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FAQs about Jawfishes, Family Opistognathidae 2

Related Articles: Jawfishes

Related FAQs:  Jawfishes 1, Blue-Spotted Jawfish, Pearly Jawfish, & Jawfish Identification, Jawfish Behavior, Jawfish Compatibility, Jawfish Selection, Jawfish Systems, Jawfish Feeding, Jawfish Disease, Jawfish Reproduction,

Sick blue spotted Jawfish: Jawfish Health\Compatibility + Overstocked + Aggression + Crypt 7/22/2009
Hello and a "thank you" in advance for your help......
<Hi Trisha.>
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.
<Crowded tank.>
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 and
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 tail.
<You are going to have to treat the Crypt and soon.>
We are doing ~weekly water changes and our water parameters are as follows:
Ph 8.04 (added a bit of buffer)
ammonia: 0
phosphates: 0
nitrites: 0
nitrate: .5
Alk = 9.2
salinity 1.025 (measured with a refractometer)
mag: 1280
calcium: 410
<All good.>
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 green.
<Without a picture, I can't tell, but Emerald Mithrax crabs do have color variations. Further, no crab is ever to be trusted completely.>
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 perhaps?
<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.>

Jawfish (Pearly), gen.  08/18/2008 Hi all, <<Afternoon, Andrew today>> I started with this whole saltwater thing because of my interest and fondness of Jawfish. My hubby is a "oh how colorful and pretty", let's buy it kind of guy. I have a 30Gal saltwater tank with an Emerald crab, a Dragon Goby, the Nemo fish, a chocolate chip starfish, Royal Gramma (hubby's idea) and my lovely little angel, the Pearly Jawfish. <<Would suggest removal of the choc chip....tank size / environment not suitable>> Now I'm not sure my Jawfish was happy with the acclimation process or the drive home for as I was acclimating him he was breathing quite heavy and opening his mouth as if to say I'm angry! He made one swoop around the tank after introducing him and planted himself in the corner atop the sandbed and stayed there for 4 hours. My other fish did not bother with him in the least bit and there he stayed. <<Sounds like its stressed out to me>> Seeing as though the LFS was now closed I decided to wait, and a few minutes ago I peered in with a flashlight and my Jawfish had nestled in to the corner of the tank. Not a burrow per say, but a gulley. Is this normal? Will my prize possession take hold? <<"should" be fine. Sometimes do take a while to settle in.>> All of my water levels are on spot, my water temperature is nearly always at 76 degrees and the salinity is 1.023. I have 4 inches of yummy substrate for him and 6" in some spots with lots of bits of shells and other things for him to steal to make a home. <<Sounds like a nice sandbed for the fish>> Could you please advise as to the tank mates and for the future, is the Gramma to aggressive of an eater to keep a Jawfish in there? <<Stocking wise, your at your limits, in my opinion>> I always monitor feeding to the second to make sure my goby gets a bit of food as the Gramma eats everything up in nano seconds. If my Jawfish lives I intend on feeding it directly the mysis as soon as it decides where it will reside but I'm concerned now that it is not making a burrow? Should I be concerned? <<Give it time, should be ok, if its in good health>> BTW...awesome, awesome site. You guys/gals are the fish gods as far as I'm concerned. <<Just mere mortals here, helping the fishy hobby along as best we can, thanks for the kind words>> Laurie- <<Hope the above helps Laurie, good luck with the new addition. A Nixon>>

Re: Jawfish (Pearly) 08/19/2008 I have some good news today, <<Wooohoooo>> it looks like my Pearly Jawfish made it through with a little help from me. After laying in the corner all night my Jawfish made his way to the front of the tank and started to dig a hole there. I fed them some mysis shrimp and he managed to grab a couple of chunks. <<Absolutely superb.. Do continue to feed at the entrance>> I started a little burrow for him closer to the rocks and put a small pile of rubble for him there...he took right to it, he dug it out some climbed in and barricaded himself in. I will be giving the Chocolate chip starfish back to the LFS and I am happy with the current setup I have, thank you for your quick reply and I'll enjoy reading some more of your webpage, very informative! <<Really wonderful that the Jawfish has started to act "normally". Great news. Glad to hear about the choc chip as well, a wise decision. Good luck with your aquarium. A Nixon>> Laurie-

Re: Jawfish (Pearly) 08/21/2008 Hi again, <<Hello Laurie>> This kind of rolls into the same information so I'm going to ask away! At first...my Dragon Goby kind of hung out around the Jawfish as if it was "protecting it" now he hangs around my jawfish's burrow's (yes, that's plural...Yay) he sneaks in the back way harassing it. I hate to speculate because I'm a newby at this hobby, but gosh, it sure seems that the Dragon is upset that my Pearly can dig too. The goby did go over and dig his "burrow" quite a bit deeper on the other side but insists on knocking at Pearls door. Are fish equip with the personality to be "jealous?" It just seems to me that my goby is trying to "outdo" the Jawfish so to speak. You don't think the goby would sneak into his burrow and hurt him do you? And to let you know, my Jawfish is holding his own when it comes to feeding time, it rushes right out to snatch a few pieces and tears right back to his burrow. I still baby him and use a straw to at least get one or two pieces to him right off until the water takes it away, but if he's still hungry he has no problem venturing out. I'm happy. <<I can understand a few confrontational issues between these, but, as their "homes" are at opposite ends of the tank, should be fine once they have settled down together. Just ensure that the Jawfish continues to receive adequate food, should be fine.>> Laurie- <<Thanks for the follow-up. A Nixon>>

Marine Compatibility - 05/20/2006 Good evening, <Good morning.> Would a pair of Yellowheaded Jawfish as well as a pair of Firefish get along alright together?   <Given space, I don't see why not.> I have a 90 gallon tank with just over 100 lbs of large porous liverock (lotsa hiding places).  As well, I have a deep sand bed averaging about 5.5" or so.   <Do please keep in mind that Jawfish dig....  a lot....  so hopefully there's some good space for them to burrow.  On the other hand, hopefully they don't choose to burrow under your rockwork if it's likely to fall.> I also have a yellow-watchman goby, small regal tang,  and a pair of percula clowns.  Am also thinking about getting a Royal Gramma.  Should these be compatible?   <For the most part, yes; I would be a little concerned for the Firefish and how timid they are at feeding - you may need to pay very careful, special attention to them at feeding time.  The Jawfish may need some special attention, as well.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm .> And is it a good idea to get the two sets of pairs as mentioned above?  -D <I don't see any further concerns than what I just stated....  You'll want to try to get male/female combos, but if you don't, I think this tank is large enough for two of the same gender of either of these species to find and maintain a territory.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Jawfish - MIA? - 09/15/2005 Thank you for a wonderful website. <Glad to be of service!> My question is about my Jawfish.  I put it in about 1 month ago and it was visible for about 2 weeks.  It has since disappeared.  My substrate seems to have received a work-over during the night on a regular basis.  Substrate is continuously moved and piled up in different places.  Is it possible for this fish to be alive and living under the substrate where it cannot be seen or is something else doing the construction work?  Please help. <It is possible that the Jawfish is still around, perhaps doing his work at times that he isn't or can't be observed, and remaining well-hidden much of the time.  Of course, it is entirely possible that something else is doing the remodeling.  Not knowing anything about your system or what you've got in it, there is no way for us to know.  Sneak out at night after lights-out on the tank with a flashlight with a red film over it, and see if you can find the Jawfish - or another culprit - doing some late-night redecorating.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Jawfish I got a Jawfish from the Marine Center about a week ago. I put him in quarantine. The Marine Center says that the fish was there for 3-4 weeks and was eating and in their own quarantine. I have a Tupperware container with some sand and various PVC pipes and he has mostly been hiding behind the container. There is no sign of illness, but he won't eat except for the live brine I offered him today. <What have you tried that he has refused? I would attempt frozen Mysis shrimp, bloodworms, and Sweetwater Zooplankton.> If it weren't so anthropomorphic I would say he looks sad or depressed. Any thoughts on the subject? <Try other foods.> Should I end the quarantine early? <I would not.> Perhaps in another week? --des/Jane <After two weeks total with no sign of disease, ok. -Steven Pro>

Dwarf lionfish questions 7/28/05 I have a well-established 46 gallon tank.  Currently I have 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Chocolate Chip starfish and a Coral Banded Shrimp (approx. 2 inches long). < Sounds like a barren tank, and mostly a FOWLR. > I am interested in getting a Dwarf Lionfish but am concerned about its compatibility. < Well I think you should be okay.  I've seen a few of them in tanks with coral banded shrimp and clownfish.  I don't think I would buy the biggest dwarf lion and keep it with baby clownfish, but in general I think this sounds fine. > How large does a Dwarf Lionfish grow to be and would it  harm or eat any of my current fish? < Grow to about 5 inches, and if well fed with a variety of frozen foods it should be worry free. > Thanks Mark <  Blundell  > <<Sooner or later he'll suck'em up brah. RMF>>
FAQ daily question that was asked 8/7/05 Minimum tank size for a dwarf lionfish 8/6/05 I bought a 24 Gal Nano Cube that I was going to have for Saltwater. The only thing I want in there is a fuzzy dwarf lion fish.
< That is a very small tank.  But if you plan to have one and only one fish, you may be okay. >
 I have been getting mixed opinions on if the tank is to small and I've decided to ask the experts!
< Well that is a tough call.  Personally I wouldn't do it, but I think it can easily be done. >
 Would this size tank be fine for him/her? I lied. I also want a yellowhead Jawfish. Would they be fine together?
< Fine together, and probably okay in that size tank.  Too bad you already made the purchase, as a 55 gal would be much better. > This was posted on the faq, in my limited understanding, wouldn't' a Jawfish either stay in its burrow in this tank or be food for the lion.   <Yes> I'm just picturing that small a tank, that as soon as Jawfish pokes its head out, it would be gone. Plus if you make a sandbed adequately deep enough for that jaw, you wouldn't have enough room for the lion to swim about? <Hee! We are in agreement... totally. Bob Fenner> Blundell is far more knowledgeable than I, but thought this response odd. <I as well>
Re: faq daily question that was asked  08/08/2005 You both may certainly be correct.  I wouldn't think a dwarf lion would take out a Jawfish.  But I guess it may.   <Will... definitely, in time. Dang Pteroines should be called "suck-em-ups" commonly> Although I do agree that this size tank is just way too small.  The fish may live and grow, but that just can't be a happy life for them. Blundell <Mmm, okay. BobF>

Dusky Jawfish eggs 8/3/05 I have had 2 dusky Jawfish for a year and now I notice 1 of them (the male) has a mouthful of eggs.  Have not noticed them before, but he has turned darker on his head.  Anyway, to assure that some, if not all of these eggs have a chance in my reef tank, I am asking you for suggestions.  I have a Sailfin tang, a blue tang, a coral beauty, a niger trigger,2 percula clowns, 2 green Chromis, a fairy wrasse, a psychedelic mandarin ,a cleaner shrimp and a hitchhiker crab; some of which would love to get there little jaws around some small live meals.  What is the best way to raise some Jawfish in captivity? Dr. Ron Widen <Really need to be moved... via the male mouthbrooding parent, to another system to avoid predation, and foods cultured for... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm and the Related FAQs file linked above, the references cited... Bob Fenner> New Jawfish HELP 7/20/05 I just picked up a new Jawfish. The LFS identified it as a Yellow Jawfish, however, after looking at your site, it is described as "Opistognathus sp. U1" an unidentified species. It looks just like the picture to the far right of your description. The LFS had it in a tank with triggers and aggressive fish. I have an aggressive tank, and they said it would be fine. The LFS had the fish for about a month and it was doing well and eating. It had built a burrow and looked very feisty. Has anything else been discovered about this fish? I have a Huma Trigger, a Koran Angel, a Yellow Tang, Snowflake Eel, Lionfish, and a Possum Wrasse in my tank. Was I given the wrong advice? <If it were me, this fish would be in a docile tank where it would be more relaxed and more likely to get it's share of food.  You would also see more activity in the fish.  Amy, do a Google search on the WWM, keyword, "Jawfish", and read.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! <You're welcome> Amy

Jawfish 06/08/05 Hey, I have a problem regarding the newly introduced Jawfish. It is an undescribed species, but it keeps on digging holes, and the elegant corals all fall in!?! Is there any way to stop the Jawfish from digging so many holes from random spots? << That is what Jawfish will do. They love to burrow and that is what they do naturally. So there is really no way to stop them.  Unless they find a really nice place that they like they will keep making the burrows>> Thanks~ <<No problem.. EricS>>

Jawfish Compatibility - 05/08/09 Greetings WWM folk, hope all is well! Ok, so here goes.  I recently set up a 75 gal saltwater tank with about 25 lbs live rock and about a 4 inch sand bed.  The first inhabitants were a pair of tank-bred Perculas that I kept in a 12 gallon Eclipse.  They're doing great.  Then I added about 9 green Chromis. They are a very inexpensive fish and look great schooling.  So far everyone is happy.  Well the whole point of the tank was to house pearly Jawfish, maybe 4 or 5. <Jawfish can be very territorial, I don't think you'll get away with this many in this size tank.  In fact, I think the problem you describe below is attributable to aggression between the two Jawfish you have now.> So far I have 2 living there but they've had complete opposite reactions to their surroundings. <As already stated, more likely reactions to each other.> They both took to burrowing, however one can usually be seen spitting sand out of his hole whereas the other never comes out at all.  I can see the shy one hiding in his hole behind his little "door" but it's been a week and I don't think he has eaten.  I understand you can't keep Jawfish with fast swimmers but I've searched high and low, on this and many other sites, and can't find any ideal tankmates.  Any ideas? <Tank mates should be of a "peaceful" nature, which in my book, clowns are not.  Have you had a read here yet?  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfaqs.htm> Pudge <Regards, Eric R.>

Indescribable.. I mean Undescribed Jawfish...? Hello! I recently purchased a Jawfish that was labeled a Black Cap Jawfish, however, after searching your site, I see it labeled as a U1 undescribed Jawfish. Has this fish been IDd yet? Thank you, Jim <Mmm, maybe... I do recall seeing some that had been recently described. Maybe give a read over on fishbase.org on the family Opistognathidae... Bob Fenner> 

Re: Jawfish Thanks for the response Bob! I checked that site and although it turned up loads of info, I didn't see anything on this particular Jawfish, unless I missed it, but I don't think so. I more curious now than ever!  Any more info/leads you can provide would be greatly appreciated... Jim <Mmm, none other than Dr. Jack Randall has stated to me that he has more than a dozen undescribed species of these fishes... from the tropical Indo-Pacific... You might want to email him with pix... Bob Fenner> 

Re: Jawfishes ID Jim: The person to contact about Jawfishes is Dr. William F. Smith-Vaniz. He's the one who has many new species to described (and has been sitting on them far too long). His e-mail: Bill_Smith-Vaniz@usgs.gov  <Thanks much Jack, mahalo, Bob Fenner

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