How to Select Reef Safe Fish For Your Live Coral Aquarium.
Having a live coral reef aquarium can be very satisfying, when it is not an overwhelming challenge. A variety of obstacles may present themselves along your path to reef nirvana such as undesirable algae outbreaks, Nitrate or Phosphate levels out of control, stray currents from equipment and even fish eating your prized corals and invertebrates! Today we'll help you learn how to identify fish that are suitable for a reef aquarium and how to stock your live coral tank with reef friendly fishes.
The first thing you want to do is be patient! It can be challenging to resist the temptation to buy a fish at your LFS that you have always had your heart set on, but before you add that little darling to your reef, make sure it is not going to systematically and methodically start destroying your corals! Talk to the reef keepers at your LFS and ask them about the fish you are interested in. Ask them if it is reef safe, meaning does it eat corals, and if so which corals are are the menu. Also be sure to ask if the fish you are considering has an appetite for crustaceans, starfish or other invertebrates. You want to be sure you are not introducing a menace to your tank that will quickly make your clean up crew it's lunch.
So the fish you had your heart set on is not suitable for your reef. The next thing you should do is read up and educate yourself on the types of fish that are reef friendly. Do your due diligence and learn about what types of fish like to eat what types of foods. Also, study their temperament. You want to try and find fish that will not only leave your live coral and inverts alone, but that will also not harass the other fish in the tank! A belligerent fish can quickly become a nuisance that needs to be removed if it takes to bullying the other peaceful fish in your reef tank. Removing nuisance fish is fairly easy providing you use a fish trap.
The next thing you should do is talk to the members of your local reef club. While online forums can sometimes provide some useful information, often times a simple question about a good reef fish can turn into a lengthy thread filled with debates and differing opinions. This can leave you frustrated with even more questions than when you started. Online forums are OK, but with millions of users, come millions of opinions, as well as confusing and conflicting information. Nothing beats one on one talk with actual reefers in your community that have first hand experience. Reef club members are generally willing to help out other reefers, and if you ask about their reef fish and what they have had success with, and what to avoid, they will gladly tell you their experiences and make recommendations. You may even get invited to a fellow reefers house to take a look at their reef safe fish, so you can see first hand how active or inactive they are, and how they interact with the corals, inverts and other fish in their reef tanks.
Taking the time to talk to the informed staff at your LFS, reading trusted source books, and talking to members of your local reef club are all great ways to learn about the endless variety of reef safe fish available for your live coral aquarium. Educate yourself before making any fish purchases will surely help you learn how to be an expert reef fish keeper in no time! To help get you started, take a look at our Top 10 Easy Care Reef Safe Fish for Live Coral Aquariums!