Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Combtooth Blennies Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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

Starved for too long... entirely avoidable.

Red Lip Blenny, fdg.   10/5/08 We just brought back a red lip blenny. <Brought back?> He is temporarily housed in a 29 gal cube reef tank. <Good that this is temp... need more room> He seems to be pecking constantly at the live rock, but we are unsure whether he is actually eating any microalgae. We have culpera <Many times Caulerpas are unpalatable to other life> in the tank and have placed some sheet algae to a rock, which he doesn't touch. I have spent hours online searching for answers and it seems by the Q&A on your site that they are hard to feed. We have a 120 gal established tank which has a lot of algae in it. Should we immediately move him to the larger tank? <I would, yes> Also, what can we order or buy that he may like? <Accept most foods after acclimating...> Originally I was told Macro-algae, but the LFS said they prefer micro-algae. He has no interest in the frozen combos or live brine shrimp. He just pecks and pecks at the rocks and plants in the tank. <This is about what they do in the wild... I'd move this fish. Bob Fenner> HELP!

Re: Red Lip Blenny, fdg. f' -- 10/5/08 Thanks Bob, By brought back, I caught him with a hand net in the Florida Keys. <Wow! You must be good with a net! They're fast!> We are in the process of setting up a 300 gallon that will be home to all Florida fish we get on our dives as it means a lot more to us watching them first in the natural habitat. <Excellent> We will move him over to the 120 today:) Bonnie <Thank you for this follow-up. Cheers, BobF>

Red-streaked blenny; fdg.  12/20/07 Hello, <Hi there> Tanks size: 150L Inhabitants: 2 common clowns, 1 six-line wrasse, a few small unidentified crabs. Corals: bubble, frogspawn, hammer. Approx 10kg live rock 2 inch sand bed Skimmer, 2 power heads, t5 NO lighting, external canister filter. We recently purchased a healthy fat red-streaked blenny (Cirripectes <http://www.fishbase.org/Eschmeyer/GeneraSummary.cfm?ID=Cirripectes> stigmaticus <http://www.fishbase.org/Eschmeyer/EschPiscesSummary.cfm?ID=4402> ), He has been in the tank for 5 days and has eaten it clean of all algae of the glass etc. I have tried to feed him spectrum sinking pellets but he has no interest in that or brine or marine green. He does not seem to show any interest at all to food flowing in the water stream... what can you recommend to get him eating, <I would keep trying the Spectrum (takes a while to gain familiarity) and some sheet algae (e.g. Nori) from the Asian food store or section in your market> the guy at the LFS said he was eating brine in the shop... I am contemplating purchasing small rocks with as much algae cover as possible to keep him fat while trying to see if anything else will work. I also have another smaller tank containing some Unidentified Macro, could this be fed to him? <Worth trying> I have also read that roman lettuce can be used? <I would not... hardly any food value, possibility of introducing unwanted chemicals> Is there a possibility of purchasing live rock and storing it in a container outside in sunlight with no filtration to encourage algae growth, or will this fowl the tank when added due to being kept in less than pristine water? <Mmm, could be done... but I do think you may be right re... if the conditions, e.g. temperature... are very different... Could be a source of pollution> Thanks, Matt Martin <Do please report back with your further observations. Bob Fenner>

Red Spotted Blenny not Feed   4/24/07 Dear WWM, Greeting from Canberra, Australia.  The focus of my question is a very fussy Blenny named Norbert.  Norbert is a Red Spotted Blenny, who I have owned for about one month now.  He shares his home with two young, well mannered Ocellaris anemonefish, as well as a slow hermit crab and a bunch of snails.  He also lives with a banded coral shrimp, who is at times quite rude and enjoys stealing food.  Norbert is quite passive and rarely leaves his cave unless to feed. <Might be afraid of being eaten by the Stenopus...>   Even during feeding, Norbert tends to pick only at food floating past the cave entrance. This is the problem - Norbert's stomach is often sunken, and to remedy this I often have to overfeed just so he eats enough to survive.  He won't eat Nori seaweed clips, or Pleco tablets from my cichlid tank.    he won't eat sinking marine fish food pellets or freshwater pellets.    He won't eat the algae in the tank.  The only thing that he will eat is frozen food called super Angel (or some outrageously named frozen mix) and he only eats this food when it is MOVING.  It seems to be the cause of a lot of algae growth in the tank, particularly brown diatoms on the sand, where the snails won't readily dispatch it.    Just wondering what I can try to get him eating a less polluting meal. Many thanks, Sebastian <Mmm, I'd try two things... Spectrum pelleted fish food (very palatable, nutritious) and moving the boxer shrimp elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a Sailfin Blenny  3/10/07 Any thoughts on getting my sailfin blenny to eat. It only eats what can be found on the glass, liverock and other objects which has become very limited (I fear he is striving to death). I have tried algae sheets, formula two, brine shrimp plus, flakes and pellets - even placing it right at it's mouth. <Mmm, don't readily take anything other than live or near-live in appearance discrete whole-animal foods...> Any other thoughts would be helpful Lance <If you wanted the zenith, really only workable solution here... it's a good sized tied-in refugium, with DSB... Otherwise, you might try frozen/defrosted Mysids, Cyclop-eeze... Next time... research the animals before purchasing... Bob Fenner>

Re: Check ID/Feeding of your "Sailfin" Blenny, Before Purchasing  - 03/12/07 <Hi Lance, Pufferpunk here> I'm confused - I was under the impression that this was an algae eater, hence the name (lawn mower), it eats algae of the glass and rocks yet your suggestion is that it only eats "whole-animal foods" so what is it that I did not research before my purchase? Is this not an algae eater? <In reference to your previous question about your "Sailfin" blenny: The "lawnmower" blenny is not the same creature as a "Sailfin" blenny.  2 totally different species that eat 2 totally different foods.  We can't give you the correct info, without proper ID.  ~PP> Lance

Lawnmower, Blenny that is, Diet  - 05/10/2006 Hello, <Hi.> I have done some research on this website about the Lawnmower Blenny's diet, but can't find out what type of algae these guys prefer.   <In my experience they will eat whatever algae is available though they prefer what is easier..."less" thick algae...filamentous algae and such.> I have all sorts of algae in my tank.  I purposely don't clean the glass on the back and side of the tank so he can eat. <I leave a patch for my specimen as well.> I notice him eating the film algae.  Does he eat any other type of algae? <I feed mine Caulerpa, though he seems to just pick at it. He love Gracilaria, Nori and Botryocladia.> He goes through stages of being really fat and really skinny, with no noticeable increase or decrease in the algae available.  I guess all I am asking is, what is the preferred diet of this species? <Supplement with some fried Nori, ocean nutrition formula two, spectrum flake food and Spirulina.> Thanks. <Anytime.> Kurtis Schubeck <Adam J.>

'Not so' Odd Lawnmower Blenny - 4/11/2006 Hey all, <<Hi Aaron.>> I have a question concerning my lawnmower blenny. He is now established in my tank and sits on a perch in plain sight in the daylight. When I first got the blenny it would pick at rocks for algae. It has now given up at that and now fights my 2 perculas and royal Gramma for food. Will he eventually get sick since this fish is meant to be an herbivore? Thanks, Aaron <<Many of this species move to meaty foods as they age in aquaria.  It is common, and is posted on WWM.  Lisa.>> Lawn Mower Blenny Diet, and No Mercy..  12/5/05 Hi Guys/Gals, <Hey, Adam J with you tonight.> I have been reading the different, excellent articles provided on WWM regarding lawnmower blennies. I believe I know what your suggestions might be. I still have to ask because it will make me feel better. <I understand.> I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank, specific gravity: 1.022 (low, I know) Ammonia: 0, Nitrite:0, Nitrates: 0, PH: 8.2, Phosphates: 0, Temp 78. The only other inhabitants is a 1.5 inch maroon clownfish. I have not seen any aggressive behavior. <Yet, keep an eye out'¦adult maroons can get quite nasty.> The blenny has been in the tank for about 2 weeks. He has rapidly gone through the algae in the tank, <Well honestly, in the future, while it can be difficult for a species such as the lawnmower blenny, I prefer to make sure they are eating prepared foods during quarantine before introduction into the display. While I understand there is natural algae in the display for the animal to feed on its much easier to monitor eating habits in a smaller area without the intrusion of other livestock, not to mention disease transfer.> though there seems to be plenty left to feed him. I am attempting to wean him onto other prepared foods, Caulerpa, etc. <My lawnmower blenny loves many of the wonderful prepared foods available from Ocean Nutrition such as Spirulina and Formula 2 (Frozen, flake and pellet version). Dried Nori soaked in a nutritional supplement such as Selcon is also very nutritious and while this animal is an herbivore they do appreciate meaty foods such as krill and Mysis shrimp as well.> Since his arrival into the main display, the blenny has had very rapid gill movement. This rapid breathing has seemingly increased the past few days. He is still swimming around, eating and perching on the rocks.  <Sounds like normal behavior.> Like the dad that I am, I have started worrying about the many different diseases that blennies can succumb to. My thoughts are to maintain good water chemistry, keep up with water changes (I change 5 gallons weekly)...and just watch him. Any other ideas? <Just provide a varied diet and keep an eye on aggression.> I do have a QT/hospital tank available to set up. Thanks All, <Welcome, Adam J.> PS. Marina, be nice if I have made any errors. I checked! I promise! <Hey if she doesn't spare me you're not getting any special treatment! Hehe.>  <<As long as you try.. but if you're in school I figure you should know anyway, yeah? <wink wink>  Marina>>

Starving Lawnmower blenny?  9/28/05 Hi WWM crew, <BJ> Any suggestions on getting a Lawnmower to eat? <Posted here: http://wetwebmedia.com/blenfdgfaqs.htm> He's a mature guy, 6" long, we've had him a few months, always eating native algae but the last several days seems to move differently, maybe looks a bit pale, not observed eating... Grace, BJ <Need a good-sized system with lots of mature LR... at this size, perhaps a hundred-gallon plus. And, congratulations! You've convinced me to "get off my duff" and (finally) write up an "article" on Salarias, Atrosalarias for marine aquariums. Thank you, Bob Fenner> Lawnmower Blenny  9/5/05 Hello, I would first like to say thanks for all the helpful articles you have posted to enthusiasts such as myself. I have had a lawnmower blenny about 2 and a half to 3 inches for about 4-5 months. He was fine at first, plump and healthy looking, but with time he became frail and didn't seem to be getting enough to eat. He still has a healthy appetite, but wasn't getting enough food from the tank. I was adding red and green algae on a daily basis to supplement his diet, but it got to the point were too much nitrate. I cut back on the algae and he still seem a bit thin. He became so used to me that he would bite at my hand when I put the algae clip in the tank, so I decided to try hand feeding. He really likes to eat Ocean Nutrition Prime Reef flakes right out of my hand, but he will only eat a small amount at a time then he hides away and he'll come back for more 5 or 10 minutes later. I only feed him twice a day because I don't want to foul the tank. He still seems pretty thin. He is in a 40g with about 50lbs of live rock and two clown fish. <Mmm, yes... not enough food grown endogenously> The blenny also was breathing pretty rapidly so I though there could be a problem with his gills. There is lots of oxygenation, ample current and no ammonia. Both the clowns and the blenny were flashing a little bit so I went to the LFS and he said it could be a parasite like velvet. <Not likely> I treated the two clowns and the blenny in a separate 10g tank using Cupramine for 21 days. <... too toxic, stressful> The guy at the LFS was surprised because I had the two clowns for about 1 year and they were not getting along. After treating them I took them to him and I discovered I had a Ocellaris and a Percula, not two Ocellaris like I thought. The Percula would constantly pick on the Ocellaris and the Ocellaris would always be submissive. We assumed that the stress on the clowns may have made them more susceptible to parasites and it was passed on the blenny. After the treatment none of the fish were flashing and the blenny in now in the 40g by himself. The two clowns are at the LFS and I'm waiting for the Percula to be paired with and anemone and another Percula. The blenny seems like he will still only eat if he is hand feed and his gills are still a bit red and he stills breaths rapidly. He has only been out of the 10g for 3 days, but I want to make sure he is OK before I add any other fish. The LFS guy is really good, he quarantines and freshwater dips the fish before he lets anyone take it home, so my only worry is the blenny. Do you think he will come around or should I do anything else with him? Thank you very much, Brad <If you had a larger reef system I would move this fish to it... Do you have a lighted sump, some other marine-ready container you can grow macro-algae on live rock in? Other than these ideas, soaking what food the fish will take (try Spectrum pelleted foods... more substantial) in Selcon, equivalent would help. Bob Fenner> Starving Lawnmower Blenny? Greetings once again Crew, After an exhaustive search on Lawnmower Blennies (Salarias Fasciatus) on your site, I couldn't find much in "ideal" conditions for a tank for his eating habits. I have a LMB ( about 4.5 inches ) in my 54 Gallon Reef ( 60 lbs LR, 80 Lbs LS ). I watch him eat and even "crap" all over the place, but in the past month or so, he has looked thinner to me than normal, despite his usual activity. I don't really have any kind of algae problem, and the only thing in my tank that may eat algae are 13 scarlet reef hermits and/or 12 Nassarius snails. Is it actually possible to "not have enough of an algae problem?" My tank is just about 4 months old, and if there is such a thing as not enough algae, are there certain conditions that need to be present for the Lawnmower Blenny to eat plentily? Thanks in advance for any advice. Cheers, and keep up the great work!  Rao    <It's possible to have algae overgrazed by other cleaners and starve some. You should try to get this fish eating regular fish food or give him much more habitat.  Feeding is your best option.  Craig>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny I just got a new lawnmower blenny. What would you suggest feeding it? he is uninterested in Nori so far, but I have only had him for two days. Thank you for any help!! <Well, these fishes are pretty good consumers of microalgae, but they will certainly eat other foods. In fact, my specimen probably eats more frozen foods than algae! Try a variety of prepared foods, with an emphasis on vegetable matter. If you don't have sufficient algae in the tank to help sustain this fish, you could purchase a couple of algae covered rocks and place them in his tank. This will help supplement whatever else you're feeding him. Enjoy this little guy! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding The Lawnmower (Blenny) Hello, thanks for a great site, fun reading other peoples questions and your answers. I have a 75 gal, 4 month old system, wet/dry, Protein skimmer, UV, and Eheim bio canister all my fish are doing great, Copperband, Tang, Tasseled file, Picasso and 10 other various Damsels, a lot of fish.. <Wow- larger tank down the line, i hope...?> Anyway, my Lawnmower Blenny keeps the tank very clean, it has never taken to  eating any other food that the fish eats, it only eats the brown algae. Is it possible to get him to eat anything else? <It can and will munch on other foodstuffs...In fact, mine seems to have adapted so well to prepared foods- that he shows little interest in algae any more!> I am hoping he does not eat its self out of food. Thanks ahead of time for any suggestions of food ...Tony, Natick, Mass. <I'd encourage it to eat a variety of frozen foods, such as Mysis, "formula" foods, etc....he'll get used to them in time, believe me! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny  thank you so much for your help!!<Thank you for writing!> i was told ocean nutrition formula 2 is good.  should i add garlic or Selcon?  <This food would be good as it is made of mostly algae.  I would add Selcon instead of garlic (garlic is mainly for repelling parasites).  Cody>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny (Pt. 2) Thank you so much for your help!! I was told Ocean Nutrition Formula 2 is good. Should I add garlic or Selcon? <Either additive to food is acceptable and beneficial to these, and other fishes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning their use. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lawnmower blenny starving I purchased a lawnmower blenny 5 weeks ago.  He will only eat algae off the sides of the tank and off the live rock.  His favorite seemed to be brown diatoms algae.  Now the tank is algae free and he has nothing to eat.  He is very thin now, and I can see his bones.  I've tried Spirulina flakes, romaine lettuce, frozen brine shrimp, Nori.  He is not even interested in the food, he lets it float right by him.  I tried sinking pellets, but the hermit crabs run off and eat it all up.  Is there something that I could smear on the glass? I have a 2 month old 29 gallon FOWLR, 27 lbs live rock, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite all at zero, Aqua C skimmer, penguin bio wheel filtration, and 2 clownfish (who eat like pigs).  Any suggestions would be appreciated, the poor guy is starving!<I would try feeding him Caulerpa and/or Nori...Caulerpa can be purchased at your LFS and Nori you can purchase from an Oriental food store. Good Luck, IanB>

Mystery Fish Update & Starving Blenny 5/21/04 Dear Bob or whoever is helpful today- <Anthony Calfo at your service> Mystery fish update: The mystery fish is growing quickly! It is over an inch now & is starting to get some color (black, white & red on the dorsal fin, red on the head & red on the caudal ventral fin) It is fun watching this little one grow & trying to figure out what it is. New question. I haven't been able to find a definitive answer so here is goes. Setup (running 6 mths): 55 gal, 90# CLR, 5" DSB, 5 gal refugium (macroalgae, bugs & 3 lettuce nudibranchs), 1 gal refugium (with Aiptasia), protein skimmer, 2 percula clowns (probably false), 1 cleaner wrasse, 3 green Chromis, 1 Jeweled Blenny, 1 emerald crab, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp, 3 sand sifting stars, 1 brittle star, 1 Halloween crab, asst. snails & hermits, 1 rock anemone, 1 Condylactis, 1 leather soft coral & 2 clumps of Anthelias.  When I purchased my Blenny from the LFS he was fat, now he is very skinny. I asked the LFS what to feed him & they suggested "Seaweed Selects Brown Marine Algae" (dried). I purchased a little clip to hang it on the tank. The big turbo snails go bonkers for the stuff, but Blenny doesn't touch it. <I can only assume you are referring to Salarias fasciatus without another scientific name provided, if so... they need a remarkable amount of microalgae. Large tanks with established films of green microalgae or young hair algae (like Derbesia). Spirulina based foods may help here. Really a matter of putting this fish in the right tank for it> I've also attached different types of macroalgae to the tank with the same results.  <they do not eat macroalgae or plants my friend> I've been trying this for about 10 days now & there is no interest in Blenny's part. I'm very concerned that my fish is going to starve to death.  <yes... although the fish can be hardy and long-lived, it will not be so if the tank is immature or too small (not enough microalgae growth)> Do you have ANY suggestions of what I can entice it with to eat. It is certainly hungry because it kisses the glass & rocks all day long looking for scraps of algae. <exactly> I'm driving to "the big city" tomorrow where there are larger LFS's & may provide a larger variety of food items for Blenny. Please send me some direction before my fish dies. Sincerely - Jennifer  <sigh... the problem here is that you bought/were sold the wrong fish... or the right fish for the wrong tank <G>. They do not fare well long term by target feeding. It really is as simple as needing a large tank that naturally grows a lot of microalgae. The fish may need to be traded away for best chance at survival. Anthony>

-Starving Blenny- I sent this yesterday to crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com I haven't heard back so I'm sending it to this address hoping for assistance. <Unfortunately we're a little short staffed because of Interzoo, please only send once.> Thanks Dear Bob or whoever is helpful today- <Kevin here, hope to be helpful!> Mystery fish update: The mystery fish is growing quickly!  It is over an inch now & is starting to get some color (black, white & red on the dorsal fin, red on the head & red on the caudal ventral fin)  It is fun watching this little one grow & trying to figure out what it is. <Sounds cool!> New question.  I haven't been able to find a definitive answer so here is goes.  Setup (running 6 mths): 55 gal, 90# CLR, 5" DSB, 5 gal refugium (macroalgae, bugs & 3 lettuce nudibranchs), 1 gal refugium (with Aiptasia), protein skimmer, 2 percula clowns (probably false), 1 cleaner wrasse <yikes, in the future please don't support the continued import of these critters since most don't survive for very long in captivity.>, 3 green Chromis, 1 Jeweled Blenny, 1 emerald crab, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp, 3 sand sifting stars, 1 brittle star, 1 Halloween crab, asst snails & hermits, 1 rock anemone, 1 Condylactis, 1 leather soft coral & 2 clumps of Xenias.   When I purchased my Blenny from the LFS he was fat, now he is very skinny.  I asked the LFS what to feed him & they suggested "Seaweed Selects Brown Marine Algae" (dried).  I purchased a little clip to hang it on the tank.  The big turbo snails go bonkers for the stuff, but Blenny doesn't touch it. <If it's the same algae eating blenny I'm thinking of, they require almost constant feeding to keep up their weight.> I've also attached different types of macroalgae to the tank with the same results.  I've been trying this for about 10 days now & there is no interest in Blenny's part.  I'm very concerned that my fish is going to starve to death.  Do you have ANY suggestions of what I can entice it with to eat. <These critters are more of green algae eaters, so I would select the dried seaweed appropriately. If the fish is really that skinny, it may be wise to move it to your refugium in hopes that he will take a liking to some of the greenery in there. If you choose to leave it in the main tank, i would move seaweed eating snails out so the blenny can feast without bother. This fish should also eat from the water column with the other fish in the tank, and if it does, do your best to stuff it full of whatever you can get it to eat. You may want to try breaking up the dried seaweed and feed it like flake food.> It is certainly hungry because it kisses the glass & rocks all day long looking for scraps of algae. <See if your LFS has a rock covered in hair algae or the like, I'm sure the blenny would be very pleased.> I'm driving to "the big city" this afternoon where there are larger LFS's & may provide a larger variety of food items for Blenny.  Please send me some direction before my fish dies. Sincerely - Jennifer BTW, I did hang some rinsed lettuce in the tank last night & no one touched it. <Avoid the terrestrial foods in favor of dried seaweeds, they're much better for them and natural to boot. I hope this helps, -Kevin>  Blenny had gone to bed already so maybe she will be more excited about it today.

Lawnmower Blenny Addicted To Lettuce? Hi folks! <Scott F. here today!> Just a (hopefully) quick question here.  About a month ago, I acquired a great little lawnmower blenny (looks like a Salarias ceramensis from the pictures).  After a stint in the quarantine tank, I've added him to my main tank. <Good procedure! Here's a pat on the dorsal side for you!> For the first few days, he didn't eat, which worried me, but now he's taken off.  My question is this: I've been offering him food to supplement his diet of algae, but I can't seem to get him to eat anything other than romaine lettuce; I've offered him Nori, but he ignores it.  I know they were feeding him romaine at the FS, and I think that's just what he's used to, but I also know that "land food" just isn't as good for fish as other things he could be eating. <Right! Do encourage him to eat foods of marine origin.> Do you have any suggestions for weaning him off of the lettuce to something healthier? <If he's eating some sort of sheets of vegetable material, then a natural "transition" would be to use Nori, which is processed seaweed used for sushi or musubi (yum!). You can purchase it at any Asian market, or you can pay more (!)and get the kind packaged for aquarium use...> And if I can't get him to make the switch, is there anything I should do to increase the nutrient value of the lettuce, or types of lettuce that are better than others (I know iceberg is pretty much devoid of nutrient value, so none of that of course). Thanks for your help! Kirsten <I suppose that you could use Romaine or something with slightly higher nutritional value, but I'd really get him off of the lettuce ASAP. In fact, my "Lawnmower Blenny" has been with me for several years, and eats just about anything. In fact, when I first obtained him, he showed little interest in algae, and was more interested in frozen foods! Give him time and variety, and this little gourmet will come around! Bon apetit! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny Hey guys, <Hi, MikeD here> I have a lawn-mower blenny who has eaten all the hair algae in my tank and he looks hungry.<He probably IS!> Every time I put seaweed in the tank the hermits, peppermint shrimp and emerald crab eat it all and he does not get any. Do you have any idea how I can feed him and not have massive arthropods.<Why are you concerned about the arthropods? My suggestion is to feed the amount necessary to keep the Lawnmower Blenny healthy and if you start getting too many 'pods, add a scooter blenny or a Mandarin. It sounds like you have one of the few tanks where one might be happy> Thanks

Re: Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny He died. <MikeD here. Sorry to hear about your blenny. These fish can be very difficult to keep and almost never do well in "pristine, spotless tanks" ,along with, IMO, many other species. Their diet requirements are simply too complex for someone who only wants a few pretty fish to swim around and be perfect, and are erroneously quoted as being necessary by many well meaning but misinformed sales people with little or no experience, so I highly doubt that much of the blame is yours.  As I mentioned earlier, your concerns about "pod explosions" and such indicate that both you and your fish would likely benefit if you stuck to undemanding, easily cared for species, and this is not singling you out in any way as incompetent, but rather is just a fact.>

Red Lip Blenny Quarantine Hello All, <Hi! Mike D here> Just purchased a red lipped blenny and have placed him/her into quarantine.<OK>  From what I have read these fish require live rock and micro algae for fish nirvana.<For starts. There are many different blenny species and each has its own particular requirements with no safe "general" rule that's going to work.>  I have this in my 80 gal. display.<Question: is this a reef display w/many corals or a FOWLR set up?>  The quarantine is bare except for a couple of PVC fittings.  What to do for food in the interim of approx. three to four weeks???<Feed it? **grin**>  Don't know if this guy will go for flake or pelletized food which is what I have on hand.<Here's problem #1.  While it MAY eat either of these, some algal food AND some fresh meaty foods are also suggested. Redlips are NOT 100% vegetarian and consume small shrimp and such in the wild, along with various plant materials.>  Appreciate your thoughts in this regard.  I presume that if I can't get him to eat after a few day a transfer to the display is in order as opposed to a starved/starving fish??<Yes and no. True, starving fish tend to break down and become infested/infected easily, but this can happen in a display tank just as easily. I suspect you were told a Redlip is a non-aggressive vegetarian and NEITHER is correct.>  Second question.  From what I have read the recommended photo period is 12 hours on, 12 hours off.  I was wondering if there is any particularly desirable on/off time or is this purely at the discretion of the fishkeeper?<That, again, is dependent on whether it's a reef set up or FOWLR set up, as the corals are usually light dependent, whereas fish and other inverts often could care less if it's the latter and it becomes a discretionary thing.>  Thanx for your input! and continue to  keep up the great work.<You're welcome and we try.>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny <Hi, Mike D here> Some woman on your website recommended I get one so it is her fault he died.<OK. I'm surprised anyone would suggest a lawnmower blenny for hair algae as most won't eat it. Other macroalgae, yes, but hair algae has very few fish that enjoy it, the reason it's such a famous pest. Sadly, this is the eventual end to MANY Lawnmower blennies> I think her name began with an M. I told her I did not have a lot of hair algae in my tank, but she insisted I did and recommended I get a Lawn Mower Blenny and now he is dead, starved to death. Oh well, all my other fish are doing well, Twinspot Hog, Yellow Tang, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, Firefish and Chalk Bass. I am on vacation this week and they all eat flake food which is good.<Eventually you should try some raw shrimp (Grocery store variety NOT LFS type!) on your Hogfish and Chalk Bass...you'll be amazed at how well they like it> I have the tanks set up as a carnivore and herbivore tank to make feeding easier so Spirulina flake for one and seafood flake for the other. I intend on getting a Crosshatch or Blue Jaw Trigger and a Solomon's Fairy Wrasse and a couple Blue Chromises or maybe a Blue Tang or a baby Yellow-Bar Angel to round out my 40 gallon reef and 29 gallon fish only tanks. I am gonna place an order probably with LiveAquaria, but they never have all the fish I want in stock at the same time. I am moving next year and will upgrade to a 125 and 55.<I'd suggest holding off on other angels until well after the move. Many don't survive the change to a new tank. I'd also suggest improving your foods, as flake foods are often fine for small juveniles but larger hogfish, wrasses and sea bass need a substantially meaty diet to do very well, and again, many of the best foods DO NOT come from the LFS>  

Snail question. Mike, <Hi Nathan, MacL here.  I guess they sent you to me because you felt my advice to you in the past was erroneous.  I have to say I'm sorry but I stand by what I said to you. I feel and have seen lawnmower blenny's eat hair algae. <RMF has as well... many times, in the wild and captivity> You do have to watch closely and make sure all your fish are eating and getting enough to eat. ALWAYS. But I have a friend who has lawnmowers in his tank right now eating there way through a hair algae problem. Now he has cut his in the past cut his hair algae down or pulled some of it out to a shorter length to do this as well. But please accept my apologies if my advice didn't work for you.  On here we can ONLY speak from our own experiences.  I gave you mine.> Thanks for your advice on feeding fish and I agree completely. The only reason I was feeding flake was because I was on vacation, otherwise, I feed frozen food exclusively. <You might consider mixing up your food types simply because it provides your fish a wider range and larger selection of foods and therefore nutrition.>  I also disagree in that I think San Francisco Bay brand is garbage because Brine Shrimp or artemia I think is the primary ingredient in everything they sell, but Ocean nutrition is a little better. <I think if you use brine shrimp in any form you really must supplement with vitamins of some kind.> I especially like their Pygmy Angel formula. The ingredients sound very good (algae, krill, shrimp, squid, etc..) and it is a good food for my herbivore tank (tang, flame and firefish).  I also used Fenner's recipe and made my own food which is more vegetarian based.  I buy that Mysid shrimp from that fresh water lake that is over 65% protein. I can't remember the name of the company who makes it.  My carnivores love it.  What about flake food with Zoe, Vita Chem or Selcon?  Does adding this to the food make it a decent food or still not very nutritious even with the vitamins added? <Adding the vitamins helps, the food does have some nutrition in it, in my experience but adding vitamins and trace elements always helps.> Anyway, my question is about snails. I have 5 turbo's in my 40. I need to get some cerith or Nassarius, but have not had time.  Well, in the mornings I see very small snails about the size of an eraser head. At first there was only one or two 3-6 months ago, but t*his morning I counted 9! LOL. <Its possible you have snail hitchhikers but its also possible you have baby turbo snails. You might want to search the snail identification FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailfaq.htm> They only come out at night and have not gotten bigger than that. Are they bad? If so, how do I get rid of them aside from physically pulling them out? <As long as they aren't cone snails they should be okay in the tank.> I had Aiptasia and bought a peppermint who promptly ate it. I had bubble algae and bought a emerald crab who promptly ate it. <I've had bad person experiences with emerald crabs who have gone on that attack.> Is there a similar solution for these snails if they are bad?  Now, I want to say my reef tank is doing incredibly well.  I bought very small frags of Xenia and Yellow and I think Brown Polyps for 5 bucks each and I have fragged these onto three more rocks, each. I also got a couple red mushrooms free and have fragged them onto two more rocks.  I have almost no nuisance algae in the tank at all and none on the gravel. Water conditions are perfect.  <Define perfect? O of everything? Phosphates etc? >Thanks for the advice. <Anytime>

Helpful Tip for feeding Lawnmower Blennies Just thought this info might help. <Thanks for this> Hey folks. I have some great news for those of you having problems feeding   your lawnmower blennies. New Life Products makes New Life SPECTRUM  Marine Fish Formula; sinking pellets. I purchased my first lawnmower  over a year ago and soon after realized he wasn't eating and I began to worry.  My daughter named him "Little Feller" I desperately searched the internet for an  answer. After reading many posts and articles and many failures in trying to get  him to eat, I about gave up. I even tried sanitizing some fresh algae from the  nearby fresh water pond placing tufts of the stuff bunched together with rubber  bands in the rocks, but nothing would work. I had temporarily ran out of Formula  1, so I was feeding the Spectrum for a few days until I could run out to the  fish shop. Within 2 days, the blenny started devouring the stuff. This was after  no eating for 2 weeks and I'd just about wrote him off. I felt so guilty that he  was suffering. Within a week he was fat as a hog. He recently bought the farm  after jumping out of the back of the tank. (SAD) I just purchased a new  lawnmower (Little Feller II) about a month ago. I was worried that my previous  success was just a fluke. By the 2nd day in the tank he was eating the Spectrum  just like my previous blenny. Just as a test, I tried Formula 1 and Formula 2  and he just spits them out after tasting them. But the Spectrum; He loves it!! I  hope this is helpful to anyone having feeding problems. <Am friends with the maker, Pablo Tepoot... and feed his foods to my African Cichlids... and have seen the Spectrum line fed to Moorish Idols, Parrotfishes, many other difficult-feeding fishes in public and private aquaria around the world... the food is to put it simply, amazing. Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower Blenny Hi, I discovered something that might be of interest to your other readers.  I noticed a lot of people have trouble feeding lawnmower blennies.  I had the same problem.  Or so I thought.  I did not have that much algae in my tank, and he would not touch any of the algae sheets I would put in the tank.  I even tried macroalgae.  Nothing.  Then I noticed the other day, after I would feed my other fish, something interesting.  I feed my fish a mix of formula two, prime reef (both flake), and Kent marine platinum herbivore and carnivore pellets.  That little blenny bugger started eating the pellets!  And not the herbivore formula, but the carnivore ones.  I would be curious to see if it worked for any of your other readers.  Thanks for your time.   >>>Hello, People have trouble feeding lawnmower blennies because they often do not eat prepared foods in captivity. Some do, your specimen being one of them. It's good that you found a pellet that he likes, but that high protein pellet will not be suitable for him long term. Cheers Jim<<< Lawnmower Bennie Hey there, I have a Lawnmower Blenny for about 3 month's now. I notice that his stomach is sunken in. What can I feed the Blenny. The fish always seems to shape off algae from the glass. I see him try to eat hair algae that is present in my tank. Thanks, Anthony >> Yes, these animals (mostly Salarias spp.) are prodigious algae eaters... and not much else. If you can't move the animal to a larger tank with more algae, do try offering "green" foods like sheet algae (you can buy from fish stores or oriental food (sections) of human food stores), other algae-based foods (dried, pelleted)... Bob Fenner

Lawnmower Blennies I'm expecting a shipment of two Lawnmower Blennies tomorrow. I have lots of maroon colored algae with bubbles. Will they eat this? Do they carry any parasites? I'm contemplating dipping them in Methylene Blue and wonder if this could harm them because they don't have scales. I will also quarantine them. If fish are going to be quarantined for 2 weeks or more, is it necessary to put them through the stress of a dip? Thank you for your time. >> Lots of questions! I love it! Yes to the likelihood of the Lawnmower Blennies eating the maroon colored algae, and no to the bubble types... About the only thing that touches the latter (aka Valoniaceae) are the "Emerald crabs", genus Mithrax... and yes to the dip in Methylene blue and freshwater (IMO), along with the two week quarantine... These fish (es if you want to include all blennies/oids) rarely bring in communicable diseases... but are surely tough enough to tolerate the added procedure... and I would/and do, do it. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner

Lawnmower Blenny I have a Lawnmower Blenny that seems to be getting thinner and thinner. We have had him in our 55 for almost 3 months, and seems to be swimming around and eating (algae off of the glass and rocks and such) just fine. He has occasionally eaten some of the brown marine algae I feed. Along with him, I have (cleanup crew wise) 6 turbo snails and about a dozen or more blue and red legged hermit crabs. I also have 50 lbs of live rock in the tank. I don't have a sump, but do have a Berlin skimmer, and Penguin 400 Biowheel filter. The tank is lit with a 10,000 K, 50/50 and full spectrum 40 watt fluorescent lights. One more question... Livestock wise (in addition to the above), we have a Flame Angel, Koran Angel, Yellow Tang, Christmas Wrasse, Maroon Clown and a Bubble Anemone. What temp. should we keep the tank at? I have been told 75-76 by some, and 79-80 by others. Thanks for your wonderful Q&A column. I have learned a ton!!! Dan Farnham >> Thanks for writing... I would either move the Lawnmower Blenny, or add more live rock... about all this species (Salarias fasciatus) eats is filamentous green algae...  And your temperature is fine in the mid-seventies... the animals will/would live faster/shorter lives at higher temperatures... but is that what you want? Me neither. Bob Fenner, who likes diving in warm water... 

Lawnmower blenny Bob, I had a green algae problem in my tank, but after doing what you have suggested the problem is gone. One of the things I did was purchasing a Lawn mower blenny which did a great job. The problem now is that there is no more algae for the blenny to eat and it has lost a lot of weight. I tried feeding it dried seaweed but it wasn't interested. Is there anything that I could do to save it or should I just return it to my LFS. Thanks for your help. >> Hmm, how big a tank do you have it in? Anyway to grow some "extra" algae on some live rock... in a sump, refugium or your hospital/quarantine tank? If all else fails, do return the animal. 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>

Algae (of some sort) I have a lawnmower blenny and some hair algae growing off my water flow director and he won't eat it. Could it be he doesn't know it's there?  <Highly unlikely... and almost as unlikely that this is a green algae that is palatable... Probably a blue green, aka Cyanobacteria> Should I just clean it off myself? How would I clean it? <Yes, remove the unit, lightly bleach it for an hour in a container, rinse thoroughly in freshwater, replace. Bob Fenner> Thank You, Sandl

Moonlight and Blenny Feeding While I was waiting for your response, I discovered a product by Aquamedic called the Aquamoonlight. Is this a $75 version of a low wattage red incandescent bulb? <I have never seen the product.> Also, how many total red bulbs at what wattage would provide good night viewing in a 150 gallon? <Three 15 watt units should be ok. It will not be bright, but you do not want that.> Last, I just added a 5" long Blenny to my reef (I say reef, but it's not quite there yet...150 gallons, 150 lbs of liverock, no corals yet) and I can't get him to eat. It's been about 4 days and he seems healthy, but does not take part in the feeding frenzy. Food even lands on his head and he shakes it off. Normally I feed Mysis shrimp, and the occasional prime reef. I added Formula II in case he was a veg, but to no avail. Is he secretly feeding at night? <And all day, too.> Thanks. -Pat <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Algae Blenny I have a 20gal. with lots of algae on my rocks (mostly green hair). I bought an algae blenny but I don't think he is getting enough to eat. I see him pick at the rocks all day but still seems under fed. <<The chances are that you just don't have enough... these fish typically need about a 60g tank to keep them healthy.>> Is there any other food I can feed him? <<Not really besides live rock with algae on it. Please do read the following URL and FAQs beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trublennies.htm>> Shaun Nelson <<Cheers, J -- >>

Blenny Not Eating Hello WWM crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here> I've had an algae blenny for about 6 months now and he's been doing fine up to about a month ago when the tank started being dominated by red hair algae. The Blenny stopped eating and he is so thin now that I'm afraid he will die any day now. <Well- two things: First, you need to review water conditions. Usually, red algae are indicative of high nutrient loads. Do check water chemistry, review husbandry procedures (water changes, skimming, and feeding habits), and take action to eliminate the root cause of the outbreak. Second- if the red algae is of the "Cyanobacteria" variety (more slimy than hairy), there is always the chance that the fish is suffering from toxins (these algae can be toxic to fishes if ingested) as a result of eating the algae. This is a very remote possibility-but it could happen. A better possibility is that some of the same water conditions that are resulting in an algae outbreak are causing this fish to suffer. Check them regularly!> The odd part is that there is still some algae on the glass but he isn't going after it. I see him swimming around the glass like he is looking for some algae to suck on but he never does. What can I do to help him since he doesn't seem to go for the formula 2, blood worms or brine shrimp that I feed the other fish? <Well- depending on the species that you have, they are not exclusively algae consumers, so your idea to try other foods is a good one. I'd keep trying targeted feeding of a variety of food items. I'd even try enriched brine shrimp. Although much maligned, brine shrimp might serve as a stimulant to get this guy eating again. Keep trying, observe the fish carefully for any outward signs of illness, and take any corrective actions that are necessary. hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Blenny not eating Hello,  I may have some help for the person with the Lawnmower blenny that's not eating.  Every time I feed my Niger trigger and my blue spot goby in my 60 gallon acrylic sump SERA brand Marin tablets, my Lawnmower blenny goes crazy trying to find it and will eat as much of it as it can, but the Lawnmower blenny in our main tank won't even touch the stuff.  Eating anything other than algae is very strange for Lawnmower blennies as far as I have ever seen.  Mine must be the exception.  This might help.  Jeff <Thank you for this. Will post in the hopes that the person with the non-feeding blenny will see... and that others will benefit from your shared observation. Bob

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: