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FAQs on the Combtooth Blenny Behavior

Related Articles: True or Combtooth Blennies, Ecsenius BlenniesSabretooth Blennies, Family Blenniidae/Tribe Nemophini, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

Related FAQs:  Combtooth Blennies 1, Combtooth Blennies 2Blenny Identification, Blenny Compatibility, Blenny Selection, Blenny Systems, Blenny Feeding, Blenny Disease, Blenny Reproduction, Ecsenius BlenniesSaber-Tooth Blennies, Blennioids & their Relatives, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

Discoloration in my fish.     5/1/13
I have a flame tail blenny  that has lost a lot of its color.
<I see this in the pic of its head you've sent along>
The whole fish looks like the bottom part of the head.
What's up with that. It happened in hours.
<Mmm; either very frightened, or possibly stung by something>

It had a slight discoloration several days ago but it was over by the next day.
<Ah yes; behavioral changes in coloration can change very rapidly>
Do I need to do a big water change?
<Is anything else mal-affected in the system?>
Or is it a sickness?
<Not likely>
 I have not been able to find anything wrong with the water quality. But maybe I'm not checking for the right thing.
<I'd just remain vigilant/observant. Bob Fenner>

Re: Discoloration in my fish.     5/1/13
> Can hammer oral cause that?
<Oh yes>
It went back to almost normal already.
Sometimes the food gets stuck under the hammer I got sitting on the sand.
It usually does not go near the anemones.
<... best not>
Some of the fish taken to scratching on the sand. Out of the coral the polyp zoos look worst for wear and the algae is growing where it can get stuck to something. I was told that's normal for a coral tank because of the strong lights. I test ph ammonia phosphate and nitrite nitrate. Being a color deficient person I can't read the  exact readings. But I take a sample to the lfs. And they tell me that everything other than ammonia is at 0 and ammonia is between .25ppm an 0
<So? You might want to invest in a "meter" approach to these tests, testing. B>

Bicolour Blenny Behaviour -11/02/08 Hello, <<Hiya Jess>> Emailing in regarding my Bicolour Blenny's behaviour. I've had my 40 gallon tank for nearly a year now, and at the moment I have a pair of Ocellaris Clowns, the Bicolour Blenny, a piece of Frogspawn coral and something like 10 individual soft polyps on the live rock, a stressed out BTA and heaps of annoying bristleworms. <<The Frogspawn is likely malaffecting the Anemone in this small volume and generally, Bristleworms are viewed as beneficial>> Everything in the tank has been in there for at least 6 months, and we had quite a nice setup going, until we moved house. <<Ah>> When we moved we took EVERYTHING out of the tank into buckets to transport it, freshwater dipped all the live rock to try and get rid of some bristle worms, <<Mmm'¦...you probably severely damaged the bacteria/beneficial and desirable biota on and within the rock when you did this. If you haven't yet, do read up on our FAQs and articles regarding Bristle/Polychaete worms. And if they are truly in plague proportions, you will also find differing methods of dealing with them. You can get started here, and then follow the blue links at the tops of the pages: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm >> and unfortunately managed to dip the Blenny too, as he was hiding in one of the rocks! <<Mmm'¦>> Hosed out the substrate (a mix of sand and calcium carbonate recommended to us by LFS) to get rid of some nasty red algae and worms, and cleaned the glass of all the algae (something I realize now was a bad idea as my blenny was eating it and regular marine flake food, I thought he'd be fine until it grew back). <<Indeed, '¦not to mention more destruction of this system bio-filter/ability to support life with the sand "cleaning" you describe>> After moving the tank seems to have gone back to its previous condition, <<With time'¦>> the Clowns and corals are all flourishing, but the anemone has shrunk and the Blenny, instead of perching on the rock, hiding and dashing to the top of the tank for food, has those stress spots on him all the time, and is swimming around the tank everywhere now, and even swims over to the clowns. <<The Anemone may be suffering from less than ideal/unbalanced tank conditions created by the destruction of the biological filtering capacity of the system when you dipped the rock and rinsed the substrate (have you done any water testing since putting all back together?)'¦and the Blenny may well have been irreversibly damaged by what was likely a less then ideal freshwater dip with the rock>> At first we thought it was great that the Blenny had come out of hiding, but he also seems to be VERY stressed and spends a lot of his time out in the open at the bottom of the tank, just sitting there with really obvious spots. My question is what could be causing his changed behaviour, and should we be worried. <<All the previous and not much to do now but wait to see if this fish recovers>> He looks very unhappy and the clowns are starting to pick on him. <<This will only worsen things and speed the Blenny's demise. Perhaps you have a hospital/quarantine system you can move the Blenny to?>> I've searched the site and can't find much to do with this. Thanks, Jess <<Not much to be done here the damage is done as explained. This system needs time to recover its beneficial biota and return to balance (a piece of fresh rock or some substrate from the LFS/another healthy system will help re)'¦and the Blenny needs time and safety from aggressive tankmates to recover as well if it ever will. Regards, EricR>>

Blenny Color Change 10/23/06 I read in several messages of using a flashlight to observe nocturnal behavior in the reef tank. <Can be quite fascinating.> I tried this and almost couldn't detect my blenny, although I was looking right at him. <Nice survival technique.> He busted out in white spots all over the brown/purple half of his body.  He did this when I first put him in the tank, too, but shortly thereafter they were all gone.  I've read of stress spots...is this what he's doing?  Or is he employing camouflage techniques? <Many fish shift color at night to better hide, this is what you are witnessing.> I decided not to freak him out and turned off the light, then looked him over carefully this morning and throughout the day, and he's absolutely fine, no spots at all. <Normal response to night time stress.> Kath <Chris>

'Not so' Odd Lawnmower Blenny - 4/11/2006 Hey all, <<Hi Aaron.>> I have a question concerning my lawnmower blenny. He is now established in my tank and sits on a perch in plain sight in the daylight. When I first got the blenny it would pick at rocks for algae. It has now given up at that and now fights my 2 perculas and royal Gramma for food. Will he eventually get sick since this fish is meant to be an herbivore? Thanks, Aaron <<Many of this species move to meaty foods as they age in aquaria.  It is common, and is posted on WWM.  Lisa.>> Lawnmower Blenny Behaviour 4/6/2006 Hello! <<Hey Sonny!>> My lawnmower blenny moves up and down so fast at the corner of the tank, and stays at the top of the water right beside the filter. He looks like gasping air, and he does that mostly up side down. <<Wow, that doesn't sound good.  These fish tend to use their mouths some when breathing, but certainly not upside down often.>> It started about a week ago. All the test results are fine. <<Actual number readings are helpful here.>> It is a fish only tank.46 gallon with 4 clowns, a vermiculated angel, a hermit crab, and the lawnmower blenny in it. Do you have any idea what could be the problem? <<While I do not know what your water chemistry is like, nor do I know how long you have had this fish, my guess is that the problem is environmental.  A 46-gallon tank is simply too small for this fish, not due to its size, but due to nutritional requirements.  They need LOTS of filamentous green algae in their diet, and if your tank lacks this, it will starve.  Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algblenfaqs.htm.>> Thank you in advance, Sonny. <<Glad to help.  Lisa>> Disappearing Lawnmower Blenny   2/7/06 Hello All: I first want to say as most have done before me that your site has helped us in many ways. <Glad to hear that! Scott F. with you tonight> We have a 120 Gal saltwater tank that is about 7 weeks old, with about 13 pounds of live rock and a few pieces of medium to small coral, a few shells and a couple of handfuls of live plant, a Domino Damsel (despite what we've read is very friendly with it's tank mates) a Coral Banded Shrimp ( he can be nasty at times but stays with the live rock mostly) a Purple Dottyback, a Hermit Crab, 2 Emerald crabs, a Striped Goby and a Red Emperor, and my favorite of all, The Lawnmower Blenny. <One of my favorites, too!> We have had the Blenny for about 5 weeks. He used to be very active and skip about with a ton of personality. Last week he cleared away some of the crushed coral and sand and" moved into" one of the shells. He does not come out much any longer and if he does it is just for a very few seconds and then goes back into the shell and peeks out. I have the algae sheets in the tank for him to feed on and sometimes he will eat the flake or thawed shrimp.  Why would he all of a sudden  " hide out " ? He was/is so much fun to watch. Thank you in advance for any and all help.   Charlene & Todd <Well, it's hard to be 100% sure why a fish disappears. It is certainly a possibility that the fish is sick or injured, and simply needs to recover in peace. It may also be that the fish is otherwise stressed and is responding to some disturbance. In all likelihood, the fish is imply going through "a phase", and, if in otherwise good health- he'll head on back out to mingle with his tankmates once again. The fact that he is eating is a very good sign! I'll bet that he'll be out and about again in due time! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.> Napping Salarias in a Softy 12/24/05 Happy Holidays WWM, <And to you> I few quick question for you,  tonight I decided to watch my reef tank after the lights went out, and to my surprise I seen my Lawnmower Blenny, S. fasciatus napped out in my Colt Coral, Alcyonium sp.  It looked as if he is trying to make it his host like a Clownfish.  Has this ever been seen before?  Is it a normal behavior for the blenny to sleep in corals?  I notice that all the polyps on the Colt had retracted while he was in it; could he eventually harm the coral?  If I can get a picture I'll send it to you.  Thanks again and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! <Nothing unusual, just finding a room for the night.  James (Salty Dog)> Bryan

Red Lip Blenny Changing Color 10/30/05 To the WWM Crew, <<Hello Darren - Ted here>> I have a 75g tank with 250W PC lighting with some fun fish. One of my favorites is a Red Lip Blenny. I added him/her about 8 months ago. Recently (<1month) the blenny has changed color from the dark brown with red lips to a ghostly white. My buddy still likes to eat food and swims around and appears to be behaving normal. Any thoughts as to why the color would fade to white?  <<Blennies can change color with age. They will also change color in response to night/fright and stress. I assume you have not changed anything in the last month like new fish, etc. If you do not see symptoms of some other problem (parasites, infections or the like) and the fish is otherwise happy (eating, behaving normally), I would do nothing (meaning leave him in the tank and don't change his home adding more fish, etc.) and simply observe him.>> Thanks, Darren <<You're welcome and good luck - Ted>> 

Bicolor blenny gone AWOL on me... 8/4/05 Hi Bob or crew,... <Dimitri> I was just wondering if you're ever heard of bicolor blennies disappearing in a reef system like Houdini? <Yes... all the time. Either jump out (and dry up or are consumed by a pet), or die and dissolve or are consumed quickly> I had this bicolor blenny for quite sometime and seemed happy, however, a few days ago he decided to go AWOL on me and has not been seen since then... I mostly have leathers,1 plate coral, 2 acros, pagoda cups, with some Ricordea mushrooms being the only coral that has a mouth.. <Mmm, could be these...> I also have some button polyps but none of them would be capable of eating it? <Not likely... unless it died, fell on them> I have 4 tangs, 1 six line wrasse, 1 clarki clown, 1 orange Anthias and 1 mandarin. The system is 157 g, custom acrylic tank with a refugium. I checked all places, wet-dry filter, refugium, overflow area but he's nowhere to be found. I only have 1 red legged hermit crab, and the only thing I can think of is, either he got stuck in a crevice and died he loved spending time in a tight crevice of a rock) or he died of old age) and the hermit crab picked him up for food. I haven't seen the hermit for a while. No clicking sounds in the tank to assume that I have a mantis shrimp either. This is a 3 year old established system with no water issues. I did notice the past months though that the tissue on my pagoda cups started receding so I ended up removing all of my blue legged hermits plus 2 peppermint shrimp that I did see picking on them. From what I read in the WWM archives, there have been other aquarists that had those blennies disappear in an unexplained way. Any ideas what might have happened, or are the red legged hermit crabs reef safe? Could it be they are the culprit? <Could be... or might still be hiding... I'd check on the floor again, and for a smiling cat. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, D. - The Amazing, Changing Lawnmower Blenny - I have a lawnmower blenny who is fat and happy. <Glad to hear it.> I have noticed since I got him that he appears to have the ability to change color depending on stress level and depending on what his environment is. I recently added a lot of new live rock and it is covered in coralline. Now the back half of my blennies has a slightly purple tinge. Wondering if this is a ability they have or if it is an illusion or if I am just plain crazy? <Neither one actually... all fish can alter their colors to some extent, although most aren't chameleons some, like a couple of the flat fish have an uncanny ability to match their surroundings. Most others instead have what's known as a night/fright pattern, typically something that offers an additional amount of protection in the dark - like extra eye spots, etc. On the flip side, and in captivity it is not uncommon for a fish to fade its colors, many times due to nutritional deficiencies. What could happen in this case is a combination of factors - perhaps a response to environment, perhaps also a response to being fat and happy.> I have been searching Q&A's and blennies info and have turned up nothing. Any insight? <I say no worries.> Its a mystery now and I would love a expert opinion. Thank you Susan <Cheers, J -- >

Silly Blenny, or Sick Fish? Hey crew, <Hey Scott F. here today!> I notice that my algae blenny every once in a while will rub up against the rocks.  He doesn't do it very often and has done it for quiet some time.  Is there a normal behavior of blennies doing this, or is it ich?? I searched the forums but didn't really find a definitive answer. Thank you, Todd <I've seen various blennies engage in this behavior periodically without them being ill. They are kinda goofy characters at times. My advice is to simply keep a good eye on the fish and be prepared to take action should symptoms manifest themselves. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

A Glance is a Flash is a Bounce >Our purple and orange bi-color blenny has suddenly started "bouncing" in the sand early in the morning when I get ready to feed him and his tankmates.  I read an earlier post about a blenny "playing"  in the sand or appearing to be scratching and don't know if this is the same behavior.  The blenny hits the sand while simultaneously twisting his body several times in a row.  This has gone on for three days in a row now.  Otherwise, he is eating well, hanging out in his favorite holes and swimming. Thanks. >>Well, it's good to know that they're otherwise healthy, however, what you're describing sounds for all the world like what is known as "glancing" or "flashing".  This is almost ALWAYS associated with parasitic infection, so my advice is to WATCH closely and have a hospital tank ready for emergent treatment.  Marina Glenda Schill

Re: Blenny adolescence?? Hi Bob, I believe I have figured out the Blenny. Today he was swimming freely as I have not seen in months and he is at least 1/2-1 inch longer!! He is also fatter. I believe he was going thru an adolescent growth spurt (if they do get to be adolescence or just a growth spurt) because he is now HUGE-- the biggest Midas I have ever seen or at least the same size (I mean for a blenny). How big do they get? <To 13 cm. according to fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=7561&genusname=Ecsenius&speciesname=midas> ><<<Perhaps just a bit of retention of child-"like" quality sneaking >through... is your world more filled with finite gaming? Give up the past as >it is my friend. Worrying will not change the future. Bob F> Oh gosh Bob, you get very enigmatic sometimes. <Yes my friend, on purpose I think you'd state... my intuition/myself shows itself in this way> I am, of course, not actually worried about your sanity. I am quite silly myself at times, well most times, as I am sure you could guess from WWF (not the wrestling federation). :-) <Smack downs pet-fish wise? I want to escort the round number "girl" about! Bob F> --des/Jane mom of teenage blenny?

Re: Blenny trouble? Hi Bob, <<<Hello>>> ><<"I'm in the mood for a moray... simply because they're finless... no P 1's >or pelvics, I'm in the mood for an eel!>> ><<I wouldn't be overly concerned here... fishes are more diverse in their >behavior, psychoses than most folks credit them... Yours is likely fine. Bob >Fenner>> I guess the blenny is ok (perhaps psychotic?? is that ok?) <<<As long as not self/other destructive, sure>>> , but worried that Bob may have snapped. ;-) <<<Perhaps just a bit of retention of child-"like" quality sneaking through... is your world more filled with finite gaming? Give up the past as it is my friend. Worrying will not change the future. Bob F> Your friend, des/Jane

Blind Blenny Dear WetWebMedia Crew: <Hi there! Scott F. here today> About a week ago after having been in my tank for 2 months, I noticed my Midas Blenny behaving very strange.  Today I finally figured out why." She's" blind.  She swims around bumping into things, thankfully no anemone in the tank or she would be a goner. She swims around by rubbing her "chin" on the rocks to feel her way along.  She eats when she can find the food.  She is in a 180 Gallon tank and all tankmates are very peaceful. Water parameters are Salinity 1.025, PH 8.2, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 20.  Any ideas on what I can do? Kathy <Well, Kathy, I guess there is not a whole lot you can do, with the exception of making food available specifically to this fish (Possibly through direct, targeted feeding), as well as maintaining a tank with peaceful neighbors and no predatory  hazards (as you have already done). I guess you could take comfort in the fact that a blind fish has very minimal chances for survival in the wild; she is lucky to have made it in to your tank! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F.>

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