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tmkx3 11-12-2005 09:50 PM

My first fish
I just put in my first fish :D :D :D .THey are 2 tank raised false perculas. i put them in yesterday. At first they were kinda swimming back and forth acrossed the tank as fast as they could almost like they were racing or maybe pacing. Is this normal? In freshwater this is called flashing and can be a sign that there is something wrong. Is it the same for salt fish? Is it a sign of stress. What can I do to help them? After I turned the lights off last night they did settle down in a corner behind the rocks. They are still pacing but not quite as much or fast. I also haven't really seen them eat. They go to the top for the food but they spite it out. Do they not like the food? It is a marine flake by tetra. I was thinking that maybe the flakes were to big and they just spite the left overs :?:

TCTFish 11-13-2005 09:32 AM

We've got some questions to ask you....ready???

How many gallons is the tank?

How long has it been up and running with fish in it? I know these are new, but did you cycle the tank at all?

How did you acclimate them to the new tank?

What type of filter do you have? Skimmer? Refugium?

What are the test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, salinity, calcium, and alkalinity? Numbers please.

Do you have live rock or live sand?

For right now, offer about three minutes worth of food every other day, but split it into a few feeds throughout the day. This is only temporary until we know more about the system and the water's quality. Ask the LFS you got them from what they were feeding them. Perhaps they don't recognize the food you are feeding or they have a lack of appetite. You could entice them to some thawed out frozen foods like mysis shrimp. Soak the food in some garlic about once or twice a week. Seachem and Kent Marine make a garlic additive. This should stimilate appetite as well as ward off potential hitchhikers (external parasites).

Do you have a quarantine tank for new fish?

Anytime when a fish goes from one system to another, it will stress to some degree. Just make sure the water quality is good and temperature is stable.

tmkx3 11-13-2005 10:29 AM

125lbs sand
70lbs lr
pro prizm
1200 maxie jet
eco jagger heater

ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 5.0

I just finished a very light cycle. my rock was fully cured and I never really had any spikes even after adding cocktail shrimp.

tmkx3 11-13-2005 10:34 AM

Oh, I forgot. I acclimated them for about an hour. I added water from the main tank to a bucket I put them in every fifteen minutes until the gravity was the same. I have a 10g that I will use for a qt later but I was told that I didn't really have to qt the first fish. Did I mess up :roll:

TCTFish 11-13-2005 07:04 PM

It's good to even isolate the first fish intended to go in there. One of the main reasons is to avoid an ich outbreak in the main system along with anything else. Especially with that big of a tank. From now on...any fish you get should be isolated for a week or two. This will save you a headache or two...LOL.

How long was the tank without fish when once it was all set up? A couple of weeks? A month? Give me an idea here.

It takes about two weeks for fish to 'settle' into their new homes. During that time it is good to keep a sharp eye on pH and ammonia. If there is a spike in ammonia, naturally pH should drop. If and when that happens, tend to the ammonia first then the pH. The lower pH value during an ammonia spike helps protect the livestock in the system. A lower pH will transform the ammonia to the less toxic form of ammonium. If you tend to the pH first, then you'd be making the system more toxic and increase the chances of fish loss.

Take your time with populating the tank. People want their tanks full of life right away, but that often leads to disappointing failures. Wait at least two weeks in between introductions and only introduce a few at a time except reef hermits and small snails.

Being that the water quality is good, you can do a normal feeding routine. Marine fish should be offered a total of up to 5 minutes worth of food per day. With live rock, you can cut that back to every other day. As the tank matures and the live rock puts on growth, the feeding can be cut back to three times a week. Generally, the live rock will help produce natural food such as algae and copepods.

Food is best fed several times throughout the feeding day instead of one large feed. The fish's body uses more of the food's nutrient value instead of being pooped out so there's less waste.

Give the clowns some time to adjust. Once they are settled and you are ready to add more life to the tank, focus more on the clean up crew. Snails, reef hermits, perhaps an algae/rock blenny as well. I personally like the cerith snails. They are small and can get into the cracks of the rock to clean up algae growth. Astrae (sp?) and turbo snails are good for the glass and larger surfaces of rock. If you are not going to get into corals, some of the larger starfish species can also help control algae. One of the best marine algae grazers are sea urchins, however, they do also eat that nice purple coraline algae, so if you want that, then a sea urchin would not be a good choice. If you don't care about the coraline, then the sea urchin makes an interesting addition.

Don't be afraid to add in a bunch of reef hermits and small snails at once. Say for the first batch you can put in 20 little hermits and about 10 small snails, then add on every so often as needed. You have a large tank and you'll need them. Besides, when populating a tank, it's the fish that put a dent into the bioload more so than inverts and coral. It's so much easier to keep them alive then it is the fish.

Do you plan on housing coral in the tank?

A little hint...if you add on to the substrate till you have a nice deep bed of about 4" and put some critters in there that live and/or crawl through the sand bed, it will help control nitrates and eliminate the need to vaccuum. Still need to do the water changes, but you could ditch the gravel vac!! :)

Using the deep sand bed will choke the bottom layers of oxygen and allow denitrifying bacteria to cultivate within the system. Things living and crawling through the sand will release trapped gases from the denitrification process which would complete a full bio cycle. I've found it to keep a system much healthier in my experience.

You have a nice tank to play with, but play slowly and have patience. Keep in mind...if you plan on having tangs or angels wait till the tank has been up for at least 6 months for better success of keeping them alive. There are tons of different little inverts you can focus on before hand and lots of other neat little fish that can be housed. If you keep to a simple rule of lesser aggressives in first, you'll avoid most problems with fish being attacked upon introduction. THIS INCLUDES DAMSELS. Damsels are mean. Make them one of the last additions unless they are green or blue chromises. They're not as bad, but most other damsels have a serious attitude and are best kept either single or a small school of five or more of the same species.

Enjoy :)

tmkx3 11-14-2005 12:04 PM

thanx for all the tips. I have a 10g that I am going to use for a qt in the future. My tank was without fish for about a month. I didn't have much of a cycle because most of my rock was cured. I waited about a week before I added cocktail shrimp, left them in for 4 days still only had a small ammonia reading. I took them out and after 2 weeks all of my numbers were 0 so I add 1 fire shrimp and 2 turbo snails. I waited another week and added the clowns and 1 bahama starfish and 2 emerald crabs. I will wait a month before I add any more fish.

Should I go ahead and add the hermitts and small snails or wait a week?

My sand bed is proably 2-3 inchs right now. I was thinking about adding some agronite to it because it is a very fine sand and I was thinking that it might weight it down. I also need some buffering. My Ph is 8.0. What kind of sand critters are you talking about?

I'm not going to added any corals at least not right away. I want to get the hang of things first.

I am going to add tangs and an angel. I didn't know about the 6mons. I have read that about the mandrins. I will wait until the spring to add them. Here is a list of the fish i like

False percula
flame angel
blue hippo tang
yellow tang
yellow goby
green chromis
heinochus butterfly( is he to big)

I love fish tanks. I will be patient and research,research some more.
:wink: Tinia

TCTFish 11-14-2005 08:30 PM

Before buffering pH, check ammonia levels. You should always test ammonia when pH goes down. It's a natural reaction to ammonia spikes, so always check that and if ammonia is reading, tend to the ammonia levels first before buffering the pH. A lower pH when ammonia is present generally will transform the ammonia into the less toxic form of ammonium. If pH is buffered before the ammonia levels are brought down, it will transform that ammonium back to the more toxic ammonia.

There are parts of the day when pH will normally read a bit lower than other times of the day. I haven't gotten this info. remembered very well. Maybe someone else here can inform you of that, but it goes with the type of system it is and the natural chemical reactions of the system.

There are lots of critters that crawl through the sand. Little snails like the nassau...something or other (sometimes the names of these critters escape me)...they sleep in the sand and when you feed the tank I swear it looks like the sand is Sand sifting gobies are good at moving around dthe sand...especially if you have a pistol shrimp for him :) (or her). The system itself sometimes will develop critters in the sand bed...most likely from hitchhikers on live rock. The little garden eels are cute but difficult to keep alive. Cute to see them when they poke their little heads from the surface of the sand. there are sand sifting snails and starfish. Cucumbers are really good for the sand bed. Not only do they move it around but they clean it too. They eat all the gunk that accumilates in and on the substrate and poop out clean substrate. This is how aragonite is made. Just for a fun tid bit...the difference between crushed coral and aragonite is how it's made. Crushed coral is just that...crushed coral, but aragonite is digested crushed coral. It passes through the digestive track of an animal first...LOL.

Mandarin gobies are told to wait for so that their natural food can populate the environment first. With tangs and angels, it's more of the maturity of the system overall. I found that most people who put in tangs and angels before the tank has really had a chance to stabilize end up dying prematurely than those who wait it out for a while. There is one particular customer who purchased a rather large system...costed him mega bucks. The tank was up for about three months and he talked to me about ading a tang. I told him to wait, but he didn't. Sure enough, he came in again shaking his head and had his kids with him. The tang had died. He asked me to lecture his kids about what had happened and why.

Nice list of fish. Forget about the sweetlips. They will eat anything it can fit in it's mouth so you'd be very limited to a predator tank. Hippo tangs are ich magnets. A must for quarantine first. Green chromis are very nice fish and unlike many damsels are quite tolerant of other tank mates. Keep in a school of at least five. Cardinals are great. I had this one pajama cardinal for the longest time. Bangai cardinals are really sharp with their contrasting black and silver white. I've been told it's good to have them in a small group as well. Fame angels are beautiful. Just make sure you feed the angel the proper diet. Get food that is specific for angels. They will have sponge in the ingredients. This is very important food for all marine angels. In captivity they are often deprived of coral protein and it's a must part of their diet. Though no where near as demanding for it as butterfly fish. Here's my opinion on butterfly fish...

Even though there are species that take ok to a captive environment and supplimental foods, but only a few like copperbands and raccoons and even heniocus. But even they end up dying prematurely in captivity eventually. Most butterflies are very demanding in what they need nutritionally. All butterflies specialize on eating coral. Some will only eat certain species of coral. Some will eat several types of coral, but none the less, they are ALL coral eaters and MUST have coral protein in their diet if they are to survive at all. IMO, butterfly fish are best left in the ocean. They are not a hardy fish for captivity.

Out of the fish you listed, the sweetlips gets the biggest. JFYI, sweetlips are a type of snapper.

Check the ammonia and pH first before throwing in a bunch of hermits and snails. If everything checks out ok, then you should be good to go with them :)

austinsdad 11-15-2005 09:03 AM


I never really had any spikes even after adding cocktail shrimp.
This has me concerned and wondering if the tank did cycle. Should've had a nitrite and ammonia spike.

tmkx3 11-15-2005 09:18 AM

My ph has been 8.0 from the beginning. I didn't chech it while I was cycling. I have always been told in my fresh water tanks to leave the ph alone and to work on the other chemicals first. This is what your saying to right. When do you know its time to do something?

I will proably put a yellow watchman goby in there next. Are the pistol shrimp there buddies, or do they eat them? I will get me a cucumber. I didn't know that about the sand.

Is there a tang that is a better species or all the all prone to ick?

I like both species of the cardinals. Can you mix them?

Thanx for the info on the butterflies. I will leave these beauties alone.

I also saw a beautiful fish at the Lfs it was a velvet fairey wrasse. It had a yellow strip down its back and was mostly pink. Is this a good fish?

What are some pretty colored fish you would recommend?

Thank you so much for your time :D Tinia

TCTFish 11-15-2005 10:34 AM

It's safe to buffer the pH so long as ammonia isn't showing. That's your primary. Test often. Salinity should be tested once or twice a week. The basics should be tested once a week or every other week depending on how well you know your tank. Keep track of test results and the additives you put in. If anything were to start to go wrong, you'll know right away before it ever gets out of hand. You are making a big investment. You want to protect it. Keeping record will help you know when to do what and if you are ever at a loss, there are forums like this one :)

Yellow watchman gobies don't usually take to pairing with a shrimp (they're not known shrimp gobies) however I did have a fire shrimp that took a liking to one and cleaned him all the time. Great fish. I've had mine for 4 years now :) The watchman goby is usually not a threat to shrimp.

Let the tank mature a while before getting a cucumber. You want to build up deitrus in the sand bed. Wait a few months at least.

Personally I think yellow, scopas, and sailfin tangs to be the hardier of the family. They are also the smaller of the family of tangs (7 to 9 inches). Unfortunately, they can't go together. If you ever want to try, you can get two juveniles of the same species at the same time, but it's risky. Once we had a customer bring in two fully grown yellow tangs that grew up together. That's rare, but shows it's not impossible.

Keep in mind that tangs are generally open water swimmers (and are schooling fish) that frequent the reefs for food and shelter. They need lots of ample swimming space and lots of good red/purple and green algae to eat.

I have seen both species of cardinals together, but don't overcrowd them. Though should be with another, they do not school. At least not in an aquarium. Instead they hang a wee bit away from each other. The group thing I think is more for security when predators are near. Their patterns are confusing when they go into a panic swim together.

Fairy wrasses are great fish. Just make sure you have a tight lid. Olympian jumpers...LOL. Wrasses also don't get along with each other for the most part so when you pick a wrasse, it's the only wrasse. Many do get fairly large so check what the adult size is of a particular species before purchasing.

There are a few little fish I like. The gobies are a great family of interesting fish. Do be careful putting them together. Read up on their known behaviors with other gobies. Some can be mixed. Some cannot. I personally love the little catalina gobies, but they are mean so watch out...LOL. They got some nasty itty bitty teeth, but they're so cute!! Clown gobies are cute too. They naturally live among staghorn coral, but will hang out around any other coral suitable. I've seen two color and yellow. One of my favorite fish (other than the black capped basslet...that is my thee favorite fish) is the banana fish. I'll try to get you a scientific name, but they are neat looking fish that don't seem to bother anything. They just swim out in the open a lot and look good. Hawk fish are neat. If you plan on having small shrimp, stick with the little dwarf hawks or flame hawks. Brightly colored with personality that likes to perch in the center of your tank...right in view.

There are others but I need to go right now. I'll try to add more later.

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