Pest Removal Using Fish
In the article Pest Removal Using Invertebrates, I talked about several species of invertebrates that can help eliminate nuisance algae and various pest species from your aquariums. This article will do the same, but will be talking about fish that can help eliminate and control various algae and invertebrate pests. Same rules apply to fish, they can’t read, and often don’t know what they are supposed to eat and what they are not supposed to eat. These suggestions are guidelines only, and you should monitor any new additions carefully.
Several species of butterfly have been widely used to help control/eliminate pest anemones in the aquarium. The Raccoon and Copper Banded Butterfly are the two most often used. They will eat the anemones, however they will very often proceed to eat your polyps and LPS corals after the anemones are gone. The Raccoon Butterfly is especially prone to this behavior with the Copper Banded somewhat more trustworthy. Do not add either of these species to a reef tank without a plan in place to remove them should the need arrive.
Scooter Blennies and Yellow Damsels will readily consume flatworm/planaria from your tank. The Scooter Blenny is a good choice for maintaining a balance, as they do not eat enough to crash a population, but will help prevent an outbreak. The Yellow Damsel can be used to greatly reduce or even eliminate the problem, however they do get very territorial and can grow rather aggressive once they get established. If you don’t mind having a feisty fish in your tank, then they are no problem. They do not eat corals, but they may push around more peaceful species.
The Sea Grass Wrasse will consume small nudibranchs including the ones that eat zooanthids. They are a fascinating fish with great color; however they will often eat small snails and crabs as well. Zoo’s are a great choice if you do not mind replacing some small inverts. Other great choices for nudibranch control are the Six Line and Four Line Wrasse who will eat parasitic clam snails as well, and the generally peaceful Leopard Wrasse. All of these fish are fascinating to watch and will make great reef tank inhabitants.
Article by Brian Wagner