Finding Nemo and Dory isn’t Like the Movie


So you have seen Finding Nemo, Dory and fell in love. Which makes sense as these films were fantastic in the way they brought to life a coral reef. All the bright fish, colors and movement were simply an amazing sight. So why wouldn’t you want a Nemo and Dory in your home, I bet your kids do! I mean its just like a goldfish right? Get a fish bowl, some water, a little ‘no fishing’ sign and your set right? WRONG!!! SO WRONG!!

But don’t worry as this post will explain what you need to do to care for Nemo, Dory and their friends!



All of the fish in Finding Nemo and Dory are saltwater fish. This means they come from the ocean and live in and around coral reefs. They are not your common goldfish and need a lot of care, money and equipment to house these fish. They are not a toy or the latest trend, they are living creatures that require specialist care. That being said, if you are still reading this and want to keep marine/saltwater fish then it is possible. You just need the correct setup and know how.



# The Basics


Most fish fall into one of these three categories;


  • Cold Fresh Water
  • Tropical Fresh Water
  • Saltwater/Marine Water


The hardest to care for is, of course, the Saltwater/Marine aquariums. It is within this category where Nemo, Dory and their friends are found. To successful keep saltwater fish you will need to set up a saltwater aquarium and all the equipment that is needed to create the oceanic environment. This is a lot more high tech than your basic fish bowl. You will need;


A large enough aquarium – as Nemo, Dory and their friends all have different needs. This means keeping them all together isn’t likely to happen. I mean you wouldn’t keep budgies, crows, owls and eagles in the same cage would you?

Reef Salt – NOT TABLE SALT. You need proper aquarium salt.

A Form of Filtration – This varies depending on what you prefer. the options are generally Internal filter, canister filter or a sump.

Heater or Chiller – This depends on where you live and your room temperature. but a constant temperature is a must.

Skimmer – Option to some, essential to others. A skimmer removes organics from your aquarium keep the water clean.

Correct Lighting – If you choose to recreate the reef on the films you will need correcting lighting for your corals.

Reactors, UV bulbs, Carbon, Filter Socks, Power heads, Wave makers etc. the list can go on for quite a while.


The whole point in this list is to make you aware that keeping a Nemo or Dory fish shouldn’t be taken lightly and there is a lot that needs to be done before you buy your fish. real life isn’t as easy as the movies guys!


Starting to change your mind on finding Nemo and Dory? Like many people out there keeping a saltwater aquarium might not be for you as it involves time, know how and money. If in doubt, stick to goldfish or try your hand at a tropical freshwater tank (which can be just as beautiful).


Still interested in keeping these fish after reading the amount of equipment you will need? Then read our ‘Step by Step’ guide to setting up your aquarium, do your homework and continue reading this post…


# The Cast of Nemo


There are several fish and critters though out the two films and they all have different needs. Some can be housed together, others need their own aquarium and some simply need to be left in the ocean (such as the Sharks, Whales, Otters and Turtles).

Below is the Cast of Nemo and Dory along with a short description of each.



Nemo – Clown fish


The most popular fish in the saltwater hobby and with good reason. These hardy little critters are great for beginners and are relativity easy to care for. They are a small fish that is ideal for the nano aquarium and are full of personality but also do well in a larger communal aquarium. Basically an all round good guy of the reefing world.



Minimum Tank Size – 30 gallon

Care Level – Easy

Temperament – Peaceful



Dory – Regal Tang


Since the film Finding Dory there has been a huge increase in the demand for this beautiful little critter and unfortunately many die as a result of the owner not having the equipment or knowledge to care for them. They are a beautiful fish that needs a large aquarium with lots of open space. If these fish are to be kept healthy and happy, like all tangs they need a diet that includes some greens.



Minimum Tank Size – 180 gallon

Care Level – Moderate

Temperament – Semi-aggressive



Gil – Moorish Idol


These beautiful creatures are part of the tang family, the same as Dory. They tend to grow to a reasonable size and need a large aquarium to swim around in. Although they are a relatively peaceful fish they tend to be picky eaters and many die within an aquarium within the first few weeks. This is why they can be quite difficult to care for.



Minimum Tank Size – 125 gallon

Care Level – Difficult

Temperament – Peaceful



Bubbles – Yellow Tang


Yet another relative of Dory is the yellow tang. This fish has similar needs to the regal tang and has a solid bright yellow coloration. Another very popular fish in the hobby due to its bright colors and tame nature.



Minimum Tank Size – 100 gallon

Care Level – Easy

Temperament – Semi-aggressive



Jacques – Cleaner Shrimp


One of my favorite types of shrimp is the cleaner shrimp. Simple, easy to care for and does a great job as part of a clean up crew. These shrimp will eat uneaten food and often keep other pest critters inline. They get their name from the fact they set up cleaning station on the reef where they pick off parasites and algae from larger fish. The fish gets a clean and the shrimp gets a meal. This natural behavior can often be seen within the aquarium environment.



Care Level – Easy

Temperament – Peaceful



Deb/Flo – Three Striped Damsel


They are a beautiful hardy little fish and ideal for nano aquariums. The only issue with a Three Striped Damsel is they can become very territorial and aggressive towards other tank mates as they grow. Often a popular choice with beginners who soon come to regret their choices as the fish becomes aggressive. This however is not the fishes fault, as it is in its nature. It is down to the lack of research by the owner, a mistake I made myself.



Minimum Tank Size – 30 gallon

Care Level – Easy

Temperament – Aggressive



Gurgle – Royal Gramma


The stunning little fish brings a lot of color the the home aquarium. They do best in a reef aquarium with many hiding places with tank mates of similar size and temperament. A personal favorite of mine but I have never kept one before. I aim to correct this soon.



Minimum Tank Size – 30 gallon

Care Level – Easy

Temperament – Peaceful



Peach – Starfish


Another beautiful addition to any saltwater aquarium and a great addition to a clean up crew. Star fish are best suited to established tanks as they feed of the micro organisms that live on the rock and sand. In a new setup there simply isn’t the numbers of these organisms to sustain a star fish for very long.



Care Level – Moderate

Temperament – Peaceful



Bloat – Porcupine Puffer


This fish is simply not a fish, but a lovable pet that will learn who you are and can often be hand fed. The puffer should be kept in a fish only aquarium as they will eat many corals and invertebrates. If bothered by other fish they can become very aggressive but in a lightly stocked aquarium they can make an excellent pet with lots of personality.



Minimum Tank Size – 180 gallon

Care Level – Moderate

Temperament – Semi-aggressive



Hank – Octopus


The octopus will do well in an aquarium if they are provided with plenty of live rock with many hiding places. The octopus is a strong and smart creature that needs a sturdy and secure enclosure. They are expert escape artists so a open top aquarium is simply not going to work. Always be careful and move at a slow and steady speed as not to scare the octopus. If startled they will release ink into the aquarium and this means only one thing… large water changes!

The octopus does better in a species only aquarium as they will eat many invertebrates and smaller fish. They won’t make friends with a regal tang like the film.



Minimum Tank Size – 35 gallon (depending on species)

Care Level – Expert

Temperament – Peaceful if kept in species only tank



# Should You Find Nemo and Dory?


As you can see keeping the cast of Nemo in a home aquarium isn’t as easy as the movies make it look. There are many things to consider such as tank size and fish compatibility. Bloat and Hank will most likely eat Jacques and Peach, Nemo may get picked on by the larger fish and Hank will most likely eat Dory instead of befriending her.

Some of these fish can live peacefully in a communal aquarium and many in the hobby do so (Like me). But it takes a lot of care, knowledge and time to maintain a healthy aquarium for these fish to live in. So if you have simply seen the film and want to go and buy a fish, DON’T.


On the other hand, if you are serious about getting into the hobby then you are more than welcome to and we will help in anyway we can. Why not check out the rest of our pages and links?

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