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How To Keep Your Own Nemo And Dory

Georgette Douwma via Getty Images

Image sourced from Variety

The release of Disney's "Finding Nemo" in 2003 gave the saltwater aquarium hobby a massive boost. And now with the release of its long awaited sequel "Finding Dory" it seems likely to happen again. Many lovers of the movies want to take home a real live Nemo or Dory for their own aquarium but often don't realize what it actually involves. So, what do you need to take your favourite animated fish home without becoming a Darla?

The fish featured in these movies are saltwater animals. That means they need a saltwater aquarium. This is not as easy as putting some table salt into your home aquarium. The water has to be mixed to the correct levels in a separate container before being added to the aquarium. Most of the fish are also tropical, which means the tank needs a heater to maintain warm water temperatures (24-27 degrees C).

The décor of saltwater tanks is usually different than freshwater as well. Unfortunately, ornaments like Mount Wannahockaloogie just don't work very well in saltwater aquariums. Most saltwater aquariums use natural crushed coral substrates and live rock although non-decorative ornaments are usually safe so long as they're non-animated.

There are many things to consider before setting up your aquarium and buying your first fish. So it's imperative that you do your research and are absolutely certain of what you are doing before you begin. Only when you have the exact right environment for your fish to thrive should you think about making your first purchase.

Image sourced from Plasmech

When you think you're ready, always buy from a reputable fish supplier and always ask to see the fish eat before you select them. You need to select fish that look healthy, which means you need to know what you're looking for. If they don't look healthy and perky and aren't looking for food and swimming normally, don't buy them! Avoid them like the plague because they may genuinely have the plague and generously pass it around, which will cause you much grief and money.

So can you really reunite all of the characters from the movies? Some of the movies' characters are impossible and even illegal to keep in home aquariums. Others are very difficult, but others are very common and easy for hobbyists to keep.

Here's a brief overview on your favourite characters:

"Dory" and her parents: Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)

Image sourced from Aquarium Domain

Max Size: 12"

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons

Difficulty: Moderate

The Hippo Tang is quite a delicate fish and has a weak immune system. They also usually grow too large for many aquariums. Although they are obviously the current favourite, only experienced aquarists with large, established aquariums should attempt keeping these fish. Like other tangs, the Hippo Tang can be very territorial and only one should be kept per tank.

"Nemo" and "Marlin": Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Image sourced from That Pet Place

Max size: 4"

Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons

Difficulty: Easy

Now for some good news! Clownfish like these are some of the easiest saltwater fish to keep and can be kept in much smaller aquariums than most of their co-stars. Captive-bred fish are much hardier and better for the environment than their wild counterparts. Their anemone home is much more delicate however and has some much more intensive requirements. However, most clownfish - especially captive-bred - don't need an anemone to be happy and healthy.

Nemo and Dory are just two of the wonderful characters that Disney's revolutionary "Finding Nemo" and "Finding Dory" franchises have brought to the forefront of both the aquarium hobby and pop culture. If you want to bring any of these movie stars or their friends into your home, do choose carefully so you can give them the best home possible. Remember, as Bruce and his crew have taught us, "Fish are friends"!

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