When I start a new tank I like to come up with what I call a fish stocking plan. It is a list of the fish I would like to add to the tank. The first fish I add have to be hardy and inexpensive. Why roll the dice and add pricey fish to a new tank with a bacteria bed that is still maturing?

 

Typically, I will go with Green Chromis. For this tank I added a group of four. I like a group of Green Chromis because they will hang together and replicate the shoaling effect often seen with fish on natural reefs. It is like having a slice of the ocean in your living room. I enjoy keeping Anthias for the same reason.

 

Green Chromis

 

Soon after the four Green Chromis were added I introduced six Lyretail Anthias to the tank. Anthias can be tough fish to keep since they need to be fed often and do best in a large tanks.

 

But Lyretail are one of the hardiest Anthias around and I have had some decent luck with them in the past. They are also bright orange and contrast nicely with Green Chromis.

Tangs – Effective Algae Eaters

Tangs are utilitarian fish since they can keep problematic algae in check. I wanted a bunch and soon after the Anthias were introduced I added a Tomini Tang, Sailfin Tang, Yellow Tang and a Yellow-Eyed Kole Tang. They were added sooner than anticipated since their prior home, one of my frag tanks, sprung a leak.


I love Purple Tangs and I wanted to add one to the current group of tangs. Aggression can occur when you add tangs from the same genus (they have similar body shapes). When I added the Purple Tang it was harassed a bit by the Yellow and Sailfin Tangs, which are in the same genus as the Purple Tang. Thankfully, there were no major dust ups and eventually it was left alone.

 

Purple Tang

 

The final tang I wanted to add was a Powder Blue Tang. There were no other tangs in the same genus as the Powder Blue (Acanthurus) so I was hopeful it would be left alone.

 

Well, the first couple of days were pretty rough. All of the tangs took turns and chased the Powder Blue around tank. Fortunately, things simmered down after a week and all the tangs stopped picking on the Powder Blue. Of course that can change over time so I will certainly monitor the situation.

My Fascination With Clownfish

Now let’s move on to clownfish. I love them and have always had a pair in my reef tanks. However, I have never tried more than a pair since clownfish pairs typically spar in tanks that are not large.




Opinions vary on the tank size needed to successfully keep multiple clownfish pairs. My 225 gallon tank seemed to be right on the cusp of what is an acceptable size. Should I try? Clownfish are not terribly fast so they can be easier to catch versus other fish. If it didn’t work out I would just net up a pair.

 

I had two bonded pairs in two different frag tanks and the plan was to add them to the new tank at the same time. This would reduce the chances of a scuffle.

 

The first couple of days were fine. No fights or signs of aggression. The pairs even hung out together and intermingled, which I thought was odd. After a few days the dynamic changed. Three of the clowns started to pick on one clown and chase it to different parts of the tank.

 

To my relief, things changed and the other clownfish stopped their aggressive behavior. The clowns are still inter-mingling but my expectation is that each pair will eventually claim a certain section of the tank and host a coral.

Other Additions

Speaking of fish pairs, I also added a bonded pair of Flame Hawkfish to the tank. Not only are they beautiful (they are bright red), but they have character. Their goofy eyes rotate independently from one another and they like to perch on stuff since they are not great swimmers. A unique addition for sure.

 

Butterflyfish can be considered a semi-unique edition to a reef tank since many have a tendency to eat corals. An exception are Yellow Pyramid Butterflyfish.

 

Yellow Pyramid Butterflyfish

 

This fish feeds on zooplankton and is usually found feeding high in the water column above coral heads in its natural ecosystem, making it a “reef safe” edition to a tank housing SPS and LPS corals. Four Yellow Pyramids are now patrolling my tank.

My Holy Grail Fish

A misbar Regal Angelfish rounds out my fish collection. I had a yellow belly Regal in my old 225 gallon tank in Connecticut and it was my favorite fish in the tank. It did take out a couple of meaty LPS corals, including some Zooanthids, but it left the SPS alone.

 

I vowed not to add one to this tank until I had mostly SPS colonies versus frags. The theory here is a fish that nips will do less damage to a colony versus a small frag. Well, another hobbyist was selling a small yellow belly misbar Regal for a fair price and I just couldn’t pass it up.

 

Misbar Regal Angelfish

 

As an added bonus, it was not nipping on corals in the seller’s tank, even Zooanthids. Misbars are rare so this fish was my holy grail!

 

Knock on wood, but so far the fish has been a model citizen and has not snacked on any frags. Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

Shop GHL/Royal Exclusiv/Reef Octopus/Pax Bellum Equipment

 

If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend.

 

As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.

 

Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please shop both my fresh cut and WYSIWYG frags to see what is available.

 

Happy reef keeping!