Seamoth (Eurypegasus draconia)
I hope you are all having a fantastic day.
<A very good day! Representing TropicalFishFinder.co.uk at a
new UK aquarium show called "Aquatics Live".>
I am hoping that my question gets directed to Neale Monks (if he
still answers questions for you) as from memory he's a bit of
an 'oddball' specialist.
<Indeed.><<Heeeee! But not an oddball
Today I was visiting my LFS and saw what is the most fascinating
fish I think I have ever seen in my life (I have a bit of a soft
spot for oddball fish). They got it in as part of a shipment.
Their supplier often just throws in 'extras' and this was
one. One of the employees, who also happens to be an oddball
enthusiast, saw it and called me immediately. We set about to
looking through the books to figure out what it was, since no
one, supplier included could tell us. We came up with Eurypegasus
One of the Sea Moths.>
LFS owner said I could have it if I was interested. DEFINITELY
INTERESTED. Now I just need to figure out what it needs. It is
obviously slow moving, so I am thinking a tank of it's
My husband and I have been brainstorming new tank designs which
would cater for it's needs and that can be plumbed into my
5ft tank. Only problem is, we don't really know what it's
needs are. I have tried Googling it, and have come up with it
being kept with sea horses and pipe fish and eating copepods, and
amphipods some mention of it needing a mostly sandy
substrate....and...well... that's about it. It has an
elongated proboscis, but it's mouth is under slung, so I
would assume it's a bottom feeder. It also doesn't appear
to be the best swimmer in the sea, so I am also thinking slower
<Correct. Sea Moths are rather like open sand Mandarinfish. So
just as Mandarinfish are a total pain to feed without adequate
live rock, so too are Sea Moths difficult to feed without lots of
live sand. Ideally, you'd have a refugium or something that
allowed you to continually top up the copepod population in the
area where the Sea Moth lived. While they might well adapt to
alternative foods, there would be no guarantees. FishBase
suggests they're fairly omnivorous insofar as they eat worms
and shrimps as well as isopods and copepods. So fortified brine
shrimp and even frozen bloodworms might be accepted. But
you'd be taking a gamble, and you'd need to wean it off
live foods and onto frozen alternatives. I haven't kept this
species, but I have kept a coldwater fish with similar habits,
Agonus cataphractus, and it was a total pain to feed and only
lasted a few months even in a chilled aquarium. Admittedly, that
was 20 years ago and I'm a much better aquarist. But I'd
still approach any of these micro-predators with extreme
Really I just want to be able to make sure I can design a tank
which meets it's needs...whatever those are.
<Open sand, a decent refugium with lots of copepods, no
Probably a do-able fish in a single-species set-up if you're
willing to put the effort into fattening it up on live food upon
arrival, and then taking the time to find wet-frozen foods
it'll accept once it's feeding. But definitely not a
community / reef tank denizen.>
Do you know anything about this fish? Do you know anyone that
knows anything about this fish, or any books I can read with
anything about them?
<Don't know anything written about them. But what's
said about Mandarinfish will be broadly applicable, except of
course that Sea Moths are sand-dwellers rather than
Thanks in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Seamoth (Eurypegasus draconia)
Thank you so much for such a fast response. Sounds like you had
quite an exciting weekend.
After receiving your reply, and thinking long and hard, I decided
that I am going to try the E. draconia. Party because it is such
a fascinating little fish, but also partly because I just
couldn't bare thinking of it slowly starving in the LFS or
being taken home by someone who didn't know anything about it
and just threw it in a random tank to slowly starve....I
know...I'm a sucker.
<Or ambitious, at any rate.>
It is tiny at the moment, the whole thing (wings, rostrum, tail)
would fit on a 20c piece. I currently have it in a quarantine
tank. That having been said it is an extremely modified
quarantine tank...okay, probably doesn't even remotely
resemble a quarantine tank anymore. I transferred some live sand
out of my other tanks, a piece of base rock and some Chaetomorpha
from one of my refugia.
I am thinking that if I top up with a new piece of live rock
(with lots of little microorganisms) and Chaetomorpha every 5
days or so that, given it's size, it should hopefully be well
fed until I have it in it's tank.
<Assuming the copepods leave the live rock and go into the
I'm hoping my reasoning is fairly sound here?
The 5ft that I am going to be plumbing the new tank into has been
set up for close on 3 years, but has only had fish in it (the
fish being a Dendrochirus biocellatus, Calloplesiops
<These two won't be eating micro-invertebrates
Macropharyngodon meleagris and Siganus doliatus.
<But the wrasse will, and the Rabbitfish, maybe, alongside
It did have a Pterois volitans but he recently got moved into his
new improved and bigger digs) for the past 18 months or so. I
know the wrasse does eat some of the microfauna, that having been
said she's been greedily eating frozen since about a week
after I brought her home.
<I see. Well, maybe the live rock has recovered somewhat then.
I do assume that the Sea Moth won't be living alongside these
The tank. I have attached a copy of the design we are thinking
about. I hope that it's not too confusing. The large tank on
the base, will be what the Seamoth will live in. The tank on top
to the left I am thinking live rock, and the tank to the right I
am thinking lots and lots of microalgae.
We can have it fully constructed ready for use by the end of the
week. Then it's just a matter of finishing the quarantine on
the Seamoth. The 5ft tank refugium should be able to keep it fed
until the live rock and microalgae for the top of the tank finish
What do you think? Do-able, not do-able?
<Ambitious, but certainly do-able. My guess -- and that's
all it is -- is that Sea Moths need the same sort of care as
Mandarinfish, only biased towards live sand rather than live
I know I can make it (and more importantly I know my husband will
let me add yet another tank to my collection...he got really
excited about designing our new tank) but do-able as in able to
keep the fish alive do-able.
<Good luck with this project, and please do let me know how
things turn out. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Seamoth (Eurypegasus draconia)
The Sea Moth will definitely not be living along side the fish I
It will be in it's very own tank all by its lonesome. The
only reason I mentioned the other fish is that they'll all be
sharing the same system (in that the new tank will be plumbed
into the sump of their tank so as to
provide more volume and access to its existing mircrofauna. I
know there are tons in the tank because I often can't sleep
at night and sit in the dark in front of the tank watching all
the critters scoot around.
I will definitely let you know how the new fish goes. I am
thinking now that it is probably a nocturnal hunter (or at least
preferentially so) as I sat up last night watching it, and it
swam around quite a bit after all the lights went out. I am
pretty sure I saw it feed, and I think it may have taken one
blood worm, but I'm not too positive about that. I do know it
was inspecting it, and it did disappear, but it could have easily
got caught under the fish or on one of its wings.
Thank you for your input!
<And best of luck to you. Sounds like you're approaching
this challenge with forethought and good ideas. Cheers,