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FAQs on the Combtooth Blenny Compatibility

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 Behavior, Blenny Selection, Blenny Systems, Blenny Feeding, Blenny Disease, Blenny Reproduction, Ecsenius BlenniesSaber-Tooth Blennies, Blennioids & their Relatives, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

Blenny compatibility     7/18/18
Hi Crew!
<Morning, Earl C. here.>
Simple question today, I know that some conspecifics shouldn’t be housed together but is a Tailspot and a fang blenny an exception? I have a 28 gallon with a Tailspot but always liked fang blennies too—lots of personality.
<I agree that blennies in general are interesting customers and underrated (in my opinion). You answered your own question here though. I would not risk this, certainly not in a tank of that size. In a larger tank (say 75g and up) I'd think about it particularly if one had not already settled in too much. In a 28 gallon, I definitely cannot advise it.>
I tried to look up compatibility but not much info available. I’m not sure they look different enough and would be open to being in different parts of rockwork or if it just wouldn’t work out and hence the lack of info. Hope you all are having an awesome week!
<You are thinking along the right lines (territory/rockwork/tank size) but there are too many other choices out there to risk the kind of "fish drama" you'll probably get.>
<Hope this help! -EC>

Yasha Hase and Hi fin red banded (striped) goby; comp.     11/8/14
Hi. I have a 34 gal Red sea 130 max Reef system, with 10 gallon sump/refugium. Lots of live rock and corals also. I have a pair of Ocellaris clowns, small royal Gramma, and McCosker's Wrasse, along with a just recently added hi fin red banded goby. Well everything was fine till I saw the Yasha Hase goby at my LFS. Soooo cool! Could I add him to my tank? Will the two gobies get along?
<The two gobies should get along... the Gramma is more of a concern... but it is fine currently I take it>
I have created a "cave" for the goby with a piece of pvc pipe surrounded by rocks. Would there be territory issues? Should I make another "cave" for the other guy if I add him?
<The more caves the better here>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yasha Hase and Hi fin red banded (striped) goby    11/8/14

It's interesting you say that about the Gramma, he is the smallest in the tank and actually the most shy.
<Good... there are often issues with Grammatids and other similar-appearing fishes in small volumes>
He sticks pretty close to his cave area and ventures out only a little here and there usually staying in the shadows. The McCosker's wrasse loves to flash him and intimidate him when he gets close but doesn't nip him. The Gramma sometimes heads into his cave but often times just ignores him. Will the Gramma get more aggressive as he gets bigger?
I had read they were a peaceful fish.
<As stated; not always>
Thanks for your reply.
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Blenny-Goby comp     3/18/13
Hey folks, quick question:  Would any of the Ecsenius or Meiacanthus blennies be okay with my Yellow Watchman in a 50-gallon system?
<Likely either genus' members would be fine w/ a shrimp goby as long as there's sufficient decor/habitat. Bob Fenner>

Enigmatic Blenny, ID, and incomp. w/ stony corals     2/15/13
Hi guys,
I have a couple of inter-related questions.  First, the background: a local friend of mine (Mike) is a clownfish breeder who shares my habit of keeping fish in mated pairs.  He acquired a pair of blennies from another local hobbyist who had actually collected them in Galveston, Texas. (We go down there in the summer to get peppermint shrimp). 
<Have done this as well... There and Port Aransas, with hobby groups>
This pair of blennies laid eggs, Mike raised them on rotifers, and now he has a number of pairs of them he's been distributing to fellow breeders.  I believe he said that Matt Pedersen told him he was likely the first person to rear the species in captivity.
 But we don't actually know what species it is! So, the first question is: is this just a molly miller or a horned blenny, or is it something we can't find in our research? (I'll post links to pictures on breeder websites below).
<Will take a look>
Second question: Is it possible that these blennies eat coral polyps?
<To some extent, yes>
 I took a pair of them home and put them in my 75g SPS-dominate reef.  They share their new home with a pair of Tiger Wardii gobies, a pair of Banggai cardinals (I recently raised a batch of their babies!), a pair of Lubbocki wrasses, a cleaner goby, a fat cleaner wrasse and a fat reef-top pipefish who eats the dreaded "red bugs" (I witnessed it!).    After having the blennies in the tank for a couple days, I watched horrified as the bigger blenny hopped over to my only Acanthastrea echinata (LPS corals are too expensive for me), and took a nibble!!!  I told myself that the blenny was probably picking algae off of the side of the frag plug, but then I watched
the blenny do it again the next day!  The Acan coral is now receding rapidly and I expect it to die. 
<I'd cover it with a plastic, perforated structure (like an inverted strawberry container)>
Last night I watched the blenny hop over to an unknown species of small-polyped stony coral (which happens to have long, bushy polyps) and take a bite at the coral flesh.
<Yikes... may have to be moved elsewhere>
 The blenny took a bite in an area where there is definitely ONLY coral tissue/polyps.  Not near the base of the frag, but on a bushy branch.  Then, the blenny hopped over to my beloved Acropora yongei (aka "Green Slimer"), and took a bite at the branches. (again, only coral tissue in the area, no dead spots with algae growing).
So, my concern is: 1) is this a Molly Miller blenny;
<The one shown here: http://www.marsh-reef.org/marine-reef-general-discussion/33506-eggs-5.html
eighth input down is; but the pix on the video linked below appear to be something completely different.>
 2) is it possible that there are evil cousins to the Molly Miller blenny who live in Galveston  and prefer to eat expensive corals?;
<Apparently so>
 3) Is this fish just "trying out" coral polyps and will it continue to eat them?
<Too likely will continue>
I feed the tank Mysis once a day (twice per day since I witnessed the polyp-eating) and pellets a couple of times a day.  The blennies were raised in a small breeder setup and only saw slime algae and one live rock before arriving in my tank.
A link to a thread on the Marine Breeder Initiative's website: (contains multiple videos of these fishes' parents and siblings)
<The video... 7/10/11 by Mike... Is this your fish?>
A link to the discussion on the fishes' origin/collection:
Hopefully you guys will find this interesting! Perhaps one of you is a resident "blenny-expert" :)  I do love blennies and would hate to have to remove the pair in my tank.
<Please do send along your best well-resolved images as direct attachments. Bob Fenner>
Re: Enigmatic Blenny    2/15/13

Hi, this is a follow-up email to the one I wrote below.  Apparently Matt
Pedersen (prominent hobbyist/breeder) identified the blenny in question as *Hypleurochilus geminatus* <http://www.fishbase.us/summary/speciessummary.php?genusname=Hypleurochilus&speciesname=geminatus  >
<Ahh! My guess was in the same genus, but tentatively H. caudovettatus. BobF>
Re: Enigmatic Blenny, comp.     3/15/13

Hi Bob, all,
I thought I'd update you on my findings re: the coral-munching blenny.  I found a thread on my local reef forum describing one reefer's horror at having the very same type of blenny loose in a reef tank.  The post was from a friend of mine from two years ago.
<What a coincidence!>
  Apparently this blenny had eaten some expensive Australian corals and was a pain to trap.  Fortunately, I was able to trap one of mine; her mate is still loose in the tank, but he has no more large-polyped corals to eat at this point.  My SPS corals still
keep their polyps withdrawn though, so he may be nipping them.  Anyhow, I think the lesson here is not to put anything from Galveston in a tank without knowing how it will respond to corals from other areas of the world. 
<Ah yes... I'd extend this proviso/warning to organisms from anywhere>
I once had a Galveston peppermint shrimp who also had an appetite for expensive Acanthastrea corals.
<Ahh, the Mediterranean species I've seen/collected at Pt. Aransas perhaps>
Thanks for the help; hopefully this could prevent somebody from putting these cute blennies in a tank not built with their needs in mind.
<I/we thank you. BobF>

Blenny Compatibility  12/8/11
I was curious as to how well an Atlantic Sailfin blenny, Emblemaria pandionis, would get along with a Midas blenny? This is a 40 gallon breeder with a little more than 30 pounds of Liverock and a 4 inch sand bed. I was going to get the Sailfin blenny and a Randall's goby, but I was afraid they'd fight since they both lived in burrows in the sand.
<Mmm, too likely to be territorial conflict twixt these two in this size/shape system. T'were it me, I'd pick one or t'other.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Royal Gramma Question, Blenny comp.    7/1/10
Just wanted to update you that the Gramma appears more content in the 90 gallon tank. I still wouldn't call him adventurous, but I do see him free swimming a bit more now.
<Ah, good>
I also have a blenny question. I had a red algae (Cyanobacteria) problem, that seems to be slowly but surely going away. No longer on the sand bed, and retreating well on the rocks. I have coralline growth on the rocks where
its gone. Unfortunately I seem to have traded that for a hair algae problem. I have some snails and crabs in QT, but not sure that's going to help that much. (I currently only have about 10 red legged hermits in the display tank) I also have bought a yellow tang out of a reef club members tank that I'll get when he tears down to move to a different state. I just purchased a Horned Blenny from Divers Den. It's a darling little fish, but much smaller than I'd pictured him being. I don't see that he's going to make a dent in my algae... Can I add any of the other algae eating type
blenny's with him there?
<Mmm, maybe... there may be enough room... or not. Only trial/experience can/will tell. Salarias spp. won't likely mix here>
For bottom dwellers I'll also have a yellow watchman goby who's also in Qt right now. I like the orange spotted blennies...but wasn't sure what they would be like compatibility wise with the little horned blenny. If I can't do both no problem, just thought I'd check.
I'm also cleaning some manually, doing weekly water changes, have added PolyFilter, run Phosguard, etc. I'm pretty sure I need to upgrade my skimmer, but that will have to wait until next month I fear...
Thanks, Pam
<Welcome. BobF>

Tribal Blenny (soon to be on Survivor TeeBee?) ID   12/21/2009
I've just recently obtained a "Tribal Blenny". I've found that it is a relatively new fish to the hobby and I am having trouble finding its taxonomic nomenclature. It is an algivorous blenny and one website says it is collected off of Sri Lanka. I've found one online vendor that labeled it simply as Atrosalarias sp..
<Mmm... have seen this (mis)labeled as Atrosalarias namieyi... and even I believe misplaced in the genus Ecsenius:
The genus Atrosalarias, of course, contains A. fuscus, the black Sailfin blenny. My tribal blenny does resemble some photographs of black Sailfin blennies but it seems to be markedly different. Most noticeably, it has bright blue markings on the face and body that are always present (not just when exposed to light, stressed, or photographed). (I will include several photographs as attachments to this message. The photographs were taken without a flash.)
If you could assist me in properly identifying what species the tribal blenny is, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you for you time.
Merry Christmas,
<I don't know, don't see this fish on the Net in reliable ref. or in my in-print works. My present best guess is that it is a color variant (geographical form) of Atrosalarias fuscus. Let's put on WWM and see what folks say. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tribal Blenny 12/22/09
Hello Bob,
<Welcome Ian>
Thank you for your prompt reply! I have been leaning towards it being an Atrosalarias fuscus color variant as well. I will post it on the forums as suggested.
<I have done so on WWM already>
Unfortunately, I've noticed that in addition to grazing on turf algae, my tribal blenny has nipped at my red Montipora capricornis. Of the many SPS corals in my tank, this is the only one he has seemed at all 'interested' in (possibly because it is nearest to the crevice that he frequents).
<May well be>
I've moved the coral and I haven't seen him go near it for a while. I really hope this is not to be a common occurrence as I really enjoy this fish.
Thank you again for your assistance!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Re: Tribal Blenny, ID and now comp. f'  12/23/2009
Hello again Bob,
I thought I'd give you an update on the tribal blenny as per its SPS nipping. Unfortunately it has really damaged one of my Montipora capricornis. It also took a few bites at a Montipora digitata. I have various varieties and species of Montipora in my tank and also a few Acropora, Anacropora, miscellaneous LPS, miscellaneous soft corals, and a Tridacna crocea clam, among other things; Of these specimens, the blenny only nipped at two colonies (the M. capricornis and M. digitata). However, I certainly did not give the blenny time to become interested in any other
(After tearing apart my tank to catch it) The blenny is now in a small holding tank. I will return it to the reputable vendor I purchased it from.
I would like to set up a specialty tank (without SPS corals) for this fish, but I do not have the means to do so at this time. The coloration and demeanor of this fish are exceptional.
<A happy fish... perhaps if you had a huge system with lots of Montiporas... it wouldn't be damaging too many>
Regardless of these happenings, I am still very interested to discover the exact taxonomy of this blenny. Please keep me informed. Thank you!
Merry Christmas,
<We accrue all. BobF>

Gobies, Blennies (comp.) and Clown Tang (size) 4/29/09
Hi Crew.
I value the information on your site greatly. What an excellent resource, thanks. My question is about goby and blenny compatibility. I have a 120 gallon reef that has been running for 3 months upgraded from a 55 reef that has been running for > 1 year. I currently have a scooter blenny and a neon goby. Through "rescuing" some fish from a crashed tank I acquired a bi-color blenny
<An Ecsenius? This genus can be quite territorial>
and an orange spotted goby that was "supposed" to be a diamond goby.
<A member of the genus Valenciennea?>
So I was told. We had a diamond goby that managed to jump the tank (out of a 2" gap, go figure). We would like to get another diamond goby and maybe another neon goby. Will this be too much goby and blenny for this tank?
<Mmm, no... should be fine in a 120 gallon>
One other question if you don't mind, please.
I have found quite a bit of variance in the size of clown tangs ranging 8" to 15". Does anyone have some idea of what the average size is in captivity?
<Likely near 8". I have seen near 12" individuals in the wild, but this size is rare>
He is an amazing active and personable fish that has already grown leaps and bounds, eats like a pig and made it through Ich and virus infections.
thanks many times over for your time and advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Starry Blenny, comp.   9/5/08 Hi Crew, <Ahh, "little sweet one"> I'm considering adding a Starry Blenny to my 90 gallon reef tank. I'm wondering if they are as territorial to other fish with similar body types and locations in tank as the Lawnmower Blenny. <Mmm, yes, about the same> The fish I'm concerned he would harass are a Scooter Blenny, Jawfish, Dragon Goby, Firefish and Clown Goby. <Very, too likely so here> I've had a Bicolor Blenny with these in the past and never had any issues. <Ahh, Ecsenius species, individuals can be easy going to terrors> Which would be a better choice here, Starry or Bicolor Blenny? <The latter> In this size tank would it be possible to keep both? Thanks, Melissa <Risky... and hard to catch, remove if trouble... Bob Fenner>

Blue Spotted Jawfish / Peacock, Make That, Redspotted Blenny Compatibility  11/16/07 WWM Crew <Hi Jim, Mich here.> First and foremost, I have just begun to dive into the huge amount of info on your excellent site, and just want to say thank you! <On behalf of Bob and the crew you're welcome!> One year ago I bought a 65gallon bow-front tank (Old Town Aquarium, Chicago, IL) <Is this the place with the dedicated reading nook?> and wish I had had this excellent resource from day one. <I found it a tremendous help when I started as well.> It has become my preferred casual evening reading:) <Glad to hear... Is often mine also!> Question: <Answer?> In my reef tank, I have two percula clowns, 1 fairy wrasse, and a peacock blenny. <No> Would it be acceptable to add a Blue spot Jawfish ? I am concerned that the blenny might cause a problem.... <The blenny and the Jawfish will both spend most of their time on the bottom part of the tank and may not exactly welcome each other, but like people, personalities vary. Ideally the Jawfish should be the first fish introduced. The Jawfish requires a deep sand bed (should be over 3 inches and deeper is better) and a completely covered tank because they will find the tiniest of holes to escape to drier grounds. More info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm > I have attached a picture of the blenny as I am still not 100% on its identity.... <Mmm, the attached picture is of a Redspotted Blenny (Istiblennius chrysospilos). Not a Peacock Blenny. More info here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=6047 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blennioids.htm > also is attached a picture of the fairy wrasse, as I would love to be able to get its exact identity. <Is a Red Scaled Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis) you can see more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/velvetwrfaq2.htm http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=25030&genusname=Cirrhilabrus&speciesname=rubrisquamis > Thanks for the help! <Welcome!> -Jim B. <Are you part of the three wise men? Heehee! Mich>

Re: Blue Spotted Jawfish / Peacock, Make That, Redspotted Blenny Compatibility 11/21/2007 Mich <Hi Jim!> Thanks a bunch for the info and the links.... <Glad to help!> and yes, old town aquarium does have a dedicated nook of reading / educational materials..... <Is very nice!> though my guess is that WetWebMedia contains almost all of the info found in the whole library! :) <Heeheee! Perhaps!> Thanks again!
<Anytime! -Jim


Marine Compatibility, and Cichlid Feeding Questions 11/9/07 Good day, <And morrow> I have a few questions that unfortunately are not really related to each other. The first question is a compatibility question between two fish in my 55 gallon saltwater tank. The tank is approximately 3-4 months old and doing well, in large part due to this website. Thank you. I would like to add a Flame Hawk, as I like their personality and appearance, and heard they are relatively hardy specimens. The other fish I have I'm not worried about getting along with the Flame, but I do have a Starry Blenny (Salarias ramosus). That although is one of my favorite fish, I'm worried that because they both occupy the same general area of the tank, there will be territory issues. <Might be, yes> I realize my Starry Blenny is a pretty peaceful fish, however he/she does occasionally chase others in the tank (no damage/bites, and it's only for a brief second). Overall, it's a very peaceful and entertaining fish. My question is, do these 2 fish have a good chance of maintaining a peaceful existence in my 55 gallon tank? <I only give you even odds here. Likely you'll be able to see overt aggression before damage... but will have to act fast if so> On an unrelated note, I do have a separate tank that has a Tropheus duboisii, and there's not a whole lot listed about them. <Oh! Au contraire! There are reams written about the genus, species... even books> I have read a few articles, however nothing that I've read answers the following: I know they eat a vegetarian diet, and I've read that they can't digest a lot of proteins. I am feeding the cichlid a mix of veggie flakes, however the protein content listed is 37%... That seems high, however I'm not sure what else to feed.... I will continue to read to get suggestions, but will this diet actually hurt my fish? <Not likely, no> I will definitely look to other sources so there is a varied diet, but is a brand with 37% protein too high? <As stated, likely is fine... a good deal depends on the "type, source of protein" (the mix of amino acids) and how they're formulated in the food/s... You could always "make your own"...> Thanks again for all the help! Eric <Do try a wider search re this species... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Bob Fenner>

Tail Spot Blenny compatible w/Firefish, Gobies? Not likely here   6/22/07 Hi WWM crew, <Art> I am interested in adding a Tail Spot Blenny to my 55-gallon reef tank. I have been researching Blennies , and my concern is their possible aggression toward Firefish and gobies. Currently I have a Helfrichi Firefish, Yashia Goby, Neon Goby, Catalina Goby (I keep the temperature at 74.5 degrees), <Mmmm> Blue Gudgeon Dartfish, Mandarin and a Blue Assessor. The gobies are all 1" to 1.5", the Mandarin and Firefish are each about 2" and the Dartfish is almost 3". Is the Tail Spot Blenny likely to cause trouble in my peaceful tank, or is this Blenny more peaceful than the Midas or Bicolor? I am hoping he will be only 1" long, although I have no control over this (purchase size is between .75" and 1.5") Also is he likely to nip at my corals (mostly mushrooms, LPS, star polyps)? <Not much> I only saw this fish today, and amazingly I found one for sale. I have a feeling they are not often imported, but I really like his face, which looks as if Picasso painted it. Any information you could provide re: their compatibility with my fish and corals would be appreciated. As always, thanks for your advice. Art <I would NOT add this fish here... too likely for their to be negative interactions with many of your more peaceful fishes that already occupy similar niches... Bob Fenner>

Blenny questions--oh, and a wrasse/mandarin question!  Comp. Ecsenius, Macropharyngodon,  4/10/07 Good morning and thank you for your wonderful site. I have just spent a couple of hours reading but I am a little anxious still, so thought I would ask you directly. I ordered a Tailspot blenny(  Ecsenius stigmatura) and was sent a bicolor blenny instead. <The most common species...> They will send me the Tailspot soon, but in the meantime, I have to decide what to do with the bicolor. It is currently in my little 14 gallon nano with two pearly Jawfish and a hi-fin banded goby. <Mmm... not compatible here> I know he can't stay there. I would like to put him in my 7 year old 150 gallon reef, but I have a large Midas blenny in there and I have had him several years. <Might go in this sized volume...> He swims with my lyretail Anthias school <Neat! What this species does in the wild...> and ignores everyone else, (except very occasionally my flame Hawkfish, not fond of him) but this is another blenny. <Yes... of the same genus> Once the bicolor goes in, I can't retrieve him. The midas has one little hole that is his special favorite (to the point that he deliberately knocked a coral   fragment off--I watched him do --that I placed near his cave) so as long as the bicolor avoids that...... Is it worth a try? <A tough question... I would likely give this fish away ahead of risking real aggression in your 150... And I want to mention I would not place the other Ecsenius in the small tank either...> Secondly, I lost my green mandarin after 5 years and so I bought another very large female mandarin recently. I have a spotted female already (this is in the 150 gallon)  and I had read that females get along. (My previous green was a male. ) Well, it turned out I didn't have to worry about the spotted mandarin, because my ornate wrasse just attacked the new mandarin mercilessly, buffeting her and feinting at her, as though biting--it was constant. The strange thing is that the mandarin acted as though nothing was happening <A strategy of the species... plus their slime is unpalatable...> and yet the harassment was so vicious and so consistent that I knew she couldn't eat or settle at all. (The wrasse wouldn't even come away from her to eat!   and he is a pig.) I also know that although he didn't appear to be actually biting her, no obvious wounds)  he does have some teeth and it did seem that the blows from his body would evidently do damage.   This shocked me because the wrasse has never been a issue with anything, even all the shrimp and snails.  I couldn't catch the wrasse but I did manage somehow to catch the mandarin and I threw her in my 29 gallon nano. I know you will say she can't stay there, but  is there some way I could feed her from the rotifers in the 150 's refugium? <Yes> I feed very well, and very diversely and there is plenty of live rock and corals in there. (The nano  is a 3 year old established tank with a small fairy wrasse, a six-line wrasse and a orange spotted shrimp goby with his pistol shrimp ) Patiently awaiting your scolding on the mandarin/nano issue and your advice on the blenny. :) <Heeee! I wish you were in our neighborhood, so we could visit, I could see your systems> Thank you very much, Jeanne <Bob Fenner>

APOLOGY AND CLARIFICATION Hello there, I just sent an e-mail about blennies (and a second question about my mandarin) and I need to clarify. I apparently do NOT have a bicolor blenny that I need to place but a "flametail" listed on their site as Atrosalarias sp. (Does NOT look at all like a lawnmower blenny. Has a small Ecsenius head and body and is dark, almost black with a yellow tail. ) Should be less of a problem since it is not an Ecsenius? Or is this a more aggressive fish? Jeanne Brown <Actually, the chances of avoiding WWIII are greatly diminished with this change... This is the species I take it: http://www.vividaquariums.com/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=01-1629-10 I give you good odds that the current Ecsenius will leave this fish alone... now, about that offending Labrid... Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower Blenny With A Taste For Cloves -- 4/7/07 Hi, <Hi there!> I was wondering if you could help...<Sure hope so!> last week I purchased a lawnmower blenny. <Love 'em!> I have closely been watching his behavior and have noticed he enjoys chewing on my clove coral <Uh oh>. After speaking to my local fish store, they advised moving the coral but could not advise further. Is this normal behavior and is there anything I can do to salvage my coral without getting rid of my blenny?? <I've read reports of these fish occasionally nipping at corals but after watching mine, and knowing what big appetites these fish have, I wonder if they aren't actually going after bits of algae or tiny invertebrates in amongst the polyps. Although Lawnmower blennies are predominantly herbivorous, mine will go after any pods it spots around the tank. You might try supplementing your blenny's diet with Nori, or sinking algae wafers. Hopefully, he'll decide that he prefers the readily available food and leave your clove polyps alone!>   Thanks Michelle <You're welcome and good luck! --Lynn>

Blenny Aggression...And A Brackish Puffer In A Marine Tank - 01/10/07 Hi there! <<Hello!>> I have looked online and consulted with various people I work with (a large public aquarium) and cannot seem to find a solution to my problem so maybe you can help, or have a different perspective. <<Let's see what I can do...>> I have a bicolor blenny, a red Firefish, and a figure-eight puffer in a 20 gallon, as well as a decorator crab but I doubt he figures into this equation. <<Something to mention here...Tetraodon biocellatus is a "slightly brackish water" species and will not fare well in the long-term in a full-strength marine environment.  This species is also best kept as single individuals (it will eventually bite/kill its tankmates), and though a small species (to less than three inches) it likes having some room to roam with minimum recommended tank size being 30-gallons.  You can find much more information re this species by perusing our articles and FAQs.  A good place to start is here, following the associated links in blue:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fig8pufffaqs.htm >> And yes, I know the figure eight is usually brackish... <Not usually...is>> All that considered here is my question.  The blenny is getting aggressive with my Firefish.  It is not at feeding times, so I doubt the theory that he isn't getting enough to eat.  I thought it could be a territorial/spatial issue. <<Very likely this "is " the issue>> I had one big pile of live rock, so I split it into two piles thinking that maybe the blenny would pick one to call his own, but no luck. <<This tank is too small...does not afford enough "separation">> He swims between the two like he owns it all. :) <<Indeed...these blennies generally occupy relatively small territories on the reef (sometimes smaller than a square meter...but still larger than a 20-gallon tank) and will defend vigorously from perceived invaders>> I have thought about splitting it into three piles, but not sure if this would help. <<probably not>> Any suggestions would be appreciated. <<I'm afraid your best option is to remove one or the other>> And just as a side note, no one else in the tank is involved in this dispute. <<Not surprising...only the blenny and the Firefish would compete for the same food items/occupy the same niche on the reef.  Nemateleotris magnifica is a peaceful (conspecifics aside) almost timid fish that can be difficult to keep under the best of conditions.  The continued aggression from the blenny will likely result in its demise>> Thanks a lot! Robin <<A pleasure to share, Eric Russell>>

Fish Compatibility (Blennies Mostly) -- 12/19/06 First off I'd like to say, great web site. <<Danka>> It's been very informative. <<Good to know>>   I've been reading ever since my husband moved his 90-gallon tank in 2 yrs ago.  I've never had to ask a question until now. <<Ask away...>> My husband and I have a 225-gallon tank with a large refugium and sump. <<Neat!  I love big tanks>> It's about a year old with plenty of hairy, wiry, red algae all over our 200+ lbs of live rock.  Currently there are 2 slate urchins and 2 hitchhiking Chitons that are making a very small dent in the algae. <<Mmm, if this is a goal...you may want to consider a couple Mespilia globulus urchins or a Diadema species such as Diadema setosum or Echinothrix diadema.  The latter is also known as the 'longspine urchin' and can reach a foot in diameter (I know...I have one!), and both species might sample some corals if present...though probably no more threat than those slate urchins you already have>> Originally my husband wanted the "rock skipper blenny" (Blenniella chrysospilos), <<An attractive fish...for a blenny [grin]>> but settled for a "lawnmower" (Salarias fasciatus) when he couldn't find the rock skipper. <<A popular choice>> We also have a 'sailfin blenny" (Emblemaria pandionis).  Yes, these two get along. <<Excellent>> Our sailfin has his spot down in the lower right corner making his home amongst some zoanthids.  He'll dart out from his hole, grab some food, and quickly repositions himself back in his little cubby.  The lawnmower is all over the place attacking the red, hairy algae like a mad dog.  My husband finally found the rock skipper he had been looking for, and had to buy it.  It's currently isolated in a breeder tank located on the bottom in an area where both blennies hang out.  We've heard and we've read conflicting information on if the rock skipper and the lawnmower can coexist in the same tank. <<Opinions/experiences vary>> Is our tank large enough in size for the two to coexist? <<Likely so, the size of a system can play a large role...though removing the lawnmower blenny, rearranging some of the rockwork, and introducing/reintroducing 'both' fishes at the same time could improve the odds they will get along.  In many instances, compatibility issues arise due to the fact one fish is already 'established' in a system.  I have a pair of flame angels in my reef system that were acquired and introduced together and as a result get along fine.  This is not a fool-proof method and doesn't work on every species or every fish, but has its merits in some instances>> One source thought the lawnmower would be picked on buy the rock skipper.  Another source thought the opposite that the rock skipper would be picked on by the lawnmower.  And somewhere either I read or I dreamt that the two could coexist since they were of different genus and species, or have I gone crazy? <<Hard to say...if so, it can depend greatly on size/individual aggression of a single individual...and fishes of a different genus or species may still fight if shape/coloration are similar or if they are competing for/are from the same 'niche' on the reef...or...like the ubiquitous domino damsel, are just plain mean...>> Are we wishful in thinking that there is enough live rock with algae and enough swimming space that the two just might get along or are we dreaming? <<Could work...though supplemental feeding may eventually be required>> Our only other possibility is to take our 'black highfin, jester blenny" (Atrosalarias fuscus) out of the 90 gallon and put the new guy in there.  I really do not want to do that.  I really get a kick out of the black highfin with his marble markings that surface once he's settled into his hole.  My husband wishes to get rid of him.  Says he's lazy and doesn't do his job on the algae.  Any answers to our ordeal? <<Nothing definitive I'm afraid, just as already stated>> Oh, one last question. <<Sure>>   Everywhere I've read claims the lawnmower and the rock skipper may nip at clam mantles. <<Is a possibility, yes.  I consider blennies one of the 'less safe' of the commonly kept so called 'reef safe' fishes.  I have even seen a bi-color blenny munch on noxious colt coral>> So far the lawnmower has left our clam alone.  Should we be concerned about the lawnmower? <<May bear watching>> Any thoughts about the rock skipper disturbing the clam should we introduce it to the tank? <<Not much to do but keep an eye on things/intervene if necessary>> Thank you in advance. Julie and Frank <<Quite welcome.  Eric Russell>>

Blenny mixing  11/12/06 Hello,    I have a 65 gallon reef tank, I was wondering if I can add lawnmower blennies in with my black sailfin blennies?    Thanks-Sue <Mmm, a Salarias species might well fight with any other bottom dwelling fish... I would skip this mix. Bob Fenner>

Betting Against A Blenny?   11/7/06 Hey guys. <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I have some questions about Istiblennius chrysospilos. I'm thinking  of getting one for my 30 G tank. It's got a Clark's clown, some LPS  and a small but growing fast colony of Xenia.  I've heard that these blennies "may" nip at stony corals and clams.  Is this a hard and  fast rule, or is it more of a general individualistic behavior for these fish? <I think it's relatively individualistic. I've kept these fishes, and others of the genus over the years in stony coral-dominated tanks, and I've never had any nipping on corals occur. But that's just me, of course! Other hobbyists have not been so fortunate. If you research them on fishbase.org and other scientific sites, you'll notice that their wild diet mainly consists of algae and small benthic invertebrates. Coral is not specifically indicated in any of the literature that I've seen. Perhaps they are nipping at animals or algae that occur on corals; regardless, nipping is not a good thing for many corals in captive systems, so you'll be taking a small chance if you elect to keep one in a coral system.> I've also heard some anecdotal evidence that states that coral- nipping fish are less likely to do so if provided a varied diet and  are well-fed. I've got some green hair algae for him to graze on, but my question is how to give a herbivore a varied diet.  I know that the dried Spirulina flakes would be in order, as well as the Nori-on-a-rock industry standard. Are there any other sorts of food I could give this fish (as well as any other herbivore I may have later) a good variety? Thanks for the help, Sam <I would tend to agree with the position that states that variety is the key to avoiding possible damage to your inverts...Again, no guarantees, but plenty of varied, nutritious foods can go a long way towards keeping fishes from nipping at your precious sessile inverts! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Nips on Crocea Clam and Plate Coral   7/25/06 I have a small crocea clam and a short tentacle plate coral (Fungia fungites) that recently have been getting half-circle shaped nips, about 2mm wide.  They occur at night, and usually there are just 2-3 nips on each.  The nips are on the edges of the clam mantle, and on the tops of the ridges on the plate coral.  Both the clam and the plate coral have been in the tank for about 9 months, and have been healthy and growing, and thus far, regrow the nipped areas very quickly.   I have not added any new live rock or coral in at least 6 months, so I doubt I have a new hitch-hiker. <Perhaps an old, getting-larger, hungrier one...> Fish - Ocellaris Clown, Chalk Basslet, Longnose Hawkfish, Horned Blenny (Parablennius spp.), and a Hawaiian Fourline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus tetrataenia).   <These last two might be the culprit here> Invertebrates - Sally Lightfoot Crab (Percnon gibbesi), (2) small blue-legged hermits (Clibanarius tricolor) and a larger zebra hermit (Calcinus laevimanus), Margarite snails (Margarites pupillus), Nassarius snails. <Mmm, note, genera are capitalized... I'll do this for you before posting> I never see any of these animals on, or hanging around the clam or plate coral.  All of the fish & invertebrates have been in the tank for 1 year+, except the blenny and the Basslet.  The crab & the blenny are at the tops of my suspect list, but I don't know how to verify this.  Any suggestions? <Well... the Percnon is "nippy", but doesn't leave crescent bite marks... I suspect one of the mentioned fishes... number one suspect the blenny... Could remove to elsewhere and see if the bite marks cease... Bob Fenner> Steve Re: Nips on Crocea Clam and Plate Coral   7/25/06 Would it be normal for any of these suspects to show absolutely no interest in the clam or plate coral during the day, and then munch on them at night? <<Lisa here. Yes, that is quite possible.>>

Midas Blenny Compatibility   7/18/06 Hey Crew, <Hey there, Leslie here with you this evening> May I get your thoughts on adding a Midas Blenny to my mix? <Sure, they are entertaining and adorable. I love them!> My LFS has a gorgeous one about 5" long. <Nice> Tank:  150 gallon, 150 pounds LR, sump, fuge, Euro Reef, MH Residents (all have been in my tank for at least a year):  2 Purple Tile Fish (2 years!),  Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura), mated pair O. Clowns, 3 green Chromis, Pearly Jawfish, Canary Blenny, LPS.   <In that size tank I think you should be just fine.> Many Thanks <You're most welcome and best of luck with your new fish. Cheers, Leslie>

Will algae blenny ruin my tank's "feel"?   6/18/06 Hello - <Hi there> quick question for you (lots of writing, but a quick question <g>)... I have a roughly 60 gallon tank that someone built for themselves before selling it to me on eBay.  It is 36"x24"x18", so it has more   "horizontal surface" in the tank than a "standard" 60 gallon (perhaps an important fact given the fish involved, perhaps not). <Yes> There is roughly 65 lbs of live rock in the tank (arranged to provide lots of interesting channels, caves, and resting spots for the   critters listed below), a 4" deep sand bed, and a home made sump/refugium that holds approximately 10 gallons of water (5 of it in the   refugium section where bubble Caulerpa and Chaetomorpha are working away).  I am also running an EV-120 protein skimmer, and a 4" crocea   clam in the main tank helps process the water as well. <Neat> My plan from the beginning has been to go with all small fish, including several "rock sitters" that tank observers will only notice   AFTER they've been looking at the corals (mostly SPS and LPS) for awhile and then see the fish suddenly dart from one spot to another. Current fish/shrimp line-up: 2 percula clowns* 2 purple Firefish 1 Rainford's goby (eats a variety of frozen and flake foods in addition to tank critters so he doesn't seem to be starving (knock on wood)!) 1 red head goby (Elac. punct.) 4 green banded gobies (Elac. mult.) 2 peppermint shrimp 2 cleaner shrimp Down the road, I am hoping to add one of the colorful mandarin "gobies" (Synchiropus) as well. My question is: In a separate 12 gallon tank, I have a 3.5" algae blenny that my wife and daughter would like to see in the big tank in the living room   rather than the little tank in my office.  I, too, think it would be nice to have the fish in a more visible place, but I have the following concern: I have read in a number of places that they sometimes become fairly territorial, and I would hate for all my gobies to wind up spending   most of their time in hiding rather than flitting about as they do now.  If the algae blennies only get territorial towards fish with   similar body shapes, perhaps I am ok for now... but when I add the mandarin, it will be the most "similar" fish in the tank, and I'd   rather have the mandarin (and the rest of the gobies) than the algae blenny if the WWM Gods declare "thou shall not even think of adding the blenny, Nate."  Would you recommend adding the algae blenny? Not a problem? a huge problem?  or is it truly one of those 50-50 toss- ups dependent on the fish's own personality? Thanks in advance! Nate <Mmm, I share your concern (enough) Nate that I would not place this Salarias/Atrosalarias blenny. Too likely as you state to negatively interact with what you have established, hope to add. Bob Fenner> * well, I haven't actually counted the spines, but I am thinking probably one true and one false percula, though my LFS sold it to me as "true" when I first got into the hobby.  Anyhow, I bring it up to add to the collective pool of "captive clownfish lore"... the true percula is a fairly recent addition to the tank, and it came from the wild, whereas the first one was definitely tank raised.  Though it has not fully adopted my branching hammer coral yet (as I have read they sometimes do in captivity, even though they would not in the   wild), the wild percula is definitely spending a lot of time hanging out right on the edge of the hammer coral - and actually seems to be trying to show the other one "how to chill with the coral" as well...   the old one doesn't seem too interested yet, but the new one definitely is getting closer and closer to swimming "in" the coral every day!  pretty neat! <I'll say!>

Thanks for Saving My Corals... LFS Mistake, WWM to the Rescue, Exallias! - 03/25/2006 This is only the second time I write to you (first time was regarding Euro-reef skimmer advice) but read your website religiously.  My entire system has been built, more or less, on your advice.  <Very cool, mine too!> I just wanted to send a note of gratitude.  I recently visited my LFS to purchase some fish.  Came home with a Kole Tang, Mandarin Goby and a Leopard Blenny (Exallias brevis).   System is a 175G reef tank, 200 lbs of LR and refugium that has been up and running for over a year - all parameters test normal (Mandarin should be fine - I hope). <As long as there is enough food for him in there.> No problems ever. The Blenny was sold to me as a "totally reef safe" specimen that only eats algae. <VERY common - if they just used the books they sell in the store...> I was not familiar with this specimen so I had to look him up on your site before adding him to my reef system. <Very good practice!> Lo and behold - a coral eater!  Immediately brought him back to the store and referenced your "write-up" on this fish.  LFS' owner was defiant, his response: "Depends on who you ask (regarding the fish's coral eating habits)..."  I researched other websites regarding this fish and it is clearly a coral eater, yet the LFS owner refuses to acknowledge. Anyway I am so happy he didn't enter my tank (LFS took him back) <Glad that he let you return him!> and just hope this LFS owner was just trying to save face with me and does not try to sell the Blenny as a reef safe fish to someone else.  Buyer beware!  All my corals are thriving and growing and I don't know what I would have done had this Blenny ruined my system.  <Wonderful and you're very welcome.  One of the reasons why everyone here does what they do and enjoys doing it!> As a side note, this guy had about 8 Mandarins in his store - I figured I had to try and save at least one of them.  <I think we all have this weakness at one time or another!> Much gratitude fellas.  <and girls too!  Have a great one, Jen S.>

Blennies and clams (and other things)   1/7/06 Hey WWM Crew, great site! I have found a few articles on your site concerning blennies and clams, but was hoping you may be able to provide a bit more   information. I have 2 tanks in which lawnmower blennies (small, around 3" or so) and clams coexist peacefully, but I have been trying   to add a blenny to my 3rd tank, a mixed reef (clams, SPS, LPSs, zoos) with no success. I wanted something other than a lawnmower for   variety, so first I tried a black sailfin, no good, it nipped the clams. So I got that out using a homemade acrylic trap, and replaced   it with a starry blenny (Salarias ramosus). This was a disaster, it tried to eat the clams, not nip them. And it attacked brittle stars,   shrimp, anything but other fish. To top it off, it taught my hippo tang that clams were food, so I had to get both of them out (acrylic   trap again, really works). I tossed them into my fish tank (yes, we do have 4 tanks, plus 4 dogs and poison dart frogs, <Neat> we should charge admission) where it now spends its time hassling my passer angel.   They don't fight, the blenny just keeps trying to set up shop in its   hole. Its fairly large, about 6". Evil fish, if cool-changes colors and patterns constantly. Anyways, back to the point, I still love blennies in general and   would still like to get one in there. I was thinking about maybe   trying a Midas or a tail spot blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura), <Better, likely more peaceful choices> based mostly on appearance. The tail spots supposedly stay quite small (?)   and are fairly timid. There's nothing else in there that should   hassle them much, and there is lots of space and always algae around.   I add Gracilaria to the tank, and nothing else in there grazes except   for a few hermits and snails. So theoretically they should have lots   of food. Do you have any thoughts on either of these, or perhaps   another suggestion? Does size matter, should I stick with smaller ones? Thanks in advance <Yes with starting with smaller specimens... either is a good choice. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Multiple Blennies and Gobies 10/11/05 Hello again. <Hello, Adam J with you this evening.> I've been searching the site for a while. It has been about 7 weeks since the tank was put up. 100g hexagonal flatback tank ( It's not a traditional hex tank. Dimensions are roughly 60x20x20), protein skimmer, 20 gallon refugium with 4-5" sand, wet/dry. <Sounds good.> It's currently stocked with a lemon damsel, 3 blue green Chromis, and 2 false Percs that was added after the tank was cycled. <Were they quarantined?> After the tank adjusts to the clowns I want to add a Redlip or bicolor blenny along with a lawn mower blenny. <The Lawnmower Blenny Salarias fasciatus can be quite territorial and aggressive towards other blennies. This will be a risk, though your tank size will help it is not a guarantee. Furthermore with algae eating blennies I prefer to wait until the tank is mature to add them, at least 6 months.> I was just wondering if there will be a problem with adding blenny with blenny. <Possibly, see above.> I was also thinking about adding some Firefish and a Jawfish or a watchman. Will these fish run into problems with the blennies? <You should be okay with one of these along with the blennies but all three, these fish all inhabit the same area of the tank and with all of these mixed including the blennies you would likely run into 'real-estate' problems.> Thanks for all the help so far. <No problem, Adam J.> 

Bicolor Pseudochromis and a new Midas Blenny  9/21/05 <Hi, Adam J with you tonight> I've been running a 46-gallon tank with 60 pounds of live rock for a year now.  Six months ago I added a Bicolor Pseudochromis and a Coral Beauty, who got along great <Cool, sounds nice> Just yesterday, though, I added a Midas Blenny.  He's taken residence in a small cave, but the Pseudochromis chases him back every time he leaves. <Not a good sign I'm afraid> The Blenny's color has returned from the move, so he seems less stressed. He's eating already and tries to leave and get food whenever I feed the tank, but he bolts as soon as he sees the Pseudochromis.  He now spends almost all day poking his head out of his hole in the rock, afraid to leave for more than a few seconds. <Pseudochromis can be very aggressive for there size; they are territorial to say the least.  It is likely he sees your entire tank as his territory. 46 gallons may appear large but in perspective to the ocean its not allot of room to share. The Pseudochromis views the new addition as a threat to his home and food source> Am I going to have to choose between these two fish? <Possibly, if the aggression persists it is likely to eventually end in severe injury or death in one fish (most likely the blenny) I fear the blenny could become stressed and stop feeding.  This in combination with being attacked is quick recipe to demise.> or have fish ever been known to "warm up" to a new tankmate? <It is possible that the fish will form a social "agreement". As in one will be more dominant but to be honest its hard to say. It could work out, it might not. It really depends on your individual specimens and thus far it does not sound promising>   I'm guessing it's probably the former, but maybe there's some hope left? <Some but I would watch carefully and be prepared to remove one or the other, rearranging the rockwork to create new territories might subdue the aggression but it is not a guaranteed.> I had assumed that this Pseudochromis was more passive than most, since he doesn't mind the Coral Beauty following him around all day. <The Pseudochromis is likely not threatened by the coral beauty and vise-versa, furthermore from your e-mail I gather that the coral beauty and Pseudochromis were introduced around the same time, which probably somewhat helped in reducing aggression.> Thanks for your help Peter <Anytime, Adam J> Faked out by a "cleaner wrasse"  8/27/05 Well, wouldn't ya know... yep, I got faked out by a mimic "cleaner wrasse". I though something was up by the way my flasher wrasse was acting towards him, ( it didn't "flash" at anyone else). Quick, to WWM for the answer to what's going on! Turns out its a saber-tooth blenny. <Ah, Aspidontus... happens, though not often> After having to COMPLETELY breakdown my reef to catch the little guy and place him in the fuge temporarily, now what? I like him a lot and would love to keep him, but feeding the fuge is not good. Do I trade him in, knowing that he'll just do the same thing to someone else's fish? <Ah, no> Please give me some advise on this dilemma. I'd be heartbroken to send him to a watery grave in the bathroom!! Thanks for your guidance in advance, Allegra <... "look before you leap"... or purchase livestock? When we find these mixed in with Labroides, they're removed and destroyed... not suitable for aquarium use with other fishes... could try keeping in your refugium. Bob Fenner>

Blenny and Goby Compatibility 8/11/05 Hi, <Hi, Leslie here this evening> I  have a 90 gallon reef with corals system in which I have the following: 1 Bicolor Blenny, 1 Yellowhead Goby, 1 Mandarinfish, 1 Marine Betta, 1 Flameback Angel and 2 Green Chromis.  I would like to make it mostly a goby and blenny aquarium.  May I mix, say 10 more gobies and blennies in this mixture? <Yikes'¦unfortunately not.  Most goby and blenny species do not get along with the same and similar species, unless found in mated pairs. You have already mixed 3 types of gobies/blennies that could do well together. Please do read about these 2 groups of fish that you are interested in here'¦. Blennioids: Blennies and Blenny-Like Fishes http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blennioids.htm and Gobioid Fishes, and Ones Just Called Gobies! here'¦ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobioidmars.htm Which ones do you recommend? I want a peaceful tank, with lots of color. There are a few exceptions, which do well in groups'¦. the Convict blenny http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pholodichthyidae.htm and the Clown Gobies http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobiodon.htm> I want a peaceful tank, with lots of color. < In addition the 2 species mentioned above you may want to consider a Flame Hawkfish or a pair if you can find a male/female pair. They are a beautiful bright flame red with black markings and quite striking. They are not in either of the families of fish you asked about but in some ways they remind me of blennies and gobies and I think you might like them. They will certainly brighten up any tank!  Another point to consider is that your Marine Betta has a good sized mouth and anything that can fit is fair game so,  be sure to choose good sized specimens when considering his tankmates.> Thanks for your input, AJ <Your most welcome! Hope this helps, Leslie>

Jumping Blennies and Nasty Little Shrimp! Hi Crew, <Scott F. with you today> I was hoping you could help me out with a couple of things. <Sure> Let me begin, The Tank is about 8-9 months old. Spg 1.025 Temp 25-26.5 pH 8.0 - 8.2 (Red Sea) KH 11 (but cannot keep it @ this - Aquarium Pharm) Ca 375ppm (Salifert) Mg Approx 1250ppm (Salifert) PO4 < 0.25 mg/L (Hagen - lousy test kit) Ammonia 0 Nitrite     0 Nitrate      < 5ppm Tank: 30gal (36" X 12" X 16") Filtration & Circulation: Eheim 2213 Canister Filter running RowaPhos every 2 weeks and PolyFilter every other 2 weeks SeaClone Skimmer (drat! should have read WetWebMedia before hand) produces 1/2 a cup every week (terrible!) x3 Eheim 150gph powerheads for circulation Lighting: x4 NO Fluorescents in rain gutter hood with reflectors (12 hours a day) 1.)The other morning while I was getting dressed for work & watching the tank, I saw my Midas Blenny come swimming up to the front of the tank.  Then behind it I saw my Peppermint Shrimp chasing it.  The Peppermint Shrimp grabbed the poor fish by the tail and dragged him under the rockwork.  Sad to say, by the time I got my hand in the tank to rescue the blenny he was already dead.  I have since taken the Peppermint Shrimp back to the LFS.  The question I have is, is this normal behaviour for a Peppermint Shrimp?  My LFS told me the shrimp was probably starving, however, I have had it in there for about 1/2 a year and he eats whatever I put in the tank (good appetite - he was pig).  Another thing is not to long after I put him in the tank, my 3 mushroom colonies began to melt away (red, blue & green variety).  I have read up on WetWebMedia about Camel-Back Shrimps, and I am pretty sure he was not one of them.  Have you ever come across this behaviour before? <I have not personally experienced this with peppermint shrimp (I have with other species, however), but I have seen several friends' tanks who have...It is entirely possible that the shrimp has taken a turn to the "dark side" and become aggressive and destructive...And, I would not rule out the possibility that you have the more destructive variety...There are ways of determining the difference, so do study this, and carefully evaluate potential shrimp purchases in the future> 2.)The second question I have is.  I have begun dosing Seachem Reef Calcium to enhance my coralline algae growth, however. I still have a fair amount of hair algae in the tank.  Do you think I should stop using this until my algae subsides as I read this form of organic calcium can fuel algae growth.  I just want to out compete the problem algae with coralline. <Well, calcium gluconate (the kind of calcium that Reef Calcium is comprised of) has been "implicated" as a contributor to nuisance algae growth by some, but I think that this is overstated, and in the presence of proper nutrient export techniques (i.e.; good water change habits, aggressive protein skimming, and use of chemical media, such as Poly Filter or activated carbon), it is not a huge factor...Revisit your basic husbandry techniques, refine them accordingly, and you should be able to use this stuff without excessive nuisance algae growths. Work that skimmer hard, and keep at those small, frequent water changes, and you'll be fine> 3.)My 2nd Midas Blenny (only 2 days in the tank) jumped out the tank last night.  Luckily, my girlfriend awoke to some slapping noise, found the fish still alive and quickly put him back in the tank.  Do Midas Blenny's normally jump out the water? <Well, just about any fish can do that, unfortunately-for many different reasons. I have a Hawaiian Flame Wrasse male that "catches air" with amazing regularity...If this becomes a problem for you, you should consider egg crate or other material to serve as a barrier to keep this fish in the tank where he belongs, so as not to become "reef jerky"!> 4.)My tank evaporates about 500ml of water a day. Currently, I am adding Reef Builder to the top off water one day and then Reef Adv Calcium/Reef Calcium every other day as I top off daily (based on my tests).  My levels all test about right.  Do you think that this is a decent regime? <Well, it's important to buffer and add calcium to the tank as per the levels needed. In other words, determine your tank's approximate daily consumption of calcium and buffer based on your testing (which you are doing), and dose it regularly, regardless of how much top off you are doing...You don't want to be at the mercy of your tank's evaporation level to determine how much calcium or buffer that you should add...I think that your regimen is fine...but keep that little thought in mind when using additives...In the end, though, I like your consistent regimen. It  is better than a sporadic and random one...> Thank you very much for all you help, support and knowledge!!!  It is so very much appreciated!!! Many Thanks & Kind Regards, Karl McNally (from the UK) <Your welcome, Karl...Sounds like your tank is doing just fine! Keep up the good work, and be sure to share our experiences with others! Regards, Scott F>

2 Blennies in a 58gal Reef Hi,    Just a quick question.  Can a lawnmower blenny be kept in a 58 gal. reef tank with a bicolor blenny or will there be aggression? <Since they are similar in shape and size I would advise against the mixture of the two species, these species of fish tend to show aggression towards similar shaped fish> Thanks,<your welcome, IanB> Erik Jorvig

Blenny and mandarin fish compatibility Are the red lipped blenny and the mandarin fish dragonet compatible in a 46 gallon reef tank?<Red lipped blenny's can be aggressive towards fish smaller than themselves. I would give you a 50-50% chance with this mix. Do keep in mind that Mandarinfish have very strict diets...eat small crustaceans. Good Luck, IanB>

Battling Blennies? I have a 60G reef with mostly SPS corals.  I currently have a pygmy angel (C. Argi) and a blenny with no apparent common name, (Atrosalarias fuscus). <Both cool fishes, nonetheless! The A. fuscus is one of my favorite fishes! it's been called the "Highfin Blenny" or "Black Sailfin Blenny" in the trade. A great little fish with plenty of personality! mine has been a perfect gentleman for years!> My local store has both Meiacanthus atrodorsalis and Midas blennies (Ecsenius Midas) both of which are very beautiful fish, and seem to be more active swimmers and likely to spend more time in the water column than my current blenny. <In all likelihood, yes!> However, I love my current blenny, and I know there is potential aggression between blennies. Would I be safe to add one of the two species mentioned to my current tank?  I can't seem to find much specific info, but the A. Fuscus is a strict algae eater IME, and the other two appear to be plankton feeders.  Would this work? <In my opinion and experience, it would! They can be a bit feisty at times, so there is no 100% guarantee, but I feel that it would work for the very reason that you indicate. The fishes inhabit very different niches in the system, and are not likely to compete. I maintain a system with a variety of blennies, and have yet to observe any long-term problems with this arrangement. I'd go for it!> I appreciate any help. Thanks, Gusty Stambaugh <Any time, Gusty! Regards, Scott F>

The Best-Laid Plans... Scott, <Hello, again!> I thought I would update you on my experience with these fish.  I purchased an apparently healthy midas blenny today, and added him to the tank. It had been at the LFS for 2 weeks. <Oops! Remember to quarantine for at least 3 weeks next time- even for an apparently healthy fish, okay? We'll let it slide this time, though, okay? LOL> He immediately scurried into a hole in the rock, as expected.  However, when he came out several hours later, he was incessantly attacked by the A. Fuscus, which apparently had not initially noticed him. <A bit of chasing is to be expected upon introduction, but outright war is contrary to my experiences!> After watching the attack for several hours, during which the fish were very active and incessantly aggressive, I attempted to catch either fish. With a tank full of SPS frags and plenty of irregularly shaped live rock I could not catch either fish until the midas blenny swam into my open hand gasping for breath. <Yuck> It has just died in the sump. The A. fuscus has a nice chunk missing from directly between his eyes, but otherwise looks OK. <Hopefully, it will heal...An awful experience, though. Sorry it happened, and frankly- I'm quite surprised. Some chasing is to be expected with these guys, but I have seen and kept such combinations many times, without any incident. It just goes to show you that nothing is for certain. I really feel bad for the fish- and for you!> I realize that is difficult to predict the reactions of fish, so I don't want you to misinterpret this email.  I am not upset with you for the advice you gave, I simply want to add my experience to your knowledge to possibly prevent this from happening to another person. <I appreciate that. Frankly, I do feel bad that such an event happened, though! I have not experienced this problem before! I guess this is a good time to review once again what we all know, for the benefit of all of our WWM readers: One individual's good (or bad!) experience (or even one hundred individual's good or bad experiences) doesn't mean that things will always work out (or not work out) for others. You're so right that it's hard to predict what animals will or will not do. We looked at a situation that could have-should have-worked out, has for me and for others...But it didn't. A horrible experience, and a dear price, but I guess that if it adds to the body of knowledge of the animals in question, it was not a total waste. The bottom line is that an animal died needlessly, and for that, I am truly sorry. It goes to show you that the best anyone can do when rendering advice is to speak from their own experiences (which is exactly what we do at WWM). My experience, or anyone else's- can and should not be taken as "the last word" on anything, although I would have made the same call on this one today. There is no substitute for "going with your gut feeling" on some things, especially when considering, as you have pointed out- the element of uncertainty that arises when you're talking about living creatures. The only "sure thing" is that nothing is certain!> I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to advise me on these fish, Thanks, Gusty <My pleasure, Gusty. Thanks for sharing this experience with others. Keep a positive attitude, and write us again any time! Regards, Scott F>

- Algae Blenny: Clam Nipper? - I was just about to buy  rock (lawnmower?) blenny when I read that they nip at clam mantles. How true is this? <They occasionally do, most that I've encountered behave themselves. Make sure you supply lots of algae!> Also, will they be aggressive with a yellow headed Jawfish? <Should be fine, Good luck! -Kevin>

The corals don't like the Blenny Hi, <Hi Lisa!> I got a rock with a few orange/purple Ricordea and another with green  star polyps about 1 1/2 weeks ago. They were doing great until I got a  Sailfin blenny. He climbs all over the rocks and occasionally the  corals. He knocked the Ricordea rock over 2 times! <Hee Hee!  Very normal Blenny behavior.  They don't seem to care much what they "climb" over or perch on, and in fact, mine will forcibly throw objects off of his favorite perch!> The first time he  just tapped it and they seemed fine, 2nd time it was flipped and  sitting on one of the Shrooms. I finally got some glue but when I  picked up the rock I realized the Ric was only partially attached to  the rock. It also has a small chunk missing, the purple looks grayish and the mouth does too. <Gluing or otherwise attaching corals is a wise choice to prevent such falls.> Is it dead or injured? Anything I can do to  save it? <It sounds like it is a bit  bleached.  It should recover quickly and completely if you prevent further insults.> As if that's not enough trouble from the blenny, he's also upset the  GSP. They were 1/2 closed up after the first day w/the blenny, now  they've been closed solid for 2 days. Are they OK? Will they get used  to him? <It is normal for GSP's to periodically close for a while.  If you are sure it is the Blenny, they may adapt, but it is probably best to move the GSP's out of his territory. Thanks, Lisa Spencer <best regards!  Adam>

The Clownfish and the Blenny (5/25/04) Hi guys, I had a quick question that I was hoping you could assist me with. I have a 72 gal FOWLR setup. Current inhabitants include a pair of percula clowns, still young about 2 inches, a lawnmower blenny, about 3.5 inches, and 4 turbo snails. I have about 85 lbs of live rock. My problem is that my clowns stay secluded in one corner of the tank. This is the corner they sleep and rest in all the time. <In nature, Clownfish seldom stray from their anemone. they're not particularly adventurous. My Maroon Clown limits itself to maybe 10% of my 180G tank's volume.> Occasionally they will venture to about midway across the tank, but then back to the corner. Recently I observed my blenny acting aggressively towards the clown. <Can be a problem. Lawnmower Blennies can be aggressive.> He swam right up to them and started waving his tail at them furiously. This behavior occurred when the clowns saw me get close to the front of the tank to feed them, and they moved out of their corner. I am afraid that my blenny is keeping them in the corner of the tank. <Probably, but like I said, they often choose an area to stick to.> I have seen this happen a few times thus far. I have read that this particular species of blenny is only aggressive towards conspecifics, and rarely towards other fish. Scott W. Michael specifically states that they can often attack any smaller fish.> Could I possibly have the rare possibility? <Not rare, rather common actually.> The clowns are in very good health, vibrant colors, fins are not clamped, and breathing normally. Is there any other reason that the fish could be acting this way? <Their natural behavior, especially when threatened. That's why they live in anemones in nature. (But they do not need one in a tank, they need tankmates they can cope with.> I have had the fish in this tank for over a month, which I know is not that long, but they had this corner behavior when housed with the blenny in there previous tank too. The blenny is not as important as my clowns, even though I love his personality. So if he is the problem, then I will find him another suitable home. If so, could you suggest a species of blenny that would not be a problem? A more peaceful species. I sincerely thank you for your help. Brian <If this blenny has been aggressive toward them in to tanks, he is probably an unusually intolerant one. Perhaps he is unhappy because he isn't getting enough food. Does he eat whatever it is your feeding him? Most lawnmower blennies starve because they won' eat anything but hair algae. You could remove him to a QT for a few weeks, re-arrange the tank, let the clowns settle back in and try again. But I'm skeptical given the history of aggression in two tanks. As for alternatives, how about a shrimp goby? Many blennies are territorial and may get aggressive. Blennies to consider are the Midas, Red Sea Mimic and Bicolor. Check out Scott W. Michaels' "Marine Fishes" for ideas and alternatives. Have you considered a Hawkfish? Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Evil Blenny (10/22/04) Hi, I recently acquired a lawnmower blenny, reading on how they tend to be passive fish. <There is quite a bit of opinion to the contrary. To quote Scott W. Michael's "Marine Fishes" : "Large individuals will attack fish tankmates..."> I had exchanged a very small blue tang for him, since the blue tang drove my clown fish crazy for a month until she couldn't take it anymore, and turned on him.  Before damage was done I returned him, and got a lawnmower blenny.  A few weeks into having him in the main tank, he has decided that he does not like my longhorn cowfish.  The cowfish was the first fish in the tank, and in my opinion, it is his tank.  Now the blenny chases him around, nipping at his belly.  I am worried of stressing out the cow, so I am curious if this is a long-term behavior. <Probably will get worse as it grows. I'd get that blenny out of there before it causes your cowfish to release its toxin and wipe out your tank.> Will it stop after a while, or should I bring him back to the store.  The cowfish is my main concern, and I will do whatever is in his best interest. <Get the blenny out of there.>  I thought if there were going to be any problems, it would be between the blenny and the mandarin I have, since they both tend to hang out by the rocks.  But there are no qualms there.  Any info would be helpful.  Thanks so much. <Bye, by Blenny. Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

Re: The Evil Blenny Hi There, <Hello> I saw the post of the person with the evil blenny problem -- attacking his cowfish.  I have no idea how big the person's tank is, but allow me to suggest giving the blenny someone else more suitable to wrangle with.  I have a huge Lawnmower Blenny myself, and he loves to chase a Highfin Blenny.  The other blenny thinks he's nuts, and they just swim around each other.  Just a thought :- <Thank you for this. Will post alongside the other input for alls edification. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility Hello, I had a question in mind which is troublesome. In my marine reef tank, the ignorant lawnmower blenny keeps on chasing the Hawkfish like it's food. Is the flame Hawkfish able to defend itself, since the blenny is really big. The Hawkfish just keeps on exploring though. They are both breathing extremely quick after a chase and if they don't stop I am going to remove the blenny. Is there any sort of fish that is able to intimidate such large blenny? <The idea is to have compatible tanks mates, not to find one to be the enforcer.>  Also, I have a little tomato clownfish ( recently added in) who is extremely feisty. He attempts/ does attack my pair of Sebae or black percula clownfish. However, my purple tang viciously chases off the tomato with his fins, and the pygmy assists in trying to nip at its tail.. Do you think the tang have a bond with the pair? <No, just defending territory>  Should I remove the tomato and throw him into my smaller tank and just bring up the pair of false percula clowns instead?  <Tomatoes are feisty as you say, and the larger they get, the worse it is. I'd see if you could trade him in, or put him in another tank to avoid the problems. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your time!  <You're welcome> 

Sailfin tang injury I have a pacific Sailfin tang and a bi-color blenny in a 55 gallon tank. The other day I guess the tang wandered too close to one of the blenny's many hang outs and the blenny took a nip out of the tang's lower fin. The pet store recommended a chemical treatment-what do you think. The tang seems fine, no redness or anything (yet). And I thought blennies are fairly peaceable...I made sure to provide lots of live rock ...Thanks, Carolyn >> Well, actually, as you've found some Blennies are quite territorial... and some are absolute terrors (the subfamily/tribe Nemophini includes "Saber tooth" Blennies, and other species that make a living out of tearing off bits of other fishes...). But I agree with your apparent sentiment. Leave the Tang alone... it will heal by itself... manipulating it would likely add to the animals stress. Bob Fenner

Lawnmower blenny Hi Bob, I just added a 4-5 inch lawnmower blenny to my 125G reef. Other tank inhabitants include 2 green Chromis, Naso, Kole, and yellow tangs, Percula, 2 barred gobies, 2 cleaner shrimp, several peppermints and other inverts. My concern is did I just add a potential problem to my tank? <Unlikely... these Combtooth Blennies are not common prey to these animals or predaceous toward them... almost exclusively feeders on filamentous algae> He seems ok so far, everyone else did their stare downs. Is it common for these fish to be easily startled or is because it is a new place for him?  <Yes, and they are just naturally skittish period> My main concern is will he eat any of my corals or go after the shrimp?  <Very unlikely> He seems very peaceful but now the day after I add him I hear that he is not compatible with Kole tangs or he may attack my hand when I have it in the tank. Is there any truth to these accusations or should he continue to be a peaceful addition to my tank?  <Bizarre. Never heard such things from credible sources> Thank you much! Eric Liebe <Not to worry my friend. Bob Fenner>

Chubby Salarias (Algae Eating Blenny) Bob, While reading your newest faq page today (a daily ritual...just hope the boss doesn't see!)  <Yikes, me neither> I read a question from someone that was worried about a chubby Salarias, and would like to relate a recent experience I had with a lawnmower blenny. <Ah, great... can barely wait till we have somewhat of a "forum" for folks to do this interchange> I had an outbreak of ich in my 72 gal in which I lost a couple of fish, including a lawnmower blenny. I treated my tank and was able to save 3 fish, much thanks to you on your help with that situation. After all had settled down I ordered another Salarias from FFExpress, and it arrived healthy and happy and went to work eating off the live rock. Within the first two weeks I noticed he was FAT...this little fishes belly was so bulged he could barely perch on his fins without his gut hitting bottom. Yet he continued to eat and eat and eat. A month after adding the fish I added a small flame angel that also spends a great deal of time picking off the live rock, but also eats flake and frozen food very well. Then, 3 weeks ago I added a 3" yellow tang, that eats a little flake food but spends most of the time grazing. <Okay> Over the last 3 weeks I noticed the Salarias getting thinner and thinner, yet he was still munching on the live rock. Unfortunately when I came into the office yesterday after the weekend he was laying on his side and breathing rapidly and was dead by the end of the day. Despite the 60+ pounds of live rock, did the angel, tang and blenny simply not have enough grazing food?? Or did the blenny eat himself out of food his first month? ( I can't stress how fat this fish was!) In all he only lasted about 10 weeks in the tank. <All of this is possible... My "standard" statement is not to place a Salarias fasciatus in anything smaller than a sixty, with plenty of healthy, established live rock... and not to have too many competitors for the filamentous algae to be cropped there... Sometimes I'll give a nod to the equally prodigious and typically smaller Atrosalarias fuscus, another True or Combtooth Blenny that is commonly available... instead, as it tends to come in smaller, doesn't get as large, not as likely to starve...> I'm hesitant now to get another Salarias because if I don't have enough available food I don't want to loose another fish. This blenny was about 5 inches long. Is that large?  <Yes, about maximum size...> What is the possibility it died from old age?  <Some> I didn't' notice any parasites on him, and all the other fish are fine. The tang and the angel are the only other fish that eat algae in the tank and would take away from his food source (other than a clean up crew) Anyway, just curious and thought I'd pass on my experience with a fat Salarias...maybe it will make someone think on their purchase of tankmates in relation to available food.. I know I will, despite the fact that the lawnmower blenny (nicknamed Torro) was the most popular and comical fish in the office tank! Thanks, as always, Kris, PA <Thank you for this input... I would try the Atrosalarias genus or request a decidedly smaller Salarias (three inches or so) if it were my system. Bob Fenner>

One last question. (chubby Salarias) Hello again. Thanks so much for all of your advice and help so far. We ended up going with a Rusty Dwarf Angel and a "Lemon" Tang (not sure if that is it's real common name because I haven't found anything on it yet.) <Likely a mimic tang variety of Acanthurus pyroferus... take a look on the WetWebMedia.com site re these> But after 5 days, they've both done extremely well, and there's been no quarreling between any of the fish. the two new fish have both taken to the reef aquarium comfortably and have found their own niches amidst the other fish and reef life. it's still too early to tell, but I think they'll last us a while barring any freak accidents. I just had one quick question, though. since we removed the murderous Hawkfish, our algae blenny has started to get noticeably chubby given his newfound freedom to graze wherever he pleases. should I be worried about it eating too much?  <No... this happens in the wild and in captivity. No problem> otherwise, all the fish are doing well. the Dottyback has even eased up a bit on its aggressiveness since the introduction of the bigger dwarf angel. thanks for all your help. Chris Pua <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Blenny compatibility question Hi Bob, I am considering getting a Lawnmower blenny for my 120g reef tank. I also would like to add a Midas Blenny. Would the two fish work out ok in this tank or would one try to harass/kill the other? Thanks, <In this size, type system, should be no problem. Wish I had videotaped the many Salarias fasciatus interactions I saw earlier this month in Pulau Redang, Malaysia... amongst themselves and a few Atrosalarias fuscus... pretty much ignore all non-algae eating fishes. Bob Fenner> Dave

Compatibility of Wrasse and Blenny Mr. Fenner, I was hoping that you could advise me on how well a Salarias fasciatus (lawnmower blenny) and a Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (six-line wrasse) would get along in my tank. The LFS says it will work, but I am a little nervous because I have heard that they both establish territories on the live rock. <Yes, they should... occupy different niches (though both mostly "in the rock"... Have seen these two together in systems many times> Here are my system specs: 29-30 gal (it's a custom flatback hex that I got as a gift, so I'm not exactly sure of the gallonage, but it is 36" long) <Hmm, can calculate... by LWH, 231 cubic inches per gallon... maybe use a piece of paper to detail... or by filling with a container of known volume... important information to have at times...> ~25 lbs. of LR ~35 lbs. of aragonite sand (gives me a semi-DSB of 3.5-4") Magnum 350 for mechanical filtration and circulation Penguin 550 powerhead (turns over 125 gph) Brand new Prizm protein skimmer that I am still breaking in Ammonia/nitrite are always 0 Nitrate goes from 15-30 ppm depending on how recently I did a water change (I'm hoping the protein skimmer and the removal of the BioWheel from my Magnum will bring these levels down) pH 8.2, temp about 79 degrees. <Yes, should> Current inhabitants are: 1 C. solandri puffer (3") 2 false Percula clowns (1.5 and 2") and the lawnmower blenny, who is about 2" <A bit crowded... keep your eye on the blenny to assure it's not getting too thin> I've probably given you WAAYYYY more information than you'll ever need, but at least you won't have to ask me for more! The wrasse I want to add is 1.5-2". Do you think this would work okay? If anything does go drastically wrong, the LFS will always take fish back from me because I spend so much money in there :). I really appreciate your opinion. <Hmm, yes, should be fine.> Please do keep up the good work, Laura <I will try my friend. Bob Fenner>

Disaster!! Hello, well we had our first big disaster today!! I've e mail a few times with various beginners questions and everything had been going well up until today. As a matter of fact we were finally beginning to relax. We have a new 90 gal aquarium with 100 lbs of live rock. We cycled it and bought our first 2 fish, 2 Percula clowns. They did fine, we lost a few Turbos and one sally light foot, but everything else was fine. Last weekend we added our first new fish, a red lipped blenny. We had algae all over the tank and in one week he chowed it down!! We couldn't believe it. Tonight when we were looking at him, we couldn't believe how fat he was!!  <yes...very cool and useful fish> Anyway, we spent all day in Tampa today looking for a new fish. We wanted to get a hippo tang.  <also known as an "Ich Magnet"... always full 4 week QT for these guys> We finally found a cute small one who ate well. We bought him ( and a r/o unit ) and a few other things, including special food for him. We brought him home, acclimated him and let him go.  <Aiiiieeeeeee! A quick search of the archived FAQ's on this site will let you know that a blue tangs weight is made up nearly in half by white-spot disease...hehe. PLEASE quarantine all fish without exception... it saves money and lives> He was happy right away, eating the algae, we fed the clowns and he ate the brine shrimp too, etc.  <easy on the brine shrimp too...mostly water... a nearly useless food. Too bad it is so well liked> Everything was jolly . . . until the blenny realized someone else was eating the algae. He starting nipping at him everywhere and leaving marks, we were sooooooo upset!! I panicked, not sure what to do, I wanted to get the blenny out of there. But with all our live rock we didn't know what to do. So we started pulling the live rock out of the tank piece by piece until we got the little bully out. We dumped him into the quarantine tank.  <holy crap... you have a QT tank and didn't use it for the tang?! You guys are killing me! (smile)> But now the whole tank is so stirred up and our two clowns are going nuts and our poor little hippo, is up in the corner I'm sure totally freaked out!!!  <yeah.. a bit of stress there> We took out 80% of our live rock and set it on the floor, it was out for only about 5 minutes and we put it right back in. So we're hoping that there wasn't die off. <no chance of it... that rock is moist and out of water for DAYS on import> What can you tell me? Did we freak out just because the blenny was nipping at the tang??  <yep... some establishment of a pecking order is expected with all new fish. If it amounts to tears in fins you might have reason for concern... but nips and chasing is common> Should we have just let it happen?? I didn't know what to do. The blenny was doing obvious damage to the tang.  <agreed then... someone had to be removed> I'm just hoping we don't lose 2 fish over this. It was so upsetting. The water is very cloudy right now but we've got 3 powerheads going full blast and the skimmer running. Hopefully it'll be cleared up by morning. I just hope the tang is OK. I have a feeling the clowns will be fine. Let me know what you think. Distressfully yours, Katie and John Michael <do relax, friends... you primary concern right know is that you dodge a bullet from the tang getting Ich and taking the whole tank with him for the lack of quarantine... it really is a big deal. Please don't learn the hard way like so many of us. QT is to last 4 weeks for all wet animals brought in (Fish, coral, shrimp, crabs, etc)... conservative but safe and responsible. Best regards, Anthony>

Disaster!! II Thank you for your quick response. I'm a little more relaxed this am. <glad to help> I forgot to mention that we decided not to quarantine this fish because our q-tank was less than optimal water wise, the guy at the store treats with copper and is a reputable dealer but . . .  <to be clear... that does not help much or at all in reality. Copper is only effective against Crypt (Ich) but little else. Gill flukes and velvet bury too deep in the flesh to be phased by copper, as with most other pathogens. Even then, the copper has to be dosed daily and tested to keep up with therapeutic levels and carbon or chemical filtration cannot be run in the meantime. So if they run copper therapeutically at all times, then they never run chemical filtration? That is far worse for water quality in a holding/merchant system. And after all of that, any value to the practice is wasted if new fish shipments are added weekly. A fish held for a month is just as contagious as the new fish in the same tank added the day before you bought the tang (a new potential carrier for exposure... no kill on site for copper)> I still feel bad that anything happened at all. <agreed... you couldn't have foreseen the aggression of the blenny> This morning the tang was behind a powerhead, I thought he was stuck. So, I got him out and he started swimming like he'd be OK but then he went up in the corner and is still there. The clowns are fine, eating this am already.  <good to hear> The tang is kind of "butt up" in the corner but doesn't look like he's breathing hard. Do you think he'll be OK?? What are his chances?? He didn't eat this am, but I didn't expect him to. We'll keep the lights off today. Anything else you can think of that we can do to keep him alive?? <slightly lower salinity (towards 1.018) and very good aeration/protein skimming will help> Yeah, we're still working with our q-tank, we've been having problems with high ammonia and not being able to get copper levels right.  <wow... there is a better way. QTs do not need to run or cycle in advance. Empty QT waiting... have a sponge filter running in healthy main tank at all times and it will stay cycled with the fish load in the display. When the QT is needed, bring the dirty sponge filter and 50% old water down to the QT and top off QT and display with new seawater. Quick and easy. And copper is only useful for Crypt... not much else. I generally don't use it but as necessary. See other posts on Q&A Monday and archived describing this> So we bought a new weird sort of sponge filter for it that bubbles up with an air stone. Unsightly but the store owner recommended it for decreasing the ammonia and getting the copper right.  <agreed... ugly but very effective. My first choice for QT> I guess that's a lesson to us to not buy a fish until the q tank is set up properly. It's a 10 gallon by the way. So, that's why we didn't use it. We had full intent. Do you think that the blenny wouldn't have nipped at him?? <no...probably would have happened anyway... the tang just would have been stronger and recovered faster> OK, our q tank the other day had ammonia of .5 and copper of .4, trace of everything else.  <the ammonia is tolerable (especially with water changes)... but the copper level is inaccurate or deadly!!! over .25 is scary... water changes ASAP to lower or use a poly filter> (I know I know, the blenny is in there, but we had no other choice but flushing him alive and I couldn't bear that . . . )  <how about trading him back to the LFS or finding a local aquarium society... a great place for information> We put this yellow almost clover shaped sponge filter in the tank with an air stone hose bubbling through it.  <I know it well... Jungle brand "Dirt Magnet"... a great little filter> We're going to check the water right now to see if the ammonia and copper are down.  <it will take days/weeks this way> The blenny is still all funny striped and breathing heavily and alive.  <the copper is the problem... too high, emergency> Not sure if he'll recuperate. But . . . what can I do. What do you suggest with this q tank? Put every fish in there for 4 weeks and treat with just copper or copper and some abx??  <4 weeks and medicated only as necessary. Copper for Crypt, Formalin/Quick cure would be better for parasites. Freshwater dips would be best (read through articles/archives on this site/topic)> Please help. Every since we set this tank up the q tank has been a mind boggler. <just needed good info from go. A sponge or extra Power filter running and ready on the main tank is all you need. The QT can stay empty in storage until needed> Thanks for all your help and support. We'll update you on the health of all fish. Hopefully our tang will be OK. Have a great Easter!! Katie and John Michael <our best regards to you and yours, Anthony>

Blenny nipping fins hi <greetings> I have a lawnmower blenny that has nipped off the majority of my yellow tangs fins.  <they are territorial although not usually to this extent> he doesn't do this to any of the other fish. He is well fed with algae and has plenty of rockwork in a 120 gal.  <indeed, it has nothing to do with feeding, but rather aggression> If you have any tricks please pass them on. <they most likely need to be separated. Anthony>

2 Lawnmower Blennies in same tank. Two weeks ago I purchased a Lawnmower/algae blenny. I acclimated the fish and put him in my 120G. He seemed happy. The next day I could not find him. The whole week went and I still could not find him. I took a flashlight and checked the rock, the overflows, and the sump. No fish. Assuming (key word here) that the fish was gone I purchased another blenny the next weekend. This (the new) blenny has been happy in the reef for the last week. He is doing fine after a week and I see him in the main tank. Last night while watching the tank I saw something in one of the overflow. Guess who !!! Yep, lawnmower #1. <Mmm, lucky... on both your parts> Can I have two of these guys in the main 120G tank? <Maybe not... this is a great fish to watch underwater in the wild (and in fish tanks!)... constantly harvesting the area about it... aware and chasing, being chased by other Atrosalarias fuscus (and often other wanna-be algae eaters) in "its" territory which can be a square meter to a few square meters (depending principally on size of the individuals, availability of foodstuffs)> LOVE the site - keep up the good work! <Will endeavor to do so. Thank you, Bob Fenner>  Andrew Culross
Re: 2 Lawnmower Blennies in same tank.
"Maybe Not" - Don't have a good feeling about this. I have another 29G tank in the basement. Would you put him there or risk the 2 of them in the 120 with plenty of foodstuff (at the moment)? <Well... my "stock" response is that this species "needs" about a sixty gallon system to support one individual... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trublennies.htm and the linked FAQs beyond... if your 29 has a bunch of algal growth on a bunch (love that term) of live rock... and the specimen is smallish... will likely do. Make sure the tank cover has no holes large enough for the animal to launch itself out of. Bob Fenner>
Re: 2 Lawnmower Blennies in same tank.
No LR in the 29G. Some algae growth. I realize all individuals are different but I'm trying to make an informed choice here. If I put him in the 120G there will be no chance of retrieving him. Do, in general - in your experience, lawnmower get along or fight? <They almost always fight... unless there is sufficient space, food, hiding/visual get-away places... If there is not a real need for another, tolerance of angst on your part, I'd trade the one in. Bob Fenner> Thank you.

Blenny With A Dark Side! Thank you for all the information that you provide all of us, it is truly appreciated.  After my 75 gallon tank cycled using 100lbs of Fiji live rock I added 1 green Chromis, 1 hippo tank, 1 red lip blenny, some scarlet leg hermits and some peppermint shrimp.  Fish all at once, and inverts at another time.  At first everything was great, the blenny want nuts on the algae as did the tang.  Then things changed,  I would find hermits obliterated on the rock and substrate.  The tang started showing a raw or damaged area on its one side.  Now I know that the hippo is supposed to have an attitude at times, but it was shying in a decorative Acro skeleton I had.  I was at a loss as to the root of the problem.  This all happened in the course of a few days, with all of the water parameters per specs.  I was at a loss as to the root of these problems.  Wouldn't you know one day I watched as the red lip blenny attacked the tang, hitting him right where the injury was on his side, then watched as he proceeded to pull a hermit out of the shell and wrench it apart.  I was shocked, what I have read about the blenny was that they were peaceful grazers, this one was the devil himself!!  I removed him to a stock tank (no easy task) where I have been holding live rock.  This was over four months ago and I see him every once and a while eating algae.  The tang has healed and no more hermits are dismembered.  My question:  is this "normal" for this type of blenny (greatest algae eater I have seen) if this is not unusual, please warn others of this.  Sorry for the long story. Thank you again, WWM has been an indispensable source of information. <Thanks for sharing this story with our readers. As you have discovered, these fishes are great algae grazers, but they do tend to get territorial once they get settled in. I have had a number of friends who experienced the same thing that you did with these little guys. They have been implicated in the occasional damage to corals and clams in reef tanks as well. They are neat fish, but they certainly can be rambunctious once they feel comfortable! Regards, Scott F>

The Midas Touch! Hello Bob and staff. <Scott F. here today!> I hope all is well. I saw a Midas Blenny in my LFS the other day and am thinking about adding him to my tank.  Currently I have : 30 gallon tank with: 45-55 lbs premium Fiji live rock 1 Halichoeres chrysus 1 percula clownfish (true) 1 pistol shrimp 1 cleaner shrimp. 1 Linckia starfish 1 Cryptocentrus leptocephalus Assorted tiny blue leg hermit crabs My question is about compatibility.  Would the existence of my watchman goby be too conflicting?  My idea would be to arrange the rock structure high and thick so that the blenny could stay in the structure and keep away from the ground level where the watchman spends his days. What do you think, yah or nay?  Your opinion is much valued and appreciated. <Well- I like these little guys...I think that it can work if you have enough rock structure to give everyone there own "home base". I keep assorted blennies and small wrasses together (albeit in a much larger tank), but have not really experienced and territorial or compatibility issues. These fishes do have a tendency to swim into the water column at time, but your wrasse will probably not be too concerned with him. I'd go for it!> PS- A friend pre mixes (into fresh water) and adds Kent Marine Kalkwasser mix into his reef tank.  We have noticed a thin film on the water surface lately.  Is this because of the mix, and is it normal? Thanks. <Well, it's hard to say if this film is the result of Kalkwasser or just the usual organic surface film that you might see in a tank without surface skimming. Perhaps some of the Kalkwasser is precipitating out for a variety of reasons, but I'll bet the film is due to lack of surface agitation, organic build-up, or some other condition. Definitely worth the investigating, IMO!. Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

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