Having the right fish in your aquarium is important, because not all fish get along. Some fish are aggressive with members of their own species, and others simply view their tankmates as, on the menu.
Fish-only tanks (those without corals or invertebrates) offer a wider selection,, due to the fact that many fish find corals, crabs, and snails part of their daily diet. Angelfish, triggers, puffers, and eels will all wreak havoc on your cleaner crew or decorative corals. There are exceptions, such as the Blue Jaw Trigger, and many dwarf angels, that can easily be kept in a reef tank.
Chromis and cardinalfish are great starter fish for a community tank. They school together in large numbers and generally don’t bother other fish. Damsels can be great community fish as well, but can be territorial and aggressive. When adding damsels, it’s a good idea to maintain an odd number in your tank. This can reduce aggression because any antagonists are unable to harass a tankmate without having to worry about another fish on their tail.
Tangs and angels are generally good with other fish, and they can be kept together as long as there’s enough space, or the fish are different in appearance. Many times, it comes down to the individual animal’s personality, and it’s always best to introduce large, aggressive fish to the tank last, giving the others a chance to establish their homes/territories.
Gobies are very docile community fish and often form symbiotic relationships with other animals, like pistol shrimp. Blennies mostly prefer a solitary lifestyle, and don’t do well with other blennies unless there’s plenty of territory. Clownfish are an excellent community fish and generally leave other fish alone unless their anemone is disturbed.
Patience and planning will help you achieve your aquarium-stocking goals. Be sure to add the invertebrates, cleaners, and docile fish first. Also, don’t add too much at once without monitoring nitrate levels. And, as always, if you have questions about stocking your tank, give us a call at 406-585-1151, or visit our store and discuss your needs with our expert staff.