Jump to content
Innovative Marine Aquariums
  • Animals To Avoid

    Christopher Marks

    As a nano reef hobbyist, you must realize that a nano reef does have certain limitations as to what can be healthily kept within it. There are certain corals, invertebrates, and fish that should not be kept in a nano reef, due to their instincts, size, habits, or quick growth. The following are some more common items that hobbyists should not keep in their nano reef. Please keep in mind that this does not include all things that should be avoided. Even though some of these animals might be able to live in a nano reef environments, it is our responsibility as hobbyists to give them the best environment possible for their well being.


    Mandarin dragonet [aka mandarin goby] is a fish that requires a large tank for it's feeding habits. They will not commonly accept prepared or processed foods, so they eat the copepods and amphipods within an aquarium to survive. Nano reefs are simply not large enough to provide a replenishing supply of food for mandarins, and they should be avoided.

    Other common fish that simply require a much larger tank than any nano reef can provide include; tangs, surgeon fish, butterfly fish, lionfish, puffer fish, angel fish, and dwarf angels. Please keep in mind that while some people may keep these fish in their nano reef, that doesn't make it right. Some people will also keep these fish in their nano reefs for a short period of time, and move them to one of their larger tanks. This should be avoided.


    Carnivorous star fish should not be kept, as they can easily corner a fish or shrimp in such a small tank and eat it. Nudibranches and sea slugs are also something to avoid, as certain types can be toxic, and have special needs. Turbo snails are alright in larger nano reefs, but older turbo snails can sometimes become very large and knock over corals. If you already have turbo snails, I would not be very concerned about them, but if you are just starting your tank, go for astrea snails.


    Gonipora, aka flowerpot coral, will not survive easily in captivity, especially not in a nano reef. Their exact needs are not entirely known at this time, but whatever it is that is missing within our tanks is enough to kill them in a matter of months.

    Corals with stinging sweeper tentacles such as galaxia and frogspawn corals should be avoided in smaller tanks. If they are kept near other corals, their sweeping tentacles will come out and night and sting or kill the surrounding corals. These will do ok in larger nano reefs, as long as they are somewhat secluded to a certain area.

    • Like 2

      Report Article

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    i think advanced reefers may be able to find solution , but for a beginner its better to avoid fish / inverts / corals that have special needs or harder to house.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It's just better to spend the extra 40 bucks and get tank raised dragonets that eat fish food from birth, whether you have a nano or not.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have a few questions please. First what constitutes a small VS large nano reef? Also, how do you raise pods in a bucket? I have a Scooter Blenny I was suckered into, but adore.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    But you can raise pods in a 5 gallon bucket or Rubbermaid tub outside of the tank to feed a Mandarin.


    Its a pain in the rear and was a losing battle for me.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It's just better to spend the extra 40 bucks and get tank raised dragonets that eat fish food from birth, whether you have a nano or not.

    My picturesque mandarin accepted flakes and pellets but preferred pods. I grew pods and also seeded new pods and still lost my guy in about four months.

    Tank was about a year mature at the point. 14g biocube.

    I'd advise to avoid.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...