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There’s always a bigger fish

March 5th, 2006

One very important rule to remember in maintaining a saltwater aquarium is the proper selection of fish. Although one can easily find joy in having a motley of species of various size swimming together in the tank. But such delight can easily disappear as fast as the rate of disapperances of the small fishes cohabiting the tank with the bigger ones. Yes, there’s always a bigger fish, and in the case of a saltwater aquarium, size really matters. One cardinal rule in selecting fish for a saltwater aquarium is that a fish that fits into a bigger fish’s mouth usually ends up there.

We just have learned this lesson. After having completed cycling our new saltwater quarantine tank, new livestock were placed to inhabit it. Our friend Jimmy gave us the first batch of occupants composed of, three small Strawberry/Purple Pseudochromis or the Dottyback, two small Formosa Wrasse, two Golden Coris Wrasse, a Lamarck Angel and one big Harlequin Tusk Wrasse. After a week, Jimmy added more, a Black Longnosed Tang, two (big and small) Regal Angels, a Flagfin Angel, a Half-black angel and a Racoon Butterfly.

Besides experiencing the usual temporary stress due the transfer, all livestock were healthy and manifested vitality. No signs of Ich or any common fish disease were detected. Our new qurantine tank inhabitants is a picture of a happy company, a peaceful co-existence of various species of different sizes. So we thought.

After a while we noticed that some of the smaller fishes have mysteriously vanished without trace. We thought that they may have just dugged and hidden under the live rocks or the substrate. But just this afternoon the mystery of the lost fishes was uncovered as we witnessed how the big bad Harlequin Wrasse gobbled alive in whole the last of the small helpless dottyback.

bad_wrasse.jpg

Like in real life, some lessons are learned at some smaller fish’s expense.

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  1. March 7th, 2006 at 14:06 | #1

    It seems so funny and ironic to me that even in the colorful world of fishes, it is still a dod-eat-dog kind of reality; or the stronger (bigger) prevails the weak (small) perishes. Maybe in a fishtank, we see the perfect microcosm of the real world, where the strong survives and the weak becomes trampled upon always. Overall, I think, such is life and seeing reality unfolding before one’s eyes—upon a soothing aquarium—is an experience to behold.

  2. Samuel Bilibit
    March 9th, 2006 at 09:45 | #2

    Yeah, and also like in real life, the only way for the smaller fish to get rid of the big one is for them to organize and link together forming a shape of a fish larger than the big fish. Marcos was like a great white shark booted out by a “university” of guppies imitating the shape of a humpback whale. :)

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