Clownfish attacking? - The Reef Tank

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Old 11-25-2010, 11:35 PM   #1
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Clownfish attacking?

I have 2 clownfish, a pink spotted goby, a flame hawkfish & possibly a niger triggerfish (yes a know he is gonna get to big for my 28 gallon nano tank, but thought he would be cool to keep for a bit). I have had several "new" fish die with in about a weeks time from their introduction to the tank. My service guy & the people at the aquarium store have tested my water & said it was just fine. Something attacked the coral beauty angelfish I got about a week ago & I just scooped her out. She looked like she was missing alot of her scales. Just before that (tonight) I had to scoop out my snowflake eel that I have had for about 6 months to a year. He was about 10 inches long (today). When I got him he was a lot smaller & I was told he would be fine in the tank until he was alot bigger. (I will probably get a bigger tank before too long)

The niger trigger looked really good for a few days but over the past couple of days looks bad. He routinely "plays dead" & I will be ready to scoop him out & he will jump up, swim around, & eat. Currently, I can only see his tail sticking out in the middle of some rocks (hence why I dont know if he is alive)

I have had the clownfish for about 3 years. I believe they are ocellaris clownfish. I have not had this problem before. But over the course of 2 or 3 months I have tried to introduce new fish & they look like they have been attacked & died. I had a leopard wrasse for about 3 days before he had a hole taken out of him.

Is it possible or likely that my clownfish are doing this? When I clean the tank they attack my hand (pretty hard). I also started with 1 anemone about 3 years ago. This anemone produces alot! I currently have 8 small anemones that I can see. They reproduce like crazy. When possible, I sell them to the aquarium store.

So, is my problem the clownfish? I would really like to add a couple of different fish without anyone killing them. (the goby hasnt been in the tank all that long either, he seems a little aggressive though, good for him). I just cant seem to figure out what is going on.

Any ideas? Thanks

Last edited by tiglybigly; 11-26-2010 at 10:16 AM.. Reason: add icon, lol
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Old 11-26-2010, 12:44 AM   #2
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Well if your clowns are ocellaris they shouldnt be attacking other fish. They will be dominate and more aggressive if they are older and dont have enought territory to themselves. If your snowflake eel was in the tank when new fish were introduced I would blame it on him. Eels are carnivorus so any oppertunity they get to eat something meaty they will. I wouldnt advise having the niger trigger either he is probably stressed therefore "playing dead". I have a 29 gallon and have 4 fish and I wouldnt reccomend going past that when it comes to fish. Get rid of the trigger. keep the pair of clowns and the goby. Get your self a smaller fish like a sixline wrasse or a firefish. If your fish store is telling you the bigger fish will be ok in your tank I wouldnt take advice from them anymore. Do you research and pick the right type of fish for a smaller set up.
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Old 11-26-2010, 10:41 AM   #3
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The clowns are territorial, especially if you had them for three years. the Hawkfish can also be territorial in a smaller set up. I'd probably blame he eel as well. There isn't much room for the fish to hide (clowns, hawkfish, and maybe even the goby will chase new fish from their "territory") leaving them as sitting ducks for the eel. My neighbor's 29g has two clowns and one damsel. That is all they can have. Anything else they put in get attacked immediately. I got a free skunk clown that way (10:30pm rescue mission). The goby is probably ok because it sits at the bottom and the hawkfish rarely leaves the rocks. Anything else could be seen by the clowns as a threat for food and territory so are attacked. I wouldn't try to add any more until you upgrade the tank. Chances are upgrading the tank would solve the problem.
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Old 11-26-2010, 05:25 PM   #4
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I think the real problem is too many fish in your small tank. Clowns are territorial (They are damsels, you know?) and disputes are inevitable in such a confined space. Continuing to add more fish is just asking for more trouble, as your previous losses attest. I would suggest going ahead with your plans for a larger tank before buying more fish.

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