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Scott Memorial Library
1020 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Who's in the Tank?

Blue Hippo Tang

Scott Memorial Library's salt water coral reef aquarium graces the comfy seating area of the second floor. The 215-gallon tank was installed at the end of 2007, replacing a 90-gallon tank. It has proven to be a popular addition to the Library; fish tanks are known as stress reducers. The tank's population and habitat does change. Take a look at what we have presently:


While all the fish may be beautiful to the eye, some have personality and others have jobs to do in order to keep their home healthy.

One-spot Foxface Rabbitfish
  • The Blue Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) ? A shy one, this Tang likes lots of rockwork to help make it feel secure. The Blue Hippo can be very timid and may wedge itself under rocks and into caves and crevices when young or new to an aquarium. This fish will often lie on its side and "play dead".
  • Diamond Goby (Amblygobius rainfordi) ? A carnivore, but non-aggressive towards other fish and not a threat to invertebrates in the tank. This Goby enjoys hiding in polyp coral colonies. Gobies can often be seen using the sucker to adhere to rocks. They will happily stick to glass walls of the tank as well.
  • Neon Blue Goby (Elacatinus oceanops) ? Removes small parasites from the other fish and perhaps that keeps them from being eaten by larger fish.
  • Royal GrammaOne Spot Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus unimaculatus) ? Dorsal fins on this fish are venomous. Plays nicely with other fish.
  • Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) ? Royal Grammas tend to stake out a cave in the rockwork which they use as home base. They come out into the open to feed, but tend to dart back into the rockwork when startled. Royal grammas tend to not bother or be bothered by other fish, but will vigorously guard their favorite hiding places. They will open their mouths very wide in a threatening gesture to ward off intruders.
  • Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) ? Can be a bold species. It will aid the reef aquarist in controlling pyramidellid snails and commensal flatworms.
  • Lemon Peel Angel (Centropyge flavissimus) ? This species is well-known for nipping at stony coral polyps and clam mantles, and may even eat soft coral polyps and zoanthids.
  • False Percula Clown (Amphiprion ocellaris) ? Extremely hardy omnivore and peaceful to other species.
  • False Percula ClownMystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus) ? It is not only attractive, hardy, and easy to maintain, but is also compatible with many other species of fish and many types of invertebrates.
  • Algae Blenny (Salarius fasciatus) ? Is named for its ability to "mow down" hair algae that can infest aquariums. Once introduced to an aquarium, this species will do an excellent job of controlling the growth of said algae, while providing great entertainment at the same time.
  • Coral Beauty/Flame Angel (Centropyge loriculus) ? Semi-aggressive. Will fight with other fish if challenged for space.
  • Mandarins (Synchiropus splendidus) ? Tend to be rather picky eaters, preferring to feed from the bottom. Due to the relatively small size of their mouth they must be fed only small food items or finely chopped foods.
  • Scooter Blenny (Synchiropus ocellatus) ? This species is rarely aggressive towards other bottom-dwelling fishes. Scooter Blenny will sift through the sand for food.
  • Kole TangKole Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus) ? Tends to get along fairly well with other tangs, but may bicker with others of its own kind. They are mainly herbivores and require a fair amount of vegetables in their diet.
  • Fire Dartfish (Nemateleotris magnifica) ? Peaceful, and sweet-tempered fish with lots of personality.

The Corals

There are several types of corals making the tank look great with their many colors and textures while providing homes, and hiding places for other inhabitants of the tank. They are a semi aggressive carnivore. Any food that is consumed and is not required for the coral's survival is converted to calcium carbonate to help build more skeleton.

SPS Hard corals (Small-Polyp Stony Corals) have small polys on a calcerous skeleton; a challenge to keep in our aquarium because they are fragile. These are the most colorful corals in the world.

Collage of invertebrates and corals
  • Chali Frag

LPS Hard corals (Large-Polyp Stony Corals) are generally larger calcareous corals with large fleshy polyps. Most of the LPS hard corals produce long sweeper tentacles which they use to keep any other organisms a safe distance away.

  • Scolymia ? Best kept in sand, also called Red or Green brain
  • Whisker Coral (Duncanopsammia axifuga)? is peaceful and does well with other non-aggressive corals and invertebrates

Soft corals

  • Xenia (Xenia elongate)
  • Fauice Frag
  • Frogspawn ? This coral resembles a mass of frog eggs, with numerous tiny balled tentacles branching out from the tissue
  • Australian Aron Frag
  • Green Montipora


Known as "The tiny flowers of the reef" because they are found in coral reefs, Zoanthids can eat meaty foods as well as perform photosynthesis. Zoanthus colonies can be aggressive to stony and soft corals, but in general they are very peaceful. They also contain a very toxic chemical that is dangerous to both reef inhabitants and humans. Zoanthus will grow quickly onto any surface they can attach to. This makes them an invasive species of animals and our Aquarium may change from time to time as some are removed or cut back from time to time.

Lemon Peel Angel, Fire Dartfish and corals
  • Fire Cracker
  • Pink
  • Large Orange Colony
  • Ring of Ice
  • Large Blue
  • Yellow polyp
  • Eagle Eye polyp
  • Chalice coral

Mushroom Ricordea corals

Mushroom Ricordea corals ( Rhodactis spp.) are a standard for most aquariums because they are very hardy and require little care. They have bright and highly variable coloration that often change within the aquarium depending on their environment. They are semi-aggressive.

  • Blue Ricordea
  • Multi Ricordea
  • Red Ricordea

The Invertebrates

This is the tank's clean up crew.

  • Nassarius Snails (Nassaruis sp.) ? Like to bury themselves in the sand, which will help maintain adequate oxygen levels in the substrate quickly consuming detritus, uneaten food, decaying organics, and fish waste.
  • Turbo Snails (Turbo fluctuosa)? Found in holes and crevices of the reef. Also grazes algae on the glass and is useful in keeping the algae under control.
  • Scarlet Skunk Cleaner ShrimpSmall Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis) ? Named for its unusual body movements. It sways its abdomen back and forth with exotic flair. It is peaceful towards members of its own species and other tank mates.
  • Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) ? This is small marine shrimp that is famous for setting up "cleaning stations" where it cleans the food particles from passing fish. This is a very peaceful creature and will never harm any other tank mates. Likewise, the other fish or inverts in the tank will rarely harm it.
  • Banded Coral Shrimp ( Stenopus hispidus) ? Peaceful but active nature as it scampers around the aquarium in search of food.Banded Coral Shrimp
  • Sally Lightfoot Crab ( Percnon gibbesi) ? Very active crabs, picking at algae constantly. These crabs love to work and are lighting quick!
  • Emerald Crabs (Mithrax sculptus)? Eats algae and various types of meaty items it can scavenge. It can be harmful to small fish, but unlike many other animals, it will eat bubble algae.
  • Arrow Crab (Stenorhynchus seticornis) ? A hardy, long-lived invertebrate; semi-aggressive carnivore.
  • Halloween Hermit Crabs (Ciliopagurus strigatus) ? Known to efficiently eat algae including green hair algae and cyanobacteria; it also provides a valuable service of aerating aquarium substrate by sifting through the sand. Omnivore and peaceful.
  • Octopus ? Shy and laid-back in the daytime, it usually comes out at night to feed.