Having a stocked reef aquarium is wonderful in many ways. I’ve had reef systems for many years. The latest one has been with me for 11 of these.
How do I know the period I’ve had the tank? I keep a notebook and when I opened the record I called it ‘John’s Box with Water In (and some rocks)’! The system was mature on 21st October 2002.
I don’t fully stock the system with fish intentionally keeping the number low for the sake of seawater quality. There were only three fish, a Flame Angel (Centropyge loriculus), a Flashback (Pseudochromis diadema) and an Electric Blue Damsel (Chrysiptera cyanea). The first two went in on 1st April 2003 and the last on 15th April 2003.
All went well until March 2006 when I had to accept that the Flashback had died. How or why I don’t know, one day it was there and eating well without any signs of problems (if a little fat!) and then it wasn’t. I assumed it had got stuck in the rocks somewhere though this seems questionable.
On 11th April 2013 the blue damsel died. There was a problem but nothing I could do anything about. The fish had been in the system 10 years which is a good life in captivity (I believe).
So now there is just the Flame Angel. It looks all wrong, just the one though the fish shows no symptoms of loneliness! The fish is a little more nervous when it appears for food probably because it hasn’t the reassurance given by the presence of others. It looks to be in top class condition.
I’ve considered whether to leave things as they are or introduce a couple of newbies. If newbies are to be introduced then consideration is needed.
There isn’t any chance of over stocking as any introductions will be two small fish (both introduced together to divide the angel’s attention). There is the question of compatability which is very important. There is also the question of disease, it would be awful if the new fish brought this type of trouble to the Flame Angel. Would I feel guilty! Care is very much required. A quarantine tank is needed unless there is 100% certainty that the dealer has done a proper job.
The first fish being considered is the Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto). This is a beautiful little fish that shouldn’t present any trouble on introduction. It is undemanding and without doubt a colourful asset to the reef.
The second potential introduction is…. I still don’t know! I’ve always been attracted to the Long-nosed Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus). They are not the gamble that the Copperband Butterflyfish is as they usually eat well and are not as finicky. However, they have the potential to grow to circa 5.5ins (14cm) and I’m concerned about the swimming space – though the fish is not an open water species the corals in the system reduce the space a lot.
The considerations being given to new introductions to my system are so important. These considerations were given 11 years ago and despite one loss that is not understood (the Flashback) the fish and corals have had a long healthy life.
I want that to continue.