Are fish comfortable in a minireef? Our story

Amphiprion ocellaris in un Entacmaea quadricolor

Amphiprion ocellaris in Entacmaea quadricolor

It’s hard to understand if fish are not comfortable in the aquarium, plus we have the tendency to reduce the space they need. We hope our story will result interesting for you.

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The story

After two years of very aggressive algae I decided to disassemble the aquarium. It’s a decision that afflicts a lot of aquarists and the sudden silence in the house (after turning off the skimmer, on for years!) is very heavy, especially the first night. My aquaristic experience is just interrupted, not finished. I began with poor means, an old tank for fresh water, a handmade piece of furniture, an inadequate lighting (a set of lights one over the other…), no sump, timers that kept breaking until I preferred to choose the mechanical ones (inaccurate but reliable!): they cooled a server vent, which was doing its job… From this description I know the aquarium seemed a real disaster, but it hosted very cute animals that have followed me for two years: I’m referring especially to two Amphiprion ocellaris, an Ecsenius bicolor, an Entacmaea quadricolor anemone (grown up to the point to split in two), a Sarcophyton and other soft corals.

Among the animals I lost there are various snails and hermit crabs (the major part lasted more than a year anyway), a crab, a Dolabella (died as soon as inserted!), some small frag and a sea urchin, killed with the change of water, because the salinity wasn’t perfectly the same (and in that occasion I bought the refractometer). I feel responsible for some of them, but I don’t know why others died. But after all I can say I had a certain success. In these last weeks I didn’t even clean the glass of the skimmer: with all those algae there was no risk of contaminants. I had the luck to spread the passion of marine to my dearest friend. He set up an aquarium a little bigger than mine, compatible with my animals. At the end I passed him my precious: a pink and orange anemone and two anemonefishes. He easily inserted them in his aquarium, the anemone has no corals to destroy, except for a cutting of Caulastraea which luckily didn’t bother it.

Dettaglio di tentacolo di Sarcophyton

Detail of the tentacle of a Sarcophyton

After a week I decided to give him all. We took fresh water and toothbrush for detaching the anemone and a sharp knife for the Sarcophyton. Moreover we had to remove all the rocks to extract the bicolor that knows well how hiding. And once removed the algae with the rocks, what remained was an aquarium a bit neglected but after all in a good health. I thought that massive water changes weren’t a choice so wrong, but on the sand there were my skeletons: a crab’s carapace, and shells…

Il fondo dell'acquario svuotato.

The empty aquarium

The animals survived the insertion into my friend’s aquarium. I hope he didn’t take also the algae! I suggested him to wash everything with the water of his aquarium after an adaptation. Anyway, I decided not to pass him the Zohantus and the Palythoa, after reading the articles appeared here on (for example this one).

Our observations on the cohabitation of fish on page two.

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