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Prohibited Ones for Reef Tanks





Making the tank look colorful and attractive is what every reef keeper longs for. With an effort to add that extra vibrant hue to the reef tank, there are many of us who end up adding a disastrous element to the tank. Remember all that glitters is not gold and all that looks good might not be good for the marine invertebrates. Sellers may not inform you about the incompatibility of the creature but you have to confirm if the new member shall be a boon or a curse to the tank. Some of these are heterotrophic; they are unable to manufacture their own food with the process of photosynthesis. Some make partial foods via photosynthesis hence don’t do well in reef tanks. This will involve target feeding them which is really problematic in reef tanks as they bring in the nutrients that invite algal bloom. Following are some of the invertebrates you should rather avoid:

1.Basket starfish

These might look and attractive but are not easy to care especially for their filter feeding habit. Some even need specific sized foods to stay happy. They will bother your skimmers with unnecessary rots which you will have to constantly remove. It is better you avoid them if you want your tank to be cleaner. They also need larger space to move around freely and would otherwise perish. It is said that the space for be large enough for them to spread out the arms in all directions without touching the glass of the tank.

2. Jellyfish

Jellyfish also demands its free swimming space which is not accomplished in a reef tank leaving them stressed. They are colorful and attractive no doubt and are really cool creatures. But they do have special needs. They need to be kept poised in the water column so require a specialized circular water flow system called Kreisel.

3.Goniopora / Flowerpot coral

These corals are not able to survive in tanks for more than a few months. They require dirty water with lots of organics for their survival. Who wants a reef tank with dirty brown water? Though some of its species are known to survive in normal reef tank conditions, majority will cease to live. Better avoid than regret later!

4.Non-photosynthetic corals

They are lazy enough to make their food and will depend on target feeding. You will have to take special care of them to keep them healthy and if one day they refuse to eat you will be left bewildered thinking what the reason could be. Sun corals, carnation corals, non-photosynthetic type gorgonians are such corals which you should avoid for this reason.

5.Sea Apples

These also have a necessity to be filter fed and would not be happy until its specific eating habits are maintained. They will die if you are a little ignorant about their needs and that’s not all; they will kill all other marine invertebrates with the toxins they leave after dying; enough of a reason to avoid them? They are a looker no doubt but a trouble creator too

6.Sea slugs

The specific eating requirement makes them very difficult to nurture in a reef tank. They will eat only a particular kind of food and would go on a diet if their favorite gastronomy is not made available to them. They live for a short span no matter how well you take care of them. They will also contaminate your tank water when they die. And if that’s not all, they also have a tendency to fit through the power heads.


Most of us know that they will eat other creatures in reef tank and are no way reef compatible. I included it in the list because very recently a friend was fooled by the local marine seller who told her the species are aquarium compatible. Obviously, it ate up her tiny fishes and escaped the tank like a crook. If you really like them, keep them in a separate tank. And they will still not survive for more than a year.

8.Camel Shrimp

These will eat tank mates including clams and polyps. Leaving the stinging anemones aside, these will nip at colonial anemones, disc anemones, and soft leather corals. It is going to be the biggest mistake you will ever make regarding your reef keeping hobby if you include these in reef tank.

9.Carpet Anemones

They require large space to roam about and as they go wandering through the corals they sting them. These are never good for captivity as they will harm your corals while trying to relocate their position according to the intensity of lighting.

Any new addition in your reef tank should be done only after a proper research on the species. There is no way you should hurry on buying a new marine invertebrate just after being assured of its compatibility by the seller. Also quarantine them when new to learn about their behavioral pattern before adding them to the main tank.