Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Clown-Fish A. Ocellaris

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  • #2013

    Are Ocean Rider’s Clown-Fish (A. Ocellaris) really safe in a seahorse tank with Banggai Cardinals? I am worried both about food competition and overcrowding. More specifically, will they be compatible and not represent overcrowding in a 59 Gallon tank with 6 H. Erectus and 2 Banggai Cardinals in addition to a large CUC and the following corals:

    • Red Mushroom
    • Hairy Mushroom
    • Toadstool mushroom
    • Small colony of Zoanthids
    • 2 Gorgonia
    • Pagoda Cup Coral (Turbinaria peltata)
    • Montipora Digitata, 

    Would 1 or 2 clown fish be okay in this set-up?



    Pete Giwojna

    Yes, I think you’re 59-gallon aquarium system could safely support one of the captive-bred-and-raised Ocean Rider “Nemo” clownfish (Amphiprion occelaris). Clownfish of the species that have been born and raised in captivity for many generations, like the Ocean Rider Amphiprion occelaris, are extremely hardy and are perhaps the most peaceful clownfish you can obtain. The cultured occelaris clownfish have no need whatsoever for an anemone host in order to thrive, and you would be ordering your Nemo clownfish from Ocean Rider, a high-health aquaculture facility, so you would know the new clownfish was free of specific pathogens and parasites.


    The recommended stocking density for large, tropical seahorses such as Ocean Rider Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) is one pair per 10 gallons, with a minimum tank size of 30 gallons.


    In other words, a well-established 59-gallon a dedicated seahorse tank could typically support up to six pairs of Mustangs or Sunbursts, or 12 adult individuals, when it was stocked at capacity. You have only half that many seahorses, Rosenblum, so I don’t believe overcrowding should become an issue when adding a new Nemo clownfish to the aquarium, even considering the cleanup crew and live corals that also inhabit the tank.


    I would not anticipate any antagonistic interactions or hostility from the Ocean Rider Amphiprion occelaris clownfish towards the Banggai Cardinalfish, since the Cardinals are the established residents of the aquarium and the clownfish will be the newcomer. (It’s always best to either at the Banggai Cardinals and the clownfish to the aquarium at the same time, so that neither of them have an advantage over the other, or to add the Banggai Cardinalfish to the aquarium first, so they will have the home-field advantage when you add a clownfish or two at a later date.) I don’t think there will be any behavioral problems between the two under those circumstances, Rosenblum, since the aquarium is roomy enough for the clownfish and the Cardinals to stay out of each other’s way, if they each ultimately staked claim to their own territory.


    But I do think it’s best to limit yourself to one of the Ocean Rider Amphiprion occelaris, rather than a pair of clowns, Rosenblum. When a pair of Amphiprion occelaris clownfish become sexually mature and decide to set up housekeeping in the aquarium, that is when they may tend to become territorial and perhaps a bit bullish towards the other aquarium inhabitants. That should become an issue if you add just a single Nemo clownfish from Ocean Rider.


    Nor would I expect competition for food to be an obstacle in such a scenario. If you’re Banggai Cardinals are able to coexist nicely with half a dozen voracious Hippocampus erectus seahorses without any conflicts over food, the new clownfish should not make much of a difference in a tank the size of yours, Rosenblum..


    Before I wrap up this post, I do want to caution you about one thing with regard to your live corals.

    In general, aquarists need to handle any polyps from the genus Zoanthus and Palythoa with care, Rosenblum.


    Zoanthids and polyps in general are seahorse-safe and your ponies won’t mind a tank housing several species of polyps. As far as their stings go, zoanthids and other polyps should be perfectly safe for your seahorses. But, as I am sure your already aware, you’ll want to observe a couple of precautions when you’re handling the zoanthids and placing them in your aquarium.


    First of all, zoanthids and other soft corals such as mushrooms may wage border battles if you place them in close proximity to each other (and the zoanthids almost always lose out to the mushrooms in these skirmishes). So be sure to allow adequate space between the colonies.


    Secondly, “Zooanthus and Palythoa both contain very toxic chemicals, that can be dangerous to both reef inhabitants and humans. The most well known is Palytoxin, which has been documented as one of the most poisonous marine toxins known (Mereish et al, 1991). Palytoxin can affect the heart, muscles, and nerves leaving its victim in paralysis, and possibly death. Because of the toxin, you should never handle Zoanthus or Palythoa with open wounds, nor should you touch your mouth or eyes after handling the species. (We recommend the use of disposable latex gloves) When propagating either of the species, it is critical to remember that the slightest rub of an itchy eye, or even a small cut from a hang nail, might be enough to land you in the hospital. In the aquarium, some rapid growing Zoanthus colonies can be aggressive to stony and soft corals, but in general, they are very peaceful, and you can slow the growth rate by the controlling the overall nutrient load of your tank.”


    For example, here’s what James Fatherree advises in that regard, Rosenblum:


    <Open quote>

    There are several types of commonly available zoanthids, including all of the palythoans, that can produce a deadly toxin (appropriately called “palytoxin”). It is found is the mucous coat that they cover themselves with, and if you get enough of it in an open wound, or your eye, mouth, etc. – it just might kill you. Many hobbyists have reported cases of numbness, sickness, and/or hallucinations, but the stuff is actually strong enough to kill, as well.


    Handling them when you have a wound is an obvious no-no, but when you touch a colony and get the slime on your fingers (which is unavoidable with these things), it is imperative that you don’t rub your eyes, suck your fingers, or even pick your nose until you have washed your hands thoroughly. Really, you should never handle these without wearing protective gloves. Some hobbyists (including me) have handled zoanthids without gloves many, many times in the past, but it is now well-known that things can go very wrong when this is done, even if you have no wounds you know of and plan on washing your hands immediately after touching a specimen.


    Wear the gloves!  (James W. Fatherree, M.Sc., 2005)

    <close quote>



    So this is one of those cases when it’s better to be safe than sorry and err on the side of caution.  When in doubt, don’t take chances — wear gloves and handle all colonial and button polyps with all due care.  I would also wear gloves in any aquarium with bristleworms as a precaution — those spicules can be extremely irritating and bristleworms larger than 2-3 inches are capable of delivering a nasty bite.


    Best of luck with your interesting community tank!



    Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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