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FAQs about Rabbitfishes, Family Siganidae 1

Related Articles: RabbitfishesSiganids of the Malay-Indonesian Region

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

A pair of Siganus puelloides in the Seychelles.

Foxface with a small but growing "thing" on Dorsal fin  - 03/11/2006 For 4 to 5 weeks now, I have noticed a small brown coloured "thing"  growing on one of the spines of my Foxface. It's getting bigger and looks like it is not part of the fish. Any idea of what it is? Should I physically remove it and if so, I don't want to be pricked with the spine. Thoughts? <Mmm, any chance of a "close-up" photo? Could be a parasite, or endogenous growth, but is much more likely "just" part of the fleshy bit of skin that grows over the spinous portion of fins. I would do nothing with it (another name for Siganids is "spine-foot"... they're painfully venomous...) but wait, see. Do you have cleaner organism/s? Might be good to add one... Bob Fenner> Newbie Mistakes and Sick Rabbitfish?   2/8/06 I'm a newbie at saltwater and aquariums in general and have learned so much from your site.  My husband had a 55 gal saltwater tank a number of years ago, but as far as I can tell, didn't do much right (no quarantine, no water changes, no live rock, no sump or protein skimmer, mixed aggressive with docile fish) and all of his fish lived, so I'm having trouble convincing him of the necessity of such things. <My argument: Look about ourselves... "things" (knowledge, technology...) change>      Anyway, we purchased a 125 Oceanic Reef Ready aquarium two months ago with an Oceanic Model 2 Reef Ready sump without the bio-chamber, MagDrive 12 (rated at 1200gph), Coralife Super Skimmer, two Seio Super Flow Pumps rated at 820gph, an AquaLight that's run 8 hours per day <I'd extend to ten, even twelve hours per day> with "night" lights on remainder of the time and 140 pounds of Kaelini live rock.  We made our own saltwater using mostly purchased R/O with some distilled and Instant Ocean mix.  Because we live in dry Arizona, we have to add water regularly (only R/O), but a couple of weeks ago, our specific gravity was low so we added a few gallons of Real Ocean water that we had purchased at Petco. <I would hold off on mixing natural and synthetic seawater. Not to be mysterious, my reasons are stated on WWM> Our LFS, where we bought our system, also gave us a copy of The New Marine Aquarium by Michael Paletta, <A fine work> which I have now read.  We did not purchase a test kit or a system for quarantining, nor have we done any water changes (I know, I know, believe me, I know now), but that is now being remedied.      We took water samples into our LFS weekly to see how our cycling was going.  Two weeks ago, they told us we were ready to add fish.  We didn't add any fish, but added two Turbo snails, three Margarita snails, one bumblebee snail and six hermit crabs.  All were doing well, but just for "kicks," we took a water sample into another LFS, who told us that ammonia = 0, but that we still had some nitrites and they would wait to add fish and test again in a week or two.  We were having a growth of brown algae but were told that was normal and would go away in time. <Yes, most likely> The snails and crabs continued to do well, so this weekend took water samples into both LFS's and both said the levels were OK, so we purchased two very small tank-raised Ocellaris clowns (less than 1" each) and a 3-4" one spot Foxface Rabbitfish.  We didn't quarantine the fish (see paragraph one). <You'll learn...>   On day 1, they all were doing well exploring the tank under the "night" lights, although the Rabbitfish spent much of the day hiding and turned brown several times. <What they do in such circumstances> On day 2, we fed them 1/3 cube of frozen Emerald food as told by LFS.  All came out to eat and ate well.  The clowns seemed to find homes on opposite ends of the tank and the Rabbitfish was grazing on algae, although he continued to hide if we came near the tank.  On day 3, all still seemed to be well, although we noticed some white crusted spots on our live rock that wasn't there before.   Today, day 4, started with a dead margarita snail (which we removed) and more white on the live rock.  The clowns were acting normal.  The Rabbitfish was hiding behind some of the rock, but was still bright yellow and looking fairly normal.  When I got home from work, the clowns and Rabbitfish were all out and all looked OK; however, when we got back from going out to dinner, I found the Rabbitfish lying on its side, behind some rock, turned almost completely brown and he wouldn't come out to eat.  I know they turn brown when sleeping or when frightened, but I'm guessing that the laying on the side and not eating are not good signs.  The clowns, snails and crabs are still acting normal.      Unfortunately, we don't have a test kit and can't get one this late at night.  I did check the specific gravity and it's 1.021 and the temperature is 77.  I will be remedying the lack of a test kit and the quarantine tomorrow, but is there anything else I should be doing?  I don't want to lose any more fish.      Thanks so much for your help.  Your FAQ's have been a treasure for a newbie like me. <Not much to do, or that I would do at this point... watch, hope that this Siganid "decides to live" in this setting... They do "lay down", turn dark... for a few reasons... there may well be "nothing wrong" here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Newbie Mistakes and Sick Rabbitfish?   2/9/06 Thank you for your response.  Unfortunately, the rabbitfish was dead the next morning.  I did get a test kit and take a water sample into LFS and the water checks out with Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.05 with home test (LFS showed 0), Nitrate 50, <... this is high> pH 8.4, temp 77, and SG 1.021 , which LFS says shouldn't have caused the death.  LFS has given us a credit for the cost of the fish, but I'm nervous about adding another fish right now, so it's just sitting on a gift card, and I'm just happy that my little clowns, snails and crabs are doing OK. <Mmm, I do encourage you to raise/keep your seawater at near natural strength. A spg of 1.025 will be better for all. Read on WWM re nitrate, means to lower. 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>>

Foxface Rabbitfish had an untimely death   1/10/06 Hi guys... I'm so glad to be able to get some questions answered here!! <Will try> I got new carpeting for my house on Friday.  This required me to take most of my water and rock out of my 55 gal tank the night before, disconnect my protein skimmer and lights, and my power heads for part of the time.  The 3 fish stayed in the tank (clown, goby and Rabbitfish).  We moved the tank a few feet away.  The carpeting guys made a lot of noise doing their thing. <Necessarily> We moved the aquarium back to it's original location after several hours. All fish looked ok.  And then, an hour later, I noticed my Foxface Rabbitfish laying on his side in the corner next to the Diadema sea urchin. He flapped around for awhile, was breathing heavily, got very dark looking, had all of his fins extended, did some more flapping on his side, and then died.  Note that earlier in the morning before the house became loud, he looked great and was eating. <Mmm... they (Siganids) are more sensitive to such stressors, and to low oxygen tension... than other fish groups> Is it possible that he was stung by the sea urchin and died?   <Unlikely> Or would the stress from all of the changes and noise have caused his death?   <Definitely contributing influences> He was a very shy fish and would hide a lot.  I had him for about 6 months. At the same time, I had a sick clownfish in QT.  I received a response from WWM last week that this fish was probably not treatable and that it was probably just his time.  Well, he did die (on the same day as the Rabbitfish).  It was a bad fish day.   The clownfish's mate is still living in the 55 gal tank and is about 1.5 years old.  Is it possible to add 2 more clownfish to this tank?  Or is that one clownfish too many? <Likely any more added to this sized/type system will be pestered excessively> Thanks a bunch! RK <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Rabbitfish compatibility  11/19/05 Hi Crew, <Hello there> Quick question. Looking at adding a fish. I currently have 5 fish in a 250 gallon FOWLR and I would like to add an Orange Spotted Rabbitfish (Siganus guttatus). I currently have a Fiji Bicolor Rabbitfish (Lo uspi) that is very healthy, peaceful, and happy. I noticed the Orange Spotted is not called a Foxface and looks quite different without the long snout and "beard" so I am hoping they are different enough to get along. <In this size system, likely so> In one area it said that other "Foxface" together may fight, however since the Orange Spotted is a Rabbitfish but not a Foxface am I okay?  <Actually, all Siganids could be incompatible... with each other> I had large Butterfly (Saddleback) on order, however the fish was unavailable when it was time to ship, so I started looking again and really like the Orange Spotted Rabbitfish, but would only add him if I have a better than average chance of making it work. I know there are no guarantees and every specimen is different, but I like to at least play the odds. Your thoughts on this are greatly appreciated. Steven <Should be fine. Bob Fenner> 

Foxface 11/6/05 I've got a Foxface Rabbitfish that is having problems. He can't swim well, and has been seen panting on the sand a few times. <Good observations, bad behavior> He tried to swim but can't do it well and refuses to eat (when he's ALWAYS my biggest eater, although I don't overfeed him). Nitrates/Nitrites/Ammonia is normal at 0 ppm. It's not overcrowded and there's nothing that I would think bother him. The only fish that could is my blue tang and orange shouldered tang, but both are half his size. <... can still be harming this fish psychologically> I also have a pair of banded coral shrimp, a lawnmower blenny, mandarin, a clown and random hermits. It was fine when I left but when I got home 5 minutes ago was acting strange. I did a water change today as I do every 2ish weeks and added the blue shouldered tang, but didn't see it harass it at all. Is there anything I can do for him? <Not enough information proffered here... re the size/shape of the system, its make-up... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm and the Related FAQs linked above. Hopefully others input will prompt you to realize more. Bob Fenner> 

Put Foxface In A Reef Tank?...I Would! - 11/05/05 Hey guys one quick question, I’m restocking my tank as you know from my damsel/Flameback problems and am considering a Bicolor Foxface to enter quarantine next (or possible just freshwater dip). <<Are we talking Siganus uspi? If so I have one of these...great fish in my opinion.>> I have no experience in keeping a Foxface and am inclined to decline the purchase solely on the possibility it could find my open brain corals tasty. <<Could...but no more risky than many of the tangs, dwarf-angels, etc., we place in our reef tanks. For what it's worth, I have two open-brain corals in my tank and the Foxface has not bothered either.>> I understand they are potential coral eaters but I was wondering if you had any personal experience in trying a Foxface in reefs. <<Yep, as stated currently...and other species in the past.>> Also you can’t beat the price it was an accidental shipment and my friend is going to give it to me for the cost of the shipping. <<Sounds like a great deal.>> Few more semesters of school and I will have my double in Marine Biology and Marine Aquaculture and will join friends in Hawaii working to increase species diversity of marine ornamental aquaculture. <<Good luck with the project. I just came back from diving off the Big Island...amazing diversity of fish species just a stone's throw from the shore! Do get your face wet (snorkeling/diving) while you are there.>> They are working on many species of Centropyge and I am excited about the progress being made daily. I’m hoping soon we will all be buying our flame angels from tank bred and raised sources. Thanks again you guys are great! ~Matt Tyree University of Maine, Orono School of Marine Sciences <<Sounds like a great time ahead! Regards, EricR…wishing he were back in HI>>

Foxface Rabbitfish Getting Dark Back  10/21/05 Hi Crew - <Marc> Have you ever seen or herd of a Foxface Rabbitfish's back getting dark? <Yes> The top half of his back on both side is getting darker, but the rest of him is still yellow and vibrant.  He seems healthy, eats fine, etc.  It is happening when the full lights are on, so it isn't his night colors (2x96 watt CF and 2x175W HQI).  He has been in the tank about 2 weeks.  Thoughts? Picture attached. <Pic didn't come through... likely "just" stress... if "both sided"... do you have dark/er areas where this fish (and your other livestock likely) can "get out of the light?" Bob Fenner> The Disappearing Rabbitfish? 10/18/05 Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Been an avid reader of your site with much priceless information learned. I maintain a 125 FOWLR tank, moderately stocked, Naso & yellow Tang, Flame Angel, Maroon Clown, along with some Chromis and Damsels. Tank has been up for about 4 years, and most inhabitant are in that long. Latest additions are the maroon clown and Naso Tang. The Naso which is the largest in the tank (5-6") still gets picked on and evidently does not know how to use his "scalpels". <This will definitely change at some point!> Anyway, about a week ago I purchased a 2-3 inch Foxface which was eating nicely and active at the dealer. After an acclimation and dip I put him in the display tank (I know..) <Ok...you get spared the quarantine lecture this time... :) > He went right to an upper corner and looked pretty stressed out, hung out there for a bit and then disappeared in or behind the rock (lots of caves, nooks and crannies). Have not seen it for week now! Is this normal? Will it ever come back out? No one seemed to be bothering it although the tank is always "moving". Tank is well fed and plenty of grazing available (Due to be well fed I assume!) Thanks, Mordy E <Well, Mordy, it's hard to say, really. It's certainly not uncommon for newly introduced fishes to hide for some period of time. However, fishes like Rabbitfishes like to be out in the open and swim actively, so I'd say that, categorically, they're less likely to hide for prolonged periods of time than, say- Wrasses, Dwarf Angles, etc.  Adding to this the fact that these fishes graze constantly on algae, and there is some cause for concern. I wouldn't give up just yet, but I would continue to keep a vigilant watch on your tank to see if he emerges. I would give it a few more days before I'd really start to think the worst. I suppose you could dismantle the rockwork in an attempt to locate the fish, but I'd be hesitant to do that, for fear of disturbing the other tank inhabitants.  Also, a spooked Rabbitfish can accidentally nail you with those venomous spines, so be very careful if you choose to go this route. My advice is to keep up the faith and wait it out a bit longer before concluding the fish's demise. Obviously, continue monitoring water conditions and be prepared to take corrective measures if the fish has expired and affected water quality. Keep those fingers crossed! Regards, Scott F.> 

Foxface in trouble!!  9/8/05 I have had a Foxface now for 9 months. It has been doing great!! Just yesterday, I said "what a beautiful fish" as he came close to the glass, as he always does, to let me look at him. This morning, however, he was in the corner doing somersaults and has what appears to be wounds or lacerations on his chin, side and near his dorsal fin. <Not good> I removed him. He did not put up a fight and placed him in the QT. He continues to roll upside down most of the time. I also have 2 ocellaris clowns, a flame hawk, a Banggai cardinal, a lawnmower blenny and a strawberry Pseudochromis in the main  92g tank. Could he have possibly been injured during the night?? I am treating him with saltwater Maracyn II. Any thoughts?? <Strange... the other fishes you list should not have been responsible for this situation... I do agree that the damage most likely was caused by the fish "bumping in the night" (some outside lighting is a good idea...) It's now early evening and he looks more pale around the head region.  This Foxface has been a great fish and I hate to lose him. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks! <Is this a tiny specimen? Are your other fishes "acting strange?". Bob Fenner> Re: Foxface in trouble!!  9/9/05 Thanks for answering Bob - unfortunately, the Foxface died last night before I went to bed. :(   But I would like to know what it was that killed him, for my knowledge as well as the health of the other fish.   <I don't think it's something "catching"... likely resultant from a physical trauma...> He was ~4" (not including tail).  The strange thing is, is that he looked great the day before - bright yellow, not hiding and eating great as usual, no visible marks.  When I took him out to inspect him after he died: at an angle the "wounds" did not appear to be on the outside - meaning the skin did not look injured exteriorly, but from under the skin - no spots (ich/velvet), no lumps or raised skin.  The marks range from 5-8mm in length and are ~2mm in width.  The marks are not straight, but have a slight curve to them.  Could this be some sort of worm or parasite? <Not likely> Are the other fish in danger? <Doubtful... unless this turns out to be some sort of "mystery predator" in the tank itself... attacking during the night when your fishes are sleeping> The other fish do not show any signs of these marks and are all acting fine. Thanks for your help! Patrice <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> The slime I thought came from the corals is from... the Foxface!?!  9/13/05 Hello All. <Howdy> Ali wrote me back on my feeding question the other day regarding this lovely fish. What I had mentioned was that I thought from perhaps excess feeding the corals were stressed as there was a milky white cloud or slime near them and on the Foxface. Of course since the first I had seen of it was after I saw the Foxface among the coral I attributed this to the Hammer corals. Now, I see that this substance is coming from the Foxface. <Yes... Rabbitfishes are quite slimy> It seems to come mainly from the dorsal fins top and bottom. And the clouds come as it swims quickly through the tank. I still need to recheck the water parameters but the values were: nitrites 0 nitrates, 10-15ppm, SG 1.023, pH 8.1-8.2 temperature 77F only 2 days ago. The fish eats well, is very interactive and bright in color (unless sleeping or spooked). Before I go ‘fresh water dipping it’ as I know these are generally hardy but the spines can be an issue when handling, more so in nets, I thought I would see if this something not abnormal and avoid stressing the poor fish unnecessarily. <I would not freshwater dip, net this fish here> I checked the FAQs but came up empty on the hits for Foxface and Slime…. What else should I have typed in? Thank you, James Zimmer <Perhaps an issue we just haven't come up with yet. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Goldspotted Spinefoot in a 120? 8/12/05 Hello Bob, <Petro... the same root as "Peter?"> A store in my area has just received a Goldspotted Spinefoot (Siganus punctatus). <A beautiful animal> It is the first time I have seen this fish and find it extremely attractive! My current setup is a 120 gal fish and invertebrate with liverock tank. (no corals for the moment) My Current occupants: 3'' Yellow Tang 3.5'' Lineatus Wrasse 2'' Helfrichi Firefish 2'' False Percula Clown 3'' Whipfin Fairy Wrasse And various invertebrates The Goldspotted Spinefoot is ~ 3'' and seems rather healthy. I was wondering if my tank would be an adequate home for him, considering I have read they can grow to 16 inches in the wild. <Will go with the fishes you list above... some sparring with the Yellow Tang initially... likely no damage, will diminish with time) Will eventually (a few years) outgrow this size system> Hope you can get back to me sometime soon : ) Regards, Petro Kostelidis <Cheers, Bob Fenner> How did the Foxface come about its name? 8/5/05 Hello Bob. <James> Probably a silly question, but it is one where the common name does not seem to fit the fish very well. Why did they name this fish: Foxface Lo? <The old genus name "Lo" means "rabbit"... and the one species, species name vulpinus, "fox"... in reference to the physiognomy of the fishs face...> Hawaii would be awesome but from lack of vacation (since we both took most of ours already this year) and finances it is just not in the cards… =( Sincerely, James Zimmer <Though it takes some looking into, the original scientific descriptions, namings of biological entities can be sought... and generally make some sort of sense... to the descriptor/s at least. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Tang and Rabbitfish fighting I have a 90 gal Reef Tank with powerful filtration, excellent water quality and few fish. < Without seeing your tank I bet it could use more filtration and more water movement. > The list of my livestock are as follows (in order of purchase): true percula clown pair, midas blenny, three green clown gobies, green mandarin pair, yellow mimic tang, and my newest purchase magnificent Rabbitfish. All fish are under four inches in length and my tank has been running for about a year with few (if any) problems. My biggest problem is an aggressive Mimic Tang that is very mean to my new Rabbitfish. < Natural to see during the first few days. > I have only had the rabbit for one day. I am concerned that the mimic might not "chill out" because of what I have read involving arcanthius (sp?) targeting similar fishes and not letting up until they are dead. < It is a risk you take, but with a large tank (and hopefully lots of algae) the fish will learn that they don't need to fight and that there is plenty of room. > I did not predict this to be a problem because of the poison spines of the rabbit, I thought the Tang wouldn't want to mess with that. If I have to remove one of the fish, that would be an "all night" project. (probably have to take the tank apart....corals and rock structure look great, don't want to do that.) < That would just cause more stress.  Try turning the lights off for a day or two and adding more algae. > What do you think? Is it likely this tang will accept this new rabbit? < Yes, I think in 4 days in a tank that size things will work out. > Or is this going to be a major problem? My tang has shown aggression to other tank mates, but nothing like this. Usually he just chases them away for a second, and then things go back to normal....    It's only been one day, but the Tang seems VERY determined to prove the point that he doesn't want the rabbit in there. I have had the Tang for about six months...I normally don't buy fish often. Usually coral. So, that's why there's a big gap between purchases. < A good practice. > Any suggestions? < Give it time, and food. > Thanks for any helpful Info you might provide. <  Blundell  >

Tagalog in your Rabbitfishes Hi Bob, <Rabbit...> I was looking for a forum avatar and came across your Rabbitfishes page < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm>. I don't know if you've been told this already but the so-called Tagalog at the start of your page ("Oy, como esta mi par-eh Jo") is actually closer to Spanish! <Yes... just wanting to spell out phonetically> If you wanted to say that in Tagalog it would be more like "Kamusta ka, par?ko?" i.e. "how are you, my friend?". Just in case you wanted to make a change. Anyway, thanks for the nice Siganid pickies! Siganid <Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

Foxface Is my fox face sick, he seams to eat well and swims ok, but scared and puts up his defense with his fins. At times his eyes seem cloudy. My tank is a reef tank, We have him mixed with 1 yellow tang 2 clown fish 1 blenny scooter 8 gobies 1 cleaner wrasse, and our tank been up for about 5 months and all the other fish seam to be fine and I have them in a 90 gallon tank. <Nora, I believe the fox face flares up due to the yellow tang that is present. Nothing to worry about. As for occasional cloudy eyes, this could be diet. Fox faces do like algae. Have you tried feeding it the freeze dried algae? Also add some vitamins to all the fishes diet such as Selcon or similar. They will all benefit. Do you perform water changes on a regular basis? James (Salty Dog)>

Eeyouch! Got Myself Stuck by my Foxface! >My Foxface got sucked into one of my powerheads and I inadvertently reacted, my try to get him off and got stung. >>Something's wrong with your fish if it actually got stuck to the powerhead. >It is like a really bad bee sting I have run it under hot water... Can this thing kill me? >>Not unless you're already allergic to bug stings. I have always had my kids pee on the stings (yes, and it works), also, meat tenderizer can help with stings of jellyfishes/nematocysts.  Most important here: clean the wound, then use a good antiseptic, and a good antibiotic ointment (Neosporin or similar). If you experience signs of infection (redness, swelling), I strongly suggest you go see a doctor and tell him/her that you were stuck by this fish. If a bit of the spine stays in the wound, it will (it WILL) hurt a lot. The biggest concern here is secondary infection, and we don't want to have to amputate. I'm not going to post your signature, because it's like riding a horse - do it long enough, and you ARE going to get nailed. Doesn't make you dumb. Marina P.S. Maybe you should go ahead and make sure your affairs are sorted out. 

Got Myself Stuck by my Foxface! It Worked..! >OH God thank you for your quick response!!! >>You're very welcome, you had the good sense to get nailed while I was working on queries, my friend. >I have been sitting here hitting send and receive over and over waiting and hoping that you guys would reply.. >>I honestly don't know if anyone else would have had you pee on your finger... <giggle> >I have read everything on your site but have never asked anything, what a whopper for the first one... >>You ain't kiddin'!  >You have no Idea how nice it is to pee on your finger and feel the pain go away.  hahahahahaahahahahaa... >>My fianc?and I got a good laugh at that one.. don't know if he's ever been nailed thusly, but I sure have!  >I can not tell my wife that I did this but thank you so much. >>Jamie, you are MOST welcome. Do follow the other instructions re: preventing secondary infection. Even though urine straight from the bladder is sterile, I don't think it will actually sterilize/disinfect. >Could I make a donation to something in your name? >>Why, of course! Go to the bottom of the WWM page, and you'll see the Amazon.com banner for making donations to WWM. I owe Bob a great deal, and this is his brainchild. The more support the better for all, yeah? >Jamie >>Take care, and keep this one in mind when thinking of stories to tell the grandchildren. Marina 

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>

Foxface Question Dear Webbed Ones,                                                        <Hard as heck to key with this skin between my fingers, Argggghhhh> This past Sunday I purchased a Foxface rabbit fish from my LFS.  The fish looked fine was active, alert, etc.  Appeared to be as clean as a hound's tooth. <Ooh, I do like that metaphor> Brought him home freshwater dipped and placed in tank per comments I read in an FAQ re this fish.  Left lights off for the day.  Tank has 80lbs of live rock, copious algae growth of many species.  Other occupants a royal Gramma and an ocellaris clown, couple of snails, two emerald crabs.  Tank is 80 gallons and all water parameter are good.  Tank is up for nine or ten months.  The fish hid in the rocks and is now actively swimming around the tank.  Switched on one of my NO lights.  Doing some grazing.  This evening on closer inspection I see a number of white spots along the black stripes bordering both sides of his nose.  Also a couple on yellow of body.  I know these were not visible when I brought him home.  These guys are supposedly fairly disease resistant.  Could this merely be a stress reaction or am I possibly looking at ich? <Could be either, both... You've seen ich/Cryptocaryon? We have pix of this on WetWebMedia.com for reference... it is distinctive, raised> LFS does run copper in their water however none of this water made it into my tank.  Thoughts would be appreciated.  Happy New Year to all! Keith <Keith, do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the Related Articles, FAQs as far as you'd like (if you haven't already). Do keep your eye on ALL your fish livestock... and start looking about for the means to isolate and treat elsewhere should this be a parasitic infestation. I would NOT panic and move, treat as of yet... maybe try a cleaner shrimp, goby... Bob Fenner>

Re: Foxface Question For Bob Fenner Will wait, watch, see Foxface and prepare quarantine tank.  This guy is out and about, vigorously swimming, clear eyed and munching on my algae.  Thanks for a response from the Master himself!!! <Ha!> (hmm skin between your fingers, maybe between your toes but then again spending extensive time  on a slowly eroding shield volcano in the middle of the Pacific can do that sort of thing to people). <Be chatting! Bob Fenner>

Rabbitfish Concerns I purchased a Foxface 2 weeks ago and placed him in a 10 gallon QT.  At the same time I purchased an Indigo Hamlet (although it has never been blue - it is tan and white stripes- anyway the Hamlet is ~2.5" and is peaceful) and placed in the QT. <This tank is really too small to support these two fish for any length of time...> After a few days, I noticed a white patch on his pec fin and on the Hamlets as well.  I also saw a small loose "clump" on his other pec fin (may be a parasite of some sort).  I treated the QT with CopperSafe.  They were both eating and seemed to be getting use to the tank.  They have been in the tank for 2 weeks now and in the last 2 days they have both stopped eating and do not look as good. <Do check your water chemistry... likely the ammonia has started to accumulate.> The white patches have gone away (probably ich), but the lose "clump on the Rabbit's fin is still there and the Rabbit's breathing is more rapid now. <"Clump" is likely Lymphocystis and will not be removed with copper or quarantine - is pretty much harmless and not contagious... do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm > Any suggestions as to what the "clump" is and as to what's going on with them? <Read on...> The water parameters (due to the CopperSafe) have been iffy (the nitrites are ~3ppm and nitrates are ~40ppm), but this is with 30% water changes almost every other day.  Any thoughts? <Keep changing the water... consider changing larger percentages. Likewise, as it's been two weeks, you might be better off putting both fish through a pH-adjusted freshwater dip and letting them into the display. Any more time in quarantine at this point may do more harm than good. Cheers, J -- >

- Rabbitfish Concerns, Follow-up - J--, Thanks for your quick response. <My pleasure.> I freshwater dipped the Foxface and placed him in my display tank on Sat.  It's been over 24 hrs now, and he looks great, swimming all around and eating again (except for some hazy eyes - I'm treating him with antibiotics through his food). <With some luck, that will pass.> The Hamlet looked worse than the Foxface in the QT, so I did not put him through the dip and was going to keep him in the QT for a few more days, but he died during the night. :( <Oh... sad face indeed, am sorry for your loss. Hamlets don't seem to adjust well to being moved around a lot, so it's often best with these fish to just give them a good dipping and put them directly into the display. Do hope you try one again as these miniature groupers are real lookers.> Would you suggest a cleaner shrimp to help with the Lymphocystis on the Foxface? <Yes, that would help although if you try the Hamlet again, it may eat it for lunch... perhaps a neon goby.> Thanks for your help! Patrice <Cheers, J -- > Foxface Quarantine Acclimation (10/8/04) Mr. Fenner: <Steve Allen tonight.> I realize you have probably gotten this question a hundred times. <Actually, only 93 ;)> I purchased a Foxface lo <Great fish. Love mine. Very hardy.> and acclimated him to my tank for approx 1 hours, freshwater dipped the fish with a drop of Meth. blue ich treatment and pH balanced water. <Temp needs to be the same too, BTW. And a drop of MB does nothing. Actually, even a large mouth really doesn't do anything for ich. It helps oxygenate the water and calms the fish by darkening it. I usually add enough so that the water is fairly dark, but I can still see the fish.> The fish was active, bright colored, and eating at the LFS. <All good.> I have purchased all of my fish there and have not lost one to ich (knock on wood). <Knock hard. There's always a first time--been there, done that.> I read your forum post on added Foxfaces to your tank without qt due to extra damage of transfer. <There are differences of opinion on this and that may be an older post, as well. The general consensus would be to quarantine. I would consider this vital with any Tang and most Butterflyfishes, but it is strongly advised for most all fish. The hardcore quaranitiners of the crew QT every living thing, including inverts and plants.> The fish has now been in my reef approx 14 hours, lights off, but was out actively swimming checking things out. <Good, for all their venomous spines, Foxfaces are quick to hide and turn ugly colors when frightened.> I purchased a Foxface previously from the store, QT'd for six weeks <4 is plenty> with no signs of disease but the fish passed via powerhead after 3 days in display. <Ouch. I hope you have those protected now. I notice a C-shaped bruise on mine once from an unprotected intake to a canister filter I was polishing the water with. The wound healed fine, and the intake has a basket now.> I am worried I was being too impatient and should have QT'd the fish as I do all my others. <Too late now. Rabbitfishes aren't among those fishes most likely to have/contract/transmit ick, so hopefully everything will be OK. The horse is out of the barn now anyway, there's no going back, is there?>  I guess I am just seeking reassurance besides what I read on WetWebMedia. <I'll bet everything will be OK, but no promises.> The fish is in a lightly stocked 75 gallon softy reef with carbon and aqua c remora pro skimmer. Peaceful tankmates. <These fish grow fast and get big--it may get a bit tight in there for him. Mine was under 3" a year ago, now over 6"> Mike Uscio  - Thank you <I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Jut keep a watchful eye and act if needed.> Scared Rabbit? (8/30/04) Hi, <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I have had a Fox face for about three years, he always eats very well, I noticed yesterday that he was hiding behind coral and his face was very dark and had dark areas on his body. <This is their typical night/fright behavior/coloration.> He is about 5" in length in a 110 gallon tank. Today his color is better but still did not eat and is swimming at the top. any help would be appreciated. Thanks Denis <Really tough to say. Have you added anything new? Done something differently? Changed something? How are your water parameters? Do you have any other fish in the tank that might suddenly have gotten aggressive? Any signs of disease, such as scratching, rapid breathing, etc? These are some good starting questions to ask yourself as you try to figure out what the problem might be. Hope they help.> Magnificent Foxface Hi Guys, <Hi, MikeD here> I have a question regarding my Magnificent Foxface (Siganus Magnifica). He is such a beautiful fish and I got him for $55 from my LFS. (partly from a discount he gave me 'cause we're friends, partly from no one wanting him for some reason) He has been in my 120 for about 3 days.<Can I ask how large this fish is, as sometimes it has a significant bearing.> At the store, he was active and not shy at all, but when I put him in the tank, he hid behind the rock all night.<Normal> I suspected everything was fine and that he was just scared. The next day he came out a little and today he was out to eat. He's doing fine but I was wondering if he would eventually come out and swim more once he gets used to the tank.<Probably, but that depends on several things> Right now he uses his spines to hold himself in place behind various rocks. When my LFS took him out of his tank he had to triple bag him because he kept poking the bags.<You ARE aware that these fish have venomous spines about as potent as those of a Lionfish, correct?> LOL, it was apparent he liked where he was. Also, I was wondering why they change color. It seems like he is trying to camouflage with the rock. He does it when frightened. This is normal and isn't unhealthy right?<Foxfaces normally camouflage themselves for two reasons, 1) out of fear or stress, and 2) at night, with eh blotchy night-time sleeping pattern VERY normal> He is a very beautiful fish and I consider myself lucky to have him, as no one else seems to care about any of the Foxfaces, even though they are reef-safe and hardy. Why is that?<In my experience, Foxfaces tend to exhibit what I call the "target fish syndrome" more than many other families, meaning that if they are the largest fish in the tank they KNOW that would make them the most obvious, thus preferred target for attack by a predator, in other words meaning they are high on the intelligence scale. This behavior will often decrease if kept with other fish of the same or larger size, EXCEPT for other Foxfaces! Some Rabbitfish will tolerate others of their own kind or relatives, while the Foxface end of the family (Lo, vulpinus, Fiji) tend to be aggressive toward the rest and often need to be the ONLY member of the genus kept in a tank lest an all out war erupt. As to reasons for the apparent lack of popularity, the venom, of course, is often a deterrent, along with the larger size (up to 8" or 9" which is considerable in a 120 gal. tank if it's a typical reef system). As to his shyness in your tank, you didn't mention the size of the tank he was in and with how many and what size tankmates, nor what else you have in your tank.  If he's the only fish in there, the shyness is likely to be long term, and if the tank is in a high traffic area, even more so.  There IS an upside to this as well though....being more intelligent, if you're willing to make "friends" with him, eventually he'll develop almost as much personality as some of the puffers and triggers and become a truly "Magnificent" showpiece, but you'll literally need to earn his trust. these guys, by the way, have an insatiable appetite for veggies, even compared to other vegetarian species (I have a 7" Lo Foxface that can devour a full half pound of Caulerpa in an hour or less, and no, I don't know where he puts it either!**grin**)  Mine is maintained in a 300 gal. FOWLR tank with larger predators and large tangs and is ANYTHING but shy, with him being a problem and harassing a Vlamingi tang that's 3" longer for several months.  I acquired him when small and he was house with several other Foxfaces and Rabbitfish, but as he got larger they had to be removed to save their lives, with his attacks constant and ongoing.> Thanks, you guys are awesome, Jake


Magnificent Foxface (continued) Hello Again<Hi back! Mike D again>, In response to your first question, yes I am aware that the Foxfaces are a venomous group, but your hands stay out of the tank, so I don't mind :). I realize that his poking the bag was a defense to try and "sting?" it so that he would be let free, I just thought I'd mention it because my LFS said he's never had to triple bag a fish before<LOL! I've had to triple bag MANY fish, particularly those with sharp spines....it's REALLY impressive when you have to triple bag a fish because it BITES through two or three thickness of bags!>, I commented you must have never had a Foxface before then<Wrong. I started out with 5 in a 125 gal. tank and gradually had to remove them due to aggression among themselves.>. I suspected the very same thing of his camouflage patterns, as when I approach he sticks his head out from a rock, turns color with the rock, and doesn't move. very intriguing, and I'm sure he'll warm up to me.<good luck. I commented on their "biggest/Only fish syndrome" and suspect that in 6 months he'll be doing just what he's doing now.> As for their veggie consumption, I read about him in "Marine Fishes" long before I got him and knew that he would be needing a lot of this matter. I feed him quite a bit of Spirulina (it says to feed them that in the book) he eats well and I'm not worried about him staying healthy.<they need a varied diet and JUST Spirulina won't suffice. Caulerpa, romaine lettuce, spinach and FD algae sheets will help and these kids eat a LOT of veggies, as well as a fair amount of protein based foods> I'm shocked however to hear that you say they can be aggressive, as they seem harmless to me, but I guess that's an unfair statement when he's the only fish in there<The aggression displayed by the Foxfaces is generally aimed at their own kind and near relatives, although, as I found out the hard way, MAY be directed at other fish that they consider competitors as well. As to "seeming" harmless, drop a lettuce leaf in the tank....the mouth and teeth may be small, but they are VERY effective, particularly when the attacks are constant and non-stop. The Foxface I have was attacking a vlamingi tang a full 2" larger than it is (about 6"-7"). It's a 120 gallon tank, five feet long with 180 pounds of LR.<I gave  mine away to my neighbor after placing it in my own 125 gal. tank as "punishment" top see if it would lessen the aggression....I BOTH tanks, it stayed hidden in the LR and refused to come out except to eat occasionally, even though there were several other smaller fish in both> Anyways, now that you say he can become aggressive if the biggest fish in there, I am a little worried. He is 5-6 inches long, and I was thinking of putting a medium sized tang in there, (one of the Acanthurus members, don't know yet) Would he too get along?<Quite possibly. In my 300 gal tank the Foxface was a terror towards the Vlamingi tang (genus Naso) and yet completely ignored an Acanthurus tang that was placed in there at the same time> Rabbitfish and tangs are "cousins" but not closely related enough too fight to the death, I would think.<THIS  is where the rub occurs...it's not important what YOU think, but rather what your individual Foxface and Tang think. Each fish is an individual with its own specific personality and the books can only give a general suggested guideline on what MOST members of a given species are likely to do. Fish, however, don't read the books and have no problem embarrassing authors on a regular basis. Keep in mind that out of 10 fish, for example, 7-8 are likely to act as expected, but one will probably be much more aggressive than the norm and yet another may be extremely submissive and shy.  It's been my experience that this applies to pretty much any animal species that I've ever kept, and there have been many. I currently have a 300 gal tank, 2-125 gal tanks, a 100 and a 25 gal hex> Let me know what you think, Jake P.S.- I apologize for being so long winded tonight.<Me too, only it's not just tonight. No apology needed and good luck>

Magnificent Foxface Mike, <Hi again, I'm baaaaack> Now I am a bit confused.<A soul mate!> Does the Foxface not like to be the biggest in the tank usually no> or does it like to be because if the vlamingi was bigger, wouldn't he feel less threatened according to your biggest fish thing. By the way, he has already started to trust me more. (He loves his food and recognizes me as "The Food Source")<You could be lucky and have gotten a more outgoing specimen. Like any animal they come in timid, average and aggressive depending upon the individual fish> I want to get some of that "tang heaven" (both the Gracilaria and the Ulva) for my tang when I get one. Do you think that the Foxface will devour this stuff at the same rate as tangs?<Nope....MUCH faster. These guys REALLY like their veggies and you may have a tough time getting any to a tang.> Thanks for your time.<NO problemo. Time I have plenty off!**grin**> Jake

Rabbitfish in a 90 reef? <Hi! MikeD here> I've been researching your site about the many Rabbitfish available but most of the questions are centered around Foxfaces.<They are among the most common and colorful, plus were often the ONLY Rabbitfish commonly available, being the reason there seems to be a preponderance of Q&A's about them> I have a 90 gallon reef that is inhabited by mostly small fish such as Chromis. The only fish I have with any potential size is my yellow tang. I have been looking at a masked Spinefoot or Siganus puellus.<A sweet fish, far less aggressive than a normal/common Foxface> Your site suggests that these fish grow slowly. If one is acquired at around 3 inches what it be a bad choice?<This only allows one of those "Uuuuuuuh, maybe?" answers. This species can grow to 12", and "slowly" is a relative term. I'd fully expect this fish to reach 9"-10" in about 3-4 years, if you've progressed to the point of not losing everything in 6 months or so, and it's my "gut hunch" that you'll reach a point where foods and fish waste make water parameters unsuitable for a true reef tank. I acquired the nickname "Mike the Coral Slayer" based on a lack of willpower strong enough to keep fish this size out of reef tanks and now keep only FOWLR tanks because of it> James

Rabbitfish in a 90 reef (continued) Hi, Mike D here again> So in response to the last email I received Mike, are you suggesting that I shy away from that choice of Rabbitfish and stick with the Foxface. I am past the 6 month time line so if a healthy specimen is received, I'm pretty confident that he will make it. I don't want to jeopardize any corals though.

Sick Foxface <Hi, MikeD here> Ok well I'll try to keep this short ..I stress try ..well I went to my local fish store yest to purchase a Foxface lo  my husband had been eyeballing  for some time. well  we arrived the little guy wasn't looking too good. He was in the corner of a 150 gal tank struggling to stay afloat.<That's definitely not looking good>while swimming he's his brilliant yellow color. but tends to tire quickly. ends up mostly lying on his side very stressed turning his blotchy brown color only when lying down). well even though this poor guy didn't look healthy or barely alive I still purchased him.<I've been known to do that too>.I know you probably thing I'm crazy for wasting my money on him but I spent an entire hour browsing through the shop for other items I needed. I just felt bad for the little guy just left there to die. So I made the dealer an offer of 10.00 to rid him of this sickly fish. reluctantly he agreed.<Understood. It's the "wounded bird" syndrome>.know it was most likely a waste of time and money to me. well as of this morning he's still struggling to stay alive. I don't know if his problem is<Probably one of several> bacterial parasitic or just plain starved (he's very very thin).<This sounds like a strong possibility of a cyanide caught fish>He was kept in a tank with much more feeding aggressive fish hence leaving him to what ever he could catch before the others did. I now have him in a 10 gal QT for the first few hours with a mild Melafix later last night I placed carbon filters in the filter to remove any traces of the meds. I have gotten him to eat a little micro algae that seems to liven him up (at least while he's eating it) won't touch his frozen foods made for him yet.<A pure macroalgae diet would be best for now>I have added extreme garlic to the water 1 drop .now treating tank with spectrogram antibiotic .I do know that my methods could very well do more damage then good as in stress factor for this little guy but the way I see it for this fella is, he has one fin on a banana peel and the other in the grave as it stands<That's about my opinion as well>  ..I just seem to bring myself not to try with him. any other suggestions you may have for this would b greatly appreciated..<You're right on track. Quiet tank, clean water and as much vegetable mater as it will eat> PS. I have had great luck with my other majestic Foxface<A beautiful fish> which I house in a 130 gal tank. and just purchased another 125 gal just in case he makes it and doesn't get along with my majestic<Here's the bad news...he WON'T get along with your majestic, not a guess, but rather almost a sure thing. The Lo and Majestic can be extremely territorial, to the death. Get your new 125 going and good luck!>

You say tomato, I say Acanthuroid <MikeD here> You are a wealth of knowledge.<Thank you...now you're making me feel REALLY old!> I really appreciate it. I read on your FAQ about Yellow tangs being prone to ick, would a Foxface Lo be a better choice?<For a relative beginner, quite probably if you're satisfied with the appearance. Similar intensity of the yellow, with the brown/white as a contrast, VERY similar habits, and, like the tangs, only one per tank.  Some of the other Rabbitfish can be kept in groups, but the Lo will definitely attack conspecifics as it grows, and other family members as well. These are very hardy, get along well with lionfish and quite ick and disease resistant as well.>

Reef safe Rabbitfishes <Hi James> I know that no Rabbitfish can be considered 100% reef safe, but many fish can't and make excellent reef fish. What is your experience with Rabbitfish in a reef tank? I have a skunk cleaner shrimp that I don't want to become a quick snack. Also there is an assortment of soft corals and featherdusters. <Rabbitfishes are generally known as either from the reef or from the seagrasses.  Most of them feed primarily on weeds and algae grazed from the ocean.  I've had very positive experiences with Foxface Rabbitfish in a reef aquarium, as have several of my friends.  I think its important to remember that individual fish have different personalities.  And as a point of caution remember that the top spines on all Rabbitfish are poisonous and if you are spiked it will hurt badly.>

Lions & Foxes (5/14/04) Hello! <Hi. Steve Allen here.> I've searched your site but can't find the answer to my two questions so I hope you can help me with them...I have just purchased about a 4 inch black Volitans Lionfish yesterday and I currently have it in my 10 gallon quarantine tank but I'm afraid that the smallness of this tank is going to stress out my Lionfish. It seems to be ok but I just don't know if I should have just put him straight into my long 90 gallon display tank....I'm trying to do the right thing by putting him in quarantine for 2 weeks but I would like to know if I may be doing more harm than good. <Quarantine should be 4 weeks. Lionfish are not very active fish, and a 4" one should be fine in a 10G for that period if you keep the water conditions pristine. The time can be well spent training it to eat frozen foods.> My question about my Foxface is that I have noticed in the last few days 2 black dots on the body of the fish. They start out dark black and round (about the size of a grain of salt) and about a day or two later they seem to get a washed out and sort of blotchy appearance to them and they get a little bigger and take on a slightly irregular shape and begin to fade out but I can still see them. It is not a blotch mark like when they get stressed or at nighttime (those are much, much larger). Is this something I should be concerned about? I was thinking maybe it was black spot disease but if it's only one spot that slowly seems to fade should I worry about it or should I just leave it be? <I'd keep a close eye on it and if it gets more, this would be my first concern. Check WWM & elsewhere for pix.> Thank you soooooo much.....you guys are the BEST!!! <Glad to be of service.> 

Foxface Rabbitfish with x-large Feather Dusters? 4/27/04 Hi!  Quick question for you as I respect your opinions and advice and after searching both your site and the internet for this answer, I have come up with completely conflicting advice. Some say the Foxface Rabbitfish is 100% reef safe (although the shape of its snout is exactly that of my Valentini puffer who devoured tiny ones instantly - he is in a whole different tank  Others say "watch out"!!!!  I don't have a reef tank, only 2 x-large (4-5") Feather Dusters. <No herbivorous fish can be considered 100% reef safe (or featherduster safe).  It is very very unlikely that they will eat the feather dusters, but it is possible that they will occasionally sample them as part of their routine grazing.> The Foxface (yellow but no black spot on body) is about 5 " and he is in a 90 gallon long (52") tank with a 5 " dwarf zebra lionfish and a 5 " black Volitans lionfish. Everyone is getting along fine and I've removed my feather dusters until I can get a solid answer but would sure like to put them back in my main tank! <I would say that you are probably safe to return the feather dusters.  I would just watch carefully for evidence that the Foxface is picking on them (unlikely, IMO).> Any ideas on this one or will I just have to try it and see what happens?!!! Any help would be greatly appreciated....  Thanks so much.......Lana. <There is no way to be sure without trying it.  Your worst case scenario is that the fish pick on the dusters and you will have to remove one or the other.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Freaky Foxface- Or Normal Behavior? Hello - <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I read the existing comments posted about various Foxface Rabbitfish issues, and have these questions:   Is there something wrong with my Foxface?  He stresses at least daily, changing color, hiding, being very still? <Very typical for a Foxface, in my experience> Is my tank - 55 gal, too small for Foxface?  Fish is about 4"-5". <I think that this tank is too small for long-term maintenance of this fish> Other facts: 55 gallon tank, with 1 small Green Chromis and 1 Orange-Spotted Goby, several snails, hermit crabs, 55 lb live rock, hang on bio filter, Remora skimmer, power head, compact fluorescent light, 1 sand sifting star fish, 1 Arrow Crab, 1 Bubble Anemone (clown died). My water levels, salt, ammonia, ph, etc are all good, checked weekly. Foxface's appetite is very good, eating varied  pellets, flakes and dried seaweed.  I have had him for 4 or 5 weeks.  The tank is about 2-1/2 months old. Your suggestions will be appreciated.   Thanks, Jeanette <Well, Jeanette, your tank sounds fine. These fishes tend to reach a large size, and, like tangs, require large amounts of space to be truly comfortable for the long run. So, if a larger tank is in the future, things should be fine. Regards, Scott F>

Killer Rabbit? (1/13/04) Hi crew. <Steve Allen today.> wrote you last week concerning putting a Rabbitfish and Scott's fairy wrasse <How big?> in a 15 gal QT together.  you had concerns about water quality. I put them together anyway. <OK> I think they had "words" together.  the wrasse appeared happy and healthy, but I think got too close to the rabbit.  now I have a wrasse in the freezer awaiting autopsy when I send it back to MarineDepotLive.  did the rabbit kill the wrasse (keep reading...)? <I did, and I doubt it--see below> I know they should've gotten along together, but....this Rabbitfish is about 2-3 inches. <Smallish--will grow to 9" or so.> it won't eat the algae I feed it (the previous Rabbitfish I had couldn't resist this stuff, although it did eat sparingly in QT).  this fish will eat prime reef, which has nothing herbaceous in it.  my previous Rabbitfish used to grab any food, and then spit it out if it was krill/brine/anything not green <Mine eats whatever I give it. So does my "herbivorous" Yellow Tang.>(it was about 6 inches). <How long had you had these fish before this death occurred. Not unusual for a fish in QT to not eat as you would expect.> is it possible for a Rabbitfish (especially one this small) to be a carnivore? <Well, "fill-in-the-blank-iovore" is a relative term. Many fishes are actually more omnivorous. They'll eat pretty much whatever passes by when they're in the mood. Some are really picky. Others not so at all. I strongly doubt that you Rabbitfish actually attacked the Wrasse. They are generally gentle by nature because most fish are smart enough to steer clear of their venomous spines. (You should too.) When threatened, they erect their fins to deploy these spines, but tend to be passive rather than aggressively attacking. Perhaps your Wrasse did get a sting, but more likely culprits are capture/shipping stress, pre-existing disease, or water quality problem in your QT. Whenever a fish dies, it's good to test all of the important parameters.> thanks in advance <You're welcome. Sorry for your loss.> -- rob Foxface in the Henhouse? (1/5/2004) Hi, <Howdy. Steve Allen here.> I've ordered a Fox Face Tang <I am guessing you mean a Foxface Rabbitfish, aka Siganus (Lo) vulpinus. It is a relative of Surgeonfishes, but not a Tang.> and it will arrive tomorrow. The description states that this fish is an herbivore and reef-safe. The same description then goes on to say that the diet can include frozen Mysid shrimp (Herbivore?). <Few herbivorous fish are 100% so.>My big concern is that I have smaller shrimps (Peppermint, Camel Back) and I'm afraid this vegetarian may not be so. Can you let me know ASAP if my concerns are valid or is this addition going to be safe. If need be I can put it in another tank as I have several but would like it in the larger reef tank I have (The one that has the Shrimp) <I would not worry too much. It will likely be fairly small to start. A Foxface will not eat animals that it cannot swallow whole. Mysis are tiny & will generally be taken if offered. Eating of Camel Back and Peppermint Shrimp is unlikely. Foxfaces will sometimes nip at corals when older, but this is unlikely to be a problem if it's fed plenty of algae. It should graze on most macroalgae in your tank, but probably not hair algae. They love live Gracilaria. I grow it in my sump for my yellow tang and my One-Spot Foxface (Siganus [Lo] unimaculatus) It will also likely take Formula Two and Sea Veggies.> Thanks Much, Don Tope <Hope this helps.>

Rabbitfishes - Quarantine I noticed the following introductory article to Rabbitfish on the website (  < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm)> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm). Can this really be so - i.e., that one shouldn't really bother quarantining a new Rabbitfish prior to introduction to an aquarium? This seems to fly in the face of all the consistent commentary that one is a complete idiot if he/she doesn't quarantine ALL fish. Any thoughts? <Yes, as the paragraph continues on: "Put another way, moving them again is not worth the damage that the small potential for disaster warrants from simple introduction to the main/display system." Almost all Siganids are better freshwater pH-adjusted dipped/bathed and placed... quarantining them (by and large) is more of a source of mortality and induced disease than it's "worth". Agreed, it does "fly in the face" of the general rule.> "Once the fish is "home" it is best placed and left alone unfed in an unlighted system for a day. Rabbitfishes are one of my exceptions to the general rule of quarantine; most are clean and ready to go with just a preventative freshwater dip. Put another way, moving them again is not worth the damage that the small potential for disaster warrants from simple introduction to the main/display system." Also, the foregoing statement seems to contradict what I have read which consistently suggest that Rabbitfish are "ich magnets." <Not so... or way on the other end of the scale... of their close relatives the acanthurids> Thanks in advance for your time/comments. ps - Could a small Rabbitfish (say 3 inches) get by in a 46 gallon bowfront for a few years (prior to becoming full size) with the idea of eventually moving it to a larger tank? <Not a good idea. Better to wait till you have the larger quarters. Bob Fenner>

Disease or "Collateral Damage"? This site is so informative. Every day I learn more and more from your site. <Glad that you enjoy it! We all learn more each day ourselves! Scott F. with you today!> Now I have a problem and require some advice. About 4 days I noticed that my rabbit fish had small white spots on him and his huge appetite had disappeared. Upon closer inspection I saw that his skin seemed to be peeling on one side. I removed him and a Pajama Cardinal (showed spots as well) from my main tank and put them into my QT tank.  I have been treating the QT tank with copper but I have noticed that his skin is getting worse every day. He is eating a little bit but looks quite stressed. I have attached a picture for your review. What should I do? <Well, the picture was a bit blurry, but I was able to get a general idea. I am speculating here, but it might actually be the copper that is affecting the fish. I have seen similar reactions to copper in tangs before. Do check your copper concentration and make sure that it's not at a hazardous level...Keep it at the medication manufacturer's suggested level at all times. This might be one of those cases where I'd go with freshwater dips, or maybe a formalin-based treatment. I would not continue with copper, at this point. Try some water changes in the QT, followed by some good filtration and feeding. After a break of a week or so, if the fish has shown no improvement, I would consider a formalin-based medication if you're still seeing signs of ich. With close observation, good water conditions, and quick action, I'm sure that this fish can make a complete recovery! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Disease Or "Collateral Damage"? (Pt.2) Thanks for the quick feedback. <You're welcome!> The peeling started before the copper treatment. Would you still discontinue and see how it goes as per your advice? Any chance this is bacterial? It started shortly after I treated my tank for red slime with an antibiotic. <Ahh... this could be some form of bacterial infection...I'm not sure how the antibiotic could have contributed to this. However, I'd stand by and just keep water conditions as perfect as possible in the treatment tank, and avoid medication for a while...Give him time to recover in clean water without meds. If he starts to decline, or if other symptoms manifest, do continue appropriate treatment. I still think that you may be able to see improvement without the need for medication, if he appears healthy otherwise, and continues to eat well. Keep a close eye on this fish. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Polaris Rabbitfish - Hi again crew, <Hello to you, JasonC here...> I e-mailed you a week or so ago with a couple of newbie questions.  I have yet more :) I ordered a Rabbitfish from an online fish store.  It arrived DOA.  I switched suppliers, got another one yesterday. I freshwater dipped it (Methylene blue and buffered fresh water for about 6 minutes), and put it into the quarantine tank ok. QT is 15 gallons, had been cycled using old frozen angel food. <I wouldn't be so concerned with having a cycled quarantine system. Much better to be prepared with plenty of pre-mixed water to do frequent, large water changes.> Readings were all 0 for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. I went out for a bit (2 hours), and when I came back, I noticed the heater on, the fish lying at the bottom on its side, and the temp at 86 degrees (eek). I pulled the heater, and started replacing tank water with some DI water that's sitting around at room temperature (72 degrees +/-) about a cup at a time for about 2 gallons worth (talk about mind numbingly slow :) I had to turn on the lights dimly (it's been in darkness pretty much), and take the light fixture off (so there was a hood still on). When it saw a ray of light, it made a mad attempt at jumping out of the tank. Then it would calm down and lie back on the tank bottom. Is there anything else I could've done?  What was causing the missile impressions it was doing? <Probably the changes in water quality when you added the cooler DI... quite likely changed the pH and definitely changed the salinity, and all most likely to quickly. Best to just let the tank cool by itself, and address water quality issues slowly - over a period of days.> The online fish store is sending me a replacement which will arrive tomorrow, so any ideas on what the problem might have been (or what to look for) are appreciated so I don't have a repeat of the situation. <As I mentioned before, have plenty of new saltwater mixed up and ready to go... don't be super-concerned about having the quarantine cycled - you can ease this by keeping a sponge or filter pad in the main system for use when the fish are put in quarantine, but if you have to treat with anything like copper, your cycling efforts will be lost and you'll be back to changing 25-50% of the water at a whack... so, make sure you have some made in advance.> thanks, rob <Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Polaris Rabbitfish - thanks for your quick response. <My pleasure.> as follow-up questions: 1) did the high temp cause the fish to lay on it's side in the first place, or should I look for another factor? <86 degrees really isn't 'that' hot... it's higher than normal, but not instantly fatal, and also considering that the temperature would have moved up to that point slowly, I'd be looking for other factors. Could be it was only the heat, but I'd still be looking for other factors just for my own sanity.> 2) how much time should you FW dip a Rabbitfish in a Methylene blue solution (barring it showing signs of stress)?  5 minutes, 10, 15? <At least five, but I would keep an eye on things and push for as long as possible... the fish will bug out at first but should improve and then be swimming about for some time. A dip of ten minutes would be excellent.> thanks in advance, -- rob <Cheers, J -- >

- Foxface Trouble - <Hello, JasonC here...> Help, our Foxface rabbit came down with ich which was being treated with garlic.  That seemed to help for a while, then it got worse so I added Coppersafe.  This morning he's swimming around normally but won't eat and his body seems to be covered in little white bubbles, almost like dried salt.  Is there anything we can do to save him? <First, you should isolate this fish in a quarantine system. Then, you should continue the treatments with the Coppersafe for about 15 days, and if the fish hangs in, then it should be out of the woods. Unfortunately parasitic problems are cyclic and I'm not convinced the garlic would have actually helped. Likewise, if you are not treating this fish in a quarantine tank, the gravel, rock, and decor will absorb some of the copper making it difficult to give the fish a therapeutic dose. Here are some links to some articles you should read to give you some background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Foxface Trouble - I had to go for a couple of hours and came home to find the Foxface was gone. <I am sorry to hear of this.> We're in the process of setting up a new 90 gallon tank so we'll just get all new rock and sand. <Also consider quarantine for all new placements in this tank - can save much heartache.> I don't want to take a chance on whatever it was.  We'd had him about 2 months.  The yellow headed eel that was in with him doesn't seem to be affected. Thanks again.  You did save our lionfish who I immediately moved out of the tank after reading your FAQs and finding out that the CopperSafe would kill him. <Cheers, J -- >

Shy (Not Sly!) Fox...Foxface question Hello, { another '17' on the way ;-) } <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> I have had a Foxface for 2 weeks and he was great till yesterday... Every time yellow, active and with smile on his 'foxy' face... Since tomorrow he is sitting behind the rocks and from time to time (rarely) showing his nose. I don't know what's wrong... His stings are rather hidden {but when picking pellets, they are opened}, but he looks like 'zebra' {black & white}... Is stress cause that behaviour or my eyelash blenny which is swimming like crazy {REALLY active fish}??? It looks like foxy is quite scared but I don't know why... Is it normal that Foxface from time to time has that kind of behavior??? Thanks <Actually, yes.. In my experience and observations of others, these fishes are much like tangs...Some individuals are very, very "outgoing" and social, and others are amazingly shy. And, of course, it's certainly not an unusual occurrence for these guys to go through periods of time where they are shy and inhibited. I'd keep a close eye on the blenny to see if it is, indeed irritating the Foxface. If the fish is otherwise healthy, then I will venture to guess that in time, this guy will become much more sociable. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

The Rabbit Died...(Mysterious Rabbitfish Death) First off, your web site is the best source for marine/reef tank information... I've only written a few times as just reading your FAQs and Articles provides me with so much information... thanks for all the help! <Glad you enjoy the site! It's great to hear that it's been helpful. We have a great time helping out our fellow hobbyists> I have been into this hobby for about a year and a half. First two attempts were failures (dreaded ICH) - I learned the importance of patience as I added too much too quick. <It happens all the time...But at least you were able to learn from these setbacks!> My third attempt has been going great since August 2002.  55 gallon with 53 pounds of live rock, Protein Skimmer, Magnum 350 (Floss sleeve and crushed coral in the media container) with 2 BioWheels, 2 Maxi-Jet 1200 and 1 PowerSweep 228, temp at 79 deg.  Fish inhabitants are 2 Clowns, 1 Damsel, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Mandarin Goby and 1 Foxface Rabbitfish. Inverts are a dozen various type snails, a  few crabs (2 emerald, 2 blue leg and 2 scarlet), 1 serpent star, 1 blood shrimp and 1 feather duster. Now my problem/question... everything was going great, and to my surprise I walked in last night to a dead Rabbitfish (had him for around 5 - 6 months)!  He looked great that morning/previous night with great color and swimming around.  The only thing that comes to mind is that I just learned about Aiptasia and I fed Reef Calcium +3 with a dropper directly to a few Aiptasia in the tank (very effective at killing them, by the way). I intentionally killed whatever I could with the standard weekly dosage that I would have used anyways (in fact I didn't get to kill all of them after I used the usually dosage, so I intentionally said I would get the last few Aiptasia next week with that weeks dosage). The only difference here is that I usually premix/dilute about 1/2 teaspoon of Calcium +3 with water and add that to the tank, rather than introducing it straight into the tank as I did when killed a few Aiptasia.  Do you think feeding the Calcium +3 direct to the Aiptasia somehow killed the Rabbitfish - it's weird cause everyone else in there seems to be doing great - in fact I would say the same of the Rabbitfish until I found him floating at the bottom of the tank last night. Thanks in advance for your help - you guys are great! <Wow...really sorry to hear about your sudden loss of the apparently healthy Rabbitfish. I suppose that the calcium additive could have been caustic if ingested by the fish, but there's no guarantee. The fact that he died suddenly does make me suspicious of some kind of poisoning or trauma. The Rabbitfish may have been picking (as these fishes do) at the rock, and possibly ingested some undissolved product that accumulated on the rock. We just don't know! A suggestion would be to monitor all basic water chemistry parameters (pH, alkalinity, nitrite, ammonia, etc) to verify if there has been a sudden environmental fluctuation of some kind. In the absence of any other signs of disease or trauma, it may very well have been a poisoning event of some kind. Check the obvious, as you have...And then look beyond the obvious! Make sure that you keep an eye on the tank and all of the remaining fishes. Chin Up! Regards, Scott F>

Catching the wiley fox Hello Crew: Thank you for all your help and support.  It has been invaluable.  When I last wrote, I had the debacle with my LFS and the conversion of my 20 gallon tank to a 58 gallon.  When we last left off, my only remaining fish was my Foxface, a real trooper!!!!!  It has now been 3 weeks since the last of the other fish passed and the Foxface appears to be doing very well.  I do not see any spots on him; perhaps the cleaner shrimp are getting them in time.  I have been trying to net him to get him out of the tank and allow it to run fallow, but he is very, very familiar with the layout of the live rock and I cannot seem to get to him.  Is there any time that can pass with him still in there, and no additional problems, that make it safe for me to add another fish?  What else can I do short of tearing down the reef to get him out? <Scott, I don't think leaving the fish in the tank is going to work. If you try this, I would suggest the normal QT period of 4 wks after the last spots are gone. Again, I think it would be best to get the fish to a proper qt. Waiting an hour or two after lights out might make it easier to catch. Clearing a section of the tank and using a sheet of acrylic to lessen the space may work. Does it have a favorite resting place? Maybe an ambush there. How about getting someone to help you and try to get it during feeding? I hope some of these work for you, Don> Thank you for your response Scott

Foxface vs. Maroon After 2 months of harmony, my maroon clown decided that he didn't like the new Foxface tank mate (I know not surprising considering maroon behavior and his residence in the tank the past 3-4 years).  They are both small (about 2.5" or so). The clown will try to bite the Foxface where it can. However, the Foxface (sometimes almost without concern) turns his body and sticks his spikes up for protection rather than leave the scene, but no visible "sting" has ever been given. The clown will just bite several times right on those top spikes and nothing happens but an annoyed Foxface. It will often stress the Foxface a bit (as evidenced by change in color), but no damage done as of yet. Is there need for concern at this behavior (as in separate them for fear of damage to either one) or will it pass as the Foxface outgrows the clown? I almost wish the little fox would give the clown a little sting to teach it a lesson - but doesn't seem to want to. Is there a reason the fox won't sting? Is it too young yet? Is it just being patient? Thanks for the time. < You may want to move the clown to another tank for 3-4 weeks then return him and see what happens.  If nothing changes between the two you will probably have to choose 1 or the other.  As far as the stinging goes he is just being patient. Cody>

Foxface stalker - 2/11/03 Hello: Sorry to bother you again. <No....no problem at all. Thanks for coming here. Paul at your service> But your site is so much more reliable than other sources. <Nice of you to say. I find a great many sites very reliable and friendly, but glad you're with us> I have a 58 gallon tank with the beginnings of a reef setup.  Currently, I have about 65 pounds of live rock, a green star polyp, another polyp, <mmmm....curious...> assorted snails and hermit crabs and a largish Sally Lightfoot.  I had been reading about Foxfaces and consistently read that they were not really suitable for reef aquariums. <Well, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm It is for very good reason that you should keep a close eye on the Siganus (Lo) vulpinus. Known to eat invertebrates, as they are indiscriminate feeders (sometimes accidental and sometimes not) Depends on the fish personality, but in the wild.......well....>  Every person at my local shop, which is generally well educated on the topics, said that the Foxface was reef safe, <did they tell you that you could buy the patch of reef where they caught this Foxface for a dollar? They are trying to sell you a fish.> so I obtained one. <Ah, there is the rub. You wanted one and got one. Cool. Quarantined I hope?> He is now spending a good portion of his time "stalking" the Sally Lightfoot.<Uh oh> Is it anything to be concerned about and is he truly reef safe? <I wouldn't chance him in my reef tank. It has been done though, I am sure. I would check the forums and see if you can't gain a consensus.> Also, I have a Chevron Tang, 2 Ocellaris Clowns and a Royal Gramma in the tank.  Do they all seem to be compatible with the Foxface? <Due to the venomous spines of the Foxface Rabbitfish and readiness to use them, most predators give Rabbitfishes wide berth; alternatively, they are typically casual toward other fishes... with one exception; members of their own kind. As always exceptions do crop up. Keep an eye on 'em.> Thank you again for your advice. <My pleasure, Scott. I hope I was of some help. In an ideal world, you would have sought out advice and done some research prior to buying a fish that could potentially wreak havoc on one's tank. In any event, we (I) do appreciate your time in seeking advice in your current situation. Please do look through the various FAQs and check out the forums here and abroad for more info. Don't mean to be hard on you, but knowing is half the battle. You are one step of many in the right direction and I applaud you for that. Good luck and check in occasionally. Let us know what kinds of behavior your fish is exhibiting. Keep a good log. May be of great help to others. Never know, you might end up here helping out others as well. Peace my friend.> Scott 

Waskly Wabbits! (Rabbitfishes) I have a 65 gallon reef that needs a good algae eater.  I am told that tangs shouldn't go in a tank this size. <I think that's pretty good advice!> I also understand that Rabbitfish are a very good herbivore.  Is there a Rabbitfish that would be comfortable long term in a 65 gallon tank? Fred <In my opinion, Fred- not really. Pretty much every available Rabbitfish in the hobby reaches a minimum of 7 inches or so- these guys need space just like tangs do. They also are very sensitive to less than optimal water conditions, often being referred to by hobbyists as "ich magnets". I'd stick to some of the less "space-demanding" herbivores, like blennies...For example, the "Lawnmower Blenny", Salarias fasciatus, or the "Redlip Blenny", Ophioblennius atlanticus (a neat fish, but sometimes can nip an occasional coral or clam mantle...never happened in my tanks, however). These guys can do a nice job on algae, and although they can get over 4 inches, they don't have nearly the requirements for space that tangs and Rabbitfishes do. Also, some people use pygmy angelfishes (Centropyge) for herbivores (Now- I don't want every reefer out there to freak out and say that "Scott is suggesting using a Flame Angel for algae control!"). These fishes come with a variety of personalities and tendencies, including a propensity for nipping and eating corals in some cases! However, a large percentage of their diet is comprised of vegetable matter, so I include them here for completeness. In your tank, you'd definitely want the smaller "models", like C. argi, or C. acanthops. Both of these little guys can be feisty, however, so choose tankmates carefully. Use the wetwebmedia.com site for more research into herbivorous fishes. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Waskly Wabbits (Pt. 2) Sigh, too bad on the no for a rabbit in a 65.  Some are actually very nice-looking fish. <The certainly are! They simply need a fair amount of space.> I will go with the lawnmower blenny. <A good choice, IMO! You'll really enjoy his antics and personality. You certainly won't be "settling" with this guy!> On another note, what can you tell me about convict blennies?  I saw a few in a local store and they are very interesting looking.  As far as I have been able to find out, they are reef safe.   <These are pretty neat fishes! I'm assuming that you're referring to Pholidichthys leucotaenia...They are generally peaceful and usually very hardy.> The only negative I have heard is that they dig in the sandbed all the time.  Is this because to do not have a deep enough sand bed?  How deep a bed do they need? <Unfortunately, this is a rather annoying behavior for most people. The danger is that they can cause "cave-ins" of rockwork, and can bury corals and other sessile animals with their digging behavior. They can also cause damage to deep sand beds, disrupting the nitrifying processes occurring in the sand. You'd certainly want a fairly deep bed, at least 4 inches, possibly more. Once again, I'd recommend creating rock work that is not adversely affected by the digging habits of this fish.> Thanks, Fred <Good luck with your tank! I'm sure that you'll enjoy your future fish purchases if you plan for their needs accordingly. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Foxface I have had a Foxface in a 20 gallon tank for almost a year now.  He has always been pretty shy.  He has dark tiny dots on his white stripe on his snout.  I've looked at some pictures on the web and noticed they do not have these dots.  He's acting normal but I just wanted to make sure nothing is wrong.  Are these dots normal? <Are they symmetrical... on both sides of the head? Likely not a sign of any infectious or parasitic disease> P.S. I know he's in too small of a tank and I'm about to move him to a 120 in a few weeks. <Thank goodness, providence. You will likely see these "environmental stress markings" go away with the move. Bob Fenner>

Fox Face Color  Crew, I am curious about the coloration of my fox face. I was looking through the pictures on the WetWebFotos site and noticed that my fox face has a similarity to a Siganus magnificus in that it has a brownish blackish streak across the top of his body. This is whether he is stress or not. I know my fish must be a vulpinus because it has the second black patch by his "throat" in addition the one across his eyes. My LFS said that this happens to his fish when the tank it is in is colored on the back. Is this camouflaging or a dietary thing? He gets fed Nori soaked in vitamins as well as Ocean Nutrition's #2 food for herbivores etc. Want to keep him healthy. Thanks, David <Well, David, in the absence of other outward signs of illness, injury, etc., Id be inclined to agree with the dealer. These fish, and many others, can and will change coloration (both intensity, and to a lesser extent, patterns) in response to various environmental factors (stress, chemistry parameters, lighting, background, etc.). Another possibility is that your fish might even be a geographic or individual variant of one of the species. If the fish is eating and behaving normally, I would think that there is little cause for concern. Just to reassure yourself, you may want to run tests on basic water parameters (i.e.; pH, Alk, Nitrite Ammonia, Nitrate). Keep making regular water changes, keeping stable temperatures, and feeding a good diet, as you appear to be doing. Keep observing him daily, and be prepared to act if you need to correct any of these parameters. Good luck! Scott F.>

Fox Face Color Crew, I am curious about the coloration of my fox face. I was looking through the pictures on the WetWebFotos site and noticed that my fox face has a similarity to a Siganus magnificus in that it has a brownish blackish streak across the top of his body. This is whether he is stress or not. I know my fish must be a vulpinus because it has the second black patch by his "throat" in addition the one across his eyes. My LFS said that this happens to his fish when the tank it is in is colored on the back. Is this camouflaging or a dietary thing? He gets fed Nori soaked in vitamins as well as Ocean Nutrition's #2 food for herbivores etc. Want to keep him healthy. Thanks, David <Well, David, in the absence of other outward signs of illness, injury, etc., Id be inclined to agree with the dealer. These fish, and many others, can and will change coloration (both intensity, and to a lesser extent, patterns) in response to various environmental factors (stress, chemistry parameters, lighting, background, etc.). Another possibility is that your fish might even be a geographic or individual variant of one of the species. If the fish is eating and behaving normally, I would think that there is little cause for concern. Just to reassure yourself, you may want to run tests on basic water parameters (i.e.; pH, Alk, Nitrite Ammonia, Nitrate). Keep making regular water changes, keeping stable temperatures, and feeding a good diet, as you appear to be doing. Keep observing him daily, and be prepared to act if you need to correct any of these parameters. Good luck! Scott F.>

Fox Face Colors...  Thanks for the quick response. Will keep a watchful...Dave <And thank YOU for stopping by! Scott F.>

My one spot Foxface Rabbitfish Hi Bob, <Actually, JasonC today... how are you?> I acquired my third Foxface (Buggs 3) Buggs 1 died of parasites, Buggs 2 I assume died of poor water quality, i.e. off the scale salinity. I've solved my parasite problem with 3 weeks of quarantine in a 20 gal hospital tank, And my water quality by just being a better steward to my tanks.  <Ahh good.> Buggs 3 did fine in quarantine, and he's bin in my big tank for about two weeks. I just noticed that he has lots of bubbles on his body, fins, and eyes. Not spots just bubbles, and maybe a little mucus.  <My question to you is, do you have an obvious source of the air bubbles - do you use an air stone in the tank, or is there another source... is the water already full of bubbles that you can see?>  He gets along fine with all the other fish, and he seems to be eating fine, but he's the only one with bubbles on his body. Can you shed some light or am I just being gun-shy with my rabbit?  <Well, depends a lot on your answer to my question. For certain, most all fish have a "slime" coating, mucus actually, and sometimes when under stress, this coating can be a little more prolific. If there is an obvious source of air in your system, then likely these air bubbles are sticking to the slime coat on the Rabbitfish as it still qualifies as a new introduction to the system, and most likely still stressing a little. On the other hand, plumbing problems [air leaks] can introduce micro bubbles which then can make it into the skin of your fish, and often show up at the tips of fins and scales. If this was the case, you'd probably also observe these bubbles developing on your other fish. Either way, this is something you do want to keep your eyes on, but could certainly turn out to be nothing to worry about.> Thanx, Tobin <Cheers, J -- >

Re: New Foxface acclimation and a Fairy Wrasse Sorry about setting off the alarm bells with the quarantining strategy. I found the suggestion in the wetwebmedia.com section, where this was suggested specifically for Rabbitfish because of their poisonous dorsal spines. It doesn't matter now anyway, because the poor critter died. Oh well… <indeed sorry to hear it :(> You mentioned that the SeaClone protein Skimmer was possibly inadequate. It produces about 1/4 cup of somewhat smelly, dark-green fluid a day—the large cup allows me to get lazy about collecting it.  <daily skimmate of any kind is good and appreciated... full cups shouldn't be hard to produce though> Is a skimmer like the Remora a better choice? <much better in most peoples opinion. Mine too> Thanks again -Ian Berger <best regards>

Rabbitfishes/Foxfaces Hi Bob, I was wondering if you had a recommendation if at all for any kind of Rabbitfishes for a reef aquarium with clams and lawnmower blennies? There are so many types and I'm not sure which would do best for string algae/Caulerpa control. <Do take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm and in the linked FAQ file for help.> Thanks, Jackson <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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>

Rabbitfishes Dear Mr. Fenner, I have a couple of questions regarding Rabbitfish. 1) I purchased a Rabbitfish one year ago and can't tell what species it is. After searching WWM and my Burgess Atlas, I am still uncertain whether I own a S doliatus or an S virgatus. Is there some distinguishing feature that I can utilize to determine the difference between those two species of Rabbitfish? <Mmm, the first almost always has yellow bands on the body. S. virgatus has an upper yellow dorsal-rear region, light below: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm If you saw them side by side...> 2) I also have a Lo vulpinus housed in my 125 gallon tank with the Siganus sp. I've read on this site as well as others that this may not be the best situation for the two Rabbitfish. Despite this, they have lived at least nine months together in complete harmony. In fact, along with my Z. desjardinii, the Rabbitfish almost look as if they are schooling together. <Might well be> Aside from five Chromis, these are the only three fish in the tank. Presently, the tang and two Rabbitfish are all approximately four inches. Should I expect more aggressive behavior between the two Rabbitfish as they mature, or should I feel extremely lucky that my two Rabbitfish do not display typical behavior towards one another?  <As they've grown up together there should be no major conflicts between these two> I am interested because if it is likely that there will be aggressive episodes in the future, I want to make arrangements to get rid of one of the Rabbitfish. Thanks for all the help your site has provided! <You are welcome. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility Are a Pair of Gymnothorax permistus aka reticulated eel. Compatible with Foxfaces in a 200g fish only tank? <If the Morays are otherwise fed, maybe. Bob Fenner>

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>

What's Up Doc? Problems with a Rabbit Fish <Hello, JasonC here filling in for Bob while he's away.> I have had a magnificent Rabbitfish for 2.5 months now. Recently I have noticed it gulps air and blows bubbles out of its gills. I suspected this was lack of oxygen so I added some air pumps to the tank. I already used the following for filtration/aeration. Turboflotor skimmer, numerous powerheads, drain/return pump sump system.  <should have had plenty of aeration from the skimmer.>  I have three large tangs in the same tank ( yellow, Naso, regal) as well as a medium sized Blueface angel. None of these gulp air. The rabbitfish's gills also only move as much as the tangs. Finally the Rabbitfish shows no other signs of stress. It has intense coloration, clear eyes, mark less skin, and a very varied and healthy appetite. Any help would be appreciated.  <hard to tell, from your description everything else is normal. How big is your tank? You might want to go through the Rabbitfish FAQ: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/siganidf.htm > Thanks, Everett <You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >

Re: Problems with a Rabbit Fish <Hello, JasonC here... > Hi my tank is 240 gallons with a 40 gallon sump. I have stuck air hoses in all of the pumps but it still sucks air.  <as I said earlier, I don't think that you water is oxygen-poor, so adding more air hoses won't help.>  It still looks and acts normal.  <then perhaps this is just a behavior or something the fish enjoys doing. As long as it's not hurting itself or in deteriorating health, I wouldn't worry about it. Some fish do this... my puffer does constantly around food time - gulps air, spits water.> Thanks for the help, Everett <You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >

Rapid Foxface Decline Dear Bob, < JasonC here, giving Bob a day off, although he is still in town, and certainly reading this... > My setup is a 55-gallon tank with wet/dry/skimmer that's been in operation for over four years and has been relatively stable, except for a couple of minor periods of owner neglect. It's been in excellent shape for the last few months. The tank consists of a large maroon clown that's been a long-time resident (over 4 years old), with most of the other inhabitants being newer additions. These include a powder blue tang, five jewel Lyretail Anthias, a bubble anemone, three cleaner shrimp, live rock, and some other inverts (two serpent stars, abalone, snails, crabs). The temp is stable since adding a chiller, and overall water quality has been good, though nitrates have always been higher than I'd like. Not sure if it's a significant data point, but the mushrooms on the live rock have flourished. < how high is high on those nitrates? how big are the tang, maroon, Foxface? > Recently I added a yellow Foxface to the tank without realizing how much aggression the powder blue would show. I introduced the Foxface slowly during the first 24 hours, but then let him fend for himself. The powder blue harassed the Foxface pretty good for the first few days, but the Foxface seemed to find his legs. The powder blue came up with what looked like some holes from the Foxface's spines, and things seemed mellow in the tank. The Foxface was eating fine, including formula one, seaweed, and dried, and would venture into most parts of the tank, though the powder blue would get territorial in some areas. < rough start > Overall, things looked like they were going fine until today. During an afternoon feeding, the Foxface went for the food as usual, but I noticed a significant amount of white blotchiness on one side. He quickly retreated to a top corner of the tank, and within a couple of hours he was noticeably worse. It didn't look like little white spots or powdery crystals, nor did it look particularly like mucous (I don't think). At that point, his friend the powder blue began accosting him all the more, and he hid behind the overflow. The white-ish continued to spread to around his eyes and fins, and some stringy white trails seemed to appear off his top fin. I contacted the local fish store and they suggested a dip in Maracyn, as that was the only medication that I could get my hands on tonight. When I returned to the tank, the Foxface was in the grips of the larger serpent star, so I removed him ( he was looking bleak) to a Maracyn dip for less than two minutes and then to a little holding container hanging in the tank to stay warm. He died pretty quickly thereafter, just 5 hours from when I initially noticed the malady. Once I got him out of the tank and got a closer look, it actually looked like his coloration (is that the scales or under the scales?) had been removed in spots, rather than a coating covering the exterior. Any thoughts about what might have gone on here? The Foxface was in the tank for a total of just over three weeks. Could stress from the aggressive powder blue have caused this to happen?  < I think you nailed it >  Should I be concerned that the rest of the tank is at risk of getting the same disease? < probably not, the diseases/pathogens are probably always there to a very small extent, but the continued harassment from the tang put the vulpinus into constant fight-or-flight mode, and this in turn caused its immune system to shut down and you know the rest. This can/does happen in humans too, and in your fish's case most likely tipped the balance on a system already on the edge of being crowded, I counted seven fish, before the addition of the Foxface, yes? You may want to consider carefully if/when you should add your next fish, or perhaps a larger tank. Your remaining fish, if in good health will most likely stay that way. > Thanks for any help that you can provide. Harry Cardile < Cheers, J -- >

Rabbit Fish Dear Sir, I do have a Foxface for about a month and I like it very much. So last Sat I got another Foxface and a Rabbit Fish. <All in the same tank? Hope it is a very large one> This morning, I found that the new Foxface that I got lately was casing by the old one. So I took a basket to separate it. I will re-introduce it after a few days. What do you think??? <Not likely to get along. Some Rabbitfishes are more social... Please read over this part of our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm and the associated FAQs file. I would trade in/return the new Foxface. Bob Fenner>

Foxface Big Trouble!!! How are doing today? <Fine Emile> Good I hope. I have a major problem unfolding before my eyes concerning my Foxface. Shall I start with my tank. I have a 55 w/ a 25 gallon sump wet dry. I run 250 milligrams of ozone but I have a ORP monitor to keep it in check, also have a couple of gobies and numerous snails and crabs. Water quality is good no none problems that I can detect and I pretty much test everything ph is about 8.3 ammonia 0. nitrites 0 nitrate about 10 ppm's. So are you ready? <Yes> I can almost here the answer you will give me. My Foxface has been fat and happy since I purchased him 3 months ago. Yesterday my wife called me to let me know he had a red spot on him about the size of a pencil eraser. So I told her I would take a look when I got home. Well for the time it took me which was about 2 hours it had spared about a quarter inch per 30 minutes. I got home late and thought I hope he makes it through the night. Well today he looked worse. When I first observed him it was pretty horrific to see him in this condition. Today the hemorrhaging seems to be whiting and rotting more of his skin it doesn't seem so red but has spread over his eyes and his whole left side. I cannot quarantine him at this time. I did go to store and purchased a bottle of vitamins to maybe help him a little. But I do not believe this is because of a lack of vitamins he eats fresh algae I grow in another tank and freeze dried quid, shrimp etc.. I hope you can give me some kind of incite to what to do. I do not believe I will wait to much longer to step in and put him out of his misery. Hope to hear from you soon.. R.P.H.. <I fear this response is too late... some sort of infection (yes, bacterial) inside and/or out has claimed your Siganid. Very strange to have one for three months to lose it like this... and no clue from the information you offer. Do you have cleaner organisms? Please read about these on our site, WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

New fish doing well Hi Bob, it's the 14 year old again. <Soon to be older> After the loss of the Fourline wrasse I was pretty down, and afraid to purchase a new fish. Just wanted to say that I bought a 3 inch one-spot Foxface (Siganus unimaculatus) last Sunday for my 38 gallon tank. Him and the Redlip blenny get along fine. And he is an absolute garbage pit!!! He eats anything I give him, and grazes constantly.  <Typical for Siganids> I am aware that there maximum length is about 8 inches, and that is too long for my tank, but he probably won't grow that large for a while. Thanks for all the help you've given me. I just have one question, do I have enough room left to add an orchid Dottyback? <Should be, and a good choice. Do secure a tank bred/reared one. Bob Fenner> Thanks again. -Andy

Spots on Foxface Mr. Fenner, I have a Foxface that has small red spots on one side of his body. I have tried to find some kind of article on this but so for I couldn't find any. He shows no signs of discomfort, and is eating well. I feed him a variety of Macroalgae species. Water quality is not a problem. Every few days I might see a white spot on him but my cleaners seem to take care of him. The red spots have been on him for a couple of days and I am wondering if this poses a threat to his well being. Once again I seek your supreme wisdom! Hope to hear from you soon Ryan H <Hmm, could be something "biological"... by this I mean an infectious or parasitic matter... perhaps a type of Myxosporidian or other protozoan... But/and likely "not catching" nor life threatening. I would ignore these markings, keep up your water quality, monitoring... and perhaps try adding a vitamin, iodine complex to this animals food before offering. Bob Fenner>

Fading Foxface Hey Bob, I have a question regarding my Foxface...I have had him in my 65 gallon  fish-only + live rock tank for approximately 2 months, and am concerned about  his loss of color. He was vibrant yellow when I brought him home, changed  all kinds of mottled colors and then faded over the course of the first few  days as expected, but his "true colors" never came back.  He seems healthy...eating well and all that stuff, with plenty of greens (marine algae from Ocean Nutrition). I typically break off a 2" x 2" square for him to pick at during the day, and feed some combination of Formula 1,  Formula A, brine shrimp, and Vibra-Gro in the evening (not all on the same  day!). I supplement with Selcon a few times a week too. The water parameters are OK too: Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 5 ppm pH: 8.3 Temp.: 80 Do I need to take his fading as a sign of poor care? Is there anything else I should do? Thanks for your help and for keeping this insightful column! < Chris, thanks for the well written note. You have done about all I would do with your Rabbitfish (the Foxfaces are part of the family Siganidae), feeding greens, having live rock about, adding vitamins, providing clean water... About the only two things that come to mind are bullying (by other livestock) and the chance that your system is too brightly lit. Both might be alleviated by making sure you have enough hiding spaces for the Foxface to get out of the light and hide in a large enough "cave". Can you make one out of your d?or/live rock? Bob Fenner>

Tank size Is a 55g. to small for a fox face and how fast do they grow?

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