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FAQs about Blue-Spotted Jawfish Systems

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, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Stocking/Selection, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Feeding, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Disease/Health, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Reproduction, Jawfishes 1, Jawfishes 2, Jawfish Identification, Jawfish Behavior, Jawfish Compatibility, Jawfish Selection, Jawfish Systems, Jawfish Feeding, Jawfish Disease, Jawfish Reproduction,


Subtropical sand stirring species recommendations needed     7/4/12
Hi WetWebMedia,
    I'm hoping you can help me out with some advice. I'm in the process of setting up a 75 gallon subtropical system (68-72 temp. range), specifically designed to house a pair of Blue Spotted Jawfish (75% fine/25% coarse sand bed, at least 6 inches, etc). I'm having a hard time finding a suitable sand stirrer for my set up that will tolerate subtropical temperatures.
<Mmm, I wouldn't use any here... Opistognathus rosenblatti really don't like other animals stirring about them... Perhaps some cooler-water burrowing snails...>
 I was hoping you could give me some recommendations that will be suitable for a newly set up system. If possible, please list some species that are listed as tropical, but do fine at subtropical temperatures due to natural fluctuations in their indigenous areas (I'm having the hardest time finding this information specifically) that are commonly sold?
<Mmm, there are quite a few possibilities... I'd check into Fishbase.org, Books re fishes of the Sea of Cortez... Kerstitch, Findley, Thomson... Lythrypnus dalli is a for sure choice>
 If not, perhaps my only option is to locate a cold water vendor
<The larger (marine livestock wholesale) houses (esp. LA) deal in such, often sold as tropicals>
 and specifically buy a sand sifter from a sub tropical area. Such as a Red Goatfish, who's also from the Sea of Cortez.
<Ah yes... but I would only employ such in a MUCH larger system... hundreds of gallons>
Although, a goatfish may not be the best choice being that they get quite large and are demersal. If this is my only option (besides stirring the sand myself), do you have any suggestions of specific species?
<The system maintained (and now abandoned) at S.I.O. (where namesake Dick Rosenblatt is still a prof. BTW), just kept these solo as a species... they're too skittish otherwise... Won't "come out" if there are other active fishes present>
 If none of these options are viable due to various reasons, maybe the best option is to stir the sand bed myself weekly?
<Likely won't need much stirring period... best to keep all in low light...>
 Your opinion is
greatly appreciated!
Thank you,
<Thank you for your query. Bob Fenner>

Jawfish hovering? 11/16/11
I have a blue spotted jawfish in one of my Nano tanks.
<... This species can't live in such small volumes long or well; which you would have known had you followed directions and searched ahead of writing us. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BlueSptJawArt.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
I have had him for about 2 months and he has always stayed in his burrow with a little more than his head showing. Last night, before lights out, he started hovering outside of his burrow for about 5 seconds at a time and then he would slowly sink back in...he does this when he's peeing in the water normally, but this was different as he was doing it constantly for the entire hour I observed. Is this normal behavior or is it something to be concerned about? What does it mean? Thanks!
Re: Jawfish hovering? O. rosenblatti sel./stkg.  11/16/11

Thank you for the link but I have two qualms.
<Go ahead>
1. You did not answer my question at all (not helping future readers)
<Mmm, indeed I did not... I suspect the behavior you describe is aberrant; due to the too-small confines of this system. One could/might argue that this specimen is more outgoing as a consequence of being more familiar ("settled in"); but I have read accounts, spoken w/ dozens of other owners (including public aquarium displays... perhaps you can contact Fernando Nosratpour, Head Aquarist at SIO's Birch Aq. of Opistognathus rosenblatti)... and the consensus is that this species doesn't belong in small, tropical aquarium settings.
2. It is not 100% fact that these fish require large tanks.
<Actually... you may define "fact" differently. The vast majority of these fish die w/in weeks to a few months kept in inappropriate settings>
As I am sure you are already aware of, much of what is thought of as "fact" in reefkeeping is completely debatable - and to say that very few can keep these fish in small aquariums is, to me, absurd. My blue spot is in a tank all by himself, the temperature is kept at 70 degrees with a chiller
<Ahh, good>
(regardless, their temperature they are found in varies *dramatically* according to this organization:
http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/dests/MexicoPacificInfo.shtml ), the tank is 30g and tall and he has a 6 inch sandbed with crushed coral, fine sand and large pieces of rock rubble. I kept all these in mind because I wanted a jawfish to be the only fish in the tank at all. According to the following sources, 30g is more than enough:
Members of the blue spotted jawfish club on reefsanctuary
Blue zoo aquatics
Scott Michael (suggesting 20g in one section and saying in another only 10g)
<Scott is knowledgeable indeed. I've collected this fish myself...><<Note: ScottM and I likely agree some 98-99% of time/cases, but differ re some species, groups minimum system sizes... sharks, morays in particular... and evidently re this cool-water Jaw. RMF>>
I believe you would be hard-pressed to find more sources stating they need large aquariums. Not to mention the fact that many of the larger aquariums have large, active fish in them (e.g. Tangs, Wrasse, Rabbitfish, Angelfish - there are certainly not many goby-exclusive large aquariums) which would scare a jawfish. You are certainly an expert in the aquarium field: that I do not doubt or I would never have asked you. However, to say that I "didn't follow directions" sounds a bit self-absorbed, as if to say that I am wrong for not following *your* directions (even though, for the record, I have read them and certainly agree with them for the most part). If I *had* followed your jawfish advice of not quarantining my yellowhead jawfish in my large tank, I would have gotten Ich considering that very soon after being put in quarantine with 6+ inches of inert substrate, he broke out in Ich and needed to be treated. Additionally, many individuals have kept them in nanos for years successfully, making it absurd to blatantly say they "can't live in such small volumes long or for well."
<? There are MANY organisms suitable for keeping in small volumes. This is not one of them IMO/E>
If you would like to debate this, I can back this up with links of jawfish that are years old in smaller aquariums.
<Other species; yes>
Myself included, many do not think of the blue spotted jawfish as a particularly difficult fish once it is proven to be disease-free: unsafe and unsanitary collection methods are assumed to be the cause of demise for many of them, not just unhardiness. If you do not wish to respond to this, that is fine...just wanted to bring up these points.
<I thank you for your input; will post/share. I do hope that you/others have more success w/ keeping this species in small systems. BobF>

Adding sand to marine aquarium: Creating a Jawfish Habitat 9/27/2010
I am wanting to add 2 Blue Spotted Jawfish to my aquarium and only have a 2" sandbed right now. I need to add about 4" to that and am not sure how to go about doing it.
<Isn't hard, just need to go slowly.>
Can I buy bags of Live Sand from my LFS and simply add them to the tank, or do I need to do it slowly. Thanks in advance!
My tank specs are:
150 gallon RR been running about 6 years
180 lbs of live rock
2 Ocellaris Clowns
1 Royal Gramma
1 Coral Beauty Angel
1 Yellow Coris Wrasse
2 Blue Green Chromis
25 Hermit Crabs
1 Emerald Crab
1 Cleaner Shrimp
1 Peppermint Shrimp
Several Snails
Torch Coral
Several Mushrooms and Zoanthids
Star Polyps
Leather Coral
Bubble Anemone
<Buy the sand one bag at a time, and add it slowly - when I add sand to my tank, I use a plastic cup - it helps keep the dust clouds down to a minimum.

Jawfish never stays in burrow... Jawfish Behavior\Systems 9/7/2010
Dear WWM,
<Hi Laura>
Hope all is well at WWM.
<All is great, thanks.>
I set up a JBJ 28g LED Nano Aquarium around a Blue Spot Jawfish.
<A Beautiful fish, one of my favorites.>
I have 42 pounds of live rock in this tank, a 4" sandbed, lots of shells and rubble for burrowing, and the tank has a covered top.
<Covered top is important, they are jumpers.>
I thought this would make any BSJ quite happy, as the his only tankmates are a yellow clown goby and a juvenile tailspot blenny.
<A nice stocking list for this tank.>
The Jawfish was added first. Tank parameters are: Temp: 77 degrees constant, Nitrates: 0, Phosphates: 0, Ammonia: 0,
Calcium: 460, KH: 9. I got the BSJ 10 days ago.
<All looks good there.>
Although this fish has made small shallow burrows all over the tank under the rockwork, he has not utilized any of the rubble or shells I have provided for him.
<Hmm... what kind of sand? They really prefer a mix of fine sand, with some coarser substrate like a crushed coral>
Even more interesting is that he spends his day and night swimming all over the tank, and I mean, all over.
<That is uncommon>
He goes in and out of holes, swims freely, peeks out of caves, and doesn't bother either the goby or blenny whatsoever. Rarely do I see him in any of his "burrows." He lays openly out on the sand, and eats voraciously from a pipette I use to feed him Spectrum Pellets, and various other meaty foods. His colors are brilliant, he shows no signs of being stressed - not a mark on him, no torn fins, nothing.
<All sounds fine there.>
Is this fish so "comfortable" he does not feel the need to spend his time building his burrow, rearranging it, and living in it, as Jawfish "supposedly" do, or is something wrong with him or the conditions I have provided for him?
<Normally this is because they don't like the substrate - either it keeps collapsing on itself, or it is too rough for its liking. Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishbehfaqs1.htm >
Thanks in advance,
Re: Jawfish never stays in burrow... Jawfish behavior\system 9/7/2010
Hi Mike,
<Hi Laura.>
Thank you so much for your reply.
<My pleasure.>
I have fine sand in the tank. I did put some shells and some rubble pieces in, but there is no crushed coral mixed into the sand at all. I just bought a bag after reading your response. If you could provide me with some kind of ratio on fine sand vs. crushed coral, I would greatly appreciate it.
<Well, make sure you rinse it well before putting it in the tank, you want a mix of 75% fine sand and about 25% crushed coral. Just mix it in with the sand.>
Thanks Mike, and I hope I see some burrowing activity from this guy tonight!!!
<Give it a few days, he should settle in.>
Re: Jawfish never stays in burrow... He is digging now! 9/11/2010

Hi Mike,
<Hi Laura.>
I just wanted to follow up with you on my Blue Spot Jawfish. He is indeed burrowing...big-time!
<Excellent news!>
Has made a snowdrift under a mushroom rock that is 6" high and working quite hard on the project. I haven't seen much of him today. He did do freestyle swimming around the tank when I "woke" him up this morning to feed him. He apparently slept in in his new digs until he smelled the food hit the water.
<That is normal for them. Once he gets his home built, you will see him peeping out more and more.>
I so appreciate your advice and thought you might like to know how much it helped me.
<Glad it helped! Enjoy your Jawfish, they are, by far, some of the most entertaining fish you will keep.>

Re: Stocking Question/Dwarf Angel and Other, O. rosenblatti   6/16/10
Thank you for your response.
I have seen mention on your site of the Cool Water nature of the Blue Spotted Jawfish. I have seen somewhat varied descriptions of what "cool water" means. (Which I understand, as it is much like my field of medicine - varied opinions and suggestions abound!)
<Mmm, "subtropical"... let's state somewhere around/between 60-70 F.>
I also, though, saw one person (WWM crew member) mention that the Multicolor Angels are also "cool water fish", because of the depth at which they are found, and that they would be optimally kept in cooler water. I assume the same might be true of the Deep Water Coral Beauty?
<I would assume so... though, am unfamiliar w/ C. bispinosa collected at such depths... for economic/physiological reasons of both fishes and humans, most all livestock is collected in less than a hundred feet>
If I modified my fish list to include possibly a different version of Anthias/wrasse, all emphasizing a more "Deep Water Habitat", would it be more reasonable then to house the Blue Spotted Jawfish in the tank?
<Mmm... not really. I am attaching a not-yet published (I sell content... writing, image work) piece on O. rosenblatti. Please don't send this about, but do read... Not a good species for the majority of "tropical marine captive systems">
If so, what would be the optimal temperature for this?
<Below 72 F.>
It seems that a lot of the Stony Corals (more the version I keep) are found in deep waters also, so I thought this might be a good perspective for my tank.
I was reviewing some articles on other fish that might fit into the deep water category:
Thanks again,
Lynn M
<Thank you for your further sharing. BobF>

Blue Spotted Jawfish Temperature requirements 2/18/10
Hello Bob
Just finished reading your excellent article about Jawfish in the UK magazine UltraMarine, I found it very interesting and informative and I am looking forward to your new book on small systems. However one thing has left me a little confused, you have the Blue Spotted Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti) listed as a cold water species but in Scott W Michaels Reef Fishes series of books he gives its temperature requirements as 21 to 28 degrees which is also the same as he suggests for the Yellow Headed (Opistognathus aurifrons).
<Mmm... this is much warmer than the water this fish is ever found in its range... 82F? More like a high of 74, summat like 23 C>
I was thinking of trying to obtain a pair of these beautiful fish (with a view to seeing them breeding, displaying and egg carrying) for a new large reef tank build, but now I am not sure as I wouldn't want to invest in these only to find they were not comfortable at tropical temperatures and not last a reasonable time (they are around £125 each in the UK). Please could you confirm who is correct on this fish as I respect both of you but do not know which advice to take, I also do not want to needlessly shorten the lives of a pair of these fascinating fish.
Regards, John Gibbin
<I'd plan on keeping them cooler. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Lagoon System 8/1/09
Hi Crew,
Reading the dailies and good work as always.
I have a question if you have a moment. I am building a new tank, and doing something a little out of the ordinary and though I have done research, can't find information on some of the fine points and I am hoping you can help me out.
I am putting together a 90 gallon lagoon system, and have a question on the substrate. For reference, it is a standard 90 gallon tank, with a rear overflow and return, 30 gallon sump/refugium, external recirculating protein skimmer, lights are an ATI T5 fixture, heater and chiller. Water movement will be by a Vortech, though as this is a lagoon I expect I will not be running anywhere near max.
The plan for the tank will be to have a bommie on one side of the tank to provide shelter and filter, not too large, and a five inch substrate which will be planted with seagrass and macro algae.
For stocking I am planning on a few corals, an elegance for certain, probably a Montipora digitata, a Sarcophyton on the bommie, and see how much that takes up and what grows on the rock.
Fish, definitely a blue spot Jawfish,
<Mmm, Rosenblatt's Jaw doesn't really live in such a setting, lagoons...>
and a watchmen goby with shrimp partner. Others to be names later Sea grass will be manatee grass, star grass, and oar grass. Algae will be red macro species.
The question I have is dealing with putting the substrate together. I am mixing different sands together to get a mix of size grains, per Dr. Shimek's article in Coral a couple of years ago. Will start with CaribSea Special SeaFlor, mix in some Fiji Pink, and some very coarse aragonite (1/4' or so grain) that I have. That will form the middle layer.
<Sounds very nice indeed>
The bottom layer will be coarse sand to avoid anoxic sections, and the top layer will be Fiji pink and rubble, shells, and white coral rock whacked with a hammer (to please the Jawfish).
<Will all be mixed in short time...>
I know the seagrass will have roots about 2' from the surface, and I will mix in some live mud in this layer;
<Put the mud at the bottom...>
but what I am not certain of is how deep each layer should be?
<The deeper the better... total at least four inches>
I only get one shot at this as this sand bed will not be so easy to swap out. Any advice or alternatives is appreciated
Your friend and WWM Forum member
(Hi everyone at the forum reading this! You guys do such a good job over there too!)
<Do send along progress reports, pix of your system please Dean. Bob Fenner>
Re: Lagoon System... Opistognathid sel.    8/3/09

Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Dean>
Now I am really confused. You say that Rosenblatt's Jawfish doesn't live in lagoons.
<Correct... I have collected this species myself at "Land's end" in the corridor at the southern tip of Baja Ca.>
I have read many sources, but for this discussion will quote Fossa and Nilsen (The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium) where they say "Jawfishes of the genus Opistognathus are also a first choice".
This information is repeated in other places as well.
<... I am/was not disputing that these are reasonable aquarium species; just that they are not "lagoonal">
I have got to say one of the difficult things in setting up this tank is identifying what species are appropriate. The hobby just does not organize information that way. I am trying to be diligent in my research; very
Are any of these fish inappropriate?
Yellow Watchman (Cryptocentrus cinctus)
Orange Spotted Shrimp Goby (Amblyeleotris guttata)
Randall's shrimp goby (A. Randalli)
Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
PJ Cardinals (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
Pearly Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)
<Mmm, no... i.e., they all can be housed together, given sufficient room/habitat>
I do not plan to have all these fishes, but this is a list I have put together of appropriate species for a community tank. If you have any suggestions for something I missed I would appreciate it.
Inverts: Elegance coral,
<Very stinging, predaceous... may well eat some of the bottom fishes>
Open brain, maybe a Sarcophyton on the bommie, a derasa down the line, tiger pistol shrimp (Alpheus bellulus). Very excited at this build.
Thanks, will keep you posted. I have tons of pix already - and it's still dry Dean
<Enjoy! BobF>

Jawfish System Size Questions, sel.  -- 02/01/09 Hi! <Reed> I am in the process of setting up a 15 gallon high reef tank for a Jawfish (dimensions 20"L x 10"W x 17"H) with a 6-7" sand bed. It will be covered, have a sand bed of varying grades, have about 10 lbs live rock (that is anchored to acrylic rods for the fish's safety), and contain LPS and SPS. I have been reading that Jawfish that reach lengths of 4" or less should be fine in a tank as small as 10 gallons, so I was planning to keep a blue spotted Jawfish (most places list it as 3.5-4" although the WWM info lists it as 6"). <Mmm, Opistognathus rosenblatti? Needs more room than this... and too likely to have problems with anything other than tropical E. Pacific Cnidarians... yours may well sting this Jaw> I came across a question asked on the WWM site earlier today that lead me to believe that blue-spots may be more "high strung" than pearly Jawfish, <I do agree with this> which has made me rethink the idea of adding one. I don't want to add a fish only to have it waste away. If I did not add a blue spot I would be considering a pearly Jawfish or a black-cap Jawfish (Opistognathus randalli, I believe). Which of these three species, if any, would be acceptable to keep in the tank I am planning? Thanks, Reed <Either of the last two... but... there will still be potential trouble with the Scleractinia... Bob Fenner>

Anthias and Jaw Fish? Sel./Sys.    10/14/08 Hello Bob and Crew, <Chris> Thanks for the amazing resource! <Welcome> I have 2 stocking questions for you. I am currently upgrading what has been a very successful 30 gallon SPS dominated tank (yes, required lots of overkill equipment not normally seen on a system this small to maintain proper parameters) to a 65 gallon display with a 37 gallon sump and 20 gallon refugium. I will have approximately 50X turnover in the main display (non laminar flow, random to keep my SPS happy) <Ahh! Much better, and easier to maintain> Filtration for the new system will consist of an AquaC 180 skimmer, ~100 lbs of Fiji live rock and the fuge (on reverse daylight cycle). I will be using a Phosban reactor and carbon reactor (carbon as needed) to maintain low PO4 and high clarity. The system will be running an AquaController maintained calcium reactor and Kalk reactor to maintain pH/Ca/Alk. <Lots of automation> My current stock includes a small flasher wrasse, a yellow assessor, a mandarin (eats mysis) and a Banggai cardinal. I also have a golden angel (Centropyge aurantius) that has been in my quarantine system that I would like to add to the new tank should it be able to prove itself generally uninterested in eating SPS corals clams and Acans. <You'll see> (small frags/a clam will be rotated through the QT system to assess this behavior as best as possible.) There are two additional species I would like to add but am wary of stocking capacity and fish behavior. 1) In the past, I have always maintained ~1 inch of sand in my reef tanks (which was vacuumed weekly as part of my water change routine). I have read several opinions on this site and others re sand depth and this species. Do you think this fish <... Opistognathus aurifrons?> be reasonably content with 2-3 inches of sand and would it be okay to employ this much sand with a weekly/bi-weekly vacuuming regimes? I would rather not go into the uncharted territory of DSBs if I can help it (and would gladly forgo this specimen if need be). <S/b fine here... may well pile up some of this material... No big deal> 2) The other slightly controversial addition that I would love to include but fear I may need to forgo is a m/f pair of some sort of Anthias. I have found hugely conflicting information in regard to the husbandry of these fish. I see that conspecific aggression is a major issue in haremic groupings between females or between two males. I have not been able to find any information about the behavior of a male female pair (particularly in the relatively small system) Pseudanthias bartlettorum seems to be on the smaller end of the easier to maintain members of the group. Nemanthias carberryi also seems to be a smaller species that might be suitable (sources conflict on adult size). What are your thoughts on putting a m/f pair of these or other Anthias in the described system? <Some species, as you state, can/do get along in smaller numbers, sex ratios in captivity. Bartlett's is a good choice here, but your system is getting a bit crowded...> I do not anticipate adding additional fish to the system beyond this stock list. Thanks for your time and input, Chris <And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anthias and Jaw Fish?  10/14/08
Hello Bob (and crew), <Chris> Thanks for your quick reply. My apology for not including the species of jaw fish I am looking to keep! I thought i had included that info but in retrospect i see that i did not! I wanted to house a single Opistognathus rosenblatti <Ahh, named in honor of Dick Rosenblatt, of SIO here (in San Diego)...> in the system. Will he work in the proposed environment? Best regards, Chris <Mmm, I discourage its use here... this species really needs much deeper substrate, a much larger display to "feel comfortable"... it would too likely perish (or jump out) quickly here. The TWA "goldhead" would be a much more appropriate choice/try. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anthias and Jaw Fish? Stkg.,   10/15/08
Hello Bob (and crew), <Chris> Thanks for the heads up on the O. rosenblatti. <Ahh, I do wish Alex Kerstitch (one of the first to collect...) was about still> I am finding the 65 gallon tank to be remarkably awkward to stock. If they are not right for my system, i just assume to forget about trying to keep the jaw fish and the Anthias. <This really is best... perhaps the next (even larger) upgrade...> Clearly he system is too small for most (if not all) tangs but i saw a citation on your website where someone was told they could get away with a Ctenochaetus sp. in this size tank. sources seem to conflict on Ctenochaetus tank requirements (even on this site). Do you think I would be pushing the boundaries of proper husbandry to include a Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis in my proposed system? <Ultimately, yes... if this setting is "too busy" with other livestock, folks happening by, this Chevy will be very unhappy> I would think that if I could keep this species, I would leave the fish population to consist of the yellow assessor, the mandarin, the Banggai, the flasher wrasse and the golden angel (should he make the cut in terms of not eating corals...) <... and to tell you more of some "fact" (truth if you can allow the term), C. aurantius lives in quite large "lek" territories... about the size of a typical room in a house... I would not stock this species here either really> I think that my total system volume (~100-120gal) and my filtration scheme is large enough to handle this population but I'm not so sure about tank space. <What you hint about is very important... Psychological/behavioral space... as you state above, a/the 65 gallon really isn't very large> The Banggai and the mandarin occupy a different niche in the reef than the others so they may not be in such a conflict for territory. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your time, Chris <You have them, welcome. BobF>

Re: Opistognathus rosenblatti   1/29/07 Thank you so much for your quick reply BOB lol  Sorry, but for some reason I always think you're a Ron. <I hope you like him... too!> I'm a bit confused as to why all the books list them as a  tropical species... when in fact they are not.   I have searched many sites and  read many books and have not seen this fish ever listed as a cool water species until I found the German reef site.   This incredible fish has been basically wasting away in our tanks because of it.  I'm at a loss as to why  this "new knowledge" isn't being published in more reef and fish magazines, books, forums etc.  Reef keepers must be made aware of this change. In my humble opinion, anyways. thank you Lynn McKinney <Mmm... you can search the location sites given on Fishbase.org: http://fishbase.org/museum/OccurrencesList.cfm?id=46578 and in turn the weather/water temp. data for these localities... not all that warm, I assure you. BobF>

Opistognathus rosenblatti- acclimation  - 04/27/06 I have a 300G. reef tank. (96in.X30in.X24in.). I have a rather open aquascape: 1/3rd of the tank is a rounded slope; narrow at the top to almost the top of the tank, widening in a rounded fashion as it meets the substrate. In the middle, a islandic bommie to maybe 1/2 the height of the tank. The right third is a series of caves to about 2/3rd the height of the tank. The substrate is sugar fine sand and moderately coarse aragonite 5 to 7 inches deep. There are many, many nooks, crannies and hiding places. I have had a Opistognathus rosenblatti in the tank for better than 8 months. Unfortunately he died when he jumped out of the tank (stress related to the capture of another fish?). <They just do this> He had no trouble burrowing, and hiding when necessary. At any rate, I have purchased another Opistognathus rosenblatti, and have read that when acclimating a Jawfish one should leave the lights on at least overnight, or some sort of night light (re: Scott Michaels). <A good idea, practice> I put him in the tank this past Sunday A.M. and made sure ALL possible exits from the tank were covered. He swam around and retreated to the back of one of the caves, he never displayed any gasping. Only my Harlequin Tusk showed any interest in the Jawfish,   <Can eat it> and whenever the Tusk came near the Jawfish, the Bluespot flared at the Tusk, but never ran. Only once did the Jawfish display any jumping behaviour. On this past Monday morning, the Opistognathus rosenblatti was on the opposite side of the tank, near the bottom. Although I could not see that he had actively burrowed, he was using one of the crannies in the rockwork and had piled up some rubble in front of this area.   Interestingly this is right next to another small cave-like area (the previous Jawfish had excavated this) that the tusk uses to hide and sleep in. The Jawfish has eaten enthusiastically each day. Monday afternoon I noticed that the Bluespot was up in the upper left corner of the top of tank, and mainly seems to have remained there. He does NOT seem stressed, <Should be on/in the bottom...> he eats, he is not gasping. As I have mentioned the rock work reaches almost to the top of the tank on this side, and the Jawfish bounces in and out of the rock work in the same manner as Jawfish bounce in and out of a burrow. Okay, so the Opistognathus rosenblatti has been in the tank 3 days, but should I be worrying about his hanging at the top of tank, rather than actively burrowing? <I would, yes> I noticed that even with the previous Jawfish I had, he would occasionally swim about the top of the tank,   not just hang around his burrows (Opistognathus aurifrons seem to stay near their burrows much more than Opistognathus rosenblatti). There are really too many hiding places in the tank to get a fish out without completely dismantling the rock work. The Tusk doesn't even seem interested in the Jawfish any longer. <...> I guess what I'm wondering is should I be worrying, and is there anything I can do it about it anyway? <?> Any thoughts from anyone? <Always keep your beer in a cool place> I hope I've not been too long-winded. Thanks so much, Dave Harvey p.s. any thoughts, hints, tips regarding Jawfish care would be greatly appreciated. DH <Mine are posted on WWM. Bob Fenner... friend of Alex Kerstitch (RIP), the discoverer of this species, and acquaintance of Dick Rosenblatt... Bob Fenner>

Blue spotted Jawfish Hey guys. Just got a blue spotted Jawfish. I usually quarantine all my fish for a minimum of 3 weeks.  <excellent... 4 weeks/better> Anyhow, the quarantine tank is a bare bottom tank. Is the Jawfish ok, for a few weeks in a bare bottom tank (some PVC) ?  <PVC tubes of varying diameters are likely fine. But if the fish back into a corner of the aquarium... offer a butter dish of new dry sand to reduce the stress> I know they like to burrow, but just curious if this is an innate need, or something they like to do.  <eh... really a big deal for their behavioral needs/stress> I don't have substrate in the tank since I occasionally need to medicate in there.  <agreed...all QT must be bare-bottomed> Should I set up something small and put substrate in there, or is he ok. Thanks for all the help. Jim <good thinking overall... kudos to you. Anthony>

Blue spotted Jawfish Hey guys. Just got a blue spotted Jawfish. I usually quarantine all my fish for a minimum of 3 weeks.  <excellent... 4 weeks/better> Anyhow, the quarantine tank is a bare bottom tank. Is the Jawfish ok, for a few weeks in a bare bottom tank (some PVC) ?  <PVC tubes of varying diameters are likely fine. But if the fish back into a corner of the aquarium... offer a butter dish of new dry sand to reduce the stress> I know they like to burrow, but just curious if this is an innate need, or something they like to do.  <eh... really a big deal for their behavioral needs/stress> I don't have substrate in the tank since I occasionally need to medicate in there.  <agreed...all QT must be bare-bottomed> Should I set up something small and put substrate in there, or is he ok. Thanks for all the help. Jim <good thinking overall... kudos to you. Anthony>

Plenum, Yes! Jawfish-No! Bob, <Scott F. on call today> I have a 75 gallon reef tank with a plenum. It has been working very well. I would like to add a blue spotted jaw fish to the tank, but I'm concerned that even with the protective screen below the first layer of sand the jaw fish will disturb the plenum system to the point of severe problems with my system. What do you think? <Your concern is definitely valid. Even with the plenum screen in place, It is too disruptive to have this fish in a plenum-equipped tank, IMO. I'd rather keep these guys in a separate aquarium assembled just for their special needs. The fish will do better, display more readily, and both you and the fish will be happier in the long run. Good luck! Scott F.>

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