Fish To Be Avoided Part I

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish' started by omard, Jul 8, 2007.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. omard

    omard Gnarly Old Codfish

    Sep 28, 2003
    Silverdale, Washington
    (Repost with Permission) - Peter Eichler (Reef Central)

    Fish To Be Avoided:
    (fish that have incredibly low survivability in aquaria or are totally unsuitable for home aquaria) ​

    Moorish Idol (a few success stories but miniscule amounts live long, difficult feeder, mystery deaths, and even when accepting prepared foods often slowly starves)

    Holacanthus tricolor [Rock Beauty] (nearly impossible to meet the dietary needs in home aquaria)

    Centropyge heraldi (almost always caught using drugs)
    Centropyge multifasciatus (this and the venusta are very similar, they don't adapt to aquarium life well, and both seem particularly prone to Lymphocystis)
    Centropyge venusta

    Clown tang (VERY ich prone and a finicky eater, horrible survival rates, when they do live they can be quite mean)

    Clown Sweetlips(difficult feeders and get quite large)
    Oriental Sweetlips

    Platax pinnatus [Pinnatus Batfish] (gorgeous fish when young, very very few success stories, diet and disease are big issues)
    Platax batavianus [Tiger Tiera Batfish] (see above)

    Orange Spotted Filefish (specialized coral polyp feeder)

    Most Butterlyfish (except those listed below)

    Ribbon Eels (rarely eat in captivity)
    Snake Eels
    Garden Eels

    Cleaner Wrasses (specialized parasite feeders, leave them in the ocean where they can do their job)
    Anampses sp. Wrasses (VERY poor shippers and need tanks with their special needs in mind, even then they often perish)
    Leopard (Macropharyngodon) Wrasses (see above but there are more success stories, must be kept in reef aquariums)
    Pseodojuloides Wrasses (very sensitive, they almost always die in transit so you don't see them very often if ever)


    Tilefish (VERY timid and difficult to get to eat, also excellent at carpet surfing)








    Remoras (unless you have a large Shark or Whale in your backyard oceanarium probably not a good idea)

    Chambered Nautilus ( a plethora of reasons to leave them in the ocean, not a single good reason to add one to an aquarium)

    Fish Best Left For Experienced Or Knowledgable Hobbyists:
    (finicky nature, parasite prone, specialty feeders, require specialty tanks, or threatened species)​

    Anthias (require a good amount of swimming room, peaceful tankmates, and frequent feedings, often unhealthy and starving by the time they make it to dealers tanks, some almost require special tanks with their needs in mind)
    Twinspot Anthias (one of the more difficult standouts of the Anthias)
    Square Anthias (collection methods, stress, and starvation after collection seem to be especially problematic here)

    Platax tiera (can very hardy once acclimated but there can be problems feeding, they stress easily, and are disease prone)

    Regal Angelfish (Red Sea Specimens tend to be hardier and more willing to accept prepared foods and the more recent trend to keep this fish in reef aquariums helps with survivability)
    Bicolor Angelfish (concerns with drugs used in collection and frequent unwillingness to accept prepared foods)
    Genicanthus sp. angelfish (hardy once acclimated, but lots of problem specimens due to the depths they are collected at, take extra special care in examining and observing them before purchase)

    Garibaldi (cold water species and protected)

    Trunkfish [Boxfish and Cowfish] (most are rather sensitive and can release toxins when stresed or dying)

    Clown and Gumdrop gobies (poor shipper, once established a good surviver with less boisterous fish)
    Catalina gobies (coldwater species that will not do well longterm in tropical temps)
    Mandarin Dragonettte (requires large amounts of live food typically which can be provided naturally in 50+ gal. tanks with a good amount of live rock, will only rarely accept prepared foods)

    Radiata Lionfish
    Fu manchu Lionfish (All the dwarf Lions require tanks with their needs in mind, the later two are also very sensitive, very shy, and poor shippers)
    Dwarf Zebra Lionfish

    Anglerfish (most get very large and can consume fish nearly their own size)

    Acanthurus sp. tangs (ich prone and fairly sensitive to water conditions, Achilles, Powder Blue, Powder Brown, and Goldrim can be rather difficult and beginners should be especially leary)

    Ctenochaetus tangs (ich prone, some of the hardier tangs once established, the Chevron is probably the least hardy of the genus)

    All Butterflyfish (except Vagabond, Longnose, Heniochus, Golden, Pebbled, Klein's, Lemon, Auriga, and Racoon, which need large tanks)

    Seahorses (need quiet species tanks and large quantities of nutritious live food)
    Seadragons (very rare and I'm unaware of any longterm success)
    Pipefish (see Seahorses)

    Longnose Hawkfish (hardy fish but they are notorious jumpers and be careful with ornamental shrimp with all Hawkfish)

    Porcupine Pufferfish (can be hardy but also seem very disease prone)

    Fairy wrasses [Paracheilinus and Cirrilabrus sp.] (require peaceful tanks and do best in reef aquariums, they stress easily and the first few weeks in captivity will often make or break their longevity)

    Leopard Blenny [Exallias brevis] (specialized coral feeders)
    Scooter Blenny (see Mandarin Dragonettes)
    Lawnmower Blenny (will sometimes not accept prepared foods and will starve to death in tanks without a natural algae food source)


    Sleeper Gobys (Valenciennea sp.) (sometimes starve to death even when accepting prepared foods, tanks with large sandbeds containing lots of food will help as will frequent feedings when they will eat, mated pairs may help as well)
    Rainford's Goby (often will not accept prepared foods, need established tanks with peaceful fish a sandbed full of life)
    Twinspot Goby (combine the suggestions above for this one)

    Cephalopods (not fish, but including them here because of their intelligence compared to the dumb lumps of goo that are most invertebrates, the Nautilus from above is in this group as well)
    Octopi (must have species tanks, lots of swimming room, and should probably be on the above list)
    Cuttlefish (similar care to Octopi, but slightly higher success rates)

    Fish That Require Huge Aquariums (200 gallons or more):

    Sharks/Rays/Skates (require much larger than 200 gal. and should just be left out of home aquaria, Nurse sharks can grow to 14ft. long!, repeating this one so it sinks in)

    Most Groupers (especially take note of the cute little Panther Groupers)

    Snappers (those cute little Red Emperor Snappers get big)

    Naso sp. Tangs (Many will even outgrow common sizes like 125 gal. aquariums)

    Moray Eels (large species)


    Orbi and Spade Batfish

    Twinspot wrasse (Coris aygula) (beginners take special note of these three as they're often offered as cute juveniles, they get very large and very mean)
    Red coris wrasse
    Dragon wrasse


    Tassled filefish (often offerer when cute and tiny but grow large)

    Many Large Angels (when purchasing any angelfish that isn't Centropyge be sure to check their ultimate size: take special note of the French, Gray, Blue, and Queen whcih are often offered as cute little juvenilles)

    (cont: Fish to be avoided Part II)

    List of Good Beginner Fish
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2007
    4 people like this.
  2. Click Here!

  3. Bruce

    Bruce Giant Squid

    Nov 13, 2004
    Los Angeles, California
    Very useful article.
  4. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

    Dec 31, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    That is great Omar.

    I had a snapper in my first tank in college. Those things are disposals and grow so fast. They reminded me of groupers. I never got one after that again.

    I think I'll make this a sticky post!
  5. omard

    omard Gnarly Old Codfish

    Sep 28, 2003
    Silverdale, Washington
    Great!...thought this and the other post
    "List of Good Beginner Fish" would be a great help, esp to those just starting out. May save allot of time, grief, & $.

    Pete E. said ok to repost wherever...(I checked with him before posting.)

  6. Diver_1298

    Diver_1298 Eyelash Blennie

    Sep 5, 2004
    Lakeland, Fl
    Hey Raven, (experienced hobbyist)
    How is your Moorish Idol doing?
    Your mileage may vary:)

    Jim (the one who likes corals better than fish)

    Nice Article!! I will have to show it to my wife :tongue4:
  7. ReefPlayground

    ReefPlayground 3reef Sponsor

    Nov 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, California
    Nice article. But i'd have to disagree with some of the selected fish. For example, I've kept Tiera Batfish, all kinds of Parrotfish ( i dont even know why parrotfish would be in this list at all), woebegone sharks, coral catsharks, bamboo sharks, blacktips, anglers, and many others in this list without a single problem. Clown tangs being ich prone? I've never had a single case in all my years in the hobby...

    It seems to me that many of these fish are listed solely for their size.....Now, should we put every tang on this list as well because not everyone has a 100 gallon aquarium? That makes no sense. People should not keep a fish that gets two feet in a 60 gallon aquarium just the same as people should not keep a fish that gets 6 inches long in a 12g nano cube. It's common sense. But saying that these fish should be avoided does not make any sense to me.
  8. Click Here!

  9. Reefdiver72

    Reefdiver72 Feather Duster

    Nov 18, 2007
    Lancaster Ohio
    I kinda agree with reefplayground I have had anthias along time never have had any problems but I would never put one in a low flow tank or anything under A 75 gallon they need their room. OOPs i missed the experienced part.
  10. Camilsky

    Camilsky Montipora Capricornis

    Oct 28, 2007
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Thanks for nice overview! :D

  11. geekdafied

    geekdafied 3reef Sponsor

    Oct 25, 2006
    I think it needs to be renamed to fish to be avoided by newbs!

    I know several people who have kept a lot of those fish and never had a problem. Then again, they had the right set up for it.

    As for what reefplayground was saying, IMO nano tanks are just wrong and cruel. It doesnt matter if its a fish that doesnt get very big or not. You're basically taking a small fish from a large body of water and putting it in a tiny box.
  12. ReefPlayground

    ReefPlayground 3reef Sponsor

    Nov 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, California
    yeh, avoided by newbs sounds about right ;p