Originally Posted by bighabeeb
OK, so...72 gallon tank, 2 firefish and a sleeper goby. Everyone is happy, healthy, doing good things and living fishily, just as they should be. Haven't added fish in about 2 weeks, and all the levels are good, yadda yadda yadda.
So, I stopped by petco today to pick up some food for my son's rabbit, and happened to have a conversation with the new manager - they had some new, unusual (for petco) salt water stuff in the back and I was curious about the change (a haitian anemone and some clarkii clowns, both unusual for that location). Didn't have any interest in the livestock per se, but chatted with the guy who is a self proclaimed saltwater reef enthusiast.
So we get to talking about my tank, whats in there, whats not in there, what I want to add and so forth. And the conversation, at some point, goes like this:
Me: I have 2 firefish and am thinking about a royal gramma
Him: Don't do that, they're super aggressive and will go after the firefish
Me: Really? I picked gramma over dottyback because I was under the impression they were peaceful
Him: No way man, grammas are at least as aggressive as dottybacks
Me: Well...ok...anyway I'm waiting on adding more fish until I get the hang of feeding my open brain
Him: Why would you feed an open brain? You dont need to do that
Now I always tend to prefer experience over a website with a paragraph from someone I have no knowledge of...however this guy's advice appears to go against everything I've read, seen etc. Reefkeepers had a huge thread about open brains and how they'll LIVe without being fed, but to thrive need regular (2x a week at least) feedings - especially the red, deeper water ones (like the one I have...liveaquaria confirms). Liveaquaria also reports that the royal gramma is a peaceful fish except against its own kind.
So my question is this....is petco man full of doodoo? Is he trying to turn his store's reputation around with bad advice, or am I reading too much online?
What do y'all think about a royal gramma with a couple of firefish?
After spending over 40 years in the aquarium trade in both retail and wholesale, ( 30+ with marines) I can tell you that Royal Grammas can have a nasty disposition not only against their own kind but other hole dwelling fishes as well. Also, there are 2 varieties of Royal Grammas so the type is important too. The way around it is to make sure that there are plenty of holes for your fish to make homes in with extras "just in case." Same goes for Dottybacks. I've kept multiple varieties of dottybacks together in tanks using this same method. Plus, these were wild caught fish so their true wild nature was in play. It all depends on the size of the aquarium and the way it is decorated. The bigger the better!
As for the brain coral, once again he was both right and wrong. The coral can live without your feeding it but will live BETTER if you do feed it.
As for the Haitian anemone, I've had or seen many fish use them. Clowns, Domino Damsels, Shrimps, etc. They were a good substitute for a Ritteri or Bubble anemone. I even once saw a Royal Blue Hepatus Tang (a.k
.a. Hippo Tang) in one. He was not being eaten by it either
He was rubbing himself along the tenticles just like a clownfish would. To date, the strangest thing I've seen in a marine aquarium. (I would love to know if anyone else ever had this experience.)
As for the Multiple species of clownfish in one aquarium, it's more common than you think. Also, since so many clownfish being offered for sale are tank raised, they very possibly were raised in communal tanks from a young age so the natural dislike for one another has been broken or removed. Once again, I've had many varieties of wild caught clowns together as long as there was enough space. That's the key!
As for advice, there is a reason why the Petcos and PetSmarts and chain shops like them don't carry much in the way of saltwater fish or equipment. It takes more than a little knowledge to keep and maintain a proper SW
tank. That requires someone with more education and experience and that costs MONEY. My local PetSmart employee told me that they don't even order the fish they sell. Corporate does it for them from their main headquarters. I've always enjoyed the selecting which fish I was going to make available to my customers. I knew their needs and preferences and was able to get them unique fishes that fit into their tanks. My suggestion, if you want specialized knowledge, go to your local "Mom and Pop" pet shop and support them. They are the ones doing what you are trying to do. If you keep looking for expertice in the chain stores, you're going to be looking for a long time and spending a lot of money in dead fish. The few extra pennies you'll pay at the local store will be worth it in the long run. They're the ones who will reward your loyalty not the chain stores. I know this because that's how I was treated and I treated my customers.
Hope this helps..