Species to Avoid
Many beginner marine aquarium keepers get unwittingly duped into some bad choices for inhabitants for their aquarium. Here is a list of a number of fish that should not be kept in a marine aquarium for various reasons. Many of these fish should not be kept because of specialized dietary needs. Others should not be kept due their size being so large that the average aquarium keeper can't provide a large enough home.
Spotted Wobbegong - Orectolobus maculatus - 10' long
Nurse Shark - Ginglymostoma cirratum - 14' long
Whitespotted Bamboo Shark - Chiloscyllium plagiosum - ok in very large systems)
Brownbanded Bamboo Shark - Chiloscyllium punctatum - ok in very large systems)
Epaulette Shark - Hemiscyllium ocellatum - ok in very large systems)
Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray - Taeniura lymma - Needs a very wide tank. Most standard tank footprints are unsuitable.
Banded Moray - Echidna potyzona - Difficult to feed. Needs live fiddler crabs.
Ribbon Eel - Rhinomuraena quaesita, R. brummeri - Difficult to feed.
Sharptail Snake Eel - Myrichthys breviceps - Difficult to feed. Needs live shrimp and crabs. May be able to be taught to take fish and crustatean flesh.
Banded Snake Eel - Myrichthys colubrinus - Difficult to feed.
Purple Queen Anthias - Pseudanthias pascalus - Picky eater. Will often refuse to eat in captivity.
Panther Grouper - Cromileptes altivelis - Size. This beautiful fish reaches 27.6 inches and is suitable for only a very large system. (1000+gal)
Speckled Grouper - Epinephelus cyanopodus - Size. This fish attains a length of 39 inches and is only suitable for tanks 1000+gal.
Spotted Coral Grouper - Plectropomus maculatus - To large for the average tank, needs a tank of at least 1000gal.
Lyretail Grouper - Variola louti - Another of the large groupers. 35"
Golden Jack - Gnathanodon speciousus - Far to large for all but the largest systems. 3.9 feet.
Emperor Snapper - Lutjanus sebae - Size. Reaches 31" 700gal needed
Black Snapper - Macolor niger - Size. Reaches 26" 500gal needed
Threadfin Snapper - Symphorichthys spilurus - Size REaches 23.5". 500gal needed.
Jackknife Fish - Equetus lanceolatus - Difficult to feed. Many waste away in captivity.
Foureye Butterflyfish - Chaetodon capistratus - Most refuse to eat in captivity.
Bluespot Butterflyfish - Chaetodon plebius - Specialized Diet. Feeds mainly on Acropora in the wild. Does not readily accept substitutes in captivity.
Speculum Butterflyfish - Chaetodon speculum - Specialized diet. Eats mainly stony coral polyps and coral mucus in the wild. Does not readily accept substitutes in captivity.
Exquisite Butterflyfish - Chaetodon austraiacus - Obligate Corallivore.
Eastern Triangle Butterflyfish - Chaetodon baronessa - Obligate Corallivore.
Bennett's Butterflyfish - Chaetodon bennetti - Obligate Corallivore.
Orangeface or Larvatus Butterflyfish - Chaetodon larvatus - Obligate Corallivore.
Pacific Redfin Butterflyfish - Chaetodon lunulatus - Obligate Corallivore.
Meyer's Butterflyfish - Chaetodon meyeri - Obligate Corallivore.
Eightbanded Butterflyfish - Chaetodon octofasciatus - Obligate Corallivore.
Ornate or Clown Butterflyfish - Chaetodon ornatissimus - Obligate Corallivore.
Rainford's Butterflyfish - Chaetodon rainfordi - Obligate Corallivore.
Indian Ocean Redfin Butterflyfish - Chaetodon trifasciatus - Obligate Corallivore.
Flagfin Angelfish - Apolemichthys trimaculatus - Sponge Eater
Blackedge Thicklip Wrasse - Hemigymnus melapterus - Many waste away in captivity even with natural diet. Adults are too large for the average aquarium.
Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse - Labroides dimidiatus - Difficult to feed. Feeds mostly on parasites from other fish.
Bicolor Cleaner Wrasse - Labroides bicolor - Difficult to feed. Feeds mostly on parasites from other fish.
Blackspot Cleaner Wrasse - Labroides pectoralis - Difficult to feed. Feeds mostly on parasites from other fish.
Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse - Labroides phthirophagus - Difficult to feed. Feeds mostly on parasites from other fish.
Redlipped Cleaner Wrasse - Labroides rubrolabiatus - Difficult to feed. Feeds mostly on parasites from other fish.
Allen's Wrasse - Labropsis alleni - Difficult to feed. Feeds mostly on parasites from other fish.
Red Sea Cleaner Wrasse – Larabicus quadrilineatus - Difficult to feed. Feeds mostly on parasites from other fish.
Smalltail Wrasse – Psudojuloides cerasinus – Difficult to feed. Wastes away in captivity.
Pink Pencil Wrasse – Psudojuloides sp. - Difficult to feed. Wastes away in captivity.
Belted Wrasse – Stethojulis balteata - Difficult to feed. Wastes away in captivity.
Bicolor Parrotfish – Cetoscarus bicolor – Specialized feeder. Gets too large for most aquariums.
Leopard Blenny – Exallias brevis – Normally will not eat in captivity.
Atlantic Spadefish – Chaetodipterus faber – Grows too large for the average home aquarium.
Orbiculate Batfish – Platax orbicularis – Grows too large for most home aquariums.
Pinnate Batfish – Platax pinnatus - Grows too large for most home aquariums. Best left in the wild due to specialized feeding habits.
Longfin Batfish – Platax teira - Grows too large for most home aquariums.
Moorish Idol – Zanclus cornutus – Does not last long in captivity. Best left in the wild. The average lifespan for a Moorish Idol in captivity is less than 2 weeks. The vast majority do not even survive 1 week. Sponge eater. Even with live sponges provided, will generally waste away.
Spotted Unicornfish – Naso brevirostris – Far too large for most home aquairums. 24”
Bluespine Unicornfish – Naso unicornis – Far too large for most home aquairums. 27”
Longnose Filefish – Oxymonacanthus longirostris – Obligate Corallivore. Feeds on Acropora.
Spotted Boxfish (aka Blue Boxfish) – Ostracion melagris – When stressed or when it dies, it exudes a toxin that can poison an entire tank, killing everything in it.
Starry or Stellate Puffer - Arothron stellatus – Too large for most home aquairums. 47”
Web Burrfish – Chilomycterus antillarum – Most simply waste away in captivity due to being reluctant to feed.
nice going gold barb..........would i be right in saying this would be good as as sticky this would benifit a beginner saltwater keeper
That is awesome -- thank you for doing all that work!!
How about a freshwater list as well???
"Say what you mean and
Mean what you say"
Thanks GB. Thats an awesome list!!
Lol, I was planning on getting a large aquarium w/ a moorish idol in it a long time from now, thinking that I could do research and put up with it's picky eating habbits, but now I don't think I'm ever going to get one. I just don't see the point in getting a very beautiful fish, (one of my favorite species) that you will grow accustomed to, but will die after 2 weeks if you're lucky, when, for about the same price, you could get a nice tang or butteryfly fish. I've heard 'nuclear warnings' about the moorish idol. Lol, I'll get back on topic. Enough about my no-longer wanting to own a moorish idol.
Great post, goldbarb! Your posts in the saltwater section have been really helpful.
"Everybody knows, you only live a day, but it's brilliant anyway..."
20g nano reef
55g FOWLR saltwater
29g planted freshwater
10g planted freshwater
What would you say would be the most commonly available fish or species on that list? From the LFS's I've been to, I'd say the panther grouper (small juvenile specimens).
for me, the bamboo shark
Originally Posted by kaybee
I know someone that had 3 of those purple queen anthias. 2 of them died but they are really amazing. I think he feeds them 3-4 times a day.