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FAQs about Jawfishes, Family Opistognathidae Systems

Related Articles: Jawfishes,

Related FAQs: Jawfishes 1, Jawfishes 2, Blue-Spotted Jawfish, Pearly Jawfish, & Jawfish Identification, Jawfish Behavior, Jawfish Compatibility, Jawfish Selection, Jawfish Feeding, Jawfish Disease, Jawfish Reproduction,

Jaws get along with most all easy-going, not too-fast swimming tankmates that get along with them. Chromis viridis (Cuvier 1830), the Blue-Green Chromis.

Stocking 60g cube tank (follow-up)? 1/26/11
Oops I forgot--I know the jawfish will need a deeper substrate, and I am planning on adding in a container of deep sand for him a while before his arrival. Thanks!
<... Okay. Bob Fenner>

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 home/tankmates question 9/1/10
Ok I'm back having done much reading.
I am resolved to adding only one tank-mate for the Pearly Jawfish, and it not being a Flame Hawkfish. After much debate with myself, I am also planning on adding a skimmer in the first chamber with the second having already been set up as a small refugium with some Chaeto.
<Ah good on both counts>
As I understand it the possibilities that I am interested in for a tankmate are as follows (please let me know if my thoughts on the options are correct or if I am a loon):
A) a more aggressive tankmate
1) a six line wrasse (As the tank is the minimum size [debatable based on the FAQs and articles I've read] for this fish to begin with, and swimming space taken away by the enlarged substrate, while aggression is somewhat based on the individual fish, it is not a small possibility that the fish over time will become aggressive towards the Jawfish)
2) a tank-bred Dottyback (as you even suggested a particular species I'm confident this would work.)
<The latter... tank bred, calmer species is far better than a Pseudocheilinus sp. in this setting>
B) a calmer more peace loving tankmate
1) a cardinal fish (as I understand it this tank size is more suitable for only the smaller ones such as the Apogon cyanosoma vs. the slightly larger Pterapogon kauderni.
<A. cyanosoma is a shoaling/schooling species... the Banggai would be a better choice kept solo>
In either case they do better in groups which is not good with the small tank size.)
2) a Dartfish (I fear here that the two I like either the Nemateleotris magnifica or the Nemateleotris decora, while in general make good tank mates for the Jawfish and are suitable for a tank this size, combining the two [Jawfish and small tank] may be a problem as there would possibly be territory issues at the bottom of the tank)
If option B is possible and I go down that road I will rework the rock structure to fit them better as currently it is designed for a swimmer to dart in and around the
<I would not either of these Microdesmids with a Jaw>
live rock. Also if the peaceful option(s) are viable would it be possible to add a Gobiodon okinawae or Gobiodon atrangulatus?
<No... these fishes are really only suitable for advanced aquarists, settings where live Acropora are kept>
Lastly, with which (if any) viable options would it be possible/advisable to go ahead and increase the substrate even more giving it an even 6" depth (currently up to 6" max but not even being only 3" at the very back of the tank) , in efforts to make the Jawfish even happier?
<I would not likely do this... for aesthetic reasons... your Jaw can/will dig more horizontally>
Thanks again for your time and efforts. Have a great day!
<I'd still be (re)reading the stocking small volumes FAQs files and articles on WWM... where you were referred to initially. B>

Two technical aquascaping questions 5/25/10
Hi Crew
Quick questions:
1. Can I use nylon rawl plugs in saltwater?
<Yes; these are chemically inert>
Plan is to use them as makeshift dowels, to prevent lateral movement on high live-rock structures.
Method: drill hole in piece of live rock, insert modified plug, push other piece of rock with pre-drilled hole onto end of plug, perhaps also use putty for extra snugness. See any problems here?
<Make sure the putty is cured, for aquarium use>
2. What are the ingredients for a sandbed in which yellowhead Jawfish can make their burrows?
<About ten percent rubble, the remainder fine sand>
Depth I read is 10cm, but what ratio of fine/coarse/rubble/shells etc would you recommend? Plan is to separate
the base of the tank into substrate and non-substrate areas using glass panels attached with silicone. Do you foresee any problems here?
<Should be fine>
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

Jawfish Housing Question 1-10-10 (Gosh, it feels strange to end dates with '-10') 1/11/10
Hello, <HI!> I'm loving the site.
<And we're glad you do. Matthew responding today.>
I visit three times a day it seems like. <As do I!>
Anyways, to my question. I have a 110 gallon tank with 100 lbs of live rock. I had a mated pair of engineer gobies in it that were about 6 to 7 inches each <Very nice!>. Well they destroyed the sand bed in the tank, making pieces of rock fall once a week. <Fairly typical behavior, from what I've seen/heard.> They have been a pain. So after they wouldn't fall for the bottle trap trick I finally removed every bit of rock found the little guys and sold them. <Next time, consider reading about the species of interest BEFORE purchase.> So my real question is I'm really interested in a Jawfish. Blue spot or yellowhead.
<Consider reading up on them first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm>
Will they constantly dig?
Will they make rocks fall all the time?
<Only if you let them. Consider placing liverock before adding sand. It prevents rock falls and increases stability. See http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=172053 for an interesting idea on a Jawfish house. Also read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishsysfaqs.htm
for some specifics on substrates.>
Or will it make a nice little borrow and actually let me enjoy my tank for more than a day at a time? Thank you for any help.
<You're quite welcome.>
- Justin

Jawfish, Shrimp Goby and Pistol Shrimp compatibility 11/13/09
Greetings Crew,
As I know you have heard many times, another sincere thank you for the countless hours you spend educating aquarists and the many ways you help us to understand the complex needs of our tanks.
<A pleasure to share, understand our helping others, their systems and livestock, and receive their gratitude>
I have researched this question, but remain unclear it it would be workable for the safety of the animals concerned (I have contrary related experiences on your site and wanted to ask very specifically):
<Go ahead>
Could I have a Blue Spotted Jawfish and a Shrimp Goby (and its Red Banded Pistol Shrimp) sharing a tank?
<Mmmm, maybe... if there is sufficient room (like a five or six foot length system), and lots of rock work, and adequate feeding of the Opistognathus rosenblatti on a regular basis... I give good odds if so (more than 90 %).
Otherwise the Jawfish might "bug" the Shrimp Goby too much, perhaps even try to eat the Alpheid>
They would be the only animals, other than a small selection of corals. It is a new LED lit, fully covered tank, with a lot of live rock sitting directly on the bottom glass, roughly 4-5" of live sand, with an overall size of about 32 Gallons with external refugium and skimmer.
<Mmm, this volume is too small IMO/E for one specimen of this species of Jawfish even. Though it does not get very large, O. rosenblatti (named in honour of Dick here in San Diego at SIO, UCSD) is a very "nervous" fish, that needs quiet, that a dearth of active fishes and room grants.>
If the Goby and its companion are not wise with the BSJ, could I add a Golden Midas blenny?
<Ecsenius midas would be a much better choice here... or for something that looks and behaves very similarly, a Pseudochromid>
I think the BSJ has a terrific amount of personality (I find he watches me as if I were the one in the aquarium!) and I would like to add another fish with a similarly engaging personality. I have had the BSJ for some time now in a QT, so I would move him first into the new home.
<If placing this fish in a 32 gallon system, I would leave it in there by itself for a few months before trying any other VERY easygoing fish/es...
Perhaps some species of Cardinalfish... DO make sure you have any openings to/through the top completely screened. This fish is an escape artist>
Thanks again for your always thoughtful advice.
<Bob Fenner, who has collected this fish at the terminus of Baja, CA. Seen it on display a few times, public and private>

Caribbean Biotope, stocking, new tank media replacement and substrate for Jaw Fish 4/25/09
Hello all,
<Hello, sorry for the slow response here.>
Thanks in advance for answering my questions and for being (at least for me) one of the best online sources of information.
My question is this I read you FAQ on Caribbean Biotope and I wanted to start my own but with some slight differences. I was going to add LR to both sides and leave the center open or maybe just on one side and leave the rest an open area would the latter be better for everybody?
<Either can work fine, tis more of a personal aquascaping choice.>
I have 3 fish now a Royal Gramma, a Lawnmower Blenny, and a Yellow Clown Goby and 2 Peppermint Shrimp that I want to add to my new system.
My new system is a Red Sea Max 65 Gallon all in one and because it is a new system I will leave it fallow for 2-3 months or more so it can get established or my wife makes me.
<LOL! NO reason to wait so long unless you are curing new rock...even then you can accomplish the swap once it is "cured". See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm>
For stocking I was going to add some more fish but I don't know what else to put in there and my wife want to put fish that are seen and not hidden and I don't want to push my bio load because I want to make a reef safe tank with some species of coral that will go with my lighting.
<Okay, again a very personal choice of taste. Research re suitability and compatibility will show you the way.>
My next question is should I replace my foam media with a different type of foam? Also should I replace my ceramic pieces for LR rubble?
<What, where? Do you have LR in the main system?>
My last question is the substrate for the Jaw Fish, I read your FAQ on Jaw Fish systems and I want to make sure that I have my 'ducks in a row' before I start. Can I add 30lbs of Aragonite Aragamax sugar sand, (1st layer) 40lbs of Ocean Direct Caribbean Live Sand (2nd layer) and 10lbs of Florida Crushed Coral sand (3rd layer) or would I have to add more to make my new Jaw Fish happy?
<This will put you at about the bare minimum IMO. I would include some more CC or even some larger shell type pieces.>
Thank You,
Ramon and Sons
<Welcome, Scott V.>

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>

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>

URGENT - JAWFISH SAVED FROM FLOOR, sys. 10/23/08 Hi there <Hello> I haven't looked through your other answers as i don't feel i have time. <? So... waiting hours for a response...?> About 30 minutes ago I heard a splashing from my tank, which is covered apart from the two back corners of glass which have corners cut off for cables to run through anyhow i had a quick look couldn't see anything amiss. About 5 minutes later i checked again moved a portable heater (not on) to discover my yellow headed Jawfish on the floor - still gasping i scooped him up and popped him back in the tank he swam round a bit disorientated for a while and has now hidden under a rock. Do you think I should move the rock to see how he is or is there anything i can do to reduce the stress - if he is still alive? Desperate Thanks Tracy <? Can't tell from here. Best to leave as is... hope for the best. RMF>

Re: URGENT - JAWFISH SAVED FROM FLOOR, new adj. 10/23/08 For the record I have just found the half eaten carcass consumed by the reef lobster - so your sarky <sarky (sär'ke) adjective sarkier sark'·ier, sarkiest sark'·iest Brit., Informal sarcastic> remark at the start of your response doesn't help. <Thank you for the follow up... do read re Opistognathid systems... on WWM... need to be thoroughly covered... BobF>

Artificial Jawfish homes? Helping a Jawfish Construct his Home 10/17/08 Hey Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> Well, my 150gal Caribbean Biotope is cruising along. Live rock has sprouted numerous interesting types of micro and macro algae, gorgonians and Ricordeas seem to be enjoying themselves, and even a trio of Royal Grammas are socializing and getting along. All is great! ...except... <Always that exception, huh?> I thought I had thoroughly prepared the sand to accept Jawfish prior to filling. After running for 2 months, I received my first Jawfish. He was unfortunately the only survivor of 2 mated pairs that were delayed during shipment due to Hurricane Ike. He was a touch traumatized, finally coming out from the rocks to dig a burrow after a full week. This is when I discovered that the sand is apparently too fine! I had used a 1/3 live sand, 2/3 pulverized limestone. Mixed in was about 4 lbs. of large rubble, and 20lbs of "Puka shells" (small mixed shells). I'm not sure if much of the rubble has settled deeply, or what, but all this 3-1/2" fella has been able to create has been a bunch of 3" deep circular craters. He had a shallow tunnel one time, but it collapsed and filled in very quickly. <Sounds like you'll need to utilize additional coarse materials to help him create a more stable matrix for him to construct his burrows.> I'm hoping that perhaps I may find an artificial solution. Do you think that perhaps several 1" diameter or so PVC pipes sunk into the sand might about 4"-5" might work for them? I figure they'd have to be full of sand so that Jawfish could dig them out themselves, but I'm not so sure that they'd recognize them as possible locations for homes. However, if they DID accept them, then it'd be a cinch to locate them where I'd like the fish to hang around conveniently for display. <A good idea. My friend Anthony Calfo has suggested a similar type of construction with PVC pipes for Moray Eels. As you presume, it may that the fishes do not use the PVC "tunnels". However, I would give it a shot. I'd also add some additional coarse material to enhance your substrate. I think that a combination of the two will help your Jawfish construct his homes. As always, thanks for your help! Darby (I have to remember to get a photo of the tank in for Scott F...) <My pleasure. And, yes- please do forward along some pics! Regards, Scott F. (who will be doing some diving in Jawfish country next week!) >

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>

Yellow-Headed Jawfish Colony (ooh, how cool!) -- 09/12/08 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a 55 gallon tank that I am thinking about using to create a home for a small colony of yellow-headed Jawfish. <<Very nice, these are very interesting fish to observe in colony habitats'¦I'm hoping you have been going your homework re>> I am trying to determine how many Jawfish I should add. <<I see'¦ A few decades back when I worked in the live fish department of a local Pier 1 Imports store (yep, they carried tropical fishes back then) we had a 40-gallon setup with a dozen or so Opistognathus aurifrons in it that seemed to do very well. But, many authors these days will advise limiting stocking of this species to avoid constant battling to either one for about every ten gallons of tank capacity, or for about every square-foot of substrate surface area. The success of that 40-gallon Pearly Jawfish tank so many years ago may well be put down to the fact that is was grossly 'overcrowded' (note that I did not say 'overstocked'). You can sometimes see this strategy with highly territorial species like Marine Angels and Tangs, where a large number are 'squeezed' in to a system in an attempt to nullify interspecies aggression (ever seen the 75-gallon tank at the LFS with 12 Yellow Tangs in it that 'appear' to be getting along?)'¦'¦is not always successful, and when it is, is not always for the long term. I'm not going to suggest here that you add a dozen Opistognathus aurifrons to your 55'¦so take what you want from this>> The tank has a 1 foot x 4 foot footprint. Some places seem to suggest a rule of thumb of 2 sq foot per fish. <<For some of the larger species, yes'¦and more'¦but only about half that is need for the Pearly/Yellow-Headed Jawfish in my opinion>> But with this rule, my 120 gallon tank (2 feet by 4 feet) could only hold 4 Jawfish! So, I am wondering if it would be bad to add 4-6 Jawfish to a 55 gallon tank? <<Four would be fine for the 55'¦I think you might even get away with five'¦especially if all added at once to the display>> The tank would have 4-6 inches of varying grades of sand, <<I would go with 6-inches of the mixed substrate'¦the happier the fish are with their burrows the less prone they will be to jump>> some bits of rubble and a protein skimmer. That's it. So what do you think? <<No other fishes? Excellent!!! These wonderful little fish are always best kept to species-specific systems, in my opinion. It sounds to me like you are well on your way to a very nice display>> Another option is to use the tank to house a colony of garden eels. <<Mmm'¦>> How many would you recommend for a 55 gallon tank? <<None'¦ These fish are much more difficult to keep than the Jawfish you propose (needing a constant laminar current to suspend a continuous supply of planktonic (preferably live) food organisms'¦and of course the facility to culture such)'¦and would require a tank at least three times this size just to start, in my opinion. I'm not saying it can't be done or that the eels couldn't be trained/wouldn't eat frozen fare, but you are much more likely to be successful with the Jawfish>> Thanks, Nate Terry <<A pleasure to share'¦please do keep me posted on the progression/success of this interesting display. Regards, Eric Russell>>

Yellowhead Jawfish sys., conch pic... 3/14/08 Hello! I just set up my first serious saltwater aquarium last weekend, and I have spent hours if not days researching on your site! :) Thank you for the great info! I have sort of an unusual circumstance. My aquarium originated from rescue efforts for a 1" horse conch that I found washed up on the beach (on a day that was too rough to throw it back), and from a couple of temporary setups that I had for 2 crabs that I found while shelling from my kayak (the first one accidentally, the second intentional). My new setup is a 20 gal with three sections, one for each crab as they aren't very friendly, and the largest section for the horse conch (I know eventually he will be too big and I'll have to give him up or get a huge tank). There are also 3 glowing marginella snails with him. I was hoping to get a couple of small fish to go in this large section, which is roughly 10 gallons, 12" by 12" of floor space. I'm contemplating freeing one of the crabs if I have to, which will be hard since I've grown pretty attached to them. The first one I found has more than quadrupled in size, and they both will eat out of my hand! I don't want to give up the horse conch, he is so beautiful and seems to be doing well, he eats about 2 Cerith snails per week. I attached a picture of the conch and one of the whole setup. <Yes. Very nice> The tank's pH is at 8.2, ammonia .75, nitrite 1.0, <Mmm, dangerous> nitrate 5, and specific gravity is 1.021. <Too low...> The test kit says that in a new aquarium these levels will be high until the biological filter is established, by this, do they mean beneficial bacteria? <Yes, their establishment...> The filter that I have is a tetra whisper power filter which claims to eliminate ammonia and nitrites. I know this stuff must seem so silly but I really don't want to mess up. Now for my main concern: while researching fish that could be ok in 10 gallons, I came across the Yellowhead Jawfish. I actually saw these for the first time at Mote Marine Aquarium, they were one of my favorite displays. In shopping around at every fish store in the area, I actually found one! I fell in love with him right away. I didn't buy him, I know my tank needs lots more preparation. With your blessing, I would go get some coral sand and PVC to set something up suitable for him to burrow in. I have read in numerous places that they will be ok in 10 gallons, what do you think? <Mmm, much better in larger volumes... where you can have more than one... enjoy their interacting... Each specimen needs an absolute minimum of a square foot of bottom> Also, will he be ok with the horse conch and glowing marginellas, or will he try to eat them/vice versa? I really don't want anything to happen to that conch, and I don't want anything harassing the Jawfish, either! Are there any other top dwelling fish that you would recommend to go in such a small space with a Jawfish? <Mmm... not really in this small volume...> Should I get rid of one of the crabs and free up the space? Should I wait until the nitrite, etc. levels are lower before I get any fish? <Definitely... is toxic currently> Do you recommend the freshwater dip with formaldehyde before introducing the Jawfish, and if so, where do I buy the formaldehyde? <I would NOT dip Opistognathids...> I'm sorry about the barrage of questions, I am brand new to this and I really don't want any tragedies! <Am glad to help you in your successful husbandry> Thank you so much for your help! Mandy <Do keep reading for now... Are you familiar with the guides/books of Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach? Do look these up, give them a read... Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellowhead Jawfish... Horse Conch comp. Thank you for the answers! I have to apologize again for asking so many questions, I did find some more info and realized that some of them probably shouldn't have been asked. It is just so overwhelming when you have so many different questions and you are getting different impressions from different sources. <Focus... one thing... at a time> I will definitely look into reading those books. I still haven't bought the Jawfish, but he is still there so I have hope! I bought 20 lbs of live sand and some live rock, and I'm letting everything cycle. Hopefully all will be well before he is sold. I am also preparing myself to part with one of the crabs so I can free up some more tank space for him. There is one question that you didn't answer in my last email, and it was a pretty big concern of mine. Will the horse conch try to eat the Jawfish when he (t*he conch) gets to be a few inches long? <Shouldn't, no. Pleuroloca gigantea eats mainly other snails and bivalves> I have visions of the conch positioning himself over the jawfish's hole and sticking his body down there to eat him... the way he does with the snails he eats. I was able to get a better picture of the conch to send to you; he wasn't being very photogenic last time. I'll attach a picture of one of my marginellas, too. Thank you again for your time and knowledge! :) <Welcome! BobF>

Re: Yellowhead Jawfish 04/09/2008 Hello again! :) <<G'Morning, Andrew today>> I have completely revamped my system since we last spoke, and everything is going great. Here are the new specs: 20 gal tank 30 lbs live sand 10 lbs crushed coral 6 lbs live rock (4 lbs worth of large rocks and the rest rubble) 7 blue legged hermits 2 orange cats eye Turbos a 1" horse conch 3 marginella snails 3 Cerith snails Ammonia & nitrites 0, nitrate 20, pH 8.2, salinity 1.023 <<Sounds great>> After I put in the live rock (which had been at the LFS for a long time) and sand, the ammonia & nitrites only took a couple of days to disappear, and they held steady for over a week. So...I bought the Yellowhead Jawfish that I'd been wanting. I know that you said they do better in larger systems so that you can get more than one, but he was all by himself at the LFS, and I wanted to give him a good home. I had everything set up for him, I bought a couple of PVC elbows and placed one on each side of the tank out in the open to make him little caves (that is what he had at the LFS and I didn't want to freak him out by putting him in a system without one). I made the sand slope so that it is a couple of inches in the back and 4-5" in the front, and put all of the live rock in the back, placing the two big pieces directly on the glass and laying the rubble pieces on top of the sand. I tried to make the back of the tank as unappealing for burrowing as possible. I didn't think that I would need to worry about him making his home back there so I didn't do anything to brace the rubble. <<Ok>> Well, as soon as I let him out of the bag he darted to the very back right corner and made a burrow under the rubble! He stayed there for almost 2 days and this morning he has moved behind one of the big rocks. <<Yes, scared of the new surroundings, quite common>> Since I have the tank in a sort of bookshelf I can't see the back of it except for in the reflections on the glass, so this poses a big problem for feeding. He is very shy, and won't come out for several minutes after he has spotted the turkey baster. I placed some brine shrimp at the entrance to his burrow, but because of the location I can't see if he ate it. Will they pick food off of the sand, or does it need to be floating? When he finally inched back out to where I could see him, I did see him grab a couple of pieces that happened to still be floating by. <<They will take some from the sand yes>> Should I be concerned about the pieces of rubble collapsing on him, or is it mainly the larger rocks that would possibly crush him? <<Indeed, all live rock should be stabilised by the glass bottom, and not resting on the sand. I would remove the rubble from on top of where you perceive the fish to hiding>> For these two reasons, (possible rubble collapse and feeding) would it be advisable to pick up the rubble he is burrowing under in hopes that he will move to a better location? Yes, you could even block the entrance if you catch out of the hole, with a view to making the fish burrow somewhere else>> The live rock I got came with a large (and I mean LARGE) population of bristleworms, which I discovered the night after I brought them home. Most of them are 2-3" and one that I have seen is at least 6"! They are the type that are bright red/orange on the front half and dark grey/black on the back half. I found photos of them on your site but none that earned a positive id. I understand that the smaller ones are beneficial, but because these apparently get so large and there are already so many of them, I'm worried about them becoming a problem. The guy at the LFS recommended a six line wrasse and thought that it would be ok with the Jawfish, but I'm thinking that this wouldn't be a good idea in my small system. What do you think? <<I agree, i would not add a 6 lined wrasse in a system if this size>> Is that a definite bio overload & too aggressive of a fish? <<Confines of the tank, boisterous wrasse would lead to unhappy Jawfish>> Finally, there are some other small greenish-white worm-like creatures in one of the rocks. I was hoping the were just hermit crab waste but I saw them sort of jump up and jerk around. I have attached a photo of them. They remind me of the cartoon nematodes in an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants! (admittedly one of my favorite shows :) Can you tell what they are? <<Possibly peanut worms, cant see the ends too well. Please read here including linked articles and FAQ's, see if you spot it. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wormfaqs.htm >> I attached a photo of my new system, if you look closely you can see the Jawfish in the right rear corner peeking at me and telling me where I can stick my PVC caves! I almost forgot, I attached one of him too, I know they are supposed to be thin but does he look too thin to you? The LFS guy was just feeding him flake food... <<Body does look uniform and no receding area of the stomach, however, frontal shots as this can be deceiving. Varying the diet of krill, brine etc etc is always good for diet>> Thank you for all of your help! Mandy <<Thanks for the follow-up message, all does appear to be looking very well. A Nixon>>

Weaning a genderless tunnel happy Jawfish. Fdg., sys., repro. 2/17/08 Hello all, I introduced a Bluespotted Jawfish (photo attached), nearly a week ago now. Unable to quarantine at home (a fifth tank might get me murdered by my better half), I had my buddy at the shop hold him for three long weeks. I had to remove an ornery (and quite large) Mithrax crab, but the Jawfish settled in quickly, building a network of caves within mere hours. I've been feeding frozen mysis, brine, and formula one using a pipette, which the fish takes to like a baby bottle. Now here in lies my first silly question: Am I going to cause the fish to develop a dependence on food coming directly to it? <Mmm, doubtful... I have observed and even collected this Opistognathid (at the tip of Baja)... and seen it in exhibits for years (mainly in home town San Diego's Birch Aquarium)... and it doesn't seem to lose its natural "hunting behavior"> Because, as it is, the Jawfish only gets to eat once per day, unless I were able to convince my girlfriend to spend the time each morning to nurse it on the pipette, or the Jawfish decides to join the rest of the group in swimming after food that's just dropped into the water. <Mmm, do think on the addition of a plankton generating refugium here... much to be gained> Secondly, I did search the site on sexing the Bluespots, with no definitive results. So, is there any good way to determine sex of these little guys (and girls)? <Not as far as I'm aware... until they actually spawn (males are mouthbrooders)> Finally, the wonderful mountains of sand. I was planning on adding a bit more sand; the middle to the back of the 125 gal. tank is 3-5 inches of mostly sugar-fine grade sand, the front...maybe an inch, and now due to some of the tunnel construction that has occurred I'm concerned that if the Jawfish removes too much sand from the foundation of a large rock bad things could happen. <All large solid objects need to originate on solid bottom... the bits on top neatly, stably placed atop this...> So, as I understand it, these guys like varying grades of sand. But, should I keep with the sugar-fine grade, or did NNR go out the window when the Jawfish started tunneling? <To a large extent, yes> I just want to make sure this fish is as happy as a fish can be inside a glass box. Any knowledge, insight, or criticism is greatly appreciated. <I would mix in some larger grade, even rubble of varying size... makes all tunnels more stable and is a hoot to see it all get moved about. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Jules (Portland, OR)

Jawfish/Systems/Compatibility 2/15/08 Hey Guys, <Hi Jason> Love your site. <Thanks> I recently purchased my second Blue Spot Jawfish for my 24G mini-reef (more on the first BSJ, which died, in a bit). The BSJ shares the tank with a very peaceful Chalk Bass. The fish get along fine and there is no problem with food competition when I target feed with a baster. There is an abundance of soft coral (zoo's, recordia <Ricordea>) and two nice hammer corals in the tank. Pretty deep sand bed (7" in front) and a pretty uncluttered layout, with an open area in the front of the tank. The tank is well covered to prevent jumping. In my opinion, it is about as good a Jawfish environment as one can create in a tank this size. <Sounds good.> Before I ask my question, I need to jump back about 8 months. Last summer, I bought a very healthy BSJ and watched it waste away in the same tank, finally dying after a long 6 weeks. Although I did not know at the time, there seems to be a decent amount of anecdotal evidence< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishsysfaqs.htm> suggesting that the BSJ is a "cool" water fish, better suited to 72-76F temps than the typical 78-81F tropical tank (the temp of my tank the last time around). Indeed, the slow deterioration of my last BSJ seems consistent with the "wasting" one might see with an overheating fish. <Could very well have been caused by shipping/handling stress.> In preparation of buying the new BSJ, I lowered my tank temp to about 76F. Neither the corals nor the chalk bass seemed to mind, and the BSJ has acclimated extremely well since being added last week. At any rate, here is my question: how much lower do you think I can bring my temperature down before I start to risk the Chalk Bass and the very typical assortment of softies and hammers I have in the tank? My main concern is that temps get a little harder for me to control in the summer months despite having air conditioning. If I could get the tank down to about 74F by spring, I'd feel extremely good about the BSJ's chances...but I don't want to jeapordize <jeopardize> the rest of the life in the tank. How low can I go? <Between 72-78 would be acceptable for all your animals.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Jason

Advice about a Jawfish-Thanks 2/5/08 I would like to thank Eric R. and Bob Fenner for your advice a couple of months ago about my desire to create a Jawfish setup in my 28gal. I spent quite a bit of time looking for information on them and both of you have helped me create a loving home for a happy Jawfish named Buttercup. I have about 4" inches of sugar fine sand with about a 1/2 lb of various pebbles and shells and after about 2 months of moving around constantly looking for his prime real estate he has settled under a rock (braced so no worries of collapse) right next to my "tank watching perch" and has used the shells and pebbles on his den, leaving the rest of my sand shell and pebble-free. He is my only fish and comes out quite a bit to swim against the current and check out what is going on around him. Thank you both again. -Amber <Ah, congratulations. And thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Yellowhead Jawfish stkg. 12/27/07 Dear Crew, Thank you for all the help you have I given me in the past. You don't know how much you have helped me. Unfortunately a new problem arises. I have been interested in Opistognathus aurifrons for some time now and have been planning to convert my 55 gallon freshwater tank into a saltwater tank for the soul purpose of keeping these Jawfish. My question is if I kept nothing but Jawfish and some liverock in this tank could I fit four? <Mmm, possibly... but all would be happier/better with just two or three...> The reason I would like four is because I would Like to obtain a pair for breeding purposes. Any suggestions? Thanks, Tuscan Thompson <Take a bit of time reading accounts of Jawfish spawning, aquaculture... Maybe start at the Breeders Registry (.com). Bob Fenner>

DSB and Jawfish 11/07/07 Hello and thank you for the opportunity to ask you a question about deep sand beds and how they relate to my set up. I have a 28g tank with 30lbs of live rock and about 45lbs of sugar sized oolite sand (4"), and 3lbs of mixed rocks and shells for construction materials all with the intent to have a Jawfish. I have 33 x turnover in my tank in flow, a skimmer, and carbon. I do not have the sand bed for the NNR purpose but more for my Jawfish. Is it possible to stir my entire sand bed once a week with water changes (of course staying clear of my Jawfish den, unreachable areas near the rock) just to prevent any issues with gas formation in the lower levels, discoloration near the glass due to algae? <Yes... though I would do just "Half"... one side or the other every interval. To preserve some of the microbial and macro- life there> Is that actually too counterproductive? Any other suggestions? Thank you as always for your help. I really enjoy your site. Amber <I think you will be fine here with your stirring... though you will find the "Jaws" don't appreciate too much movement near their burrows. Bob Fenner>

Jawfish Burrows... location, feeding, 10/30/07 <Hi Dave, Mich here.> Quick question concerning Yellowheaded Jawfish. <Oh! One of my favorite fish!> I just bought a pair (they have been in the same burrow -and will re-burrow together- at the store for past 3 weeks) for my 90gallon reef tank. When first introduced they stayed close together for the first 24hrs and then created their own separate burrows at opposite ends of the tank at the back. <OK.> I'm not concerned about them not burrowing together at all, but am a little concerned about their location at the back. <Why?> Reading through your information, it is often suggested to use a baster feeder to expel small meaty foods near the burrow. <Yes.> At the back of the tank, it will be difficult to reach the critters as well as keep an eye on them. <Yes, but not impossible. Please make sure your tank is extremely well covered these adorable fish are notorious jumpers and will find the tiniest of spaces to make their escape to drier places.> My question to you, will the Jawfish relocate if they are not getting enough food? <Perhaps.> Will they leave the burrow for the front of the tank to grab food out of the water column and then dart back to their burrows? <I recently spent a little time observing Yellowheaded Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) on the reefs in the Bahamas. These delightful little fish do leave their borrows, but generally don't stray too far from their homes. I think if there is an unobstructed passage to the front of the tank they may go there, otherwise, I'm not so sure. You may need to direct some of the food towards the back of the tank. > Dave <Good luck with these cuties! Mich>

Jawfish Tank'¦Suitable Black Substrate -- 10/05/07 Hello and thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask you some questions. <<Hi Amber'¦we're happy to assist>> I have a 28g nano tank and I would like it to contain a Yellow Headed Jawfish, (maybe two), a clean up crew and some corals. <<Two Jawfish of this species would probably be possible in this size tank'¦but be sure to leave plenty of open space uncrowded with rock/coral so they can establish individual territories>><Mmmm, likely not enough room... RMF> I was wondering if it is possible to run black sand in my tank such as calcite sand and other black substrates (a proper mix of grain size) <<Indeed'¦a mix of rubble in with the sand is important for the fishes to be able to 'stabilize' their burrows>> and if it would hurt their mouths. <<This should be fine>> Can you recommend any other type of black sand? <<Nature's Ocean advertises black Aragonite sand along with other larger black marine gravel/rubble (http://www.naturesocean.com/marine_substrates.htm)>> Last question regardless of sand can I get some Nassarius snails to help the rest of the sand bed or will they disturb my Jawfish? <<The snails will not be a problem>> Thank you for your great site. Amber <<Amber, do have a read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm) and among the associated links in blue. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Blue Spot Jawfish 7/20/07 Thanks for get back Bob. I had a bsj for 4 months, water quality was great and the Jawfish feeding appetite was excellent. He arrange the sandbed to which he liked, <Where are the spaces between your sentences?> and the problems started. The tank was also a reef setup with corals on the sandbed, which he no longer cared for. The Jawfish would blow sand all over the corals on the sandbed, and on the corals that where higher on the live rock. <What they do> It was a everyday event to get the sand off the corals, and I finally gave up. I return the fish for a store credit,8 months later jaw is still in the display tank, and I regret giving him up. Thanks for the excellent article on the Jawfish, I'm ready to purchase another one. I think the two problems that I didn't know were, not giving the bsj any rubble to make his den, and not enough space with the corals on the sandbed so he could a 360 view. I would appreciate any comment you have. Thanks Dan <Good points... BobF>

Heavy One Gill Breathing....but only new fish... Too crowded small SW tanks -- 07/03/07 Hi guys/gals.. Thanks so much for this site...I cannot tell you how many times I have had problems solved by searching your archives.... This time I have a strange one..... I have a 24 gallon AquaPod set up as a reef tank... lots of live rock, live sand... etc. I have enclosed a pic for the looking. Currently, there are only three small fish in the tank.... a maroon clown, <Misplaced here... too aggressive a species to keep with other fishes in this small volume> a yellow wrasse, and a pygmy angel <Not enough room...> .... who have all lived well and happily for some time now. A while back I added a blue-spotted Jawfish <Yikes... will likely launch itself out...> for a little personality (love those fish!)....and had about a week and a half of great enjoyment before he started acting funny. He hid more, started breathing heavy (sometimes out of one gill), and became pretty lethargic. <Stress... not enough room...> I removed to a hospital tank thinking it may have been ich, although I couldn't see any external parasites, and attempted hyposalinity. He didn't get any better and went down a few days later. <...> I liked the fish so much that I decided to hope that that was just bad luck and try again.....alas, to the same end result. >...< Both times the fish was fantastic for about a week to a week and a half and then developed symptoms....mainly the breathing heavy out of one gill, slow movement, one of them actually tried to jump out of the tank at one point!... <My friend... these Opistognathids can't live like this... they are "high strung"... need room, a dearth of aggressive, mobile tankmates...> I have now added a small, much cheaper blenny to see what may happen. and I think he is starting to perform the same. I have also lost quite a few of my turbo snails!..... <... Let me skip ahead and try hypnotizing, making strong suggestion to you here: You NEED a MUCH larger system... Like myself, possibly, to either Silicone in your front door and fill your residence up with water! Or, get on out and go diving some times, places... where you can practically realize how little present aquarium you have> I don't understand....water quality is perfect, all the corals and three other fish are rockin...but anytime I add one more. especially a bottom dweller....I have this problem. <... is "psychological" rather than physiological...> Could I have a problem with my sand bed? Those blue-spotted Jawfish sure like to move around the sand...and the blenny splits his time between the top of the rock and in the sand bed...could it be a temperature fluctuation thing? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Tod <Are you SCUBA certified? Like adventure travel? Either come on out with us, and/or save for that much bigger "world"... Your tank's too small. Bob Fenner>

Re: Heavy One Gill Breathing....but only new fish... -- 7/3/07 Thanks for the reply... <Welcome> It sure doesn't appear by looking at the system that its too small...it already appears empty with just the three of them...but hey, you're the expert... <Okay> Doesn't tell me why they would breath out of one gill though? Can that possibly be physiological also? <Not likely... some fishes "do" this at times... for no apparent reason> I am SCUBA certified...in fact Imp an assistant instructor, starting my IDC next month...but not sure I get your reference.... <Ahh! That you should join us... see much of the aquarium world in the wild> Thanks anyway Tod Miller <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Heavy One Gill Breathing....but only new fish... -- 7/3/07 Do you guys do trips with your crew? Where are you based out of? <We do... and the Crew itself is Intl.. I live in San Diego and Hawai'i> Always looking for good dive trips.. Tod <Ahh, me too! Cheers, BobF>

Jawfish with a poor real estate mind... -- 06/26/07 Hello gang! <Paul> I'm a long time reader, second time writer. First off, thank you so so so much for all your help over the years - you have no idea how valuable you've been! But now down to business. I bought a yellow head Jawfish yesterday afternoon. <Neat animals... but skittish> I acclimated the little guy, plopped him in, and left the lights off until this morning in hopes that he would make a little home for himself. Well, this morning I had a look and found a little sand pile and his new little dwelling - in a terrible spot. It's a 55 gal tank, 36" long. He's the only fish in the tank aside a clown goby. I've purposely put him in first (basically) because I've read that this is ideal for them (being a very docile fish). Anyways, to the point, he's picked a terrible spot at the back of the tank, behind rocks and under xenia. He's basically invisible. He seems (how do you really tell?) quite happy and he ate the frozen Mysis I gave him. My question is, is there anyway I can convince him to relocate to a nicer spot in the tank? Thanks so much! -Paul <Mmm, time really... but you can urge this fish on with placing a bit of coral, shell rubble in a spot you'd like it to relocate... these fishes like to incorporate these bits in the tunneling. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Plan, Jawfish and Tangs, FO 5/2/07 Hi, <Hello Jason.> I am in process of deciding what my tank (70g 36x18x25) inhabitants will be. <Ooh the fun part.> Because of my experiences in the Caribbean watching the Yellow Headed Jawfish do its thing, I would like to plan this tank around having at the most three Y.H. Jawfish... <I think I would limit it to two at the most with this size tank, and I would opt for simultaneous addition.> I think that meets the spacing requirements. In addition to the 4-6" <6"+ for these critters.> mixed substrate, live rock, corals, and cleaning crew I'm thinking of having one Purple Tang. <Mmm...a bit big for this tank, I'd look at other options.> My concerns are the Tang can obviously move much faster for the food and I don't want to stress these guys out at all... <Yes but generally speaking they will not inhabit the same space/niche...should be okay but I still think the tank is to small to house a surgeon long-term.> What do you think of this plan? <See above.> If the Tang isn't a good fit what can you recommend? <Other slower moving, smaller fish would make a nice fit. Damsels of the Chromis genus. Anemonefish (though not maroons). There are others; blennies, cardinal fish, some Hawkfish....lost of options, keep reading/researching my friend.> Thanks, <Of course.> Jason Chicago, IL <Adam J; in SoCal.>

Blue Spotted Jawfish Sys. - 4/8/07 <Hi Kristin> I will be getting a blue spotted Jawfish in a couple days. <Congratulations! They are one of my favorite fish.> The opportunity to get said fish came up unexpectedly leaving me little time to prepare. I have a 60 gal. reef tank with 2 False Percs, one unknown Wrasse, 1 very calm and friendly yellow tail damsel and one orange spotted goby. I also have a 12 gal. nano with a few cleaner crabs/snails and a coral banded shrimp (I hope to get rid of soon because of his aggression toward fish). I also have a 5 gal. tank that is not set up. I was thinking of putting the Jawfish in the 60 gal. but have since became nervous about 1. The bio-load in the tank and 2. The active tank mates that I fear will make the Jawfish nervous. Would the 12 gal nano, minus the coral banded shrimp (who has proven to be a fish killer), be a good home for him/her? <In terms of the bio load you should be fine with the Jawfish in your 60g but the tankmates are not really suitable. I would be worried about the damsel and wrasse. I can't really help you decide about the wrasse without knowing what type you have. The 12 gallon is to small.> If not is a 5 gal. too small? <Yes, definitely much too small.> The ultimate goal I have is to put the Jawfish in his permanent home in a 135 gal. SPS reef tank that I am setting up now but will not be ready when he/she arrives. <I would opt for waiting and placing the new Jawfish into the 135 when it is ready after an appropriate quarantine. Since you are in the process of setting up that tank now you can be sure you provide him with the best environment possible. Perhaps your LFS will hold the fish for you until your tank is ready. You should really quarantine all new fish. Depending on where you are in the process of setting up that new tank you could possibly keep the Jawfish in a 20g quarantine tank until your 135 is ready. I like to place some sort of container filled with sand in the quarantine tank for any of the bottom dwelling fish that like to burry themselves or tunnel like the Jawfish does. Keep in mind this fish has some special requirements. One they are a flight risk so be sure your tank is tightly covered. I have noticed they usually try to escape at night. The risk is highest when they are new in the tank before they have established themselves. A nightlight left on somewhere in the room will help if you do not have moonlights on the tank. They also need a deep sandbed with coral rubble. Please do have a look at Henry C. Schultz III's article Let's Jaw About Jawfish in the online magazine Reef Keeping here.. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-03/hcs3/index.php > Thank-you very much for your help. Kristin <Your most welcome, Leslie>

Jawfish species tank Hey guys. I'm thinking of a couple of ways to do this 24 gallon aquarium that I'm going to restart sometime in the future. One of the ideas was a Jawfish species aquarium/biotope. Here was my idea: About 6-7" of coarse sand, shells, assorted small live rock pieces, and maybe a bit of fine sand. <Yes... best to mix these substrates for Opistognathids> Livestock wise, I'd love to do more than one pearly Jawfish, but I think that's just asking for trouble. <Mmm, yes... this is too small a volume, and foot print... for more than one> So here are my questions. Would that much substrate lead to some weird nutrient- sink problems, or would it turn out as a natural nitrate reduction system? <With care in maintenance, you should be fine here... periodic stirring, for my part vacuuming part of this on a regular basis, with adequate circulation, filtration, careful feeding...> Second, I have some questions about the type of stuff present in the areas where this rubble zone would occur. Are there larger rocks around, like live rock size? <Can be... but not actually in the "resident" habitats of the species mentioned... this is almost always "open sand"... And a note here to be careful if using larger rock... To place this setting on the bottom (first) to prevent collapse in the tunneling of the Jaw> I'd still like to use live rock as the main filter medium if that is accurate to the environment. Lastly, can you tell me where to find a listing of some sort of the other types of fish present in this "rubble zone" biotope. Thanks for reading this long-drawn out question. <Sure... some of the best... the works of Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach... John Tullock's "Natural Reef Aquarium" book by Microcosm... and Dr. J. Randall's "Caribbean Reef Fishes"... Bob Fenner> Re: Jawfish species tank 2/1/07 Okay then. So the term for the Jawfish habitat would be "open sand." <And rubble mixed in> And since live rock is mostly not present in this type of environment, I'm guessing my best bet for live rock filtration is to put some assorted rubble in the back chambers in my filter. <Okay> I'll do some more research on inverts and fish present in this open sand ecosystem, although I don't think I'll have much room left with all that sand. Thanks a ton. <Welcome in kind. BobF>

Re: Jawfish species tank 2/3/07 Ah. I forgot to ask a couple more things. I failed to mention that I can find a mated pair of Jawfish. Would the tank still be too small for the pair? <Mmm, maybe... O. aurifrons is not found in permanent pairs in the wild... need at least some four square feet per individual... You have two...> My other question was the proportions of the substrate. You mention on the site that the ratio should be about 3 to 1 of fine sand to coarse material. Is the "fine" sand sugar-fine, or is it the slightly coarser variety? Thanks again. <Larger than this is better IMEstimation... perhaps 4-8 mm. nominal. Bob Fenner>

Opistognathus rosenblatti 1/29/07 Hello Ron First off I have to commend you on this site and of course your wonderful book which has helped me immensely as well as all the people I've lent it to. <Ahh!> My question is concerning the water temperature suited for this species. <Mmm, have tried to collect this little Jawfish (along the "corridor" at "land's end" in Baja... and have sold it, seen it numerous times at the San Diego/Birch aquarium... is a cool water species...> Of all the material I have read on them, most say 78-80 (our normal tank temps) <Mmm, no... really too high... ten degrees cooler would be best here> Lately though there has been some info come through (a German site) that states that this fish is from the sea of Cortez and need a more temperate water and should be kept in as low as 68F. <Yes, this is so> I have contacted the Long Beach Aquarium that have a display of them and they tell me they keep theirs at between 72 - 76F I'm wondering if this is the reason that they are perishing in our tanks or are getting sick and dying? two years seems to be the record? <Yes... high temperature is likely shortening their lifespans, mal-influencing their health> I have been lucky enough to recently purchase a very young one and have him in a quarantine tank right now.... trying to decide whether to put him in my quiet 180 display at 78-79F (I've met all the other requirements for him) or to set up a separate tank and keep him a bit cooler? Personally it would be much easier for me to have him in my 180 then another tank.... but if it means this is what it will take then I'll do it. I'd appreciate any and all the info you can send this way. Thank you so much p.s. Could you also explain to me what happens to fish that are kept below their water temp requirements? Lynn McKinney <Mmmm, overall subtending of metabolisms... protein/enzyme et al. function reduced... perhaps a tipping of scales to other factors, advantage to infectious, parasitic systems... Hello to Dick Rosenblatt if he sees this for his nomenum. Ron/Rob/Bob Fenner> Re: Opistognathus rosenblatti 1/29/07 Thank you so much for your quick reply BOB lol Sorry, but for some reason I always think your 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 specie 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>

Construction Materials For Jawfish! 8/19/06 Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I recently found your site and have been learning A LOT! <Love to hear that!> I currently have a 40g tank (8mo old) with appx 2" of live sand, and 40lbs of live rock. I have numerous hermit crabs and snails, 3 Emerald Crabs, 2 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Rock Flower anemones, 1 Clownfish, 2 Pajama Cardinals, 1 juvenile Blue Caribbean tang, and 1 recently acquired Pearly Jawfish. (I actually purchased 2 Jawfish, however about 30min after adding them to the tank, one just "disappeared". The tank is covered, and he is not inside nor out!). <Bummer...The fish population is pretty tight for this sized aquarium with the Tang in there. Consider larger quarters in the near future for this guy, okay?> I started reading your site about the Jawfish to find the appropriate care, and now realize that I definitely should have more sand. Can I just add sand without messing up my levels and killing everything? <If you add it carefully, sure.> If so, what kind of sand would you recommend? Do I just pour it in?? I am reading that I probably shouldn't add live sand, especially to a somewhat established aquarium... <I think that you can add live sand. I've never had a problem if added carefully and in small quantities over a span of several days or weeks. I'd use one of the finer "oolithic aragonite" sands, mixed in with more coarse material, such as Carib-Seas "Seaflor Special Grade", and maybe even a bit of larger material, like crushed coral. This will provide not only an easy substrate for the Jawfish to dig into, but will provide a bit of "structural integrity" for the burrow it digs.> Also, should I place the rock on the tank floor and THEN add sand around it so that the rocks don't come crashing down on my Jawfish? <You got it!> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! Pamela <My pleasure, Pamela! Hope that you enjoy your aquarium! Regards, Scott F.>

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>

Jawfish sys. 3/14/06 Hey! first off I want to say that the site is great!<Thank you.> I have an extra 55 gallon, and really want to do a Jawfish tank. I have been researching for about 3 mouths <I couldn't find any mouths on the website either.> and I think I am ready, I know I need at least a 6 inch sand bed, <5 to 7 inches of assorted sizes of sand works good with small pieces of rubble they will use to reinforce their burrow.> but the part I was wondering about is, I want to get 2 Jawfish, is there anyway to pair them? and to get them to breed? or can you just buy them in pairs in the first place? <Several can be kept in the tank in question and they don't have to be pairs. I wouldn't worry about breeding as it would be difficult to rear any fry even if they did breed.> My last question is that I heard Jawfish like to make there burrows in the open sand, does that mean I should not have that many rocks? <Yes, they do seem to burrow out in the open but no problem having live rock/rocks.> also just a random question what kind of tank mates would you recommend? <I'd probably go with Firefish, has to be fish that are very docile. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks a lot, <You're welcome.> Chris

You Can Lead a Jawfish to Water, But You Can't Make it Burrow 10/28/05 Hello, <Hi Aaron.> I am setting up a 62 gallon custom acrylic tank, and I am planning on getting a blue spot Jawfish. The tank will be totally enclosed, so there is no worry about it jumping. <Good.> I will have around 4 inches of sand also, <Best to go six inches with a Jawfish.> <<As a minimum. MH>> composed of fine sand along with bits of rubble for the Jawfish. I plan on adding the fish before any of the other inhabitants. My question is, how do I make sure that the Jawfish will make it's burrow where I will be able to view it? <You can not ensure this but you can do a couple of things to encourage it like burying small pieces of PVC pipe creating caves in the front'¦.the Jawfish may choose these for the convenience.> I am worried that it will make a burrow towards the back, and I will never be able to see it. <Even he does make a burrow in the back he may also do so in the front and you will also see him swimming about and feeding.> Thanks! <You are welcome.> -Aaron <Adam J.>

Jawfish 10/16/05 Hi I was wondering what would be the best setup for some Jawfish and what are some compatible tankmates in a 40 gallon aquarium. <Read here Steve. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm. Good tankmates could be percula clownfish, the smaller gobies, Dottybacks etc. James (Salty Dog)>

Circulation and Jawfish Dear Mr. Fenner: Have been doing research for 125 gallon reef project in planning stages. <Ah, good> Questions on circulation: In a tank setup like a peninsula with only one short side facing a wall and two long and other short free for viewing, what configuration, number, and type of powerheads anchored along the back short wall would be advisable? <Maybe two, three... one at the top "back" corner, the other one or two at the bottom opposite or both corners... Intent is complete circulation, top, bottom and between.> Strength and positioning of outflow needed also helpful. <Look to the larger Hagen or Aquarium Systems units here. About best quality, highest flows available. Please read through the "Marine Circulation" FAQs posted on our site as well: http://wetwebmedia.com/circmarfaqs.htm> Worried about dead spots in this type of setup. Also, do you prefer wavemakers, oscillators, pulsers, or other type of water movers? <Mmm, a general "it depends" here... by and large in fish only set-ups, simple uni-directional units are fine, better> Am overwhelmed with choices; everyone has horror story about some brand of powerhead, pump, or other device. <The two brands, manufacturers mentioned are excellent... Do ask other actual users if you're concerned... perhaps through the bulletin boards, chatrooms. Ours: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Very nice, knowledgeable, practiced folks there> Unrelated question: Have been in love with Jawfish since twelve years old and viewing at a public aquarium in Pittsburgh (I think--twelve a long time ago). WetWeb has only sad tales to tell of them in a home aquarium. <Really? Will have to write some positive ones myself. Kept, and seen many gorgeous displays of Opistognathids over the years> Am I destined to failure along those routes? Any secrets to share (besides no brittle stars)? <Mixed substrates, complete covers, not too many over-competitive tankmates... Really, a generally aquarium-hardy family of fishes. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time, Pam Shriver

Re: Tank Suggestions Dear Bob, Thanks for responding in such an astonishing manner. <Wonder what about such responses warrants them "astonishing"?> I have a couple questions that I hope you can find time to answer. I went ahead and bought the 440g tank, and just the tank from a friend of mine. I want to turn it into a reef but for now it is just empty in my shed! <Must be a big shed!> My questions have to do with the 55g reef setup I wrote about earlier! While I wait for my skimmer to get here can I go ahead and start mixing the water in another bare bottom 55g and add a few damsels to start the cycling process? <Hmm, good idea... no need for the damsels... I'd use a bit of live rock> Also I have already had success with all of the angels mentioned in my first e-mail, I was just wondering if the Potter's was more likely to pick on corals than the Fishers? <Both out of Hawai'i range... but the Fisher's much smaller... both about the same likely to pick...> Also I did the math, how is 9.8 watts per gal for this tank, <This is a bunch... you will need to "match" the availability of carbon dioxide, biomineral, alkalinity... to the boosted illumination...> I plan on keeping all types of coral later on so I figured why not upgrade the combo I just bought, it now houses 2 -175w 10,000k German bulbs and 2-VHO Actinic "03" 95w tubes, they are housed in a fan cooled oak canopy! Would I be able to keep Flowerpots and clams down the road what about Blue Ridge and Birds Nest? <Perhaps> As for lighting the hang-on refugium, what would you recommend? It's only 24"L * 4"W * 12"H! <A small compact fluorescent fixture would be ideal> Would one of the sand swallowing cucumbers be alright even with the Jawfish having their burrows in the sand? <S/b fine> Would 3 Jawfish work in the 55 with the rest of the fish? <Not much space for three on the bottom... would limit this to two individuals...> I ordered a Berlin H.O skimmer how's that one? <Okay> One last question and I'm off of your screen for a while, Doe you know of any sources on the internet besides The Marine Center, that would maybe have the prices on either a Clarion or a Clipperton angel, and any sites with picture of the most beautiful angelfish? <The Clipperton I've only seen in the UK (at Tropic Marine Centre (at a wholesaler's... the Clarion is now available through Robinson's efforts at LA wholesalers, but only know Marine Center in TX to sell to the end-user... Images: http://wetwebmedia.com/clariona.htm of the Clarion we have, not Connie's Holacanthus... do you have Allen and Allen and Steene's latest Angel and B/F book? You should... ref. to it on the WWM site.> Thanks a bunch! I'll send you some pics of the reef once it's up and running! <Bob Fenner>

Deep Sand Bed Clarification - Jaw Fish Questions Dear Mr. C, <<Greetings>> Just curious as to your opinion on the sand bed debates. Dr. Goeman's recommends four inches of 1-2mm over a plenum. Dr. Shimek calls for 6-8 inches of sugar-size on the bottom of the tank. Bob seems to go for 3-4mm and 3-4 inches with or without a plenum. The hoipoloi have various strongly held and voiced opinions. I am at a loss, and my head hurts. Besides Advil, any suggestions? <<two Advil? Personally - really this is what I have in my refugiums - I would just do a sand bed as deep as is practical, with the finer sugar sands and as much liver rock as is practical. Plenums do work, but require more time to set up and the debate is whether or not the interstitial critters can move through the layers the way they need to or not. Four inches of sand would be fine.>> Semi-related question: Approximately how much floor (sandbed, not living room) space does one allow per yellow headed Jawfish? <<I am not recalling, I do believe it's more than you might think... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm - one per system is what Bob says.>> like that No rush; at the rate I'm progressing my tank will be up in 2003.(And the whole philosophy will change again! Sigh.) Thanks, Pam S. <<then again, it may not and you'll be well prepared. Cheers, J -- >>

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.>

Jawfish and Deep Sand Beds Good Evening. <And a great evening to you! Scott F. with you tonight!> I'm in the planning stages of a salt tank, not having had one in quite a few years. I happened upon this website a few months ago and am delighted at the wealth of information - told my fiancé that it was the Holy Grail. <Or at least a really good source of information on aquariums! LOL> I have a question that I haven't been able to find the answer to here yet, but if I just have been looking in the wrong places please forgive and re-direct me. I would like to incorporate pearly Jawfish into my tank, and would like to provide them with the correct substrate for them to burrow on, which I understand is a mixture. However, when reading about the deep sand beds, it has been advised not to mix different particulate size as this is detrimental to it's function. So - would it be plausible to section off an area more suitable for Jawfish tunnels and give them a happy mix in there and have the sugar-sized sand throughout the rest of a tank, and if so, How? What could I use to section off an area that wouldn't create dead pockets, but would be effective against mixing the different substrates....or at least delaying mixing... Thanks! Ginger <Well, Ginger- I understand exactly what you're talking about, and can appreciate your concern. I like your idea about possibly sectioning off some of the sandbed to accommodate the Jawfishes' habits. However, even if you did this (By creating a separate area surrounded by rocks or something), there is no guarantee that the fishes will choose to utilize that area as their "tunnel territory". I think that you will have to accept some loss of efficiency in parts of the sandbed. On the whole, you will probably not lose too much efficiency in a decent sized tank with one or two Jawfish. If you have a large population of Jawfish, the situation might be a bit different-the overall function of the sandbed might be somewhat impeded. However, in the long run, I'll bet that there is little chance that they would disturb the entire sand bed to the point where you'd have problems...As far as the substrate size, I'd try to stay with the sugar sized stuff, with a few "pebbles" of crushed coral intermingled in the sandbed. On the whole- I think that it will work just fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Substrate for pearly Jawfish How are you guys today? Can you tell me what type of substrate is good for a pearly Jawfish and blennies? Fine sand or something more coarse? For Jawfishes, a mix of some fine (a few millimeters) and larger (several millimeters) and some rubble (shells, coral bits) is best... to allow for digging, tunneling. There are too many types of blennies of too many different modes of life to be overall general re their needs... sifting types are best with fine (1,2 mm.) sand. Bob Fenner>

Preparing For a Jawfish (3/6/04) First of all, I really appreciate the time and effort it takes to answer all the questions you do. <You're welcome. Sorry for the delay. One of the crew is out and I'm helping clear his inbox.> Cutting quick to the chase....I would like to add a Jawfish to my 29 gal setup. <Very interesting fish. Which species? The Blue-Spotted are very nice, but cost a lot more than the others.> There is a series of steps I need to take before I could do this and I'm not quite sure how to go about them. <OK. First make sure that your tank is completely covered. Jawfish will jump through the tiniest hole. Also, only peaceful tankmates, and only a couple of them in this small tank. The Jawfish really should go in first if possible.> Firstly I need to add depth to my substrate, currently I only have 15 lbs of aragonite. I guess the first question I have is how much of what would I need to add? <Minimum of 4", preferably 5 or 6. Also, not sugar fine. It needs to be bigger with some chunks it can use to line & cover its burrow.> Secondly, What process (beyond rinsing and dumping) should I use to add substrate to the tank? I'd like to triple or quadruple the depth of the bed and I have reservations about dumping that much sand and gravel straight into the tank. <I'd gently rinse it to remove debris and pour very slowly. I pour mine through a long large-bore funnel I bought at Pep Boys. That way there will be much less clouding. I've added it straight before (without rinsing) and swept up the debris in a net, but it sure made a mess of the rock. I had to gently blow all the sand off the rock with a baster. If you already have rock, the funnel allows you to direct the sand exactly where you need it.> Thanks, you've been a big help already <Hope this helps too, Steve Allen.> Jawfish Tank Adjustment Hey guys, Let me start off with my accolades, you guys are the best! Okay, now I've had my 55 gallon tank for a little over a year now and I haven't had any issues in the least for a couple months. Right now I have a Gymnothorax tile (eel), blue devil damselfish, Hawaiian feather duster, flame scallop, two Condylactis anemones, and a coral banded shrimp. Everyone seems to be thriving nicely. The Condys have chosen their places and haven't moved in months. My question is two-fold concerning Jawfish. My tank has a coarse substrate mostly of dolomite and crushed coral of a 20/80 mixture. I would like to add a Jawfish or two but I realize they need a mixture of sand to stabilize their burrows. Is their any way I can mix sand into the substrate without taking anybody out of my main tank (I have a 10 gallon QT tank, so obviously not everyone can come out)? <Worth trying to add, or possibly (though funky looking) provide a deep container with mixed media for this purpose> My second question is, do you think I am going beyond my bioload (I keep a regular eye on chemicals and my nitrates stay below 5 almost constantly), and do you think the Jawfish would bother/be bothered by any of the current residents? <Should be okay... I take it this is Opistognathus aurifrons (not a Pacific species), so it should be aware, steer clear of the Condylactis> I don't want to overload my system because it seems very stable right now. (pH: 8.3, Amm/Nitrite:0, Nitrate:3, KH: 10, traces of iodine, and calcium, I feed vitamin enriched krill, brine shrimp, and photo/phytoplankton mixes couple of times a week) <Sounds fine. Bob Fenner>

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