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Old 08-19-2006, 11:35 PM   #1
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Unexpected compatibility for new owners

We are new owners of a 55gal saltwater tank. We have let it cycle and added a molly for a hardy starter fish. After a couple of weeks added a yellow tang and another colorful tang (unknown name now). A psuedochromis was also added to the mix along with a standard sea star.

Today we added a black saddle clown, cleaner shrimp and a chocolate chip sea star. The black saddle started nipping at all the other fish and the most interesting of it all, the first sea star started to devour the chocolate chip after about 2 hours of inhabiting the tank.

Any ideas about the black saddle and supposed "docile" behaviors of clownfish? Also, why "Patrick" the first sea star is eating the almost same size "Nestle" chocolate chip sea star. Thanks and I am glad to be part of a very knowledgeable forum. Hope to eventually add some good advice myself one day.


My Starfish eating... my starfish
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:07 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA. I will comment on your fish list first. You really are above what I would consider to be max capacity. I would like to hear what the second tang is as most would not be appropriate for that tank size. I am not sure about the fact clowns are "docile". Some can be quite nasty. I have maroon clowns that are the terrors of any tank they go in. Clarkii's will attempt to tear your finger off (impossible, but they try).

As far as your starfish, many are quite aggressive. Including the choc chip. In this case, he is the smaller and therefore the "victim" . Usually, they are the aggressor. It would be helpful to know what type of starfish that "patrick" is.
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:13 AM   #3
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
Congrats on the new tank. I have two concerns right of the bat...1) that you are adding too many fish too quickly, and 2) that you may already be a bit overstocked. Keep a very close eye on water parameters like NH3, NO2 and O3. If you test for those (which you should) please post results. In a new tank, fish need to be added very slowly to let the tank's biological filtration catch up to the increase in bioload. Two tangs, if even small, is also "iffy" in a 55gal tank.
The nipping behavior of the clown is not out of the norm for these fish. While not as aggressive as their cousins, regular damsels, they can be territorial. I am not surprised about the stars. They are opportunistic scavengers and will eat what ever they can park themselves on top of.
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Old 08-20-2006, 12:59 PM   #4
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The other tang is a clown tang, and I believe that the starfish is a brown star. Shortly after posting the first... post, I decided to remove the clownfish and just stick with the 4 fish that are in the tank now; Yellow tang, Clown tang, Pseudochromis, freshwater molly.

When I woke up this morning, "Nestle", the chocolate chip star was almost completely devoured.

I will test the water again today and post my results. Thanks for the input thus far.
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Old 08-21-2006, 12:01 PM   #5
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Welcome to AA!!!

You have some good sound advice, in the previous posts. I agree with them all.
In this hobby, it is recommended to take it very slow. If you start adding too many critters, your tank will not be able to keep up with the bio load, and will cause many deaths and problems.

Is the "molly" a Blue Damselfish? If, so, he could become very agressive, in the future.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:21 PM   #6
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I'd take back the clown tang. They require at least a 150 gallons. They get up to 1' 3"! That is a big fish for a small tank. Check this site out at the bottom of the page for fish ideas. However take it slow like everyone is saying. I lost a few fish because I was moving to fast. I would take it easy for a while and let your tank catch up after you get rid of the clown tang, if you decide to. Then take a look at your options and go from there. Ask on here because there are some very experienced people on here that can point you in the right direction and give you little hints on the way. Read up a little bit more on saltwater tanks. This is a great hobby but it takes a little bit of time. It's well worth it though!

http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/categ.cfm?pcatid=15
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:48 AM   #7
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I did take back the clown tang, and the molly is really a freshwater molly fish. I tested my water and the ammonia was low and nitrate and nitrite came out to just near 0. My pH was around 8.3. I did a little over a 10% water change today and am going to test again tomorrow. My salt was at 1.028, which was kinda high since when I first started the tank it was at 1.024 which is where I wanted it. We decided to leave what we have for fish in there and not to add any more.

With the bioload being what it is, is there no room for any corals in the future, or does that affect the bioload differently?

BTW, my set up is a 55gal with crushed coral substrate. I have 50lb of Fuji live rock. I have a Penguin 350 filter that is rated for up to 75gal and a Current USA Orbit HP light system with 2 96w dual daylight and 2 96w dual actinic with 4 LED lunar lights, and a cooling fan of course. That puts me at about 7w per gallon. Decent setup so far?
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
I tested my water and the ammonia was low and nitrate and nitrite came out to just near 0.
Any detectable amount of either NH3 or NO2 is deadly to livestock. YOu have two options...take the remaining livestock back to the LFS and let your tank cycle completely before adding anything to it or doing an aggressive series of water changes to keep the parameters at a more acceptable level for the livestock. Doing this will prolong your cycle however.
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My pH was around 8.3.
that is pretty good. You will find that Ph will change slightly with the lighting cycle.
Quote:
My salt was at 1.028, which was kinda high since when I first started the tank it was at 1.024 which is where I wanted it
That is a bit high. Are you topping of for evaporation using SW or FW? Just in case, all top-offs should be done with FW since the salt does not evaporate with the water.
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Decent setup so far?
Yup...just do very regular maintenance on the canitser as they can become NO3 factories with time if not cleaned. I would consider changing the substrate to LS in the early stages, but CC will work. It also just requires more maintenance to keep NO3 in check. My biggest piece of advice is to just slow down. Rushing things in the early stages only makes things harder on you down the road (and more expensive).
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