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Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

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  • Offline TamiW
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Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« posted: 3 years ago »
Is there anyone interested in helping create a new tankmates guide? The article I have on the site is out of date. The one on seahorse.org is actually really good, but I think we could make one better.

Mainly in that the one on seahorse.org doesn't explain how those ratings got there. A great example is the clingfish has a "threat level" of 4, even though they're quite peaceful. I'm certain they're there because they are a difficult species to keep alive in captivity. A number of fish suffer from this rating. So I'm working on a new guide that includes notes, and rates in different areas: temperament, direct aggression, annoyance, difficulty, and overall compatibility.

I think it will make more sense to let the aquarist make an informed decision. For example, if you're just starting out, a peaceful fish with a high difficulty level wouldn't be a good fish to try to keep with seahorses. But if you've got extensive experience keeping difficult marine fish, you might be able to keep that fish or invert successfully. And it will also help others who are unsure why things aren't going well, or even help people help others on different forums.

If you're interested in helping out, I was planning on working on it in google drive, because it has fantastic collaboration features. If you have a gmail account, you've got a google drive account. If not, you'll need to make one, but it's free. Once it's completed, it will be posted in article format for everyone to see.

  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #1 posted: 3 years ago »
If anyone wants to see where I'm going with this, I made it viewable to the public:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsRshRBluOHudGNheUhmMTF4bHk0Y3d5ZkxFYVhVWnc&usp=sharing

It can't be edited unless I send an invite, but anyone can comment.

It's a big mess right now, but it's a start.
  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
It's all about the snick!
  • Offline suew
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #2 posted: 3 years ago »
Great idea,but were would we get the information from about these fish,if I can help I would love too.
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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #3 posted: 3 years ago »
The point is really based on what we know about the behavior of different fish. I don't think there is a definitive answer for any fish, but I'm hoping to come up with a list where experienced keepers agree what fish are good, bad, and maybe okay, and why.

For example, these are the columns I have for fish:
Common Name
Species
Notes: Notes about the fish, mostly in relation to seahorses.
Temperament: Are they aggressive, peaceful, somewhere in between?
Food Competition: Gluttons likely to steal food from seahorses?
Direct aggression: Some fish might be "peaceful" but may direct attacks at seahorses. Great examples are algae eaters some of which which might be peaceful, but are likely to pick at seahorses' skin to their irritation.
Annoyance: Fish that for some reason have behavior that upsets seahorses. Examples include hyperactive fish that might bother seahorses with their rapid movements but otherwise not interact with seahorses
Difficulty: How difficult is the fish to keep in captivity, regardless of the presence of seahorses
Overall Compatibility: This takes into account the previous item ratings, but is also a judgement call.
Water column: Where in the tank these fish reside.

Mind you, this is really early stage ideas. I don't even have the list really fleshed out other than a few animals off the top of my head.
  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
It's all about the snick!
  • Offline Seafansar
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #4 posted: 3 years ago »
Not sure if this helps, but from my short experience:

Blue spot jawfish- great tank mate, doesn't bite but rather spits (for the lack of a better word) water at the seahorses to move them away from it's hole, sometimes even tolerates seahorses to wrap the tails around it!, excellent jumpers so a secure top is a must, mostly bottom dwelling, will dart out and grab food but usually doesn't bother the eating seahorses, tolerates cooler water temps, will move around sandbed and move small rocks/frags to build tunnels

Diamond watchman- good tank mate, will steal some food from seahorses, may nip at seahorses if the are in it's way but non-aggressive otherwise, bottom dwelling, keeps sand bed clean and eat leftover food, will dig out and pile up sandbed

I hope to add hula fish at some point and if I do I'll let you know how they act around seahorses.

From my experiences in tanks w/o seahorses, tilefish (purple, flashing, skunk, and dusky) are non- aggressive, swim in all parts of the tank but will dive into the rocks for safety, excellent jumpers and need a very secure top cover on the tank, I would think they'd be a good tank mate for a seahorse if the tank was large enough 75 gallons or more
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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #5 posted: 3 years ago »
Yes, it absolutely helps! I'll start getting that info in the spreadsheet.

I could use some opinions on how to grade potential tank mates. For direct aggression, annoyance, difficulty and overall compatibility, I started with the idea that it would be a scale of 1 to 5. But I've been thinking about this, and I'm wondering if that's too complicated.

I was thinking maybe a yes, maybe, no or green, yellow, red might be easier. The problem with that, I think there is a gradient in the maybe area. Some "maybe" might be more than others, and might be riskier than others.

Thoughts? A sliding scale of numbers or simplify to yes, maybe, no?
  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #6 posted: 3 years ago »
Trying to get back into this project since this is going to be a big one! I am posting here and to facebook to get the broadest range of answers. Each day I'm going to post a thread with a species, using the wikipedia page for marine aquarium fish (we'll see where invert takes us when we get there!) starting with gobies.

*Common Name*

*Species*

*Notes*
Notes about the fish, mostly in relation to seahorses.
Temperament: Are they aggressive, peaceful, somewhere in between?
Food Competition: Gluttons likely to steal food from seahorses?

*Direct aggression* options: Safe - Caution - Unsafe
Some fish might be "peaceful" but may direct attacks at seahorses. Great examples are algae eaters some of which which might be peaceful, but are likely to pick at seahorses' skin to their irritation.

*Annoyance* options: Safe - Caution - Unsafe
Fish that for some reason have behavior that upsets seahorses. Examples include hyperactive fish that might bother seahorses with their rapid movements but otherwise not interact with seahorses

*Difficulty* options: Safe - Caution - Unsafe
How difficult is the fish to keep in captivity, regardless of the presence of seahorses?

*Overall Compatibility* options: Safe - Caution - Unsafe
This takes into account the previous item ratings, but is also a judgement call.

*Water column*
Where in the tank these fish/inverts reside.

*Min Tank Size*
Tank size for the species.
  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
It's all about the snick!
  • Offline Chuck
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #7 posted: 2 years ago »
I have some interest in this topic.
I do know that there was a bit of confusion about the Org's list. I do believe that some of the "numbers" did indicate difficulty in maintaining the fish and not so much it's peaceful/aggressive nature toward Seahorses.
Also some hopeful upcoming DSH keepers thougth it wold work for DSH too.

I do not have a lot of experience with keeping many marine fish. But I can read and research.
The only problem I foresee is knowing when to stop. The list of "Seahorse safe fish" can reach into the many thousands. And generalizing a particular species lends to mentioning which ones in that species are not good.

Are you thinking of including corals on the list, and clean-up crew animals?

Chuck
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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #8 posted: 2 years ago »
Hi Chuck! This hasn't progressed much since I started the idea. Call it "I try and take on too many projects-itis".

And yes, that's exactly why I was thinking of doing a new list; making fish graded so that people could decided based on that. For instance, if you're thinking of putting garden eels with seahorses, they're totally safe, they're just a difficult fish to keep. If you have a ton of experience with difficult fish, they might be something you want to try. The same goes for fish that might be difficult to keep but suddenly becomes available captive bred. Other scenarios abound, like access to food.

As for the scope, that was one thing I was struggling with. One person suggested to me that I use wikipedia's "list of marine fish aquarium species" here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_marine_aquarium_fish_species Good suggestion, but it also seems like it may be overly ambitious to start. I've been trying to think of how to whittle it down to the most popular fish, good and bad. Or most asked about.

And yes, I'd like it to eventually include cleanup crew and other inverts.

If you have interest in helping out, I could use it. Thoughts on where to begin, how to organize, etc.. Should species have their own page? Or should it be a list? Part of me wants to build it as a database, but that might add an unnecessary level of complexity, at least to start. Wordpress, which is the software the site uses, is pretty good about this stuff.
  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
It's all about the snick!
  • Offline Chuck
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #9 posted: 2 years ago »
Well I've got a bit of time that going to be freed up soon. And I'll have some time that needs filling....

One thing that jumps at me from the list. I'm wondering about the *Min Tank Size*.
Could we figure some way of indicating a minimum tank size for the fish after considering the tankage that for any Seahorses in with them? This might be with fish that live in the middle and upper ranges of the tank.

A pair of Erectus might do well in a 29g, and so might a Red Hawkfish, but together their might be some aggression.
Something to think about, kick around.


If it's alright with you I'd like to start with some of the fish I'm a bit comfortable with. Those are mostly the smaller bottom dweller ones. I've done a lot of research on a number of them and could start putting a few together without much trouble. And you'll have to tell me when to "stop and move on" to other species.

Late on I could do research on other fish, those that live mostly in the middle and upper levels.
Corals I'm not good at but I could do some things that maybe others could review.
CUC, yeah--I could help there. Done lots of work and have kept a fair number of them.

Maybe later, or at the same time, I could start putting together something along these lines for DSH?

Of course if anyone else wants to jump in and lend a hand--even one or two fish can go a long way.

Chuck
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  • Offline shelley.s
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #10 posted: 2 years ago »
Ive kept a fair few marine fish but i've only ever had two fish in with my seahorses which is a sleeper blue spot goby and a tail spot blenny and that was only because of needing something greedy to pick up any uneaten food from the bottom.

The problem is, without the actual experience of keeping them together its hard to judge. Fish that were none offensive and perfect from my reef tank aren't necessarily going to be perfect for a seahorse tank and also what might be good for a potbelly wont be good for a fuscus or some times wont even be good for the fish (Temperature differences etc)

Id be happy to contribute and help out though if we can figure out the layout of it
  • H.Kuda & H.Reidi arriving soon
  • Offline Chuck
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #11 posted: 2 years ago »
Totally great points, shelley.
One of the favortie small reef, FO(WLR) fish around here is the Catalina gobie.
Really nice red color with bright blue markings. Problem is it's a cold (cooler) water fish and shouldn't be kept in the higher temps many Seahorse and Reef tanks run at.

Would be great with Pots, as long as they are not too small, and Brevi.
But not Erectus and Reidi.

Chuck
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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #12 posted: 2 years ago »
Actually it could work with erectus if you're keeping them cooler. :) Especially if you get northern erectus. But yes, very much true as a point.

I get what you're saying about space. I think it would be nice to quantify it somehow, but I'm not sure how you would do so. Clownfish might fall into that category too - as long as they have the space they need, they usually stick to themselves (usually). In a big enough tank, some of the more peaceful species might be okay, if seahorses stay away.

Starting with the ones you know seems like a good place to start. We can always tweak them as needed too. And difficulty should probably not be safe-caution-unsafe but something like "Easy, intermediate, difficult."

I was looking at wordpress and there might even be a way to do this by default, or at least without a lot of extra work. I can add fields to a post, so we could make each fish a post, and each field have the variables in question, and the display as a list. I think...


  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
It's all about the snick!
  • Offline shelley.s
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #13 posted: 2 years ago »
Yes I've seen the catalina goby, it's stunning.  This also rings true for the blue spotted jaw fish. It's sold everywhere here as a tropical marine fish and after a few months owners wonder why their 200+ fish has died! Even online most care sheets have them down as tropical But they are actually sub tropical. I have Kuda and keep them at 22-23c, this seems to work well as its cold enough to keep skin problems/fungus at bay but it's warm enough for the goby and pipefish. corals however do not do well at all. This is defiantly something to keep in mind as I have seen some kuda kept at 20c and others kept at 25/26c,  whilst they are tolerant of this range a lot of fish wouldn't be
  • H.Kuda & H.Reidi arriving soon
  • Offline Chuck
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Re: Help Wanted: New Tankmates Guide

« Reply #14 posted: 2 years ago »
I get what you're saying about space. I think it would be nice to quantify it somehow, but I'm not sure how you would do so. Clownfish might fall into that category too - as long as they have the space they need, they usually stick to themselves (usually). In a big enough tank, some of the more peaceful species might be okay, if seahorses stay away.

It's just something that concerns me. We've all seen where someone overstocks a tank because "erectus should be in a 29g tank" then they pop in a few other fish that also need a minimum of 29 (30) gallons.
The overstocking usually leads to issues beside the possibility sometimes swimming fish could become aggessive.
I don't know how to say it or explain it in a tankmate guide.
But we can kick it around and see what comes up.


As for the Catalina gobie, with Northerns they definately would work. I just haven't seen many souces distinguishing between them and Southerns. LOL, heck. How many Reidi are sold as Erectus? or other mis-ID'ed Seahorses?


Whatever anyone puts up/adds to the list should be scrutinized by others.
I may think I know what I'm talking about...but I could be wrong on some point, or a number of them.


shelley brings points about temperture, and cost.
We're involved in an expensive hobby.
And we don't always get the best information from our LFS. Most fish are sold by looks and color. A cold water fish "will do just fine" in a 75* tank if they make the sale.

When I look up information for a fish I'm adding to the list I'll be checking more then online supplies and what they put up. There's a few places where we can get information about individual fish in their native habitates.
That should help nail down what temperture tanks they will do best in,

Chuck
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