dependent aerobic bacteria colonize the surfaces of the sand, rock, and filter media, processing the ammonia and nitrite. Anaerobic bacteria are found in oxygen-depleted areas of the system, typically deep in the rock and in parts of the filter media where there is little flow. They utilize the oxygen present in nitrates, releasing nitrogen gas. An efficient biological filter provides optimal conditions for these bacteria to thrive, making the selection of rock and media important.
Sera siporax biological filtration media
LIVE ROCK Live rock not only provides the basis of biological filtration but also a resting place for fish and a structure for coral placement. Other than live rock from the ocean, a wide variety of environmentally friendly alternatives are available. Dry rock offers many of the benefits of live rock but without unwanted hitchhikers such as crabs, snails, and nudibranchs. Itâ€™s available as a natural or man-made product. Natural rock is often mined from extinct reefs, whereas man-made rock is made from various natural products (e.g., ceramics). Dry rock requires seeding with suitable bacteria to initiate biological filtration.
MarinePure ceramic media
including hoops, spheres, cubes, plates, and blocks. The smaller forms can be used in filter socks and media bags, while plates may be inserted between sump baffles or placed vertically in the sump if space is limited. Blocks are best suited for larger areas within the sump. ALGAE CULTIVATION The next type of biological filtration, used as a means of dealing with specific nutrients, is not dependent on bacteria but instead on the cultivation of algae. As the algae photosynthesizes, it utilizes
Eco Reef Rock
CERAMIC MEDIA Ceramic media is extremely porous, providing massive surface area for bacterial colonization. It can be used to supplement rockwork in the aquarium to increase filtration capacity or as the primary form of biological filtration. The latter option permits smaller quantities of rock to be used in the display, allowing minimalist aquascapes to be created. Ceramic media is available in many sizes and shapes, Reef Hobbyist Magazine
both nitrate and phosphate, and as it grows and is harvested, these are removed from the system. Traditionally, Chaetomorpha spp. algae is grown in a section of the sump called a refugium, where the algae cannot smother corals or be eaten by fish. The refugium also provides a safe haven for a variety of beneficial life. Algae is often grown under low-Kelvin lighting (6,500 K) on a reverse light cycle from the display since nighttime photosynthesis helps stabilize the tankâ€™s pH. Algae reactors provide another method for cultivation. Chaeto is grown inside a remote reactor, which is lit by an integrated LED and fed with nutrient-laden water pumped from the aquarium. Alternatively, an algae scrubber can be used to cultivate hair algae, and this relies on water being pumped across an illuminated screen on which the algae grows until harvested. These units tend to be quite large in order to provide the maximum surface area for algae growth. Compact versions that attach to the sump glass or float on the surface are available but are generally only suitable for smaller systems. MECHANICAL FILTRATION
This type of filtration is used for the physical removal of coarse waste material and includes filter socks, crud catchers, and reef rollers. This physical removal of waste prevents it from further breaking down in the system, elevating nutrient levels, and accelerating the accumulation of nitrates and phosphates.
Tunzeâ€™s macroalgae reactor
Filter Socks In sumped systems, filtering the water draining from the overflow through a filter sock helps remove waste from the aquarium. Filter socks are available in different diameters, lengths, and micron sizes to suit individual system requirements. Depending on the system load, a sock might require cleaning every couple of days. If not cleaned regularly, the trapped waste remains in the system, continues to decay, and increases nutrient Filter socks levels. Crud Catchers Another relatively new option is the crud catcher, a device designed to fit into a filtersock holder. It is filled with inexpensive filter floss, which catches the waste. The floss should be replaced every few days.
Reef Rollers One of the most useful new devices in recent years is the innovative reef roller.
This filter sock Klir reef roller on a roll removes collected waste before it breaks down, eliminating the need for cleaning since the rolls are replaced once exhausted. They are plumbed into the main drain from the tank, and both manual and automatic versions are available. Waste is trapped as water passes through a section of filter material at the base of the unit. As the filter clogs, the water level rises until it triggers a float switch, activating a motor that winds the soiled section out and replaces it with a clean section of the roll.
Chemical filtration is nonbiological, targets aquarium pollutants, and is probably best known for dealing with nutrient controlâ€”in particular, phosphate and nitrate. Chemical processes such as absorption, adsorption, and ion exchange are commonly used, but other methods include protein skimming, ozonation, and ultraviolet sterilization.
Reef Hobbyist Magazine
Protein Skimming As skimming removes compounds dissolved in water, it’s technically chemical filtration. This simple yet effective method of removing dissolved organics from seawater prevents organic chemicals from being broken down into nitrate. Protein skimmer design has changed little over the years, and they are generally installed in a sump (though hang-on and external versions are also available). Air is sucked into the feed water as it’s pumped into the reactor chamber and broken up by the pump’s mesh or pinwheel impeller. The myriad of microbubbles created attract dissolved organics from the water onto the air/water interfaces (bubble walls). The bubbles eventually burst over the neck of the skimmer, collapsing and depositing the waste (skimmate) into the collection cup from where it’s ultimately removed. The keys to effective skimming are the size and consistency of the bubbles produced, the contact time of the water and bubbles in the chamber, and the volume of air injected by the pump. Skimmers perform best when placed in a sump chamber with a constant water level. It’s important to size a skimmer correctly for the aquarium, as skimmers are more efficient working continuously rather than intermittently. Other than emptying the collection cup when it gets full, skimmers require little maintenance, though the neck should be regularly cleaned for maximum performance. Some models with manual or automatic neck cleaners are also available. Unfortunately, skimmers don’t just remove harmful compounds but also some beneficial ones, though it’s generally accepted that using a skimmer is still better than not skimming at all.
dosing, once popular with many reefers and otherwise known as carbon dosing. To overcome the deficiencies of a biologically filtered aquarium (lack of carbon), providing an energy source in the form of carbon to heighten biological activity allows effective denitrification and phosphate reduction to take place. While successful for many, carbon dosing is not without risks, as it needs to be carefully controlled to avoid catastrophic consequences resulting from unwanted biological activity. The use of proprietary solutions removes this element of risk, provided the instructions are closely followed. Another form of carbon dosing is the use of biopellets or pearls in a specialized reactor.
Biopellets in a reactor
Biopellets are vigorously tumbled in the reactor and are extremely effective in removing nitrate. Bacteria that form on the media feed on the carbon source (the pellets), consuming nitrates from the water. The effluent from the reactor must be fed to the intake of a protein skimmer to remove the waste produced
Activated Carbon Carbon is perhaps one of the most underestimated media available to the hobbyist. It is relatively inexpensive, can be used without a reactor, and has a wide range of applications. Carbon is well known for its water-clarifying properties, but it will also remove general contaminants, organics, toxins, and odors from the aquarium. It’s particularly beneficial for the removal of toxins released by soft corals. Carbon has a limited lifespan and needs to be replaced regularly to maintain its effectiveness and prevent removed contaminants from leaching back into the system. Synthetic carbons or resins are also available, some of which target very specific compounds and can even be recharged once exhausted. Chemicals for Nutrient Control Keeping nutrients under control is a major challenge. Left unchecked, high levels of phosphate and nitrate can encourage nuisance-algae growth, restrict hard coral calcification and growth, and suppress the colors of certain corals. Hobbyists have several methods at their disposal, but the use of chemicals is increasingly popular since they can be administered simply by manual dosing or automated using a dosing system. Products that remove both nitrate and phosphate are readily available, possibly revolutionizing nutrient control. These types of products work in much the same way as vodka, vinegar, or sugar Reef Hobbyist Magazine
For phosphate removal, there are other dedicated alternatives, the most popular being the use of granular ferric oxide (GFO), fluidized in a reactor. D-D’s Rowaphos is a product with a proven track record. When fluidizing GFO, take care to agitate the particles gently to prevent them from rubbing together, causing them to disintegrate. Only a small amount of media is used in the reactor and should be replaced as soon as phosphate levels begin to rise. Aluminium-based media, such as Seachem’s PhosGuard, are also available. Ozone
Two Little Fishies NPX Bioplastics is a nitrate- and phosphate-reducing media.
Two Little Fishies PhosBan Reactor
by the process. Biopellets can, however, remove all available nitrate very quickly, so care must be taken not to be too aggressive in their use. Initially, only use 20 to 25 percent of the recommended volume and add the remainder over a 3- to 4-week period to avoid shocking livestock. Always replenish the pellets before they are fully consumed to maintain effectiveness. It’s vital to ensure that the pellets continuously tumble because if they stagnate, they can produce unwanted hydrogen sulfide.
Ozone is a very powerful oxidizer that reacts quickly with both organic and inorganic compounds. It is generally used in the aquarium to help clarify the water or enhance skimmer efficiency, though it’s also useful for disease control. It’s usually pumped into either a dedicated reactor or a protein skimmer. If used incorrectly, ozone poses a real danger to your aquarium animals and potentially humans as well. Monitoring and controlling
ozone delivery with an oxidation reduction potential (ORP) device is recommended. MISCELLANEOUS FILTRATION Natural Filtration It’s debatable whether any reef aquarium can be classified as truly natural, but running a system solely on live rock and a mud filter without any filtration equipment certainly comes close. Relying on live rock in the tank and a mud filter in the sump, the natural filtration system only uses equipment to provide water movement, lighting, and heating. Various macroalgae are grown in the mud filter, which is also host to a wide variety of life, including copepods, snails, amphipods, and worms, creating a miniature ecosystem. The mud used is a natural living substrate extracted from the ocean floor and contains beneficial microorganisms, minerals, and nutrients. Some forms, such as EcoSystem Aquarium’s Miracle Mud, also have additional trace elements added. The layers in the mud filter provide both aerobic and anaerobic zones, allowing for effective nitrification and denitrification. Cleanup Crew I’m including this section because cleanup crews contribute to the natural filtration within the aquarium. The addition of a cleanup crew provides a natural way to prevent the accumulation of uneaten food and undissolved debris (detritus) within the aquarium. A diverse mix of crabs, shrimp, snails, worms, and even some fish, each with different roles in keeping the sandbed and rockwork clean, is recommended. Ultraviolet (UV) Sterilization UV sterilization is commonly used to control populations of diseasecausing organisms since the 200–300 nm light can destroy a pest’s DNA as it passes through the unit. It’s a very safe method of disease control since only organisms passing through the sterilizer are targeted. It will not destroy nitrifying bacteria, and unlike ozone, the generation of dangerous by-products isn’t an issue. To be effective, the UV light must be the correct wattage, and you must have the appropriate flow through the sterilizer (based on aquarium volume) to ensure required contact time between the water and the light. There is a downside, however, as a sterilizer is not selective in what it kills; any plankton passing through it will be killed. This is something some aquarists find unacceptable, despite the obvious benefits of a UV sterilizer for disease control. SUMMARY I have merely presented an overview of the common filtration methods available, and I acknowledge that there are many ways to keep a successful reef aquarium. All of the aforementioned filtration methods have a role to play, and in many instances, a combination is likely to produce the best results. The final decision on which options to choose should be determined by the demands of the livestock and type of aquarium you aim to keep. I hope this little review of some of the various filtration methods available will help you plan your next system or address shortfalls in your current one.
R Reef Hobbyist Magazine
DARK SIDE OF THE LAGOON The ocean and the life within have always intrigued and fascinated me. Being able to have a reef tank is like having a piece of the ocean in my home to enjoy every day. Like many hobbyists, I started out with freshwater aquariums, which were fun. I gained a lot of valuable experience from them, but I wanted a tank with a greater diversity of life. I wanted something more challenging, and I had always dreamed of having a reef tank. I just had to wait to make the dream a reality. Years later, I finally had the opportunity to try my first reef tank. I started out with a basic 55-gallon LPS (large-polyp stony) and soft coral tank. Even though I made mistakes and some poor equipment choices, it was still exciting and rewarding. I really loved that tank. Unfortunately, there came a time when I had to shut it down and take a break from the hobby, though I knew it wouldnâ€™t be the end of my reefkeeping days. After another few years passed, I was able to once again start up a reef tank. I began by doing a ton of research, which led me to
learn about all the new methodologies and options, as well as nano tanks. I liked the AIO (all-in-one) tanks because of their ability to hide equipment that would otherwise take up real estate in the display. I had many options on how to set up the back chambers, and there was no need to plumb for a sump. I decided on a 15-gallon tank with basic equipment. The tank started out smoothly. It had some minor algae issues, but I really enjoyed having a nano. This first tank was so rewarding that I started another 10-gallon Nuvo and upgraded my 15 gallon to the featured IM 25-gallon lagoon. The lagoon was the perfect choice. I wanted a system that was larger than the 15 gallon but still a nano. This allowed me to add more fish and have more room for corals. The tank transfer was planned out ahead of time so that it could be done in one day. Planning out the process and having everything
organized and ready allowed the transfer to go smoothly without issues. I wanted a mixed reef, and with that comes complications, especially in a nano. The various lighting and flow requirements of different corals can be difficult to provide for in a small tank, but proper placement of corals and the use of controllable lights, pumps, and wavemakers have helped me achieve a good balance. Keeping a nano tank’s parameters stable and maintaining nutrient levels are also challenges. Testing regularly and maintaining target parameters is important because in such small systems, it’s very easy for things to become unstable. The more LPS and SPS (smallpolyp stony) corals that are added to the tank, the greater the need for dosing to maintain stability. In nano tanks, it’s as easy to strip the water of available nutrients as it is to have nutrient levels that are too high. Overuse of media products or overfiltration can be detrimental to a nano. Choosing the right methods to export nutrients is part of good planning and should be based on each individual system because each aquarium’s needs will be different. I prefer to control nutrient levels with water changes and macroalgae. I am moving away from using chemical products for
Dragon Soul Favia
Reef Hobbyist Magazine
nutrient control because at one point, the lagoon suffered a lack of nutrients, which led to a loss of color and growth in my corals, as well as a dinoflagellate outbreak. I chose to go the natural route to attack the dinoflagellates. I added diversity into my tank by seeding it with pods and rotifers and dosing phytoplankton. I also added a DIY pod condo so that the pods could breed in the tank. The dinoflagellates disappeared, and the results have been amazing. Now I dose phytoplankton regularly, keep my phosphate levels higher than some might recommend, and keep my nitrate levels in a normal range. With this approach, I have had better coral coloration and growth than ever before. This experience led me to run my system more naturally, focusing on stability and diversity. SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS Display: IM NUVO Fusion Pro 25 Lagoon (24" × 20" × 12") Lighting: AquaIllumination Prime HD and AquaIllumination Prime in a custom light fixture Water Movement: Aqamai KPs, Vivid Creative Aquatics Random Flow Generator™ nozzles Return Pump: IM MightyJet (538 gallons per hour) Heating: 75-watt Cobalt Neo-Therm Controller: Inkbird ITC-308 temperature controller Filtration: (2) IM media baskets Filter Media: filter floss, Seachem Matrix Carbon, Seachem Purigen
Reef Hobbyist Magazine
LIVESTOCK - (2) Ocellaris Clownfish (Pink and Floyd) - Midas Blenny (Frankie) INVERTEBRATES - cleaner shrimp - Red Scarlet Hermits - Nassarius spp.
- Trochus spp. - Spiny Star Astraea Snails
LPS CORALS - Micro Lords - Euphyllia sp. - fungia plate - Blastomussa merletti
- Blastomussa wellsi - Purple Duncan - chalice coral - Dragon Soul Favia
SOFT CORALS - yellow Fiji leather - green star polyps - Ricordea yuma
- Ricordea florida - Discosoma spp. mushrooms - zoanthids
SPS CORALS - Montipora digitata - Montipora capricornis
- Birdsnest - Stylophora sp.
PARAMETERS Temperature: 79° F Specific Gravity: 1.026 Alkalinity: 8.5 dKH Calcium: 440 ppm
Magnesium: 1,350 ppm Nitrate: 2–5 ppm Phosphate: 0.08–0.10 ppm
MAINTENANCE - Perform 10–15 percent water changes every 7–12 days (depending on nutrient levels) - Maintain parameters based on uptake with daily manual dosing of ESV B-Ionic 2-part - Maintain consistent specific gravity by topping up twice a day - Check specific gravity weekly - Dose Canada Copepod Phytoplankton Blend weekly - Test parameters with Hanna Checkers and Salifert test kits weekly - Change filter floss twice a week - Replace carbon every 3 weeks FEEDING Feed fish daily, alternating between the following over the week: - PE Mysis flakes - New Life Spectrum Thera+A - Omega One Cyclops and Reef Formula - Hikari mysis shrimp I spot-feed my LPS corals and broadcast-feed the SPS corals weekly with the following:
- Polyp Lab Reef Roids - Hikari mysis and cyclops I love sitting back and watching my fish, who don’t like to venture to the other side of the lagoon (the dark side). They swim up to the glass every time I am near, and I’m always amused by my clown having a temper tantrum when I do maintenance in her area. Watching the corals grow, the ecosystem evolve, and the tank mature has been amazing. There is no one single best way of reefing because each system is unique. Making choices based on your individual tank’s needs often provides the best results. Reefkeeping doesn’t have to be very complicated or difficult, but it does require research, understanding, and dedication. Starting out right, going slow, and keeping things stable are essential to success in this hobby. At times, it can be frustrating and a lot of work, but what you get from it makes it worthwhile.
I want to thank my best friend and husband Bob for the invaluable help and support. It’s great being able to enjoy the hobby with you! R
Reef Hobbyist Magazine
Heteractis magnifica with Amphiprion perideraion Heteractis magnifica with pair Amphiprion perideraion pair
FINDING THE RIGHT HOME FOR YOUR CLOWNFISH
pair of thriving clownfish nestled in a plumped-up anemone is an all-time favorite sight for aquarists. In the wild, these associations aren’t random; each species of clownfish prefers certain anemone species as hosts. Let’s see which anemones are favored by which clownfish and review the choices so we can make the best pairings in our reef tanks. A LIFETIME SYMBIOSIS Between the 30 species of clownfish and the large range of colorful hosting anemones, finding a perfect match can be a complicated affair. All clownfish, without exception, search for safety within an anemone’s tentacles. It’s a matter of survival, as they are small and defenseless fish. When a “lonely” anemone is chosen by a
clownfish, the association will last as long as the host and its guests are alive. If the anemone gets eaten or dies, the clownfish will depart on the dangerous quest for a new host. The fish will never leave its anemone home by choice. Most of the time, host anemones shelter at least a breeding pair of adult clownfish, and sometimes, anemones host an entire hierarchical group/family, complete with a dominant female, a breeding male, and secondary smaller males, adults, or juveniles. More than one species of clownfish hosting in an anemone is most unusual, but it can happen in the wild in especially large anemones or when several anemones form a carpet over a large surface. In aquariums, a clownfish pair will usually not tolerate sharing their tank with another clownfish species, let alone the competition of other clownfish species in their host anemone.
A skunk clownfish playing hide and seek in a perfect color-matching Heteractis magnifica
Juvenile Thalassoma spp. wrasses spend much of their day near the protection of anemones.
While clownfish make happy homes in their host anemones, the anemones also benefit from the association. As the fish bring food back to their home to eat, they inadvertently scatter bits and pieces that their host gets to enjoy. It has even been documented that at least some clownfish deliberately feed their host, bringing entire food items to the anemone’s mouth. Additionally, when clownfish swim and move within the anemone’s tentacles, the clownfish increase the water movement, resulting in oxygenation of the invertebrate tissue. Clownfish are also efficient “bodyguards” against any kind of fish, motile invertebrate, or even a hand that comes near the anemone. Any type of perceived danger by the clownfish will be attacked or pushed away. This win-win association is called mutualism. The two species receive mutual benefit from living together. ANEMONES: HIGHLY PRIZED PROPERTIES Anemones can host a wide group of animals, including damselfish of the genus Dascyllus, which are protected by a thick coat of mucus and can bear direct contact with anemones, like their clownfish cousins. Some juvenile wrasses from the Thalassoma and Halichoeres genera, and also some cardinalfish species, seek the protection of the stinging tentacles of anemones thanks to having some immunity to their venom. Many kinds of motile invertebrates like Periclimenes spp. cleaner shrimps, Thor amboinensis (Sexy Shrimp), and Neopetrolisthes spp. (porcelain squat lobsters) are also common guests of anemones. Mithraculus sculptus crabs, along with Stenorhynchus Reef Hobbyist Magazine
Heteractis crispa, the Leathery (or Sebae) Anemone, has numerous long and pointy tentacles. Most of the time, this species is white (with or without purple tips) or purple. It can reach 20 inches in diameter, lives on soft substrates, and is common throughout the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea. Heteractis magnifica, the Magnificent (or Ritteri) Anemone, is the most popular and spectacular of all Heteractis species. It often bears a brightly colored foot and numerous contrasting and thick tentacles. It can reach a size of up to 40 inches and is often seen on top of rock pinnacles in intense water flow. H. magnifica is found throughout the Indo-Pacific, from the coasts of Africa to Polynesia. Heteractis malu, the Delicate Anemone, is a much smaller species, only growing up to 14 inches. Most of the time, it is white with short tentacles showing small magenta dots on the tips. The tentacles vary in size on the anemoneâ€™s disc, and it is a soft-substratedwelling anemone. H. malu is found only in the western Pacific, from Australia and southern Japan to Hawaii. There are three common species of clown-hosting carpet anemones: Stichodactyla haddoni, S. gigantea, and S. mertensii. These anemones have short, bulb-like, and very sticky tentacles. They feature a palette of strong, bright colors, including red, blue, purple, and neon green, but tan and duller-colored specimens can also be found.
The beautiful Beaded Anemone demands excellent water quality and lightning.
seticornis (Arrow Crab), are often seen in the wild in association with Condylactis gigantea. Sometimes, anemones can even host many of these guests at the same time, in a kind of hippie commune where everyone lives together in relative harmony. There are about 1,000 anemone species, but only ten species from five genera commonly host clownfish: Heteractis, Stichodactyla, Macrodactyla, Entacmaea, and Cryptodendrum. Heteractis aurora, the Beaded Anemone, is a beautiful yet delicate animal. It settles on soft, muddy bottoms. The oral disc is flat, and the tentacles are most densely clustered around the edge, like a mane. The tentacles show distinctive swellings like a row of beads, in white or purplish-pink. The foot is often reddish-orange, and it grows to a maximum size of about 10 inches. Heteractis crispa is another challenging anemone requiring very strong water flow and powerful lighting.
Some characteristics can easily help to determine the species. For example, S. haddoni lives on clean, sandy bottoms and has shorter tentacles than S. gigantea. Its disc can reach sizes of up to 32 inches in diameter and shows pronounced, swollen convolutions. The column displays blue or purple verruca. S. gigantea can be as brightly colored as S. haddoni, but it has longer tentacles, is smaller in size (up to 20 inches in diameter), and has neutral-toned verruca. It also prefers shallow, sedimentous areas. S. mertensii lives on hard substrates and can be considerably larger, growing to more than 50 inches. It has short tentacles and bears orange or red verruca on the column. S. gigantea is found from the Red Sea to Micronesia, S. mertensii is found from the coasts of Africa to Micronesia (but not the Red Sea), and S. haddoni is found from the Red Sea and Mauritius to the Fiji Islands. A warning must be given about Stichodactyla spp. in aquariums, especially S. haddoni: they are extremely voracious, eating whatever falls into their mouths, including fish (small or large), invertebrates A small Heteractis malu in an aquarium
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Stichodactyla haddoni showing a typical striped pattern
(hermit crabs, snails, even urchins), and even their guest clownfish sometimes, if they are not fed enough by the aquarist. Be careful to tame their appetite in order not to suffer losses in your fish and invertebrate population. Entacmaea quadricolor, the Bubble-tip Anemone, is a bestseller for aquaria, as its sting is not very strong, and it tends to stay put in the aquarium unless it is unhappy or disturbed. The bulbous tentacles are an obvious key to identification, but in aquariums, they can deflate and become stringy like Heteractis spp. tentacles.
These two Entacmaea quadricolor nems show beautiful bubble tips.
This variable shape is not yet clearly understood, but it might be a matter of water chemistry, light intensity, or water flow. Usual colors are grayish white, green to yellow, light or deep red, or pink, sometimes with tentacle tips in contrasting colors. In the wild, this anemone settles only on hard substrates or in crevices, and its maximum size is about 13 inches, though many individuals divide before reaching this size to form a carpet of several clones living side by side. Distribution includes East Africa and the Red Sea to Australia, southern Japan, and Micronesia.
This Cryptodendrum adhaesivum is inhabited by a tiny mated pair of Periclimenes brevicarpalis shrimp.
Cryptodendrum adhaesivum, the Pizza Anemone, is an oddball in the hosting anemone group, as only Amphiprion clarkii seems to like it. The general shape evokes a pizza (hence its common name), round with an inflated ring border. Tentacles are short and extremely sticky, kind of feathery on the main surface and straight on the ring. It can grow to 12 inches and settles on hard substrate only. Their colors are very diverse, and bicolor specimens are not uncommon. Distribution includes the Red Sea and Maldives to Polynesia.
An Amphiprion ocellaris group living in a large Heteractis magnifica
BRIEF CLOWNFISH OVERVIEW All 30 species of clownfish originate from the Indo-Pacific area, from the East African coast, including the Red Sea, to French Polynesia. No clownfish are found east of this. There are 29 species in the genus Amphiprion and one single species of Premnas, P. biaculeatus. The most famous clownfish are Amphiprion ocellaris and its near twin, A. percula, originating from Thailand to Australia for the
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former and the Great Barrier Reef to Vanuatu for the latter. Along with these two superstars come dozens of aquacultured â€œdesignerâ€? strains, like Picasso, Platinum, Snowflake, Frostbite, Storm, Gladiator, naked, and the Black Darwin Ocellaris, which is not derived from breeding selection but a naturally occurring regional color variant of Ocellaris.
Clownfish often tolerate the company of Dascyllus spp. damsels. Here, one D. trimaculatus can be seen near the anemoneâ€™s column.
After these all-time favorites, there is the skunk group: Amphiprion akallopisos, hailing from Madagascar to Java, is orange/pink with a white dorsal stripe down to the mouth; A. sandaracinos is very similar but with a brighter orange color and a broader dorsal stripe, originating from Western Australia to Melanesia; and A. perideraion is pink, with a shorter white dorsal line and a white collar all around the head, living from the CocosKeeling to Fiji and Micronesia. These species are quite small: 4 inches for A. akallopisos and A. perideraion and up to 5.1 inches
Somewhere on a remote reef in the Komodo Archipelago, a tiny Bubble-tip hosts an equally tiny Amphiprion clarkii.
for A. sandaracinos. We can add A. nigripes to this group, the Maldivian Clownfish (Maldives and Sri Lanka), which is brownish-orange with a white collar. The skunk clowns are all known to be among the less aggressive species of clownfish, though large females will still defend their territory against other inquisitive or hostile fish. Then, there is the Clarkii complex of clownfish. These species are chubby, with a black or brown to orange body, yellow fins, and two to three white bars. Many can be quite large, up to 6 inches, and have bold natures. A. clarkii is widespread and very common from the African coasts to Micronesia. A. chrysopterus, living in the Western Pacific, from Papua New Guinea to French Polynesia, is quite like A.clarkii. A. sebae is a broad clownfish from the Indian Ocean (Arabian Peninsula to Java). A. polymnus is very much
A small Amphiprion sebae is sheltering in the tentacles of this unidentified anemone on a Maldivian reef.
like A. sebae but smaller in size (up to 4.7 inches) and may be a bit milder in temper. It lives between Indonesia and Malaysia. Then we can gather the â€œredâ€? clownfish, like the Saddled Clownfish, A. ephippium (Andaman to Java), the Tomato Clownfish, A. frenatus (Thailand to Philippines), the Cinnamon Clownfish, A. melanopus (from Indonesia to French Polynesia), and the Red Anemonefish, A. rubrocinctus (from North-
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On a reef in northern Bali, a Premnas biaculeatus pair live in a red Bubble-tip Anemone (displaying no bubble tips, proving this effect can happen in the wild).
western Australia). These are medium-sized clownfish that grow to about 5.5 inches and have bold temperaments as well. Premnas biaculeatus, the Maroon Clownfish, is a beautiful yet very bold species. Females grow to more than 7 inches, while males attain about half that size. This clownfish lives only in pairs, with no other smaller individuals tolerated in their anemone. Theyâ€™re commonly found from India to Vanuatu. The deep, velvety red color turns dark chocolate brown in the big females. There is a xanthic form, commonly named â€œepigrammata,â€? showing yellow bars instead of white, but it is not a separate species. The Lightning Maroon, originating from a natural Papua New Guinea female showing atypical lacy bars, is now a famous tank-bred strain. Many other clownfish have restricted geographic origins that make them uncommon in the trade. ASSOCIATION PROCESS AND PREFERENCES How does this lifetime association begin? It has been studied with in-vitro experiments using the mucus of different anemone species and clownfish juveniles of various species. Certain species of juvenile clownfish seem to be genetically attracted to the mucus of certain species of anemones, while other anemones are not deemed as attractive. The young fish, freshly transformed from postlarval stage and entering the reef for the first time after its pelagic stage, will surf the reef, driven by its sense of smell, until it finds an available host to settle in, alone or within an existing family that will accept it. This recruiting step, just before the fish safely settles in a host, is tremendously hazardous. Statistically, not even one fish of an entire spawn will arrive at this stage of existence and successfully pass it. For reef-related species (all families together), it is estimated that out of one million eggs, only one hundred will settle as juveniles on the reef, and only one
A Premnas biaculeatus nestled in its home
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of these hundred will live long enough to become a reproductive adult.
If you keep clownfish and an anemone in your tank, you will sooner or later witness the fish nibbling at their host’s tentacles.
The clownfish can’t just jump in the anemone and make himself at home. He’ll be stung to death as surely as any other fish. He must adjust himself to the stings by first lightly exposing a fin to the nematocysts. The reaction to the stings will increase the clown’s production of mucus over his skin, protecting the fish against the anemone’s potent defenses. While touching the anemone, the clown also gets covered by the anemone’s own mucus, progressively “camouflaging” the guest from detection by the host. Both of these reactions intertwine and end up “immunizing” the fish against the sting of the anemone. This is the same kind of process humans use with vaccination against some diseases or with allergy desensitization. Quite often, you can even see a clownfish nibble an anemone tentacle. The scientific reason for this behavior hasn’t been clearly understood yet, but it is thought to be like a booster shot to fuel the fish’s protection. If a clownfish is separated from its host and has to find another anemone, the acclimation process will need to be repeated, at least in part, since the fish only has a coat of protective mucus in reaction to its previous host. The fish will still have to regulate biochemistry between the new host and itself. By field observation, the association between clownfish species and anemone species has been very well documented over the past decades thanks to the extended work of Daphne Fautin and Gerald Allen. In 1992, they published Field Guide to Anemone Fishes and their Host Sea Anemones, which allows us to draw up a chart of the main anemones and their preferred guests.
Each species of clownfish shows preferences for certain anemone species. Some can adapt to multiple kinds, such as A. clarkii, while others, like P. biaculeatus, will be very selective. In captivity, many wild-caught clownfish will host in other kinds of anemones, but the stinging capacity has to be similar. A P. biaculeatus that is used to E. quadricolor will be very reluctant to host, for example, in a Stichodactyla sp. anemone where the stinging nematocysts are very strong.
Endemic to Mauritius, Amphiprion chrysogaster is a lovely species of clownfish, here enjoying family life in a large Heteractis magnifica.
Anemones in aquariums are not the easiest animals to care for, but with stable water parameters, strong but indirect water flow, and intense lighting, one can do well with them. Don’t forget to protect your powerheads when acclimating an anemone for the first days or weeks, long enough to be sure it settles well and won’t be moving anymore. Hardsubstrate anemones (especially H. magnifica, who’s always seeking strong water flow and free rock pinnacles to stand on) tend to move much more than sand-dwelling anemones, so these latter ones naturally stay further from the danger of powerheads. If you’re just starting out with anemones, choose E. quadricolor, which will stay quite still and is easy to care for, H. aurora or H. malu, which will anchor on the sandy bottom, or S. gigantea if you don’t own small bottom-dwelling fish. The iconic pairing of a clownfish in its anemone home is beautiful, fascinating, and easily achieved, even in small tanks. Some of the prettiest reef systems in the world are designed around this endearing relationship, and with the variety of anemones and clowns available, there’s a combo to fit every tank. I hope this article will help you make the best choice for your future clownfish and anemone. R Amphiprion nigripes is a beautiful species found only in the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
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his tank marks my return from a 10-year reefing hiatus. None of my previous tanks were very successful, and they always withered away into havens for various nuisance algae and pest anemones. Fortunately, my passion for corals and reefing did not suffer the same fate. A decade later and armed with more time, money, and patience, I was ready to try again. With my wife on board, we started planning our new tank. I had a stand left over from my last system, so we decided to find a new
DAVID AND RICHELLE BAILEY tank that would fit it. We were lucky enough to find an Eshopps demo tank on Craigslist with ideal dimensions: 20" x 20" x 20". We learned how to plumb and put the tank together over about a month. The entire system was built with mostly used equipment to keep costs down and the coral budget bigger. As the corals grew and the successes started outweighing the failures, we began upgrading equipment. The tank went from low tech to high tech over the span of about a year, until it reached its current and final configuration.
CORALS Not wanting the headache of high-maintenance animals, we started with LPS (large-polyp stony) corals and mushrooms. That lasted about 2 weeks, until my wife spotted a purple Acropora sp. she couldn't live without. Somehow it survived, and I quickly became obsessed with Acropora spp. and other SPS (small-polyp stony) corals. As time went on, the tank shifted from LPS to SPS dominant. We currently have 20 different Acropora spp. and 10 Pink Cadillac Acropora
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different Montipora spp. We still have a good variety of LPS corals, with a primary focus on Micromussa spp. Some of our prized corals include a Walt Disney Tenuis, Dragon Soul Torch, and a particularly unique St. Thomas Mushroom (Rhodactis sp.). All our corals were grown from small frags. Most of the Acropora spp. were less than an inch long when we acquired them. Our greatest sense of pride comes from turning small frags into thriving colonies. CHALLENGES By far the biggest challenge with a nano is space. You have to be more particular with the corals you select because you'll run out of space quickly. We deal with a lot of coral warfare, especially among our SPS. They are constantly fighting for space, and something is always attacking something else. Fragging helps, but sometimes the corals are battle scarred before we can get to it. METHODS
Walt Disney Tenuis
I'm a big believer in keeping things simple and consistent. My personal motto is â€œgood light, good flow, and good food.â€? Rather than getting hung up on any specific value, we try to keep parameters as stable as possible. I'm neither a scientist nor a seasoned reefing veteran, but this approach has given us a lot of success. We use ESV B-Ionic 2-part, Reef Nutrition foods, and amino acids, and we feed our fish frozen foods several times a day. Water changes of 15 percent are performed every 7 to 10 days.
Rainbow Micromussa sp.
Meteor Shower Cyphastrea
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Eshopps sump and skimmer
SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS Display: 20" x 20" x 20" Eshopps cube System Volume: 25 gallons Lighting: EcoTech Radion XR30 G4 Pro, 24-watt ATI Blue+ Photoperiod: 12 hours total, 7 hours blues only and 5 hours with AB+ Wavemakers: (2) EcoTech VorTech MP10, (2) SICCE XStream SDC, both running on Reef Crest mode at 25â€“70 percent intensity Overflow: Eshopps Eclipse S Sump: Eshopps Nano Cube Return Pump: SICCE Syncra 2.0 Protein Skimmer: Eshopps S-120 (4th Gen) Reactor: Innovative Marine MiniMax with granular activated carbon and granular ferric oxide Controller: Neptune ApexEL Doser: Neptune DOS with DDR, Oceanbox Designs line holder Auto Top-off: Tunze 3155 with OXO cereal container for reservoir LOVE FOR THE HOBBY Aside from keeping and growing these amazing animals, we love being a part of the reefing community. Since we began this tank, we have met so many generous people and made some great friends. We want to help the hobby grow even bigger by engaging with people within the hobby and those who are curious about it. Anyone who has questions, problems, or ideas, or just wants to talk reefing, can come to us anytime. If we don't have the answer you're looking for, we'll try to find you someone who does. R
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Under-Appreciated Fishes for the Aquarium:
s an old-timey content provider to both the ornamental aquatics industry and hobby, as well as the dive/travel adventure genre, it’s been an ongoing curiosity to me why some groups of fishes are so heavily favored for home aquariums while others— beautiful, graceful, abundant, easy to catch, and sturdy in holding, shipping, and aquaria—fail to become popular. I like to label this phenomenon the founder (or flounder) effect: Folks know what they know but aren’t aware of what they don’t know. Hence, they hunt for what is “on the list” and leave out anything that isn’t.
This is really a great shame, as a cursory look at references like Fishbase.org will show there are some 33,400 described species of fishes. Of these, perhaps 1,800 are sold annually in any numbers as marine ornamentals. In fact, some half of all marine fishes in the trade are comprised of a mere dozen species. The nemipterid breams are a delightful mix of tropical shallowwater percoid (advanced bony) fishes. They are always interesting to come upon while out diving and a treat to see in captivity. They’re never super-abundant, being found singly, but they’re relatively easy to collect and quite sturdy as aquarium specimens.
BREAMS: THE FAMILY NEMIPTERIDAE First off, we should mention that there are other fishes referred to as breams; the family Sparidae, for example, has some members that are commonly called breams. The group we’re interested in are the Threadfin, Whiptail, and other breams that make up the family Nemipteridae. There are 67 described species of nemipterids that are parsed out into five genera. The physical characteristics that describe their morphology aren’t of much interest to folks concerned mainly with practical husbandry, so I’ll leave it to you to read about those details on Fishbase.org and elsewhere if you’re interested. BEHAVIOR We should mention a special aspect of nemipterid natural history here, as it bears a huge degree of importance in successful captive husbandry for breams. Their “story” is really two staged, first as smaller juveniles and later as larger adults. When young, these fish occupy small areas with sand and rocky bottoms, where they scoot along in short spurts looking for food and keeping ample space between themselves and any perceived danger. Beyond about 4 inches in length, breams begin living higher up in the water column, and though they never become open-water fish, they start to patrol much larger territories. Hence, they need far less space as small individuals but a great deal more as the fish mature. There are some neat examples of mimicry exhibited by some nemipterids, which I detail below under their species accounts. COMPATIBILITY Following on to behavior and habitat, you should know that these breams are carnivorous fishes that principally feed on small fish, crustaceans, and bristleworms. Some are more planktivorous, but all can and will inhale the above prey animals. Other than these groups, breams are reef-safe. Besides the usual suspects, such as large basses, morays, big triggers, and wrasses, most fish get along with nemipterids. What aggressive interaction there may be is greatly diminished by providing adequate space for all. SELECTION These delicate-appearing fishes are remarkably tough. It is rare to have them arrive dead, and they are among the last to succumb to infectious, parasitic, and environmental diseases in captivity. As with all marine purchases, query your dealer as to how long they’ve had their stock on hand, what they are eating, and if there have been troubles. Wait a good few days for new arrivals to acclimate to captivity, and try to arrange to see the fish eat in front of you before purchasing. SOME NEMIPTERID BREAMS TO CONSIDER Some of the following images were taken in aquariums, most in the wild. The maximum stated size is from scientific literature and is likely about twice the size these fishes will reach in captivity. Reef Hobbyist Magazine
Pentapodus emeryii (Richardson 1843), also known as the Double Whiptail Bream, is native to the Indo-West Pacific. It grows to a foot in length in the wild and is an occasional import from the Philippines and Fiji. This fish is hardy when shipped properly and placed in a peaceful setting. Here is an aquarium shot of a 2-inch juvenile in north Sulawesi.
Pentapodus nagasakiensis (Tanaka 1915) is also known as the Japanese Butterfish. This fish is native to the Western Pacific, from Japan to northern Australia, and grows to 8 inches in length. This is a juvenile in an aquarium.
Pentapodus paradiseus (Gunther 1859) is also known as the Paradise Whiptail. This fish is native to the Western Pacific, including the Coral Sea, Solomon Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef. It grows to 14 inches in length. This juvenile was photographed in Raja Ampat.
Pentapodus trivittatus (Bloch 1791) is also known as the Striped Whiptail. It is native to the Indo-West Pacific, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and New Guinea. It grows to 8 inches in length. This fish was photographed in north Sulawesi. GENUS SCOLOPSIS Scolopsis affinis (Peters 1877) is also known as the Yellow-tail Spinecheek. It is native to the West Pacific and Indian Ocean, and it grows to nearly 10 inches in length. This is a juvenile photographed in Bali, Indonesia.
Scolopsis aurata (Park 1797) is also known as the Yellowstripe Monocle Bream. It is native to the Eastern Indian Ocean, from the Maldives to southern Indonesia. This fish grows to a bit over 8 inches in length. This photograph was taken off Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia.
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Scolopsis bilineatus (Bloch 1793) is also known as the Two-lined Monocle Bream or the Bridled Bream. It is native to the Indo-Pacific and is very common on the reef. It grows to 9 inches in length. This is an adult photographed in Sulawesi.
On the left is a juvenile Scolopsis bilineatus in Raja Ampat. The Sabertooth Blenny (Meiacanthus grammistes) that the bream mimics is pictured on the right.
Pictured on the left is the Fiji specimen of a young Scolopsis bilineatus and its Batesian mimic to its right. All yellow juveniles in Fiji are mimics of the Bicolor Fangblenny (Plagiotremus laudandus) found there and hence are avoided as prey.
Scolopsis frenata (Cuvier 1830) is also known as the Bridled Monocle Bream. It is native to the Western Indian Ocean and grows to 10 inches. This photo was taken in the Seychelles.
Scolopsis ghanam (Forsskal 1775) is also known as the Arabian Monocle Bream. It is native to the Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea, and East Africa to the Andaman Sea. It grows to 12 inches. This is a 4-inch juvenile in the Red Sea.
Scolopsis lineata (Quoy & Gaimard 1824) is also known as the Striped Monocle Bream. Native to the Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, it grows to 9 inches. This fish was photographed in south Sulawesi.
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Scolopsis margaritifera (Cuvier 1830) is also known as the Pearly Monocle Bream. It is native to the Western Pacific and grows to 11 inches in length. This specimen was photographed off south Sulawesi.
Scolopsis vosmeri (Bloch 1792) is also known as the Whitecheek Monocle Bream. It is native to the Indo-West Pacific, East African coast, Red Sea to Australia, and Ryukyus. It grows to 10 inches. This fish is rarely seen in the ornamental trade, and that is a shame. In the wild, it feeds on various benthic organisms. This fish was photographed in Pulau Redang, Malaysia.
Scolopsis monogramma (Cuvier 1830) is also known as the Monocle Bream. It is native to the Indo-West Pacific and grows to a foot in length. On the left is a juvenile photographed in Bali, Indonesia, and an adult off Heron Island, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, on the right.
SYSTEMS Most often, these fishes are found on or over sand bottoms close to reefs. They appreciate a dark corner, cave, or overhang to duck into to get out of the light. Keep in mind the ultimate size of individuals when you purchase them. The smallest display I’d recommend is an uncrowded 80-gallon tank. FEEDING As mentioned, nemipterids feed on a mix of small bottomdwelling fishes, crustaceans, and worms. A few nemipterids are planktivorous. All do well on meaty fare in captivity. They eagerly eat small crustaceans and any mouth-sized, animal-based foods as they grow larger. CONCLUSION According to Rhyne, et al. (2012), there are 1,803 species of marine fishes that they’ve recorded as invoiced for ornamental use. See their citation below and you will find the top 10 species are predominant, with the top 20 making up the majority of all marine species kept as pet fish. I assure you there are many others that are
suitable. Once the retail and hobby base becomes aware of many of these fishes, they will create sustainable demand, and collectors will gather them. I am hopeful that by way of exposure in this article, I can urge their further distribution in the trade. Looking for something different? Consider the sea breams. As juveniles, they have some brilliant colors, the adults are strikingly handsome, and most don’t grow too big for larger hobbyist systems. They’re not (yet) popular as aquarium fishes (though important as food and game animals), but perhaps they will be in the future. R References/Further Reading: Andrew L. Rhyne, Michael F. Tlusty, Pamela J. Schofield, Les Kaufman, James A. Morris Jr., Andrew W. Bruckner, Revealing the appetite of the marine aquarium fish trade: the volume and biodiversity of fish imported into the United States May 21, 2012, http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0035808 Nemipteridae on Fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/FamilySummary.php?ID=324 Russell, B.C., 1990. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 12. Nemipterid fishes of the world. (threadfin breams, whiptail breams, monocle breams, dwarf monocle breams, and coral breams). Family Nemipteridae. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of nemipterid species known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(12):149p. Rome: FAO
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