Reef Tank Predators

Bonus content from the May 2009 AFI magazine article Carnivores in the Reef Tank.

When selecting fish for our reef tank, most of us look for peaceful species that will not harm invertebrates, or species that will help with aquarium maintenance (e.g. algae-eaters). Members of the anthias, jawfish, fairy and flasher wrasse, chromis, dragonet, goby, wormfish and surgeonfish groups come to mind as ideal reef aquarium inhabitants. But what about some of the more predatory fish species that do not include corals in their diets? Is there a place for these species in the reef aquarium? Yes! Some of these piscivorous (fish-eating) and crustacean predators make wonderful additions to an aquarium full of corals. Of course, you have to avoid small fish and ornamental shrimp. But if you are willing to forgo these animals, there is an array of attractive and interesting predators that will do great in a reef tank. I have presented a table below with a list of some of the more popular macro-carnivores for the reef aquarium.

Some Popular Predators For The Reef Tank

Moray Eels 
Snowflake moray (Echidna nebulosa)
Pencil moray (Gymnothorax melatremus)
Goldentail moray (Gymnothorax miliaris)

Snake Eels
Sharptail snake eel (Myrichthys breviceps)

Variegated lizardfish (Synodus variegatus)

Warty frogfish (Antennarius maculatus)
Painted frogfish (Antennarius pictus)
Striated frogfish (Antennarius striatus)

Gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta)

Twinspot lionfish (Dendrochirus biocellatus)
Zebra lionfish (Dendrochirus zebra)
Spotfin lionfish (Pterois antennata)
Volitans lionfish (Pterois volitans)
Devil scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis diabolus)
Flasher scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis macrochir)
Tasseled scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis oxycephala)
Leaf scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus)

Cockatoo waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus)
Longspine waspfish (Paracentropogon longispinus)

Chocolate hind (Cephalopholis boenak)
Bluelined hind (Cephalopholis formosa)
Leopard hind (Cephalopholis leopardus)
Creolefish (Paranthias furcifer)

Arrowhead soapfish (Belonoperca chabanaudi)
Twobanded soapfish (Diploprion bifasciatum)

Multispotted sandperch (Parapercis multiplicata)
Schauinsland’s sandperch (Parapercis schauinslandi)

Pinktail triggerfish (Melichthys vidua)
Bluechin triggerfish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus)
Sargassum triggerfish (Xanthichthys ringens)

Want to read the full story? Pick up the May 2009 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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