Keeping Angels, Triggers, Lion Fish, and other aggressive predator fish in a Reef Tank Aquarium – By Lev Ingman
Most people will tell you that large angels, lionfish, triggers, and other aggressive predator fish are, “Not Reef safe.” Sometimes this is not completely true.
Most species of large angels will eat many species of corals just because they are opportunistic and sometimes they get hungry. I have seen many people keep these angels in a reef tank by simply starting them off small and feeding several meals a day so that the fish do not become hungry or accustomed to eating corals. The theory behing starting them off small / young is that they may not have had a chance to develope an apetite for corals yet. If fish start eating only formula foods when they are really young you can sometimes get lucky and have them avoid chewing on your corals(As long as you keep them well fed). If you have an SPS tank then these angels may be totally fine – again as long as you keep them fed. Do not forget that most angels also love clams and will end up killing them even if you feed consistently.
Usually you can get away with keeping dwarf varieties in a reef tank as long as you keep them well fed. Many species will also go after clams so be careful. Start them young and keep them well fed and usually you can get them to leave your coral alone. Same theory as large angels but small angels are sometimes considered even less predesposed to eating corals.
Crosshatch triggers, Blue jaws, red-tail Sargassum triggers, and sometimes Niger triggers are often called “reef safe”. Generally these species will not touch your corals, but sometimes they will eat shrimp, snails, crabs, and other inverts. Start them young and keep them well fed and usually you can get them to leave your coral alone. Same theory as large angels but these triggers are sometimes considered even less predesposed to eating corals.
Generally these species will not eat corals but they may eat snails, shrimp, crabs and other inverts.
Lion Fish, Groupers, Soldier fish, Snappers, and Squirrel fish:
These species will not touch corals but they may eat fish and invertebrates that fit in their mouths. If you get them small they will be fine in a reef, but they grow quickly so be careful.