Conscientious creature choices

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  • Graeme
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This might be controversial as I know a few people here have some of these creatures, but I figure this is a friendly place, so I'm going for it  :smiley:

Having read about a few creatures that are commonly available to us, but have poor survival rates, I thought I'd share those I've read about, and the reasons I've heard, and see what you all think:

Anemones
Probably one that most will agree should be left to a mature tank, and possibly an experienced reefer.  More so with some species than others.  Even for those that do successfully manage to keep them, does the fact that loads get killed in the process of transport, dying in the lfs, and at the hands of the inexperienced, make it right to keep one at all?

Cleaner Wrasse
I read about this in http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conscientious-Marine-Aquarist-Commonsense-Professional/dp/1890087998
I've also found an online summary of what is said in the book:
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/just-how-important-are-cleaner-wrasses-to-reef-ecosystems
For those that can't be bothered to click and read, the point is that if you remove just some cleaner wrasse from a reef, it can be pretty devastating to the reef.

Moorish Idols
Near impossible to keep:
http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/still-impossible-after-all-these-years-keeping-moorish-idols.htm
...yet you see them in the lfs, so I assume people keep buying them  :cry:

Copperband Butterflyfish
Again, I first read about this in the book above.  Here's another similar view: " Most unfortunately, this is a species that has a rather irregular survival rate in captivity, so it is imperative that the conscientious aquarist is certain that all its needs can be met, before considering purchase. The main difficulty seems to arise with feeding these wild-caught fish"

I guess the point is much the same for the anemones, moorish and CB.  The cleaner wrasse is easy to keep, but bad to remove from the wild.

Any others, anyone wants to add?  Any other reasons?  Anyone want to disagree and explain why?

Discuss...
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mav469

  • Ashley
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Reply #1

I think if we are all being honest we are all doing our bit to damage the reef by purchasing imported fish and corals etc. sadly with all pets there are continually pets kept by owners who either lack the facilities to look after them correctly or really haven't done their research on "how to" do things properly. The worst thing is most of them really don't care !!

Very sad really but continually happens.

T-Bone Tyrone

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Reply #2

I can see where you're coming from HK.

in one of my LFSs they won't list the fish as wild caught, if you ask you can see them thinking about wether they should lie or not!

I think the fact these keep getting offered might not just be down to demand, but also is they are an easy to catch species, and whilst alot of people see an awesome fish who then go on to buy it and end up killing it, there are a tiny amount of people who have the ability to house the fish and the knowlage for it to thrive and buy itjust to save it.

Anything taken off the reef will have a negative effect, which begs the question why we keep on with the hobby. bit of an oxymoron really.
alot of things we have are tank bred and propegated, but every now and then new items need to be brought in, fish breeding for instance.
Rob
I should really sort this out!!

Mike

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Reply #3

Excellent post HK.

About Anemones, yes, most are far too difficult for most to sustain long term, particularly any Heteractis anemone, they're all far too delicate. Generally if you're asking if you can keep one, you can't.

Bubble tip anemones are much hardier though, and given excellent lighting, moderate flow and tank that's even just a few months old, BTAs are usually ok.

Not all anemones are taken from the ocean though, just like corals, a lot are either natural splits or manual splits. Sexual reproduction is rare in captivity. Anemones that have split in captivity are generally even hardier than their reef harvested counterparts.

Another point is that we're all told "don't buy sick fish", or fish that aren't inhaling food as soon as it touches the water. Because of that, at every stage of the import process, arriving at TMC, retailers going to buy from TMC, they select the best looking, fattest fish and the ones that aren't doing so well get left there, where they perish and end up dead - then the good ones go through the stress of yet another move to the LFS. There, we all turn our backs on the fish that aren't perfect, again, another layer of culling. Then we buy the fish, yet another move! How any healthy fish has stayed healthy at that point is beyond me, they've been shipped from pillar to post in dark sloshing boxes over and over again, and heat pack or not, it gets cold, ammonia builds, ph falls, it's hugely stressful. Then in our tanks, most do fine, but by that point, some might not do so well, and the hobbyists might not know how to rectify the situation or even recognise the problem until it's too late.

You can add Mandarinfish to the list of tricky feeders that are bought by amateurs in tiny sterile tanks set-up with cheap dead reef bones or aquaroche two weeks ago and the fish ends up dead...
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HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #4

Anything taken off the reef will have a negative effect, which begs the question why we keep on with the hobby. bit of an oxymoron really.
The argument for doing this is that as we learn more about reefs and their inhabitants, we understand how to help them through conservation projects, and the more we care about them and want to help.
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T-Bone Tyrone

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Reply #5

Agreed.
I should really sort this out!!

HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #6

I just found this, and I already have this coral!  Of to stick a photo of this to my tank and see if my common clowns will host my toadstool.
http://www.garf.org/39/fish/pict.html
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CezzaXV

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Reply #7

Another point is that we're all told "don't buy sick fish", or fish that aren't inhaling food as soon as it touches the water. Because of that, at every stage of the import process, arriving at TMC, retailers going to buy from TMC, they select the best looking, fattest fish and the ones that aren't doing so well get left there, where they perish and end up dead - then the good ones go through the stress of yet another move to the LFS. There, we all turn our backs on the fish that aren't perfect, again, another layer of culling. Then we buy the fish, yet another move! How any healthy fish has stayed healthy at that point is beyond me, they've been shipped from pillar to post in dark sloshing boxes over and over again, and heat pack or not, it gets cold, ammonia builds, ph falls, it's hugely stressful. Then in our tanks, most do fine, but by that point, some might not do so well, and the hobbyists might not know how to rectify the situation or even recognise the problem until it's too late.

This is why I don't like ordering fish online. I'd consider it if there was absolutely no other way I could get hold of a fish, but even then I'd consider if I really wanted that fish. I can't prevent fish being shipped about here there and everywhere, but I can certainly prevent there being any additional postal time for the fish, and I can support local businesses in doing so. I'd also consider how much I wanted a fish if I knew it was wild caught. I'm lucky as a beginner in that the fish I keep are mostly easy to breed in captivity, but I like to think that one day I'll advance in skill and tank size enough that I'm going to have to start thinking about wild caught fish, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Another side to the morality debate: Most of you will know that I'm planning on getting a benggai cardinal in the near future. I know these are fairly easy to breed in captivity, but the fact remains that in the wild they're an endangered species. Even more so than normal, I really, really want to make sure I don't kill this fish.

I'd be willing to bet that clownfish and regal tangs have surprisingly low survival rates, especially considering clownfish are often recommended to beginners. Finding Nemo. I have a friend who's killed a regal tang in a tiny Finding Nemo tank, and by far he's not the only one.
155L Fluval Osaka with sump
Fish: 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 firefish, 1 yellow clown goby
Inverts: 2 cleaner shrimp, 4 hermit crabs, 1 trochus snail, 1 feather duster

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