FAQs about Blue-Spotted Jawfish
Related Articles: The
Blue-Spotted Jawfish, Opistognathus rosenblatti, A Cool Fish in
More Than One Sense by Bob Fenner, Jawfishes by Bob Fenner,
FAQs on: Blue-Spotted Jawfish 1, Blue-Spotted Jawfish 2,
FAQs on: Blue-Spotted
Jawfish Identification, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Behavior, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Compatibility,
Jawfish Systems, Blue-Spotted
Jawfish Feeding, Blue-Spotted
Jawfish Reproduction, Jawfishes 1,
Jawfishes 2, Jawfish Identification, Jawfish Behavior, Jawfish Compatibility, Jawfish Selection, Jawfish Systems, Jawfish Feeding, Jawfish Disease, Jawfish Reproduction,
Jaw fish fin/tail problems. The usual for O. rosenblatti
<Howdy! Four megs of uncropped pic...>
My husband has a marine set up, it has been running for around a year. He is
at work and I have no idea how the water tests work but I can ask him to
send stats later. Aquarium is 400 litres, we have a powder blue tang, fox
face, Royal tang, lipstick tang, chalk goby, 2 clown fish and various small
hermit crabs and snails.
<Mmm; these are tropicals the Jawfish is not>
The tangs are all mild mannered and don't bother other tank mates, the
powder blue sometimes chases the regal and fox face when they annoy him too
much (they seem to want to swim with him all the time) but other than that
they're peaceful. Clown fish keep themselves to themselves, most territorial
are Goby and Dotty but these are burrowed at opposite ends and seem to sit
near each other without ever bothering each other.
I know the water is probably not great right now as we have been away for 2
weeks and despite having someone at the house feeding/maintaining the
skimmer etc, it was in a mess when we returned! So much so that when we
returned at midnight my husband spent 2 hours cleaning before he went to
bed, and in the next 2 days probably 8 hours doing a large water change,
cleaning sand bed and glass etc. So I think we can assume the water quality
is not good, hopefully his hard work has improved this but I will confirm
Immediately on our return I noticed that our blue spotted Jawfish (Dotty)
was seriously unwell! We have had Dotty for around 3 months, please
see image below:
He has ditched his burrow and sits in the open, as he is on this image.
Seems to be eating ok but certainly not himself. After doing the 50% water
change my husband removed the carbon and added metaflix
<Worse than worthless. See (as in read) on WWM Re>
to the aquarium. We considered quarantining him but we don't want to add
additional stress if it is not necessary, we think he has fin rot but as we
are new to the hobby we're not so sure? Poor water quality due to lack of
maintenance and possible overfeeding whilst we were away are the most
<This and mis-placement period; now apparent beating... by... the Clowns?>>
I just want some advice, are we doing the right thing?
We love Dotty and want to do everything we can to save him, although we're
concerned whatever he has, has progressed too much whilst we were away.
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. This fish is too frequently placed in too-warm
settings... lost prematurely. Bob Fenner>
Env. challenged, beaten.
Re: Jaw fish fin/tail problems
Thank you for your reply Bob, sorry the image was so big!
My husband keeps the tank at 25 Celsius, is this too high for the Jawfish,
or too low for the tropicals?
<Fine for the latter; too high for this Jaw species>
We did think it would be too late for him but I suppose we just hoped we
could help in some way, the clowns are juveniles and not showing any
aggression but I saw the regal tang take a couple of nips earlier, so yes he
is also being bullied. Will it be better to quarantine so he can die
We chose metaflix
<Melafix, an API product/sham>
because we read it doesn't harm the filter bacteria or invertebrates,
but I have read your views now and wish I had done so before!
I have made a donation to WWM and will use your site for info in future,
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re Jaw fish fin/tail problems 4/9/16
Apologies, I have the info re temperature for the Jawfish from your link,
and that max should be early 70's.
<At the very highest... in their range the temp. is in the low to mid 50's
F. the middling sixties F mostly>
Therefore the temp we keep of 77 Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) is too high for
him. Our local LFS encouraged us to go for this fish knowing we have a
tropical set up,
<Very common; yes, and a mistake>
what a shame they are pretty much sentencing these beautiful fish to death
by not properly marketing them as needing cooler temperatures.
I have been on watch this afternoon and caught the regal tang nipping her
fins multiple times, my husband is going to take the Jawfish out and put her
<Ahh! Very good>
when he's home, otherwise Dotty will be nipped to death through the night,
I'm sure of it. At least in quarantine he can have some peace from the fin
Thanks so much for your information, this is the first and last Jawfish we
will add to our tropical set up.
<Oh! There are other, tropical Opistognathid species... Bob Fenner>
Re: Jaw fish fin/tail problems 4/9/16
That's good to know, we'll research on your site before making any more
Jawfish purchases. They're so interesting to watch I really love their
<Really neat animals>
He actually seems happier in quarantine, he's swimming around now and my
husband fed him some live food and he gobbled it up! I know his chances are
very slim but I'll keep hoping....
Jawfish with bulge? Misplaced sp.
As always, thank you for continuing to build up the WWM site it is a
precious resource much appreciated by all of us aquarists who continue
to learn so much from you every day!
<It is our shared passion... to share; inform, inspire fellow aquarists>
Here is a bit of info regarding my setup:
I have a 175G tank that has been running for a bit over two years. Water
parameters are pretty stable: SG 1.023, Alk 180 ppm, pH at 8.2, CA 240,
<Low for biomineralizing life; fine for fishes>
ammonia, nitrites and nitrates all below detectable levels although
temp tends to run a bit high at 80F.
<Too high for this species... read here:
The tank has a 2" inch sandbed
<And too shallow for Rosenblatt's Jawfish>
and live rock. In terms of livestock, I have:
* 1 Spotted sweetlips (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides) which I know, I
never should have gotten, but this was before I was an avid WWM reader.
I have given him extra care and he has been happily with me for 2 years
now, so I guess I'm one of the success stories.
<Ah yes; congrats!>
* 1 Yellow tang (Zebrasoma Flavescens)
* 1 Diamond Goby (Valenciennea puellaris)
* 3 Ocellaris clownfish
* 1 Sea Hare (Aplysia oculifera)
* 1 Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
* 1 Blue Spot Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti) - the individual in
* 1 Pajama Cardinal (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
* 1 Red Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
* As well as 1 Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa), 1 Fighting Conch, 1
Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Coco Worm (Protula magnifica) and a Crocea Clam
I also have a few SPS (Leather Coral, Button Polyp and a few Kenya Trees
that I fight to keep under control).
<... a factor here as well... And these need higher [Ca], proportionate
No life form has been added to the tank for 6+ months.
I am reaching out to you because my Blue Spot Jawfish (Opistognathus
rosenblatti) seems to be in trouble. He started eating very little and
even rejecting food about ten days ago. His behavior became a bit more
reclusive than normal (he has a little cave under the live rock that he
loves and tends to spend most of the time peeking out of it), although
he appeared otherwise fine. I left for a business trip for a week, and
now I came back and noticed that he has developed a large bulge in the
middle of his body - as if he had swallowed a rock - so I am concerned
about him. Last night he ate a little bit but still not in his usual
I attached a picture - let me know if it is too blurry and I'll try to
take another one.
<Mmm, yes; is a tumor of some sort... could be parasitic, cancerous...
can't say w/o sacrificing the fish, other micro- work. Treatment? I
wouldn't medicate. I would move this fish to cooler water, in a system
w/ more fine sand...>
As usual a BIG, Texas-sized thank you from Houston!
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue Spotted Jawfish has Crypt? email... two
actually out of 9/27/11
I just checked on the Blue Spotted Jawfish and he's all the
way out of his burrow, so I was able to get a better picture of
him and a better personal look. I think now he probably has
<Mmm, not likely... instead Cryptocaryon...>
If this is correct, apologies about failure to recognize it
before. The disease in general is still new to me and I
didn't think it quite fit the description until I got a
better look at him. Reading up on that on your archives now,
although it seems rather hopeless so far.
<... this species, Opistognathus rosenblatti, is not really a
tropical animal... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BlueSptJawArt.htm
and here re disease: http://wetwebmedia.com/BluSptJawDisF.htm
and once it's in a suitable environment... deciding on either
a course of medicine treatment or hoping it will self-cure.
Do you understand? Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue Spotted Jawfish has Crypt?... three out of...
Thanks for the reply Bob!
I just read your links, thank you, I wish I had known about them
a bit before purchasing the Blue Spotted Jawfish, I didn't
realize he needed it quite so cold. As far as what seems to be
plaguing him, I'm just not certain it looks like Crypt.
I'm not sure if marine Ich is different from freshwater, but
based on the outbreak we had once in our freshwater tank this
doesn't look quite the same.
<Indeed they are. Difference in size...>
Mainly the fact that there are apparent tubes/tentacles on him
(what I assumed was the 'cilia' from Brooklynellosis)
rather than white dots flesh with his scales.
<Actually... one cannot see the actual agents (Protozoans)...
the white clumps, spots are the reaction effect of the host...
Additionally he has the labored breathing which seems to be a
Brooklynellosis symptom, <Symptomatic of all
"proteinaceous precipitant" reactions... More mucus
makes breathing/respiration difficult>
although whether or not this is also true for Crypt I'm not
all I saw on our freshwater Ich was the fish flashing against the
gravel, which I have also seen the Jawfish doing from time to
time (though I suspect any type of parasite will cause this
As far as the fish being non-tropical, does that relate in anyway
to his illness?
<Oh yes... all health issues are "environmentally
mediated"... Have you not noticed this in your life? Read
here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm>
I'm just a little confused because on a WWM article about
Brooklynellosis it says Jawfish can also be easily susceptible to
it, so I'm not sure if you're implying it's a disease
for tropical fish only or if other types of Jawfish are tropical
and therefore are the ones to get it?
<Mmm, can be subject to... but rare>
It's just frustrating because he looked so healthy yesterday
and in the store, and suddenly today he has this. At any rate,
I'm going to need to treat my whole tank now won't I?
<Unless you have a treatment set-up... yes. Or as insinuated
in the last email, want to hope/wait out the situation, hoping
this/these animal/s will fight off the infestation. Read here
and the linked files above, till you understand sufficiently.
Thanks for all the advice
Blue Spotted Jawfish has Crypt?... the original/first email...
rec'd third 9/28/11
<Haylee... has your email gone through a worm hole? We've
chatted twice before this>
My boyfriend and I just recently got into the marine aquarium
hobby, and your website has been a fantastic source but we're
definitely still learning a lot as we go (we just recently
battled a Vermetid Snail and are still combating the Digitate
We have a 29gal.
<Too small for Opistognathus rosenblatti>
that's 30x12x18. I want to say we have ~30 lbs of live rock,
and it's been up and running about 2 months now with great
reports thus far. Unfortunately my boyfriend does all the water
testings, so I don't have the exact numbers for you (and we
actually don't have a test for magnesium yet) also some of
our tests are dry strips...which I know you guys hate and are
less reliable (we're working on it!) but we did a water test
last night and all of our numbers were in the 'good
range'. We do have a powerhead and a protein skimmer, I'm
not sure what the specs you need for those are though. The
inhabitants are: 1 Tail Spot Blenny, 1 Blue Spotted Jawfish,
<A cool water species. Incompatible here>
1 Arrow Crab,
1 Fancy Brittle Star,
<This too possibly>
1 Cerith Snail, 2 Astrea Snails, 2 Nerite Snails (I believe they
were sold to us as Margarita Snails, but based on the sesame seed
like eggs on the tank I've chalked them up to Nerites) and 8
Hermits that I think are the Dwarf Red Tip.
Now the problem is, we just bought a Blue Spotted Jawfish 4 days
ago and then went back to pick him up and introduce him to our
tank yesterday. He was doing absolutely fabulous yesterday, and
immediately began to burrow.
<What they do>
Likely our first mistake is we did not quarantine him. We
don't have a separate tank set aside for this, or had even
really thought of it until I was trying to read up on some things
tonight. The place we bought the Jawfish from is a place we
haven't bought anything from yet, and the Jawfish was
actually $80 when I know they can go for $200 (too good to be
true usually is, right) but all of their livestock, both coral
and fish, appear very healthy and the employees are knowledgeable
(albeit still salesmen) the low prices if anything are likely a
way for their smaller scale store to compete with some of the
larger ones near them.
But back to the Jawfish, tonight he has what appears to be white
dots on him.
<Saw these in our previous email>
Now we've had an outbreak of Ich in our freshwater tank a
while back, and to me, these spots don't look the same.
However, I did witnesses him flashing a few times against the
sand. Really on closer inspection though, it's not so much
white spots as what looks like....clear, short tentacles coming
off his body
<Excessive body mucus...>
(well his head, he won't show me the rest of his body)
it also looks like his breathing is a little bit more labored and
one gill appears rather flared out (I thought maybe he had a
Copepod stuck in there even). I've attached a picture, you
can sort of see one of the 'tentacles' on the very top
middle of his head. These sort of tentacles on his body could be
his slime, but I've seen slime off corals and fish before and
this doesn't quite look the same, but sand is sticking to it
(which is where the white dots appearance is really coming from I
believe). So before I stress him out even further with a
freshwater dip for Ich, I wanted to know if this sounds more like
a stress case and we should just leave him alone,
<Is a crypt case linked/subsequent to excess stress>
maybe even see how he is tomorrow before taking action?
<Up to you... have you read where you were last
My only concern is if it is Ich I want to act now to ensure the
greatest survival rate for him, and stop it from spreading
Now, another thing that makes me think this may not be Ich is
that starting yesterday our Arrow Crab lost a leg. By this
evening he know has 4 legs and 1 claw, which kind of sounds like
he's reacting to poor water quality (but we just tested last
night!). The Arrow crab has been one of our longest additions to
the tank and he's actually relatively mellow for an Arrow so
I don't believe he's getting into any fights with anyone
(as far as I know he hasn't even left the back corner where
all his legs are lying around him).
But we did do a few new things to our tank this week, besides
adding the Blue Spotted Jawfish.
<Likely a water quality issue... do you administer iodide/ate?
Balance of Biominerals and alkalinity?>
We also bought 8 new coral frags (is their type important?
Nothing really out of the ordinary.) and ran all of them and our
live rock through a dip yesterday with Coral RX
We also added more live sand into the tank, to give the new
Jawfish some more burrowing room (although he's using the
shallower side anyway, go figure).
Because of the rock and coral dip we ended up rearranging the
entire set up of our tank, also in efforts to promote the Jawfish
burrow at the front (which he chose yay!) rather than the back
where he'd initially begun digging.
And we attached our new corals to the rock using a reef safe
putty (I'm afraid I don't know the name, but it's red
with gray inside and you mix it together and it generates a small
amount of heat. The package warned it would make the protein
skimmer go nuts for 36 hours, which it is).
Last night we also did about a 10% water change, and we'd had
some evaporation as it is so topped off the tank (we did the
water test a few hours after this, by the way). Typically we
don't do a weekly water change which you guys seem to
suggest, but we also don't do a monthly one, just sorta
somewhere in between.
<You're learning; good>
So, between all of that, I'm not sure what it is. Obvious
answer seems to be stress, right?
<As a related "cause". Yes>
But truth be told, after all the chaos of dipping and
reorganizing the tank last night, the Jawfish immediately built a
new burrow and seemed very content. He never appeared slimy,
labored, timid or ever not digging at any point yesterday. Sorry
for being so long, I wanted to make sure I got every possible
source of issue explained! Any help would be appreciated though,
because I'm not quite sure what to think or do at this point.
<Please review our last two emails, the linked citation
referrals therein. BobF>
|Re: Blue Spotted Jawfish has Crypt?
Haha I was confused why my second e-mail received a response before
the first, strange.
The corals we bought are: Red Mushroom, Frogspawn, Torch, Magician
Palys, some type of Favite, a type of Colony Polyp, Button Polyps
and Daisy Polyps
<See WWM re the Zoanthids, Clavulariids... even the Corallimorph
and Euphyllia... these organisms are inclined toward chemical
Allelopathy... induced troubles w/ haphazard mixing>
In regards to your questions about adding any iodide or balancing
alkalinity, thus far we haven't ever added anything into our
tank aside from removing/adding water to help balance out some
levels here and there. The two fish we have now (the Tailspot
Blenny and the Blue Spotted Jawfish) are very new, having them a
week or less. Until now we've mainly had our invertebrates and
corals, so we were more worried with making sure our Nitrates and
Nitrites and such were in the good ranges. Of course with fish
there's going to be a whole other host of water issues to be
careful of.... but we had been cycling for a while with good
reports so felt safe adding a fish or two.
<Again... and hopefully for the last time... you need to sell,
return this fish... or place it in a suitable environment. It will
NOT live in a 29 gal. trop. sys. for well or long>
As it is we still need to purchase all the remaining test kits (it
feels like there's hundreds) and then had planned on getting
any additives as needed based on our water reports.
Regarding the Jawfish though, we've decided to just let him try
to fight it off on his own. We didn't want to have to rush a
quarantine tank which could only help cause further stress anyway,
but now we're going to be slowly setting up a quarantine for
the future. Leaving them alone also seems to be a lot of the
suggestions on the Crypt FAQ you linked to, and since he seems to
be pretty hardy and healthy so far, so he might have a good chance.
I did want to ask your thoughts on a freshwater dip though? A
friend of ours is urging we do that, but from what I've been
reading I haven't seen anyone suggest that as a cure to Crypt,
but more of a preventative before adding new fish into the tank. Is
it effective either way?
<Best to do as you're doing and hope for a self-cure here.
Do NOT add any more livestock>
Again we really appreciate all your help, learning so much just
from this one experience, although hopefully no lives will be lost
<I am very glad to help you as well as to find you're
intelligent, sensitive and have a positive outlook. These are
excellent qualities for not only prospective reef aquarists for
living period. Cheers, BobF>
Blue spotted Jawfish, damaged -- 3/31/10
We have a blue spotted Jawfish whose mouth on the left side seems
to have turned pink & almost appears bruised I know this
isn't the best photo but he is burrowing like he does. Do you
think he is I'll or somehow hurt?
<I do... and very likely misplaced... You do realize this is a
sub-tropical species... that requires deep fine sand, very large
space front to back...
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BluSptJawF.htm
Re: Blue spotted Jawfish -- 3/31/10
Misplaced?? Please elaborate.
<... read where you were referred>
If there is more I could or should be doing to make him happy or
comfortable I would be happy to make those changes. Maybe I
should also tell you he has lots of room but chooses to make his
burrow under the live rock. This morning he was actually swimming
all around the tank so I'm hoping that's a good sign
since normally he is quite shy.
<... I have an as yet unpublished article (in process) on
Opistognathus rosenblatti I can/could send along... but the
salient points are covered in the aforementioned FAQs file.
Blue Spotted Jawfish Injury 12/12/09
Dear Wet Web Media,
I spent several hours trying to find the right article to answer
my questions. I have had 2 ocellaris clown fish, a yellow tang,
and a blue spotted Jawfish in my aquarium for over 6 months with
not one problem.
<Mmm, I've recently penned an article on Opistognathus
rosenblatti. It's not posted on WWM pending publication in
pulp 'zines... but I want to state that this fish is
difficult to keep in most hobbyist settings long term...
Is not really tropical, but cooler water, and needs much more
room/space than folks realize, esp. for such a small species...
Like a four foot or more long and two foot or more wide sandy
bottom area footprint... With no competitors in the way of fish
life in its space>
I test my water about every 2 or 3 days and keep up with my water
changes regularly. Recently however, I made a very big mistake. I
went to a fish store near my house and ended up leaving with a
lyre-tail wrasse. It goes against my better judgment because I
was not planning on getting anymore fish. Well I should of known
better because this new fish took a decent size chunk out of my
poor jawfish's tail. I put my Jawfish in a hospital tank
and added some antibiotics to the water (Metronidazole 250).
<... this is NOT an antibiotic, but an anti-protozoal. Of no
benefit here, and in fact, deleterious>
I am really hoping he pulls through, I would like to know if his
tail will ever grow back?
<If not too badly chewed, placed in propitious
What is the likely hood that he will survive?
<Long term, not good>
I feel pretty stupid for not doing my homework prior to adopting
this wrasse.. the man at the fish store was not informative at
all about this animal, although I accept the responsibility of
not doing my research.
<I would return the Lyretail Wrasse to the store, and place
the Blue Spot Jaw in the main display, and not "treat"
its injury further. Bob Fenner>
Photograph of injured blue spotted Jawfish
Looks like a healthy specimen otherwise! BobF
Sick blue spotted Jawfish: Jawfish Health\Compatibility +
Overstocked + Aggression + Crypt 7/22/2009
Hello and a "thank you" in advance for your help......
I know you're going to ask so here are our stats:
90 gallon with ~75 lbs of live rock, 20 or 30 gallon fuge using bio
balls, red sea protein skimmer, 25 gamma watt UV sterilizer (been on
for about 2 weeks) stocked with a Sailfin tang, baby hippo, royal
Gramma, two clownfish, 6 line wrasse and the blue spotted Jawfish.
The hippo broke out with some ich a few weeks ago and we started with
the vitamin c and garlic.
<Not a cure. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm
here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm >
It cleared up and then reappeared, so we got the UV sterilizer and we
know that this isn't a cure for it but can possibly help. It has
not cleared up and the Gramma has been seen with a few spots on his
<You are going to have to treat the Crypt and soon.>
We are doing ~weekly water changes and our water parameters are as
Ph 8.04 (added a bit of buffer)
Alk = 9.2
salinity 1.025 (measured with a refractometer)
I have been unable to catch the hippo to do a freshwater dip or QT but
now our Jawfish is very sick. He has what appears to be torn fins and
something going on with his skin. His breathing is somewhat labored but
he is still eating.
<Has he ever constructed a burrow? Your substrate may not be to his
liking. Also, are you sure that none of the other fish, particularly
the clownfish or the wrasse are beating up on the Jawfish?>
We set up a hospital tank for him with a few PVC pipes so he'd have
places to hide and then placed him in the hospital tank after he was
sitting in the middle of the tank not moving much. He has ate a bit in
the tank and his breathing has somewhat calmed down.
<Likely aggression in the main tank.>
I am attaching photos to see if you can identify the problem. Some are
from our tank and some are from his hospital tank.
<He does look better in the hospital tank.>
On an extra note, I'm a little worried about a "emerald
crab" we have,
<Another potential Jawfish bully.>
I've seen him a few times and he looks more brownish than
<Without a picture, I can't tell, but Emerald Mithrax crabs do
have color variations. Further, no crab is ever to be trusted
I'm wondering if the on-line company we ordered from sent us
another type of crab and it is ,for lack of a better word, mean to the
Jawfish and does not belong in our tank.
<It is likely a Mithrax crab
Any ideas how to catch this crab?
I tried bating him with a piece of shrimp but he held on to the rock
like he was Arnold S. and I wasn't successful with getting him out
of there. The reason I'm saying this about the crab is because the
Jawfish hasn't ever really decided on a home, he kept on changing
and a few times I found him just sitting in the corner.
<This is a clue here: Jawfish need to burrow, and if they cannot,
they get stressed. It may not like your substrate.>
I know they need a 360 view so I had set up a few PVC pipes so he could
have that but he never adopted them for a home.
<Some will, some won't.>
Currently, he is in a 5 gallon hospital tank with a air-stone and a
small hang over filter.
How often should I be doing water changes-if he makes it-and how long
should he be in there?
<Water changes daily and he cannot be in there for long.
What should I be giving him as far as medications.
My LFS gave me something for him saying he thought it might be
bacterial, but this is just from what we were describing. I apologize
that I can't tell you what it is as I didn't go in, I had
another fish friend helping me out while I tried to get the hospital
tank cleaned and ready.
They said to throw the syringe out and it was amber colored-copper
<No, copper medication is normally blue-green.>
I'm sorry-I know I loaded you up with questions. Thank you for your
time and response.
<You have a few issues here. First, you have crypt (ich) in your
system - you need to get that taken care of. Second, you have a few
fish that are inappropriate for a 90 gallon, as they will get too big
in time. At this point, I would return the Jawfish to the store
particularly in light of how expensive they are, until you get the
other issues in your tank resolved.>
Blue Spotted Jawfish with white spots. Disease?
02/09/09 Hello WWM, Before sending this email I have
searched the pages for Jawfish disease/health and have not been
able to reach an answer, so I hope that someone has seen this
before. My blue-spotted Jawfish in one of my tanks has been fine
for months but recently I have noticed he/she is developing white
patches or spots along its body. <I see these> Behavior
seems fine, no noticeable changes, appetite is normal also, and
respiration seems fine too. I guess his (we will go with
"him" for the sake of this email, sex is however,
unknown) behavior has always been a little out of character,
since he has never constructed a burrow, <Very unusual... and
a good clue here... There is something re the substrate not to
its liking... too coarse, sharp...> he prefers to hang out in
front of, or under the overhang of a piece of live rock he calls
home. My ocellaris clown also hangs out with him in this
particular location, they appear to get along well. Since these
two fish are around each other so much, I would assume if it was
a parasite the other would have it, or another fish in the tank,
but all others seem fine, including the clown. <Not
parasitic> Please look at the attached photograph and let me
know your opinion. Is this some form of disease/parasite?
<Mmm, no... mechanical injury> Could it be old age? I will
say that this particular Jawfish does not look as
"plump" as another blue spot that I have in a separate
tank (base rear of the skull appears slightly indented, not as
"full" as the other fish, it is kind of wrinkled).
Thanks in advance, Landon <Do try placing at least a sizable
tray of mixed rubble and soft coral sand in the area where this
Opistognathid "hangs out" for its use. It does need to
burrow. Bob Fenner>
Treatment stress versus illness First, as with so many before
me, I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks for all the
conscientious advice you've (all) given on the subtle art of salt
critter care. _The Conscientious Marine Aquarist_ has been my unfailing
guide for the several years I've been in the hobby, and I've
found no other printed source that compares favorably to it. Likewise,
this site is extremely helpful. However, having read the FAQs and many
letters and responses on parasitic diseases and troubleshooting, I
remain in a quandary and hope you can help. <We'll try> The
set up: I am transitioning from a 3 year old 30 gallon small peaceful
fish and live rock tank to a 60 gallon fish and hardy invert/tolerant
corals tank with a plenum, deep (over 4") aragonite/live sand bed
with a separator at 1 1/2 " depth to protect the plenum from
diggers, more intense lighting (240 watts of pc lighting, 50% white and
50% actinic), approximately 100 lbs of live rock, brisk (20x/hour)
circulation divided between several pumps, and air-driven skimming
(which seems to kick the tar out of our finicky Venturi skimmer in
terms of skimmate production). <The usefulness of various skimmers
labeled as "Venturi" type is huge in variance> The new
tank has been cycled for a few months and is maintaining good, stable
conditions (zero ammonia and nitrite, falling nitrate as the plenum
comes into effect -- it seems to have a longer maturation time -- pH
8.2, salinity 1.0235 at 78 F, dKH 8. <Yes... a general
"rule", the larger the system, the longer to establish>
The tank went through a diatom bloom and a little red slime production,
both of which were eaten by the cleanup critters (a variety of snails
and small hermits) or passed away naturally as conditions matured. Once
everything looked good, we started moving stock. Sadly, we had little
old stock to move as the switch was catalyzed by the fact that the
lighting on our 3 year old Eclipse hood had been shocking our old
system, quietly killing our fish. We put a stop to that when we noticed
frayed fins, heavy breathing, and some slight lateral line erosion on
our pair of true Percula clowns and psychedelic mandarin goby, all of
which have been with us for the whole three years (yes, we bought the
dragonet before we bought the book that told us not to, but with 60 lbs
of live rock in a 30 gallon system and lots of live brine enriched with
Selcon and VitaChem he was thriving until the electrocution began. The
dragonet was the first to move, as the critter-rich waters of the newer
system seemed to offer his best chance of recovery. He has been
feasting there for several weeks and is very active and slowly
fattening again, but has a bald (colorless) patch on top of his head
which neither recovers nor worsens. <This will hopefully improve
with time> It is not as "dimensional" as the hole in the
head pictures I've seen, but I assume it's a combination of
nutritional issues and electrocution. Nonetheless, he's doing well
and really pigging out on enriched brine and all the life in the new
tank. Next we added a store bought royal Gramma. We dipped him but our
treatment tank was already occupied by the Percula clowns, as their
electrocution damage evolved into a very deep-seated and stubborn
fungal infection of the mouths, which we are still treating. The Gramma
was bright and beautiful for almost a week, then developed a heavy
whitish slime and -- since we were totally unable to catch him -- died
in two days. We waited in terror to see if the dragonet would show
signs of infection, but none developed. So we bought two Banggai
cardinals, dipped and quarantined them with the clowns for a week and a
half and then added them to the tank. All was well, and still is with
the dragonet and cardinals. Here comes the dilemma. After a month of
looking, my reef retailer was able to acquire a blue-spotted Jawfish --
my long-time dream fish -- for me. He suggested that the fish would
undergo less stress if dipped and placed immediately in the system he
was destined for. Since the hospital tank does not have a sand bed for
him, I agreed and so after a long dip and acclimation I placed him in
the tank. After a scary while of sitting in stun on the floor, he set
up a deep little burrow for himself and moved in. On the second day he
started eating hungrily (flakes, strangely enough, ignoring all live
food offerings). But he is extremely noctophobic, leaping out of his
burrow and cowering when the lights go out, so we've had to give
him a "night light" to keep him from freaking out. <Good
idea> Anyway, morning of day three (today) he is sick, with clumps
of very dimensional (over a millimeter high and wide and somewhat
uneven) white clumps and a few "strings" of white body slime
as well, which I presume is a reaction to whatever's eating him.
He's still eating, and given how stressed he is I'm afraid to
stress him more by moving him to a treatment tank or dipping him.
However if we're looking at Oodinium or Brooklynella it seems from
reading your site that he has little chance of recovery, none without
treatment, and has probably already infected the whole system. So, what
do you think the disease is, and what would you do were you in this
situation (given, yes, that you would never have put an unquarantined
fish into your tank in the first place). Sorry for the length of the
inquiry, but I feel that detailed information is crucial to looking at
things in a whole-systems approach, as you advocate. Thank you in
advance for your help! Ananda <At this point I would try adding a
cleaner species or two, and otherwise "hope for the best". I
agree with your assessment of the role of stress here and the
likelihood of improvement with further movement. Bob Fenner>
Sores on a Jaw Fish I have a blue spot Jawfish that has 2
small sores on near the base of his tail fin. Due to the nature of a
Jawfish, he spends mush of his time with his head out of his dugout
when I am at the front of the tank. Of course, if I back up, he'll
hover in the column, but then I can't see the injury well. I'm
sure you get the idea. <I think so, yes.> So far this problem has
existed about a week, but I do not see the wound healing or getting
worse - it seems to be on the balance, in limbo. <These types of
things take time - more like a month.> I have a Q-tank that is
unoccupied, so I could move the fish BUT, is the difficulty and stress
of trying to extricate a Jawfish worth the move? <Probably not
unless the spots start to spread.> (tank is 30" deep and the
Jaw is well dug in) Is there a greater risk of damage in trying to get
the Jaw to the Q-tank than the risk of the sore getting worse?
<I'd be concerned about both.> Thanks a lot. BTW. I got my
signed book the other day, "Reef Invertebrates". It's
quite impressive. I'm soaking in every page, and letting my
children check out all the pictures! You did us all a favor with this
book! <I'm glad you are enjoying it.> Bill Roh
<Cheers, J -- >