FAQs on the Needlefishes
Related Articles: Needlefishes,
mystery Caribbean fish
Hi Guys! I don't even know if you do this
sort of thing, but I thought I'd give it a shot! We were
recently in Vieques, PR waiting by the ferry for our ride when we
saw the most extraordinary fish cruising around the bay.
Shapewise it looked like a cross between a barracuda and a
dolphin...but had the most amazing colors! It had a pinkish
snout, baby blue middle, and darker sort of greenish tail area.
It was fairly large..at least 3-4 feet long. It swam slowly
around, and my first thought was "he's looking for a
handout!". We even snapped a picture because he was so cool
(attached). Was wondering if you could ID???
<I think this may be a Flat Needlefish, Ablennes hians... Is
greenish on the back... about this size. Do feed near shore at
times in shallows. Bob Fenner>
Caribbean fish 4/10/12
Yup...that's it! Colors were different though...it was
definitely pink in the mouth area-then baby blue on the head.
Thanks Bob! I LOVE wetwebmedia.com!! Cherie
<Ahh! Thank you mon Cherie! BobF>
Pimelodus sp. ID, Xenentodon hlth. 2/8/10
I have written to you a couple of times before. You are always a great
help, and I thank you for that. Today, I was in our "fish
Actually, a lawn and garden store, but other than Wal-Mart, that is the
only place to obtain fish within two hours of our home. They had an
unidentified fish in the tank with their Pimelodus pictus. (They had no
idea what it was either.) This fish looked similar to a Pimelodus
blochii, except that, while the markings were similar, they were very
clear dots, instead of lines. However, the body style was very similar
to the Pimelodus blochii that I have seen. I tried to get a picture of
him on my cell phone, but he was nervous, and wouldn't hold still.
I looked on Planet Catfish, but I didn't find anything that was an
exact match to him.
However, I did notice that under the identification of Pimelodus
blochii, they mention that many color variations exist,
and that other color variations may be separate species, or
<This is so as well>
Do you believe that this fish is a subspecies of the Pimelodus blochii,
or is there another species that sounds more correct to you?
<Can't tell from here>
I also thought that maybe this fish was some sort of hybrid.
<There are such hybrids (human made) in the family Pimelodidae, but
as far as I'm aware, these are restricted to more expensive, much
"Pictus" cats are all wild-collected thus far>
I know it is at least very difficult, if not impossible to ID a fish
without a picture, I just wondered if you knew of anything off the top
of your head.
Also, I had a question about one of our Needlefish. (Xenentodon
cancila) We have two, and we are going to add a third, once we can find
a suitably healthy, similarly sized individual. Ours are doing
fantastic, they are completely weaned onto frozen foods and eat very
We feed a large variety of frozen foods, and also supplement with
crickets approximately weekly. There is no ammonia or nitrite, and
nitrate stays below 20.
<I'd try to keep NO3 even lower>
We do weekly water changes. However, I have noticed that the first,
slightly smaller Needlefish has a slightly downwards curved back. He
seems to be able to straighten it out, as I have seen him do it. Most
of the time however, he keeps it somewhat curved. It isn't very
extreme, in fact, I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it
if we didn't have the other one with the completely straight back.
In every other way, he seems very healthy, and his back doesn't
seem to bother him. I am just worried that it may be a spinal problem
or some sort of malnutrition problem. Thank-you for all of your
<Again, I cannot determine much from what is presented. I have seen
specimens that had the apparent deformation you describe and have
wondered at times if this was due to being in too small confines; but
nutrition, even psychological matters may be at play here. Thank you
for your well written query, input. Bob Fenner>
How often should I feed my needlefish?
4/14/2009Needle Fish Will Not eat We have
a needle fish we have had for a few months now we were feeding all the
time and was told by the Pet Store to fed him 5 feeders every few days.
He is in a 30 gallon tank with 5 small Tiger barbs, 1 Severum cichlid
and 2 Dojo's which are about 8 inches each. About two months ago
our cichlid( SEABASS) got ich we treated him and all was fine. Now our
needle fish (STANLEY) is brown Has not eaten for over a week. Can you
give me any ideas on what his problem could be? Thank You. Donna
Slawson < Needle fish are mostly a brackish fish. I would recommend
a teaspoon of sea salt per 5 gallons of water. Your Dojos will not like
the salt and may become ill.-Chuck>
Hello again, thank you for your help with my ID "shark" and
JD! They're getting along great!
I have another question for you, I bought a needlefish and I've
been feeding it guppies and he's been eating them but all of a
sudden he hasn't been eating as often or as much so I was wondering
how much/often a 6inch needlefish eats?
<Xenentodon cancila is not a fish eater.
Virtually everyone on the hobby gets this wrong. Wild fish feed almost
entirely on crustaceans, and in the aquarium they will eat all kinds of
live foods, and with training, dead foods too. Now, let's start by
that you shouldn't be using "feeder guppies" from the pet
store; these are parasite time bombs. Think about it: if you're a
fish farm going to breed fish cheap enough to sell as food, how much
care would you take over
healthcare? Obviously not much. Given Needlefish are delicate at the
best of times, it would be insane to feed them store-bought feeder
fish, especially given that they'll eat other things too. Focus
instead on their
wild diet, and try to match that. Live river shrimps are excellent
foods, and at least here in the UK, estuarine river shrimps are cheap
and easy to buy, and carry minimal risk of introducing parasites to
Expert fishkeepers routinely train Xenentodon cancila to take dead
foods once the fish has settled down and learned to take food from its
owner (that's why your start with shrimps, earthworms, crickets,
etc; so it
recognizes you as the food source). Throwing lancefish into the water
current such that they look alive seems to work; otherwise, use long
forceps to wiggle the food enticingly. Amazingly enough, some
Needlefish eventually take pellets, but don't bank on this! One
last thing: they are schooling, nervous fish; singletons almost never
settle down properly, and certainly not when combined with aggressive
fish. They'd be happier in groups of 6+ specimens, and certainly
I'd not recommend keeping less than three specimens. Do remember
they are open water fish, and easily damage themselves (fatally) in
small tanks. They jump into the hood or bash themselves in the glass.
Maintenance in slightly brackish water can be beneficial. Do see here
- Reading FAQs and Other Issues - Dear Bob & Crew: I
submitted an e-mail to you yesterday pertaining to two questions that I
had. I have finally discovered the first part of my question under the
live rock category on your site. It is funny to see another
person's perspective on explaining such a strange looking organism.
The problem I had finding the information was the words I was using in
the search varied from what it was in actuality. Anyhow, I do apologize
for any inconvenience I may have caused you in replying to my inquiry
on the first part of my question. <No worries.> However, I'm
still awaiting the answer to my second question. It has barely been a
day since I submitted the question, so I do not expect an answer soon.
<And certainly, with a chunk of the crew off to IMAC, it may take a
while.> Just figured I might be able to save you time in responding
to my first e-mail. Or maybe I'm just trying to prevent seeing this
on your post/reply: <<Hey, XXXX, if you have read our FAQ
section properly, you ill have realized it said to thoroughly check for
answers on our website!>> <Understood, although I often
think that, I would never say it in public. Some folks just find it
better to ask questions first, read later... the reason they are called
Frequently Asked Questions is because they are asked frequently.>
Your website and reading material that you provide to the public
pertaining to aquatic life is priceless! <Glad that you find it
so.> I am a novice to this hobby, recently started a 45 gallon tank,
and have used the content on your site repetitively. I have yet to find
better content available online. For reference, this is my first
e-mail: I have completed numerous searches pertaining to my 2 questions
on your site and others and cannot find anything. Maybe you can help
shed some light on these issues ?: Question 1 ) I have Florida Live
Rock in my tank and I have noticed when the lights are turned off at
night a mysterious entity spreads a translucent web from the live rock.
It appears to be about 20 individual elastic strands that extrude from
the rock. Each strand is about 8' to 12' in length and
translucent and has additional translucent branches that stem off of it
that are each only a couple centimeters in length. Each strand almost
resembles a translucent feather that floats around in the water. The
most amazing thing to me is that when the lights are turned on each
strand/feather contracts and bundles up against the surface of the live
rock. It does not retreat into a hole. Do you know what this enigmatic
entity is? <I think it's a spaghetti worm.> (I have 192 watts
of light on a 45 gallon tank, 96 watts Actinic & 96 watts 10,000K)
Question 2 ) In retrieving water from my tank from the Atlantic Ocean,
I unknowingly caught a tiny little needle fish that is about an inch in
length. He has been in my tank now for about a day or two and seems to
be quite healthy swimming along the surface of the water in the tank.
Do you have an idea of what type of diet these fish have? All the
research I could find online mentioned that larger fish love to eat
them, but not what type of food they eat. <Probably plankton...
I'd try to get your hands on some Cyclop-Eeze or daphnia... these
are sufficiently small that this fish might go for them. There is also
Zoe's Sweetwater Plankton which is a little larger but generally
well accepted by all fish.> Please help me feed Spike! Thank you,
Jon M. <Cheers, J -- >
How often do aquarium needle nose gars eat I moved mine away
from the guppy tank Monday and it died on Saturday. I had been planning
to return it on Sunday for feeding. <Once or twice a week is about
right... A jittery, nervous fish in captivity that needs to be
carefully tended to. Bob Fenner>