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Resident Zoologist
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Gods...I could type out another 40-50 species commonly stocked by pet-shops to add to this list...

Nothing annoys me more than seeing a PetsMart or Petland stocking pacu, arowana, shovelnose catfish, etc....sadly, 90%+ die before long in the purchasers' aquaria, and they rest end up terribly large and unwanted, often offered up on kijiji/craigslist/etc or dumped on pet-stores.
 

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Resident Aquarium Nerd
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Discussion Starter #22
Yeah, there are a lot more and it was hard to narrow it down (no one would read a thread if I listed 50+ species, ha). So I went by the fish I was commonly seeing offered in local stores (although this was in 2008 so things have changed).

I actually have three Colombian Sharks myself and it's very depressing to see them offered for sale. I have heard a pet store employee tell someone they are freshwater, can be kept alone, and are "great community fish". There was recently one on craigslist but unfortunately I don't have the room to take on another :(. I hope it found a good home but I doubt it.
 

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[**||Seahorse Chick||**]
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I think most cichlids should be added to the list as well, particularly the Jack Dempsey and Oscars. They are ok alone, but add the wrong fish (and the list of incompatible fish is huge) and you will have a bloodbath in your tank. Cichlids aren't always good in a species only tank either. Mated pairs have even been known to kill their mate. They are just bad news for a beginner.

I think a good introductory cichlid would be the Angelfish - but I still would not recommend an angelfish to a beginner who does not know how to keep a stable 40 gallon or more tank.

I'm not really sure what would be a good beginner fish, though. I had the mollies and tetras as a beginner and still had huge losses because I didn't understand how to keep my tank clean and safe. I don't know what fish would be hardy enough for a true beginner to fumble with. I kind of think no matter what the beginner gets, there will be losses. So I guess get cheap fish that are hardier, eat flakes, and don't get big. Once you can keep a fish living for a year with very clean water, I'd recommend Angelfish - because they are hardy as long as the water is clean (and they are clean fish), very friendly, easy to feed, and once your tank is really established, they require very little maintenance.

Oh and to add! I know a goldfish was mentioned, but I'll mention it again and here is why. Keeping a goldfish because they are extremely hardy and easy to take care of does not teach you to keep a stable clean tank! They are dirty fish that will make it even harder for you. Don't get dirty fish. You will be making it that much harder on yourself to learn the hobby and move on to more advanced fish.
 

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Resident Aquarium Nerd
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Discussion Starter #25
I think most cichlids should be added to the list as well.
Oh, believe me, there are tons of fish that could be added...I just didn't want the list to be hundreds of pages long :lol:. That's what prevented me from doing a marine version ;).
 

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[**||Seahorse Chick||**]
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At least they can read in the tank about fish other members suggest they avoid :D that way it can be a hundred pages if there is that much interest :p lol

Actually a simple marine one would be nice. I'm a marine beginner actually - and I am so confused with all of the new plant life, macro-algae, and corals that my head is spinning. I don't know what stings or is hard to keep.
 

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Resident Aquarium Nerd
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Discussion Starter #27
Actually a simple marine one would be nice. I'm a marine beginner actually - and I am so confused with all of the new plant life, macro-algae, and corals that my head is spinning. I don't know what stings or is hard to keep.
The problem with a marine one is that pretty much everything is terrible for beginners if they haven't researched and there is more of a diversity--for example, coral are a different ballgame than fish.

I've considered doing one focusing instead on species that are good for new marine aquarium owners but even that is daunting with the various types of set-ups...FO, FOWLR, reef, etc. I may go for it if there's interest but there aren't many marine folks on here.

I will say this as general advice to you, though...I'd be cautious keeping coral with your dwarf seahorses (assuming that was the plan). Even if you keep coral that don't sting (keeping in mind that most of them do, they just can't all sting humans), many can release toxins that build up in smaller volumes (unfortunately, coral that can't sting are likely to have this defense for obvious reasons...they need SOME form of defense). And if you get a coral that really is "peaceful", it may be irritated by the seahorses hanging on all the time. Honestly, dwarf seahorses really aren't really reef dwellers in the wild. As far as I know (I'm no seahorse expert, though, haha), they live in macroalgae closer to shore.

That being said, there are certainly other invertebrates you could keep :). And macroalgae could work, too, do you have any currently? I had a lot of fun keeping sea lettuce when I was a beginner--not only was it pretty hardy but it grows fast and probably wouldn't be damaged by the seahorses. It's also edible ;). Let me know if you need recommendations and keep in mind that you'll need pretty strong lighting to keep most species.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Actually macro-algae was going to be the plan. I've ordered some Turtle Grass and Caulerpa - and right now there is some kind of macro-algea but I don't know what it is lol

Thanks for the advice about the corals!
Good luck with the turtle grass, I hope you have very strong lighting and deep substrate! It's not the easiest species to keep but I know some have had great success :).

Hmm, I'm not a fan of Caulerpa at all and would caution you when using it in such a small volume. Not only does it sometimes literally "take over" a tank but it can suddenly reproduce sexually, resulting in a huge crash. The sudden death of the macroalgae can result in very poor water quality, toxic in a nano-sized aquarium. Google it...a lot of people have had serious issues and the species has fallen out of favor of reef aquarists.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Ooh thank you! I am only adding it to the display tank (which is empty right now) so if I notice it start to get out of control, I'll reign it in before I add the dwarfs :) I have 6 months of close watch prescribed for this tank anyway lol
It's not even so much the invasiveness as the sudden crashes. It can be fine for years and then decide to "go sexual".

I would make sure you have a great protein skimmer plus activated carbon in the filter just in case (before you add the seahorses, anyway!) :). I would hate to see it crash in your tank and I've seen that many times :(. A great alternative species is Chaetomorpha, by the way, so check that out if it doesn't work out.
 

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[**||Seahorse Chick||**]
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It's not even so much the invasiveness as the sudden crashes. It can be fine for years and then decide to "go sexual".

I would make sure you have a great protein skimmer plus activated carbon in the filter just in case (before you add the seahorses, anyway!) :). I would hate to see it crash in your tank and I've seen that many times :(. A great alternative species is Chaetomorpha, by the way, so check that out if it doesn't work out.
:) I do have the activated carbon definitely. I am thinking of getting two carbon filters for both tanks, too. Protein skimmers might cause gas bubble disease which I'd like to avoid - but I am definitely going to check out the alternative species and check my water very frequently to avoid a crash :) If it gets all out of wack, I'll remove them and use that other species instead. Thanks so much for the tip!
 

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Discussion Starter #34
:) I do have the activated carbon definitely. I am thinking of getting two carbon filters for both tanks, too. Protein skimmers might cause gas bubble disease which I'd like to avoid - but I am definitely going to check out the alternative species and check my water very frequently to avoid a crash :) If it gets all out of wack, I'll remove them and use that other species instead. Thanks so much for the tip!
I'm not sure how a properly set up protein skimmer would cause issues. Microbubbles mean it needs to be adjusted and mine doesn't give any off unless I mess with it. Unless you're talking about something else?

Removing Caulerpa is easier said than done once it's grown so maybe try confining it to one area as best you can :). Look into simple refugium designs, too.
 

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Resident Zoologist
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I'm not sure how a properly set up protein skimmer would cause issues. Microbubbles mean it needs to be adjusted and mine doesn't give any off unless I mess with it.
I agree....I cannot imagine attempting something like this without a protein skimmer.
 

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[**||Seahorse Chick||**]
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There is a huge debate about it amongst seahorse people about whether or not protein skimmers cause gas bubble disease. A lot of them are really experienced with salt water tanks, and I would think that they would be adjusting it correctly as a whole or that someone would have brought that up, but I don't know.
 

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Resident Zoologist
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There is a huge debate about it amongst seahorse people about whether or not protein skimmers cause gas bubble disease. A lot of them are really experienced with salt water tanks, and I would think that they would be adjusting it correctly as a whole or that someone would have brought that up, but I don't know.
Never had an issue in years of keeping seahorses, but then the systems I ran had a lot more volume and space between the skimmer outflow and the tank than 99% of people have.
 

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I have always had a hard time keeping otos alive due to their fragility when being shipped from the wild. I wouldn't recommend them for beginners either.

I still can't keep any alive for more than a week, I wish I could :(
 

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I definitely agree about the goldfish. They are soo messy and can get pretty big so it's really sad when I see people walking around at the fair with goldfish they've won because you know they aren't going to be alive too much longer :(
 

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Plecostomus (family Loricariidae)


Other names these fish goes by: Pleco, Suckermouth Catfish, Algae Eater

This one might come as a surprise to some people. After all, pet store employees are very quick to recommend plecos to beginners. These fish, however, should be avoided unless you’ve done extensive research. Many of them grow to be really big (including the common pleco or Hypostomus plecostomus) and shouldn’t be kept in your average, small community aquarium. Plecos are also messy and many have specialized needs such as requiring a low pH or needing to chew on driftwood. The term “algae eater” is usually used to describe a pleco but the truth is they rarely eat algae unless starving. These fish should be supplemented with a variety of foods, including fresh vegetables. All plecos aren’t bad for beginners, though! There are a few smaller species that can make excellent community fish and the bristlenose pleco (Ancistrus triradiatus) is a good example of that. When it comes to plecos it’s extremely important to research the species in question BEFORE making a purchase.
I want elaborate more on the Plecostomus or "sucker fish. They might look cute when young and recommend by your local pet shop. People tend to release them when they get to big not knowing that it is consider hazardous when release these fish into natural waterways, natural ponds, rivers and lake. Many countries are facing this serious issue as these sucker fish have the biggest appetite on feeding on as many native fish eggs as they can find. Greatly reducing the numbers of other fish species.


---Taken From Yahoo---
An armored catfish (Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Sun-Sentinel)

A species of "armored catfish" are damaging South Florida's lakes, causing coastal erosion and even burrowing holes that trip up humans walking along the water's edge.

Catfish are usually one of the more popular breeds of aquatic life, with their smooth skin and flavorful meat. There's even a highly unconventional form of fishing known as "noodling," in which people use their bare hands to capture catfish.

But the Sun-Sentinel reports that the Loricariidae (armored catfish) are far less welcome. The non-native and invasive species have rugged scales along their backs and spiky fins. Catching the South American natives can be difficult, as the armored catfish reportedly are not baited by fishing hooks and must instead be caught by nets or even spears.

"There are some people who get totally upset, and I can understand why," Ralph LaPrairie, a fisheries biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the Sun-Sentinel.

The Loricariids are a popular aquarium fish, as they use their suckered mouths to clean algae from tanks. But that same behavior that is helpful in fish tanks actually erodes local shorelines up to 10 feet as the fish devastate aquatic plant life. They have also been wreaking havoc in Texas waterways for a number of years.

"One, it's a safety issue. Two, it's a curb-appeal issue," Chip Sollins, owner of Lake Erosion Restoration, a contractor in Boca Raton, Fla., told the paper.

Invasive fish are a growing problem across the U.S. with wildlife officials in Maryland offering a $200 gift certificate raffle to residents who capture and kill snakehead fish, which have been devastating local wildlife in tributaries along the Potomac River.

However, any potential solution for the pests would be an expensive one for local residents. The Sun-Sentinel says hiring a contractor to eradicate any local armored catfish populations can cost as much as $100,000. And there are reportedly millions of the small armored fish currently living in South Florida, with no known natural predators.

"If we do nothing, I think eventually we're going to end up with a sinkhole," said Susanne Ury, president of the Royal Lakes Homeowners Association.

In addition to contributing to erosion, the armored catfish lay their eggs in 18-inch-deep holes along the water's edge, creating potentially dangerous foot traps for people walking in the water.
 
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