Classroom Marine Aquarium Fish List

Environmental Sciences Academy 
Northside High School 
Live Rock Marine Aquarium 210 Gallons 
Fish List and Tank Occupants 2010 

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

Genes & Species - Lysmata Amboinensis

Family - Hippolytidae

Order - Decapoda

Length - 2 to 5 centimeters

Description: The cleaner shrimp has a reddish upper body with a white stripe down the middle. The lower body is entirely white and the eyes are black.
The species also has very long antennae and a fan-shaped tail.

Habitat - Tropical saltwater bodies

Food type: Omnivore

Live: Warm parts of the ocean

Life Span - About 4 years in captivity

Yellow Tang
Cabbage Coral
Green Hairy Mushroom
Golden Headed Sleeper Goby
Peppermint Shrimp

Bi Color Blenny Bi Color Blenny


The Bicolor Blenny is also known as the Two-colored Blenny. The Bicolor is so-named because the anterior half is blue to dull brown, and the posterior half is dull orange. Males are generally larger than females and experience a succession of color changes, including blue, when breeding. These Blennies exhibit great personality in the aquarium.


Ecsenius bicolor
Generally found amid crevices and rocks on the bottom of its environment, the Bicolor Blenny needs a tank of at least 30 gallons with scattered rocks for perching and hiding.
These fishes are normally peaceful tank members, but have been known to pick at other blennies, smaller gobies and dartfish.
The diet of the Bicolor Blenny should include vegetable matter, including frozen and dried foods containing marine and blue-green algae. It will also feed on (and help control) algae growing in the aquarium.
Fiji, Indonesia, Sri Lanka Distribution: Indo Pacific Region: Central Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. Central Western Australian coast to northern New South Wales.


Adult Size: 4.5 inches (11.4cm)

Care Difficulty: 3/10

Very Easy
Very Difficult


Reef Safety Score : 2/3

Not Safe
High Risk
Low Risk
Reef Safe


Temperature Range: 74°F - 82°F



pH Range: 8.1 - 8.4



Salinity Range (specific gravity): 1.02 - 1.025



Diet Information: Omnivorous - a voracious eater that will eat a variety of foods including algae, flakes, pellets, frozen mysis shrimp, and frozen brine shimp. While the bicolor blenny will happily eat meaty foods, it must have some vegetable matter in its diet. If there is not enough algae in the tank, dried algae or seaweed should be added to ensure health.


Additional Information : The bicolor blenny is one of the more personable saltwater aquarium fish available. With their unique mannerisms and a toad-like face, they often capture the interest of their owners and visitors alike. This is typically a hardy species and does well in an established aquarium with algae growth. 

The bicolor blenny is an active digger and will move sand, shells and small rocks to fit its needs. Rockwork should be well supported to ensure that rocks do not tumble down as a result of the blenny digging in and around its cave. While most individuals seem to be reef safe, some have been known to nip at corals or clams. A well fed blenny is less likely to disturb other inhabitants.


Tank Mate Compatibility : A good community fish, but may become territorial with other similarly colored fish and gobies/blennies of any color.


Breeding Information: Not recorded in captivity.


Determining Sex: No reliable way to determine visually.


Primary Area in Tank: Middle to bottom - will find a cave like structure and stay there.

Blue-green Chromis  aka Green Chromis aka Blue Green Damselfish 

Family: Pomacentridae 

Genus species Chromis viridis 

The Blue-green Chromis or Green Chromis is one damselfish that is peaceful, even as an adult, and can be kept with many other community species. 

The Blue-green Chromis or Green Chromis is considered an excellent choice for the marine aquarium, and are almost always available from a marine fish supplier. They are a wonderful schooling fish, and in the wild are found in large shoals. You will notice that the Blue-green Chromis or Green Chromis has slight color variations from a pale green to a light blue. The mature male in a nesting mood will be yellow. 

Blue Devil Damsel
Chrysiptera cyanea 

Chrysiptera cyanea is known under many different common names in English, such as Blue Devil, Blue Devil Damsel, Sapphire devil, Cornflower Sergeant-major, Cornflower Sergeantmajor, Red Tail Australian Damsel, Sky-blue Damsel, Blue Damsel, Blue Damselfish, and Orangetail Blue Damselfish. 

Chrysiptera cyanea has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 

Geographical range, habitat and habits 

The Blue Devil inhabits the Indo-West Pacific. Its range stretches from the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean and Western Australia to New Guinea, New Britain, Solomon Islands, Marianas and Caroline Islands, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Ryukyu Islands. Southwards, it can be encountered down to Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Samoa, and Palau and Yap in Micronesia. 

The Blue Devil is a reef associated species that lives among rubble and corals in clear sheltered lagoons and subtidal reef flats. Its depth range is 0-10 meters / 0-33 feet and it forms groups consisting of one adult male fish and several females or juveniles. When it feels scared, this fish will hide inside a hole or crevice and change its colour until it becomes almost completely black. One it feels safe again, it will rapidly change back into its normal colouration. 

Just as the name suggests, the Blue Devil is a brilliantly coloured light-blue fish. Juveniles and females normally sport a small black spot at the rear base of the dorsal fin and will typically not have any yellow markings. The adult male will on the other hand have a bright yellow or orange snout and tail and no black spot. (Please note that some females never develop any black spot.) 

As mentioned above, the Blue Devil can temporarily change colour when it needs to stay hidden. 

Blue Devil care 

The Blue Devil is a very hardy marine species that can be recommended for novice saltwater aquarists. Due to its sturdiness it is commonly used to cycle new aquariums, but you should keep in mind that adding this fish as the first inhabitant of an aquarium will amplify its natural territorial and aggressive behaviour. Even when added last to a set up, a Blue Devil can become a problem for fish that can’t fend for themselves in the aquarium. The Blue Devil is normally quite peaceful as a juvenile fish but the territorial and aggressive behaviour will manifest sooner or later. 

The aquarium where you house your Blue Devil should be well decorated and include a lot of hiding spots for the devil as well as for other fish. You can for instance use rocks and corals to form caves, crevices and crannies. Also decorate the aquarium in a way that makes it possible for the Blue Devil to claim only a part of it as its territory, otherwise it will claim the entire tank and try to chase away all other fish. 

If you want to keep more than one Blue Devil, house one male with several females and introduce all members of the group simultaneously. If you want to keep a single Blue Devil without any other fish, a 10 gallon / 40 litre aquarium is large enough. You should however keep in mind that this is a group dwelling species in the wild. Getting a 30 gallon / 115 litre aquarium or larger and housing a group of Blue Devils is more natural for the fish than keeping a single specimen. 

Be careful when you place your hand in an aquarium inhabited by an old Blue Devil because it may bite. 

The Blue Devil is considered reef safe. 
The recommended water temperature is 75-82° F / 25-28° C. The pH-value should be kept in the 8.1-8.4 range and the specific gravity at 1.020-1.025. A water hardness around 8 - 12° dKH is ideal. 

Feeding Blue Devil 

In the wild, the omnivorous Blue Devil feeds chiefly on algae, copepods and pelagic tunicates. In the aquarium, it will accept a long row of different foods, including dry food. It is important to give it a varied diet to ensure optimal health and feeding it dry food only is not recommended. Flakes or pellets can be used as a base, but should be combined with algae or vegetables and live, fresh or frozen meaty foods. It is important that the food is small enough to devour, e.g. finely chopped fish fillets and shrimps. 

Feed your Blue Devil many small meals throughout the day instead of just a few big ones. When kept in a thriving reef aquarium, the Blue Devil with hunt prey on its own and you can decrease the amount of food you give it. 

Breeding Blue Devil 

Sexing adult Blue Devils is easy, because adult males look very dissimilar from adult females. Juvenile fish will however have the colouration of adult females regardless of sex. 

If the fish has a bright yellow or orange snout and tail, it is an adult male. If the fish 

has a small black spot at the rare base of its dorsal fin, it is an adult female or a juvenile specimen. Please note that some females never develop any black spot. 

The Blue Devil has been successfully bred in hobby aquariums. It is an egg depositing species. 

Yellowtail Blue Damsel 

Pale-tail Chromis 

Family: Pomacentridae 

Chromis xanthura 

The Pale-tail Chromis or Yellowtail Blue Damsel displays typical damselfish behavior, very active and a great eater! A good fish for the beginner as it is hardy and inexpensive. 

This is a young specimen of the Pale-tail Chromis or Yellowtail Blue Damsel, about 1 inch long. Generally juveniles like this will be available from a marine fish store. As they mature, their tails loose the yellow and become white and the bright blues become a more bluish grey. 

Azure Demoiselle 

Royal Demoiselle ~ Half-blue Damselfish ~ Azure Damsel
Family: Pomacentridae Chrysiptera hemicyanea 

The Azure Demoiselle or Azure Damsel is one of several bright blue damselfish that sport a striking yellow or golden accent as part of their coloration. In the Aquarium hobby this damsel is often confused with the Yellow-tail Damsel C. parasema, as they look very similar. They can be distinguished by the placement of their yellow accents. The Azure Demoiselle has yellow not only on the tail and bottom fin, but also along the lower part of its body. On the similar looking Yellow-tail Damsel the accent is on the tail and bottom fin only. 

An excellent pet, the Azure Demoiselle is easy to keep, hardy, and disease resistant. This lovely damsel is often available and reasonably priced. It will work equally well in a fish only tank or a reef aquarium. They can get along with a variety of peaceful to semi-aggressive tank mates. But like all damselfish, they do best kept in an odd numbered group with a lot of space. As they mature many damselfish are noted for becoming rather aggressive, and are best not kept with smaller or overly passive tank mates. Provide a rock/ coral decor that has many nooks and crannies for hiding and retreat as this will help avert aggression. 

Golden-headed Sleeper GobyBlueband Goby ~ Blue-cheek Goby ~ Pennant Glider 

Family: Gobiidae 

Valenciennea strigata 

The Golden-headed Sleeper Goby, Blueband Goby, or Pennant Glider are not only pretty fish, but are great for a marine environment where you want the substrate to constantly be sifted through. These fish really use their mouths! They are constantly digging and turning over the sandy substrate. Besides this ongoing activity of "chewing" the sand, these gobies can communicate with each other by producing signals with their mouths. 

Bicolor Psudochromis
Pseudochromis paccagnellae

Description:Bicolor Pseudochromis, are found living within the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region. Also known by the common name Bicolor Dottyback, they are agile swimmers that bring a wealth of color to the aquarium. They are also revered for their ability to hunt and consume bristleworms. 
Recommended minimum tank size: 20 gallon or larger
Food and diet:They are small plankton feeders so foods such as brine shrimp, krill and mysid shrimp are perfect. Feed Daily.
Level of Care: Easy
Reef Compatibility:Very good reef or community fish. 

Feather Dusters 

Fan worms, or the more common name of feather dusters, are tiny worms that create a sleeve like tube made from bodily secretions as they dig into rock and substrate. These worms are equipped with a feather like head which the animal uses to filter the water for food and nutrients. These animals can actually help keep some aspects of your water conditions at healthy levels. 

Feather dusters are extremely intolerant of bad water conditions and can actually lose their feather like crown if the water quality is not monitored. However, if the worm does lose its crown, and water parameters improve, it is possible for the worm to re-grow its feathers. 

Fan worms come in many shapes and sizes from a single head to multiple tree like heads. These worms can be very beautiful additions to your tanks and are definitely reef safe. Fan worms are also sessile and will attach itself to a rock where it will most likely stay. It is important to consider what you have in your tank before purchasing a feather duster because it is the prey of many saltwater fish such as angels, hawkfish, or butterfly fish.

Green Button Polyp (Protopalythoa sp.) 

The Protopalythoa Button Polyp Corals, also referred to as Moon Polyps, Encrusting Anemones, or Sea Mats, are generally brown or tan in color, but may also be green and fluoresce under actinic lighting. They are a colonial animal with multiple individual polyps attached to a piece of live rock or coral rubble. 

They are very easy to maintain in the reef aquarium. Their polyps have the ability to sting other animals and are semi-aggressive, therefore, they need to have space between their colony and any neighbors. They also grow rapidly and will crowd out their neighbors including any sessile life. They require a medium light level combined with a medium to strong water movement within the aquarium. They will reproduce easily in the reef aquarium by budding (splitting off a portion of their base or mouth), which will increase the size of their colony. For continued good health, they will also require the addition of iodine and other trace elements to the water. 

The symbiotic algae zooxanthellae hosted within their bodies provides the majority of their nutritional requirements through photosynthesis. They benefit from weekly feedings of micro-plankton or brine shrimp which should be fed to each individual of the colony. 

Clove Polyps
Clavularia spp. 

Clove Polyps are quite easy to maintain and are a valid choice for new reef aquariums or beginners or mature and experienced hobbyists. With not much to be cautioned about, Clove Polyps of the Genus Clavularia are morphologically quite attractive. Their vivid colors and patterns make them an interesting add on in your marine aquarium. This article explores the various aquarium relevant informative aspects of Clove Polyps.

Other names: Hailing from the Family Clavulariidae, the scientific name of Clove Polyps is Clavularia species. The other common names of Clove Polyps are Glove Polyps, Eight Tentacle Polyps and Encrusting Polyps.
Origin or natural range: Clove Polyps originate from the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean in a South-East Asian country, Indonesia.
Color: Clove Polyps occur in a broad spectrum of colors such as brown, green, tan, pink and white.
Morphology: Clove Polyps have long and big polyps with feathery, eight-leaved, pale brown or grey colored tentacles. This is the key physical feature of the Family Clavulariidae. The tentacles are approximately 4 inches long when open and they get reduced to half that is, 2 inches, when closed.
Compatibility: Clove Polyps are semi-aggressive in nature as compared to the other marine invertebrates.
Habit: When closed, Clove Polyps retract their polyps fully, so much so that the closed heads are visible.
Habitat: Clove Polyps are colonial in nature with many polyps anchored to a live rock. The Clavulariidae species spreads on anything adjacent to it and may form mat like structures or lumpy masses. Clove Polyps live on the sloppy areas of the reefs with the surrounding water having tidal current or the Clavularia species live on sediment lagoons.
Breeding: Clove Polyps breed easily and rapidly to result in a mat like structure or lumps. When spreading in your marine aquarium, Clove Polyps may grow over everything adjacent to them, be it on rocks or on even other corals. Therefore, keep the other corals in your reef aquarium, away from them.

Growth environment in your marine aquarium: 
Temperature: The water temperature of the tank should be within the range of 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Specific gravity: The water of the aquarium facilitating Clove Polyps should have a specific gravity of 1.023 to 1.025. 
pH: The pH of the water in your marine aquarium should be maintained between 8.10 and 8.40. 
Illumination: Lighting need of the Clove Polyps is average to high intensity. The use of Metal Halide lighting is recommended for the Clavularia species in your reef-type marine aquarium. 
Water flow in the aquarium: Clove Polyps require moderate to strong water movement. 
Marine aquarium habit and habitat: Place the Clove Polyps in the middle level of the tank or in the high level. Give ample space to the Clove Polyps in your marine aquarium as the other aggressive invertebrates may harm them. 
Feeding: Clove Ployps are photosynthetic in nature as it has a symbiotic relationship with the photosynthetic alga, zooxanthellae. This alga lives within Clove Polyps. Also, filter feed the Clove Polyps weekly with miniscule plankton or other relevant food. Add Iodine and trace elements as nutrients supplement, in the water of your marine aquarium containing Clove Polyps. 

Care: Clove Polyps are easy to maintain.

Mushroom Corals, Actinodiscus Types 

Actinodiscus corals or mushroom corals have been around for as long as hobbyists have been keeping reef tanks. They are probably one of the easiest soft corals to find although getting a nice assortment is not the case. Purple and reddish ones are widely available. Other types are not. Mushroom corals are soft corals and have no exoskeleton but grow on rock. The rock does not need to be flat, it can be shaped in just about any form.
The name mushroom is derived directly from their appearance: a short to medium length stem, surmounted by a cap. The cap can be real round or somewhat ruffled depending on the type. Generally the stem is short and not all that visible.

The corals can be mono colored or multicolored, can be smooth or rough, with knobs or stripes running across the cap from the inside towards the exterior.
Mushroom corals are generally considered hardy but that does not mean that they take abuse real well. What is meant is that they can do well in water quality of various parameters. They do not do well when sudden changes to that water quality are brought about though. The latter is perhaps one of the most commonly made mistakes. Mind you, sudden changes affect everything in the tank, including fish. Sudden change brings about stress, and stress often leads to disease and the appearance of parasites.
The changes to really avoid are the temperature, pH and salinity ones as they are the ones that will cause the most stress. Mushroom corals will appear to shrivel up and become real small when overly stressed. Certain kinds do not take lots of stress and shrivel up faster than other types. More on this later.

Mushroom corals not only appear in many forms but also vary greatly in color. Most of this has to do with the environment they came from and what kind of lighting they were receiving there. This in turn influences their pigmentation and determines what colors are predominant. Some are just one color and others have multiple colors. It should be noted that very few Mushroom corals have actually been named and that you will see photos of them just mentioning them as Actinodiscus species. Kind of makes you wonder why they have not been identified since they are plentiful.
In addition to the differences in shape and color you will come across differences in the texture of the polyp, going from real smooth to knobby and even in some cases with tiny tentacles. The variety is endless. You may have seen this yourself going through magazines and books. This great variety of types is what makes these corals so interesting and makes them add color and appeal to your aquarium. Note that these corals are found in all oceans where reefs are present. Even the State of Florida has their own varieties. 

In nature around natural reefs, Mushroom corals are found in clusters, sometimes so dense that individual specimens overlap. This same arrangement can easily obtained in a well kept aquarium as Actinodiscus reproduce fairly easily and in may different ways (budding being probably the most common one). 

All that is needed to achieve this is to make sure that the water quality parameters meet the standards outlined in this article and that no predation occurs. It is uncommon to find individual specimens that are not part of a colony, although some Authors have reported seeing this happening, speculating that one or several specimens detach themselves and resettle not too far from an existing colony, to start a new one. This will happen in the aquarium from time to time as well. 

This poses a challenge for the hobbyist, as loose Mushroom corals die if they are not somehow tied down so they can reattach to another piece of rock.They are perhaps one of the hardiest corals around although not all hobbyists seem to accept this fact because they may have had problems in keeping them alive. The reasons for this can be varied and have more often than not to do with water quality and lighting, more so than with disease or predation. Indeed not all of the Actinodiscus species fall into the same requirement category. Hobbyists need to experiment to some extent to determine what the best lighting conditions and what the better current strength is for the types they have acquired.

Most Mushroom corals will do fine in medium to stronger lighting. Ideally though, they should be observed for their reaction to different intensities and the positioning of the coral may then need to be changed so they open more fully, once the right lighting amount has been determined. The same applies by the way to the amount of current they should receive. Some varieties like strong current and others will do better in moderate current conditions. There is no way to predict this or make recommendations that apply across the board. Testing with various current strengths has been undertaken until the right amount is found. 

Observing how various specimens react to differing conditions is best done by subjecting them to particular parameters for one to two weeks and taking photos at different intervals. This gives the hobbyist a good basis for comparison and something tangible to base decisions on that need to be made in respect to lighting and current. Trying to remember what or how a particular coral looked two weeks ago is just about impossible. Looking at photos though will give you an immediate feedback and will allow you to decide on what is best and what kind of current and what kind of lighting produce the best conditions for your Mushroom corals (and others as well).

I stated earlier that these corals are hardy. They are. It is not uncommon for a tank be in real bad condition and for a hobbyist to loose many corals while, surprisingly enough, Mushroom corals that appear to have died and have shriveled up completely will recuperate once conditions in the tank have been reestablished to acceptable levels. I have seen this happen over and over again. This leads me to suggest that you should never dispose of a Mushroom coral because it appears to be in bad condition or shape. Adjust the current, lighting and what ever else needs to be changed and you will probably find that your Mushroom corals will reopen as if nothing had happened.
It is important to realize that feeding and thus growth, is determined not only by lighting but also by what nutrients these corals can uptake from the water. Using a truly complete additive becomes a necessity if you wish to maximize the feeding of Mushrooms in your tank. It is not sufficient to use just any additive. Use one that contains a great number of elements. Newer ones on the market may very well have over 200 components, those are the ones to use.

Recommended water quality parameters: pH: 8.2 to 8.4 s.g.: 1.023 to 1.025
Temp.: 77 to 79 degrees F. Calcium: of no concern but if you have stony corals the level should be around 450 ppm
Nitrates: below 10 ppm, total nitrate
Phosphates: below 0.04 ppm
Silicates: below 0.5 ppm
Dissolved oxygen: 7 or higher
Do not use mechanical filtration
Use a really complete additive
Add iodine to your tank daily. Follow the manufacturers recommendations
Current inside the tank (laminar): moderate to high but not directed at the Mushrooms.
Keep bristleworms out of your tank
Keep an eye on Hermit crabs. They should not be crawling over your mushrooms
No algae should grow on or in between the individual polyps of a colony. If this is the case you either have too high levels of phosphate or silicate or both. 

Hermit Crabs
Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Malacostraca 

Did you know that hermit crabs are scavengers? Yep, most species will eat just about anything they can find. For this reason, they make ideal cleaners for a reef tank, as long as you choose a Reef Safe Hermit Crab. 

Properly chosen hermit crabs should have no negative impact on a reef system. In fact, they are solely beneficial. Small species that do not grow more than a couple of inches in size are most desirable, as they usually do not disturb other tank life, and they are able to get into tiny cracks and crevices where algae grows that larger hermits cannot access. They can also access spaces under rocks and corals where detritus or debris accumulate to remove it. 

Large species such as the Anemone Carrying Hermit (Dardanus pedunculatus), Yellow Hairy Hermit (Aniculus maximus) and Halloween Hermit (Trizopagurus strigatus) are undesirable as reef janitors, as they may cause unwanted damage to your reef system. These types of hermits can disrupt tank life by climbing on everything, and because of the large clumsy, bulky shells they live in, cause the toppling of rockscape arrangements and the moving of corals. Besides, they may attack or eat other tank inhabitants. If you desire to keep large hermit crabs, do so only in a tank of suitable environment and size, and remember they will outgrow their shells. You need to provide them with new housing (larger shells) as they molt and grow, otherwise they may attack other shelled animals to get a new shell. One commonly imported species that has this trait is the Clibanarius vittatus, most often sold as the Striped Hermit Crab. Do you need shells for your hermit(s)? 

Turbo Grazer Snail
Turbo fluctuosus 

The Mexican Turbo Snail, a.k.a. Trochus Snail or Turbo Grazer, is a very powerful algae eater. These snails can be placed directly on algae patches, including cyanobacteria, and you can watch as they mow right through the algae. These snails are nocturnal and do most of their work at night. They will forage on diatoms and cyano that grows on live rock and aquarium glass. These snails will continue to grow their shell over time, if the aquarium is kept at proper calcium levels. More than one can be kept in each aquarium to keep algae growth down. Keep one per 20 gallons. 

Snails belong to a Class known as Gastropods, which make up the largest class of Mollusks. 

Snails grow by increasing their swirling body while producing a protective shell. This shell protects their soft body from predators. They will use a pad, or foot, that extends from their shell which allows them to drag their shell along. As they drag their shell often times their mouth and eyes can be seen coming out from the opening of the shell. When frightened or sleeping this opening can be protected by an operculum, which is a hard protective cover that acts like a door to the shell. Snail identification is based on the color, shape, and pattern of their shell.

Not in tank

Yellowtail Clown Fish


Scientific classification


Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacentridae
Genus: Amphiprion
Phylum: ChordataSpecies: A. clarkii
Binomial name Amphiprion clarkii

Is a widely distributed clownfish. It is found in tropical waters, in lagoons and on outer reef slopes, from the Persian Gulf to Western Australia and throughout the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean as far as Melanesia and Micronesia, and as far north as Taiwan, southern Japan and the Ryukyu Islands.

Clark's Anemonefish is a spectacularly colourful fish, with vivid black, white and yellow stripes, though the exact pattern shows considerable geographical variation. There are normally two white bands, one behind the eye and one above the anus. The tail fin may be white or yellow, but is always lighter than rest of the body.

Clarke's Anemonefish are a popular aquarium species. They are omnivorous, and in the aquarium will readily eat brine shrimp. They regularly host many sea anemones in the home aquarium.