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FAQs about Rabbitfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Rabbitfishes

Related FAQs:  Siganids 1,   Siganids 2, Rabbitfish Identification, Rabbitfish Behavior, Rabbitfish Compatibility, Rabbitfish Selection, Rabbitfish Systems, Rabbitfish Disease, Rabbitfish Reproduction,

Scribbled Rabbit Feeding Issue      8/5/19
I have had a Doliatus Rabbitfish for a month. It's a smaller guy, around 2 inches.
<Too small to be collected...>
When I first got it, it would devour algae off the clip. For the last week it hasn't touched it. It is still eating LRS reef frenzy without any issues. Any ideas on how to get this fish grazing again?
<Time, patience, hope. B>
Re: Scribbled Rabbit Feeding Issue, Ono Ogo Let's go!       8/6/19

Is red Gracilaria a good choice for feeder algae?
<In general, yes>
Right now I am feeding the fish 4 times a day to compensate for its lack of algae eating. Hoping
some live macro will do the trick.
<Might well. BobF>
Re: Scribbled Rabbit Feeding Issue; Ogo to the rescue      8/12/19

Just wanted to let you know the fish is eating the live macro. Hopefully in time it will take to eating nori on the clip. I am still making it available daily but still shows no interest.
<Ah, thank you for this update. BobF>

Foxface in quarantine not eating   3/17/12
Dear Crew,
I love your web site!! So much good info. Thanks.
I bought a 3" Foxface 1 week ago.
<Mmm, overall length? On the lowest end of size I'd collect/buy>

 I put him in a 10 gal Lexan tub that I use for quarantine
<Am a bigger fan of prophylactic dips/baths for Siganids... quarantine by and large is more harmful than useful w/ these fishes>

. It has a small filter & piece of PVC for hiding. There are some bubbles produced by the filter waterfall & there is no cover on the tub. Nothing else in the "tank". I noticed some Ich on his pectoral fins, so brought the Sg down to 1.015 & temp to ~80F. The Ich is gone now.
<Mmm, not likely, no... the manifestation (mucus reaction series) is not obvious... is still there at this spg>
I also treated for 2 days with Erythromycin as some of the other fish at the LFS tank had a bacterial skin infection. No signs of infection on the Foxface & the water in quarantine was changed. Sg is back to 1.025, temp is 78F.
He has not eaten since being put in the quarantine (1 week),
 still tends to stay in one spot & is showing his stress colors until I turn on the lights in the room & look at him, then his black spots go away & he starts swimming around, but still won't take food - algae sheets or pellet food.
Should I leave him in QT for more time, put him in the display which is a 90 with ~80# LR, corals, 2 yellow tail damsels, 1 ocellaris clown, 1 pajama cardinal, snails & hermit crabs? I'm afraid to put him in the display tank while he is not eating.
Doug S.
<I'd do the dip/bath... Please read here re:
Bob Fenner>

Getting Your Fish To Eat Its Veggies --    9/9/09
Hi again Crew,
<<Hiya Jill>>
I have come upon a slight problem with my Foxface Rabbitfish. I can't seem to get him to eat any veggies.
<<Mmm, not all that 'strange' really. Though my Siganus doliatus along with my Tangs will go after macroalgae with gusto 'they quickly abandon it in the presence of 'meaty' fare>>
I have bought several different brands of dried algae to feed him. Both red and green types. I never see him nibbling the algae in my tank either but then again, I don't watch him 24/7. He will eat all the meaty foods I feed the puffers and loves Mysis shrimp but I'm concerned that he isn't eating enough of the veggie stuff.
<<I see'¦ One would assume the fish would know when it needs/wants such foods, eh [grin]'¦though you might try enticing it with a soak in an food enrichment additive like Selco or Selcon'¦as well as offering the macroalgae before any other food items>>
Does anyone have any good tips on how to tempt him more?
<<Aside from the food enrichment additive mentioned, not really 'other than trying differing brands. I (and my fishes) like the 'shredded' offerings from Two Little Fishies. You might also try (If you haven't already) some 'Nori' from an Asian market and placing a sheet in a clip in the tank and leaving it for the fish to nibble at its leisure>>
I have recently bought Bob's book and love the recipe in it, I'm going to try something like this and just incorporate more algae.
<<Ah yes 'and this brings to mind another option'¦Hikari's 'Mega-Marine Algae' frozen food. This will look more like the meaty fare your Rabbitfish likes and should be readily accepted>>
One question I did have is if my puffer takes a bite out of the live rock now and then, do I still need to worry about giving him shelled foods?
<<Likely, yes'¦ An occasional bite of rock isn't likely to keep its teeth ground down 'and besides 'the shelled foods are just plain good for its long-term health/vitality>>
He wasn't interested in the hermit crabs which I am glad of now since I've decided I will not be feeding him any more live food in hopes to eliminate possible aggression at a later time.
<<A yes'¦ Clams, mussels, etc. from the local grocery store should do just fine>>
As far as Bob's book goes. I loved it, I recommend anyone thinking about getting into this hobby to look for it at Amazon.com. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I certainly wished I had it before I started purchasing my fish. I would have definitely asked a lot more questions.
<<Indeed'¦ Bob certainly does urge/inspire one to think/read/research>>
One more thing. I was thinking of adding a Flame Hawkfish to my set-up. 125 gallon FOWLR 1 dog-face puffer, 1 Porc puffer, 1 Rabbitfish. Yes....I know the Porc will outgrow the 125 and am already considering putting him in his very own 125.
<<Very good then'¦ The Hawkfish should be fine>>
I figure I have a year possibly as he is only about 5 inches right now.
Thanks again Crew. Take care!!
<<Welcome and same to ya! EricR>>

Siganid tummy appearance  8/1/09
I have a Foxface Rabbitfish who is about 3 to 4 inches long. It is swimming and eating normally. I would say that it is eating a lot. I give it 2 to 3 algae sheets that are about 2"x1" in dimensions in a day.
<Not too much... there isn't much food value here>
On top of that it eats whatever I feed my other fishes. Having said that, it does not look like it is starving, through out the day it has a very fat stomach from all it eats but the stomach does not look smooth. It looks bumpy.
<Ahh, no worries... this "bumpiness" is natural... Other Acanthuroids (e.g. Surgeonfishes) likewise ingest sand, utilize this matter in digestion. No problem>
Sort of like seeing the shape of the fishes organs full of food and waste but it's mass is starving. This is only in the stomach area. The rest of the Foxface's body is fine. Again, it's stomach is not sunken but it is bumpy looking as opposed to smooth. What could this be? Can it be treated? If so, how?
Thank You, Rangel
<Not to worry Rangel. Bob Fenner>

Gold-Spotted Rabbitfish, beh., fdg., sys...  -- 03/07/09 Hey guys! My name is Brent and despite a rocky start (I've been a fresh water fish keeper for years and got cocky with marine) I've managed to backlog my studies and make up for a general ignorance of the hobby. Many an insomnia ridden night have been spent pouring through your archives. And because I've noticed that you always prefer figures and number... <Yes... more concrete responses require them> I have an 80 gallon corner tank. 4 inches of live sand, 55 lbs live rock. external Ren Filstar XP2. Nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are always safe *read zero*. Ph 8.2. 80 degrees. SG 1.02-1.021. I have a 1 3/4 inch false percula. 2 green Chromis. <Better in small, odd numbers...> 2 striped damsels. (who I have learned are not right for this tank. one is missing an eye and the other a fin) 5 inch Gold Spotted Rabbitfish. 2 CC starfish. <Not easily kept> I have a few questions. If I simply failed to find these specifics, I will apologize ahead of time. I have read up on the livestock and set-up but I had some fairly specific *and hopefully not TOO foolish* questions. The Rabbitfish has always been very shy (which I understand is normal) but has come out of his "shell" recently with the addition of 38 lbs of live rock and the necessity of feeding mysis shrimp. (I have a clown who won't eat anything else. I tried the expensive flakes, pellets, worms, etc) I understand he needs more vegetable components in his diet. I have a significant (but not overwhelming) brown algae growth and the mix from the pet store is omnivorous. Is there anything I should be adding to make sure he gets enough veggies? <Mmm, macro-algal culture here... or better, here and in a tied-in refugium would be great> Specifically, are the high end omnivorous "blend "chips enough or should I add something else? He's getting plenty of meat. :) <You mention "pellets"... have you tried "Spectrum"... mixing this in with the Mysis?> I've read between 1/2 to 2 lbs live rock per gallon. Is there a more specific number I should be shooting for with these fish? <Mmm, no> Most importantly, with 80 gallons and these fish, is 55 enough? <Not really for a Siganid/Rabbitfish> I've read here that feeding starfish once a week is a good idea (not what the shop had to say. (Sadly we have one saltwater shop in town and it's a chain store.) Krill have been recommended. Stupid question. I read that putting them on top of the food is the way to go. <Or the food next... maybe twice a week... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ccstarfdgfaqs.htm> (These are my newest additions, 4 days ago) Do I physically pick them up and set them on it or do I try to drop it near them? <The latter again. See the above citation... and the links listed at the top re CC stars> I've tried the latter and they ignored it but I'm worried about moving them. My reading shows that they don't do well with movement. Is that just their intolerance of changes in conditions or is being moved inside a system just as bad? <Just being stressed by being touched period> And of course if there are any other glaring errors, I'd be happy to have my mistakes pointed out. Thanks you! Brent <Thank you for writing, sharing so well Brent. Keep learning, moving forward... Bob Fenner>

Newly Acquired Foxface Fish Concern ? 03/05/09 Hello crew, <<Hiya Richard>> I have recently purchased a fox face fish from my LFS (owned by a friend of mine) 4 days ago. <<Great aquarium fishes>> Like always, I have asked him to be put in a QT tank where he keeps all the fishes that he's going to put into his own tank at home for couple of weeks. I brought some flake and Spectrum pellets to see if he was eating well and such and he was. <<Okay>> I have 72 gal bow front tank with 100 pounds of live rock with slight algae problem and am hoping that this fish will help me sort it out. <<I see>> (I took care of phosphate level; I made a mistake of purchasing LFS's salt water instead of their RO and making my own brew...) Ammonia 0 Nitrate 0 Nitrite 0 PH 8.2 Salinity 1.020 (I kept it a little low on purpose and will bring it back up slowly) <<Mmm, yes? is much too low>> Problem is this. This newly acquired fish won't eat anything AT ALL. <<Not all that unusual, I have seen these fish often go on a hunger strike for a few days when newly introduced. The Hyposalinity may also be a factor here>> He's about 3 inches long and he's in there with 2 inch Huma and 1.5 inch clown trigger. <<Mmm, the peaceful Foxface is likely intimidated by this pair. Do also realize the Clown Trigger will grow to be a bruiser and is very likely to kill its tankmates without warning one day? a situation that is exacerbated by the size of this system>> From my observation, none of the fishes are bothering him. (For a trigger, they are all passive and pansies...) <<For now maybe>> I could see outlines of his stomach now and I'm concerned.... <<Not good>> Can I do anything to bring his appetite up? <<Likely no? short of removing it to a different tank. The fish will feed (if it's going to) when/if it feels comfortable in the tank you have it in now>> I have also tried feeding him, flake, pellets, shredded muscles, shredded shrimps, Nori. Any input will be appreciated. <<Try some ?Sea Veggies? (the shredded green algae) as well as ?small? frozen Mysis Shrimp and frozen Glass Worms (aka ? White Mosquito Larvae). I've yet to see a healthy Siganid that could resist any of these. Letting all soak for a bit in Selcon beforehand may also help induce feeding>> Richard the concerned fish owner... <<Regards, EricR>>

Rabbitfish, losing weight, though eating... hlth.    12/10/08 Hi Bob, I have a question for you if that's okay? <Certainly> We have a Orange-Spotted Spinefoot Siganus guttatus, that we haven't had for that long. It was previously in a fish only system (we bought it form the local shop, owner told us a customer had brought it in after keeping it for four years) and we have had it for about 5 months. The aquarium is actually with my parents and Chris who both live up north in Preston as I will be moving house soon and we didn't want to stress the fish with continual moves (not sure where we are going to end up as my girlfriend works in the fashion industry). The problem that they have been having, and when I go home I have seen, that it is getting very thin. it shares the tank with two large tangs (Regal and Sailfin) and a pair of maroon clowns. Both the spinefoot and the tangs are around 6-8 inches. It eats very well (they feed 2-3 times a day with high quality flake, mysis, chopped mussel, prawn, brine-shrimp occasionally with garlic), and there is absolutely no aggression between the fish that Chris and I can see. <Often there are "stand offs" amongst Tangs, Rabbitfishes... due to their knowledge, forbearance concerning its others spines...> I have obviously watched them feeding since they have all been together (as this was my first concern that it may not be eating enough) and it eats plenty, they have even begun hand feeding it as the other tangs do clear the tank of food quickly. Along with this they are in an established reef with good growth of algae and are supplemented with dried sheets of marine algae. <Very good> If this was a fish freshly imported I would now start thinking it had an internal parasite, but I'm not too sure as the fish has spent nearly five years in captivity. Any help would be greatly appreciated Bob and I look forward to any suggestions you may have. Typically this fish has become my mothers favorite (she is the one who hand feeds) and of course I want to do everything I can to try and resolve the situation. Many Thanks <I do concur with you re the unlikelihood of internal parasite involvement here for this animal. The longer in captivity, the less likely... and five months... But do know that for such seemingly sedentary fishes, Siganids can/do go through a good deal of food... and much of what you list as being offered is of low protein content. Keiran, if it were me, mine, the best action to take would be to move this animal to another system. Not only would this discount the possibility of aggression twixt the Acanthurids, but it might well stir a new social dynamic for this Spinefoot. Barring or in addition to this possibility, I encourage you to culture (perhaps in a lighted sump/refugium) some macro-algae known to be palatable (perhaps a type of "Ogo" (Gracilaria) or one of the many Greens), and offer this "in system" periodically... Much more food value than dried sheets, and serves to "take the nervousness" out of the social setting. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Keiran Hart

Rabbitfish not eating, stressed; Env. Issues?  11/21/06 I have a beautiful Magnificent Rabbitfish that is about 5 inches long and has been in my 125 gallon reef tank for about 8 months.  He shares the tank with a 4 inch yellow tang, a 3 inch Maroon Clown, a 3 inch Mandarin Dragonet, and 6 Green Chromis, all under 2 inches.  They all get along pretty well.   <Hi Todd, JustinN with you today. Sounds like a very nice setup.> The Maroon Clown has been getting more territorial the past couple of months since he has gotten bigger.  He will chase all of the fish out of his territory on occasion. <Mmm, yes. To be somewhat expected with this lovely bully.>   My tank has been running for about 10 months, it has upwards of 150 pounds of live rock, a good variety of snails, crabs, star fish and urchins.  I have a 20 gallon sump with a skimmer, about a cubic foot of Chaeto and 5 Mangrove plants.   <Ok> My Rabbitfish started acting strange a couple of months ago and is slowly getting worse.  He will curl his body, swim sideways and spasm, and now when he opens his dorsal fin it will twitch like he has neurological problems. <Not good>   I had a nitrate problem over the summer where the levels were at 40 ppm for a few weeks before I was able to get the levels back under 10 ppm (by daily cleaning of my skimmer column).   <This doesn't affect the efficiency of your skimmer? I might look into other possible sources here...> I don't know if that stress triggered the problems or not.  He occasionally goes berserk when I do my weekly water change and gravel vacuuming but this past weekend was the worst.  He swam around in his camouflage mode with lightning speed for about 30 seconds, running into the walls and rocks before he finally stopped.  He pressed his camouflaged body against a rock and stayed there panting for about 10 minutes before he came back out.  Since then he hasn't eaten anything. <Doubly not good> Normally I give him and the Tang a daily rollup of Nori with a pinch of Chaeto wrapped inside.  They eat it voraciously.  The Rabbitfish will also eat flakes, pellets, plankton and occasionally frozen shrimp that I feed the rest of the fish.  I'm worried since he hasn't eaten for a couple of days that he might slide downhill fast. <As would I be, though at this point personally I'll take a 'wait-and-see' stance. Any kind of generalized treatment, or attempt to move and quarantine would likely further stress the specimen.>   Have you ever heard of the spasming and twitching I am observing?   <Mmm, yes. Both as a reaction to environment, and as a defensive reaction to bullying. Perhaps the Maroon Clown's newfound teenage rebellion is causing more stress than you might notice when watching the tank.> His coloring and complexion is perfect.  The thought of cyanide poisoning when captured has crossed my mind but he didn't exhibit these spasming symptoms until 3 or 4 months in my tank.  Do you have any ideas? Todd <The only course of action I can really recommend here is to observe, and try a variety of foods. Perhaps you should even consider some additives, such as garlic, to attempt to make the foods more palatable for the Rabbitfish. My immediate guess is that the Maroon clown has just been showing his dominance of the tank, and the Rabbitfish is reacting and adjusting in kind. Do monitor your water levels, as presence of nitrites or ammonia may also trigger the reactions you describe, although there would be more likelihood of faded colors in that case. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Rabbit fish questions scenario= 125 gallon tank, ph 8.2, ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 5ppm, tank has been setup and running for about two months. 2 bio-wheel 400 filters and Protein skimmer. Current fish include 5 black mollies (starter fish) 1 blue velvet damsel and a fox-face rabbit. Two weeks ago I made the mistake of getting 1 clarkii clown, and 1 bi-color angel on a Sunday and then 1 yellow tang and my fox face on Monday. This must of caused an ammonia spike as I lost all my new fish except my fox-face rabbit. The rabbit fish eats good (flakes), and is active. I have normal aquarium lighting set up on a timer 11 hours on, 13 off 1 Sometimes the fox face will go to the top of the tank, behind the filter intake, and spike his fins and turn almost all black. He will stay like this for 2-5 minutes. I can't see that any of the fish in the tank are aggravating him. He seems to do this most often when I near the tank. Is he stressed? <During these moments, yes> 2 His colors have faded since I brought him home. His yellow isn't as bright as it used to be. I have tried to feed lettuce but he won't eat it. Is there a proper way to feed lettuce? <Don't feed lettuce, or other terrestrial greens... Please read through the marine foods/feeding/nutrition and Rabbitfish/Siganid materials stored on WetWebMedia.com> I have tried hanging it near the surface and also sinking it to the bottom with an alligator clip. Any suggestions? Thanks for your time, Chad Dugger <Study my friend. Bob Fenner>

Foxface won't eat Hi <cheers> I Have a 120 fish only saltwater aquarium. About 6 days ago the nitrites shot way up.  <please do re-examine this more closely. Nitrates do not suddenly "shoot" upward... not without a clear and significant influx of organic matter to be nitrified. Many possibilities here... sudden influx of food left to rot (someone else feeding the tank while on vacation), fish dies and rots unaccounted for, inaccurate/corrupted test kit/readings, etc. But you do want to discover and correct the problem here. No "magic" nitrate spikes in aquarium science> My LFS told me it was time to replace my filter media, so I did. The Nitrites are coming down,  <assuming you did a water change as well?> But ever since they went up the Foxface stopped eating or it least I haven't seen him eat anything.  <perhaps you got busy/lazy with the water change schedule and he is expressing stress/suffrage from the overall degraded water quality of which accumulated nitrate was only a part> He leaves his algae alone and I also give some Emerald entree but he refuses to eat it east while I'm around. I currently leave have a small Huma trigger and a small Pantherfish which are doing fine. The trigger does not seem to bother the Foxface. My Question is the nitrites what caused him to stop eating  <possibly Tangs, Angels and butterflies and related/like families have a definite sensitivity to accumulated nitrates. Rabbitfish (Foxface) being "related" to Surgeonfish fall into this category> and how long can he live without eating?  <many weeks> What would u suggest to get him to start eating again?  <continued improved water quality: water changes, carbon/PolyFilters and aggressive protein skimming (collect skimmate daily)> Thanks for your help in advance. <best regards, Anthony>

Ravenous Foxface Greetings to One and All Had previously written about my Foxface when first acquired about two weeks ago. I was concerned about ick and BobF answered my question. The fish appeared to be covered with white spots however it turned out to be an acclimation issue and after a few days of dimly lighting the tank the fright pattern and the spots disappeared. <Ah, good. A "lack" of a "stitch in time saves nine" as well sometimes> This guy/gal has already brought my algae issues under control by consuming about 90% of it. Up until a few days ago he ignored the Royal Gramma and my Ocellaris clown. Actually still ignores the clown and mostly ignores the Gramma. About three days ago foxy started to take an interest in the pellet food I feed the other two. Now he/she is Johnny on the spot at feeding time. However he chases off the Gramma while he cruises about grabbing most of the food. He has intimidated the Gramma who hangs about in the lower third of the water column avoiding foxy. While the Gramma does get something it is really very little compared with before. I tried clipping some Nori to one wall of the tank in an effort to district the Foxface but this hasn't worked. Wondering if anyone has any ideas of better way to handle. Other than at feeding time the fox face totally ignores the Gramma. <Resource competition is very common in reef organisms... if the Rabbitfish is not working the Gramma any physical harm I would not be concerned. Maybe try feeding on both sides of the tank simultaneously? Bob Fenner>

Fish love to eat. 8/31/05 Hello Bob. <Hi James, Ali here...> The Foxface is doing well but seems to eat a lot... constantly, and always seems hungry. <If hot dog eating contests were available to fish, this species would win every time, hands down.> When I get home the fish darts to the side of the tank as I have come to feed a small amount of food each day. I was going to feed less but I discovered the legs of my hermit crabs protruding from the mouth of the Foxface. However, I am growing concerned about over feeding my pets. I do/did have a substantial number of hermit crabs and snails (the little tarantula fixed that number-black crab- and has yet to be caught) the Foxface and Skunk Cleaner shrimp are the known residents aside from the polyps, sponges on the rock and the 'accidentally acquired' hammer corals. Periodically I see some slime in the water: wispy milky colored strings in minimal quantity but noticeable on occasion. This is what prompted the fear I am overfeeding. However, the polyps and hammers do appear to be flourishing. I drop in about 2 whole flakes broken up and 4-6 pellets that have garlic (I don't recall the brand just the white container with blue top) and daily offering of dried seaweed on a vegetable clip. Virtually nothing makes it to the bottom unless it is just unseen. I do not want to add any new fish until I catch the crab and certainly will not put the Royal Gramma from the small tank until then either. As far as I can tell the water parameters are pretty stable. I do a 10% change weekly on each tank and the RO water is slowly reducing the high levels of mineral content while the nitrates are more in the 15-20ppm range. I can not seem to get lower than this. Nitrites are 0, Ph is 8.1-8.2 while I keep my salinity at a very consistent 1.0227-1.0233. <The particular corals you currently house do appreciate and can tolerate somewhat higher nutrient levels than other corals. I wouldn't necessarily feed less frequently, however I would consider increasing my regular my water change routine. Either change more water or change more often (or both).> Oh, I picked up the Reef Invertebrates book written by you and Anthony: Fantastic!!!! Did you guys start any of the others in the series yet????????? <Yes, the Reef Invertebrates book written by Bob and Anthony is one of my all time favorites as well.> Anyway, watching my tanks has replaced watching the TV. What an awesome hobby this has become! This really is not the nightmare everyone made it out to be but maybe being a chemist helps. lol. Thank you Bob. James Zimmer, Garfield, NJ <Glad you are enjoying the hobby James. You rock!-Ali>

Re: Fish feeding: my voracious Foxface; follow up queries  9/13/05 Ali. <Is apparently missing> I guess my question then becomes what signs do I look for that will help me determine what is 'enough' without too much feeding? <Best is "fullness" in the midriff region> Lovely Foxy does seem to like those hermits and, since I appreciate the job they do cleaning my tank, I would rather these (expensive) snacks did not have 'Menu' boldfaced on them. Decreasing food did not go over well as she picked a hermit right in front of me; hope it wasn't spite... lol Hmmm, change more water and more frequently. Hey, okay this sounds good and not too much trouble. Maybe increase to 16% over a week at 8% a change. The nitrates probably got to the higher side when I was trying to keep the two scooter blennies (aka dragonets) alive. I never could tell if they were really eating anything I tried though their response was not what the other fishes give to food. A shame too I really liked them and tried hard to find something they would eat. Are Bob and Anthony working on the next book after Reef Invertebrates? <Am ahead of Antoine... he's "gotten sidetracked" with other projects, interests> Better yet will a hardcover be available? <Not likely... too much money to produce...> My wife calls my copy of Conscientious Marine Aquarist my fish bible. <Hopefully it's made "the big room"> Oh reading up on substrates and course gravel (another fine bit from Reef Inverts) made me decide to remove some of the crushed Florida Coral that is in the small 5 gallon tank. Methinks I did not vac' it, as well as I thought I was anyway, due to algae blooms and red slime. Again, awesome hobby and this WWM is one of my favorite sites on the web! Please do say hello to Bob for me. =) Thank you again. James   <Hello James! Bob Fenner>

Timid Rabbitfish - 01/26/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello!>> Thanks for all the info on your site and answering the questions thrown at you. <<Happy to be here/help.>> I purchased a 3" Barred (Scribbled) Rabbitfish (S. doliatus) a little over a week ago. <<Ah yes, an attractive fish...and one of the better choices for captive keeping with a maximum size of about nine inches.>> He shows no signs of ill health and seems to have a decent amount of meat on his bones considering transit (no pinching). <<A good sign, these are robust-bodied fish.>> He is fairly active in the tank if I watch from a distance (note from a distance).  The problem is that he is so scared of me that he is missing all of the feedings because as soon as I approach to feed he goes into panic mode and hides. <<Likely a behavior that will pass.>> He is not per se refusing to eat; if food goes the way of his hiding place he happily gobbles it up. <<This is good...>> Also when watching from afar I have seen him naturally grazing a couple of times. <<More good news...>> Because of this I am not sure the normal course of action for difficult feeders (i.e. soaking food in Extreme Garlic or other additives) will help. <<No...not the issue here.>> He seems to want the food, but is afraid to go out and get it.  I have tried SpectraLife pellet, Ocean Nutrition Formula Two Flake, Mysis Shrimp Cubes, and Seaweed Select Sheets. <<All fine choices.>> My wife fed once while I was at work and he ate, but this success cannot be duplicated by either of us.  Do you think that he will eventually become more bold and eat? <<I do...but for now you might do better to dump the food in the tank and walk away to let the Rabbitfish come out to feed.>> Is it common for this species to be so scared that they allow themselves to waste away? <<Common, no...I have found these fish to be quite bold/personable for the most part.  But fishes are individuals too, and will often display differences in behavior among the same specie.  And being placed in new/unfamiliar surrounds can be unnerving for anyone.>> I have tried to do a lot of research on this species, and while there is a lot of info on Rabbitfishes generally, information seems to be scant on the Doliatus. <<Really?  A Google search on the full scientific name (Siganus doliatus) seems to turn up a plethora of hits.  Though only time will divulge if there is any real info among them.>> Is there anything I can do to acclimate him to human involvement?  (i.e. more contact with the tank, try to stay away from tank other than feedings, etc.) <<I would go about as normal (other than my recommendation to move away from the tank at feeding time, for now), the fish will adjust to your presence/activity in the room.>> My system is a 144 gallon Oceanic half circle reef tank with 160 lbs. live rock, 20 gallon sump with wet-dry filtration, Euro-Reef CS 6-2+ skimmer, and a powerhead for additional flow.  Other fish occupants of the tank are 1 3" Yellow Tang, 1 2" Banggai Cardinal, 6 2-2.5" Green Chromis, and 6 damsels.  The tang and the Rabbit sparred for a few days, but everything has calmed down. <<Not atypical.>> Does it sound like this fish is in a pattern that cannot be broken or is there still hope? <<Tis hopeful.>> Thanks in advance for any response you can provide. Jason
<<Regards, EricR>>

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