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FAQs on the Combtooth Blennies 1

Related Articles: True or Combtooth Blennies, Blennioids and their Relatives, Algae Eating Blennies, Ecsenius BlenniesSabretooth Blennies, Family Blenniidae/Tribe Nemophini, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

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

An Atrosalarias fuscus living in an aquarium.

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>

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 Fenner>

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>

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

Ailing Lawnmower Blenny Good morning one and all. I have a quick question regarding my Lawnmower Blenny. He started off looking good and fat and is now slowly becoming more thin. There is still a predominance of hair algae in the tank that he takes no notice off but instead tries to eat the glass of the tank. What supplements can I give him in order to get him fat and healthy again? He ignores the Nori and the Dulse that I use to feed the tang. <Very bad sign> All tank parameters are great and everyone else is healthy, the corals are flourishing. Now I just need to get him back up to speed. Any suggestions would be great. Cheers. Julian Hunt <Of the major categories of probable cause here I'd discount bullying, environmental pollution effects... and suggest that "something" internal is at play... gut blockage from swallowing "something", perhaps a developmental/genetic anomaly, more likely an internal parasite of some sort. You can either "wait this out" hoping the animal may spontaneously cure of its own (they get thin quite quickly, and can perish in days to weeks w/o food), or try force-feeding the Blenny with an anti-parasitic compound or mix (I suggest food laced with Metronidazole)... in a quarantine system. Bob Fenner>

Midas Blenny To Steve Pro or any of you knowledgeable people - Hi on a Sunday AM. Steve, I was wondering why you thought a Midas Blenny would not be a good idea for my two tanks. <Generally not very hardy. They feed very frequent feedings of plankton substitutes, much like the Anthias they mimic.> I wanted a small yellow friendly guy to put in with my two black and white clowns. Bob gives it a rave review in his book. <Not in my copy> Does he grow too big or what? (The tank is 29 gallons) I was also planning to put one in my 60 gallon tank. Do you know of other small yellow friendly fellows who are community-types and are fish? <Gobiodon citrinus or G. okinawae> Thanks for your continued help on stocking my tank. Am still planning on the fairy wrasse for my 60 gallon tank. Are there different kinds of fairy wrasses <Many> and if so should I beware of any particular one? <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm> The current crew is one clown, one pygmy angel and one royal Gramma. Still plan to add 3 Chromis and one more clown to that tank. Fishfully yours, Connie Cavan <Have a nice weekend. -Steven Pro>

Midas blenny Evening guys, <<Hello, Jason, it's Jason...>> Just a quick question! I purchased a Midas blenny today, which is already pigging out. <<Good deal.>> I've been looking at pics of these guys just to get a handle on their normal and stressed color patterns so I can watch for trouble. After looking at the images you have posted, are you sure that the middle photograph (the one immediately to the left of the lyretail Anthias) is a Midas? <<Pretty sure it is, they can vary in color pretty strongly depending on mood, stress, sleep time and some other unexplainable reasons.>> It looks more like a canary blenny, which I have gone well out of my way to avoid! :) Just curious as my Midas does not have the vibrant yellow coloration, and I'm not sure if that is normal or not. <<Yeah, that's normal... give it some time.>> Thanks!, Jason <<Cheers, J -- >>

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 -- >>

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.

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>

Name this fish? :) WWM Group- We bought a fish at the LFS quite a while ago, we'd never seen the type before but decided to give it a try. The owner didn't know the name, he thought it was a blenny of some sort, and had put one in his tank successfully. We called him the Blue Dragon Blenny. He disappeared recently and we want to get another one. He had quite a personality. He was a grayish-blue with antennas, he looks similar to the Black Sailfin Blenny picture on flying fish express. He was about 4 inches long but we don't know if he was an adult. He perched, often pushing our hawk out of his favorite spots, he was also quite the algae eater. We know this is probably a lost cause but thanks for anything at all. <Hopefully this is one of the several hundred possible blennies that is commonly collected. I'll guess it's an Atrosalarias fuscus (come in different colors). Please see on our root web here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trublennies.htm Is this the animal? Bob Fenner> Thanks- Elaine

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.  <Aiiiieeeee! 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 gonna 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 Powerfilter 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>

Pregnant Blenny??? Hi Bob quick question for you, <Anthony Calfo here... Bob is outside trying to hitchhike his way to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl... someone really should tell him that you can't get there by car> I have a bicolor blenny that I just noticed has a somewhat distended belly with visible lumps. Now I've had the fish for over 2 months, so I don't think its about to lay eggs or have babies, <agreed> but I was curious if it may be infected with some disease. I noticed him looking full yesterday after feeding it some Mysis shrimp, but today its bigger and lumpy. any idea what it might be? Thanks! David <David...fast the creature/tank for several days to see if the distension subsides (we want to see if the "plumbing" is working). You might even add a TBN of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) per 10 gall of tank water as a laxative (it is invert safe and in your food and sea salt as well) in case blockage/constipation were a concern. This occurs with greedy fish that gulp food to much too fast (particularly dry foods). Let us know if this helps. Kindly, Anthony> David Schaer

Re: Pregnant Blenny??? Yea, greedy constipated fish is what I think it was, the blockage seems to have cleared by today, it just look really weird yesterday <not at all uncommon> now I just have to keep an eye on my rusty angel who is developing pop-eye.  <one eye on one fish is usually mechanical damage (a bump from a startle/spook into the glass or rocks). The Epsom salt ironically will help purge the fluid from behind the swelling eye (Magnesium Sulfate at 1 TBN per 10 gallons one time)>  A question on that, my LFS which much to my chagrin happens to be PetCo, gets their fish from a rather reputable wholesaler in NJ, so I order fish from them and try to get it in my tank before they can put them in theirs. <wise> Unfortunately the Rusty I picked up last week, spent a few hours in their tanks before I picked it up and its developing pop-eye, <not contagious really unless overall conditions are so unsanitary> even though my tank conditions are very optimal, no nitrites, or nitrates. <again...likely mechanical damage but if both eyes swell...may be pathogenic and to be treated like bacterial infection> Now I read most of the pop-eye FAQs last night, and my question is this, they had an angel in their set up with pop-eye so I was wondering what the chances are that is a contagious pop eye and not a injury, if it is one that the fish caught in their tanks, do I treat it the same way, just let it go away on its own, and is there any additives, vitamin wise, that I should add to the tank to help it cure up? Thanks!! David <Epsom salt and optimum diet for starters...if you don't see stabilization or improvement in 3 days, begin meds in quarantine. Anthony>

Redlip blenny????? I am assuming these are reef safe? Are they? Good community fish? Any particular problems? Thanks Rob <Please use the search feature on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

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

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

Salarias fasciatus Dear Mr. Fenner, I sent you an e-mail yesterday but I have a feeling Yahoo messed up because I did not see it posted in my Sent folder. If you get this letter twice I am very sorry. <No worries> I wrote to you not too long ago. I was worrying about how to set up my PC lighting, hood or canopy. I went with the canopy with the Mylar material you described covering the inside. I am very pleased with this set up. Now that the lights are on full blast I am battling an algae bloom. Diatom being the major player. My water reading are great Amm. 0, NO2 0, NO3 0, Ph 8.4, 79 degrees, Phosphate 0, Alk. and Cal. on the lower side of the actable range. I have good water motion and I thought the best natural helper for this situation would be the lawnmower blenny. I have two questions. 1) I do hope I word this correctly. If when I do my weekly water change I would find algae on the front of my glass (I do get this and clean it every week,) should I leave it be and not care about the outward appearance for now because the blenny would get to it in time? <Do remove the film from the viewing panels... the blennies can't clean it as well as you will like> 2) My LFS has many 20 gallon tanks set up for display. Each tank receives 80 watts PC lighting. I know when I get him home I would only have room lighting on for that day. Should I slowly acclimate him to my lighting? Or is it safe because of the larger system and he would not "feel" any harm therefore? <Likely no problem. I would just keep with the regular day/light cycle. These species... Salarias, Atrosalarias are very adaptable.> I do thank you for your time and advice in advance once again. It means a great deal to me! Josie <As do your well-thought out queries. 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

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 WAYYYY 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>

Algae Blennies Hello, I currently have a 20 gal. tank with about 19 lbs. of live rock, a coral banded shrimp, tomato or cinnamon (not sure which one) clownfish, a Banggai cardinal, 2 hermit crabs and some snails. My tank is about 2 years old. I had some trouble until I put in all the live rock. Lately I have been trying to keep an alga blennies but have failed twice. Could they have starved to death?  <Likely yes... take a look at the "Blennies" and FAQs section on our site: a Salarias will definitely not be sustained in a twenty gallon system... but there are some other (pictured) species that might (don't get as big, aren't as active), like members of the genus Atrosalarias...> I fed green marine algae in the dried sheet form. I also fed brine shrimp and formula 1 for the other folks. I am not planning on putting another one in but would like to figure out what happened. Thanks much! <Well done my friend. Bob Fenner>

Sick blenny Mr. Fenner, What would we do without you?  <I fear that some people would lose livestock, perhaps give up on this wonderful hobby altogether... and then who would I have to share with?> My red lipped blenny is sick. He is in a 20 gallon quarantine tank and has been in there since we got him at the end of Feb. Cannot put him into the main because we are keeping that fallow due to ich. There is also a blue damsel in the 20. We haven't put anything different or new into the tank The blenny started to look dirty a couple of days ago, yesterday he looked worse and was acting very shy which is unusual, today he is even worse. He doesn't raise his fins or open his back fin and now instead of dirty he looks dark from his head down to his middle. Oh, and he flicks. Yesterday the water read: Ammonia-0-.25, Alk-3.6, Nitrite-0, ph-8.6. For the Nitrates I did both tests one read 20(with the powder reagent) and the other 0. Then I changed out about 3 gallons of water. What is it and what can I do? Thank you, Mercedes <Since February? I would move it/them to your main tank... add a biological cleaner, and hope for the best. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick blenny Mr. Fenner, I am so grateful for your quick response! Thank you. A couple of weeks ago, we figured we should be done with the ich so we put our coral beauty in the main and he got ich in two days and died shortly thereafter, so we have quite awhile to go before we can add anything. Now what? Is there anything I can do for him?  <About the best would be a clean, cured live rock system to place it in... barring this, if you can find cured live rock to put in the quarantine tank... this might save the day.> I tested the water and all the readings are the same as before I changed the water out. I am a little confused about the Nitrates reading. Thanks again, Mercedes <It may be that some of your reagents are old/damaged... I would do a third test if two are not in close agreement and then assume the worst and believe the two highest. 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>

Name that Blenny! What are some of the common names associated with Atrosalarias to help me locate them in my LFS? >> Hmm, Highfin Blenny... Brown or Coral Blenny... many other common names possible... Take a look at FishBase for pix, species... exp. A. fuscus. Bob Fenner

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 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? Maybe try "algae wafers"...  If all else fails, do return the animal. Bob Fenner

Black Widow Blenny ID I just purchased what is called a black widow blenny from a friend who owns a  pet store and was wondering if you new anything or could tell me where I  could look , my friend says he's only seen one in his life time and has  nothing in his books. If you could help I would appreciate it thanks. >> Hmm, this is actually a livebearing Cusk Eel (family Bythitidae, Order Ophidiiformes)... from the West Atlantic... stays small (about 3" overall, 7.5 cm. long...) eats most all meaty foods... easygoing. Fancy name is Stygnobrotula latebricola... sold as Black Widow "Goby" in the trade... a jumper. You might want to look on ICLARM's FishBase for what little can be found in the scientific literature on this animal. Bob Fenner

Blenny Hi Bob, The local fish store said a Lawnmower Blenny and Rock Blenny will do the same thing: eat hair algae. Is this true? <Yes> I went to buy a Lawnmower Blenny since I had read online about their appetite for green hair algae. I trimmed it to where it's a 4th an inch off the rock. Will the Rock Blenny eat it? <Yes> Also, I bought some Margarita Snails and some red-legged reef crabs. However, my Lunar Wrasse is having a field day picking at them. He knocks the snails off the rock and glass and I think he has actually eaten some of my crabs. HELP!! <Yes, they will all be consumed in time> Thanks in advance! Barry >> <You're welcome, Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower??? I know that the Lawnmower Blenny eats algae but is it a "sand sifter"? Also would the Neon gobies from FFExpress be a good cleaner species. Its says that if they are captive bred that they may not clean. Would those? Thanks, Tim >> Lawnmower Blennies (mainly Salarias fasciatus) are not much in the way of Sand Sifters.... they spend most all their time in/on the rocks... and Neon Gobies, tank raised or no will generally learn to be cleaners... if there are customers to be had. Bob Fenner, whose Sand Sifter, Blenny, and Goby articles and more can be found, perused at www.wetwebmedia.com, including images. Compatibility I would like to know if a lawnmower blenny would be compatible with my Niger  trigger and 2 snowflake eels . Trigger is approx.5 inches and eels roughly 12  to 15 inches in length they are in a 58 gal reef ready I thought I read  recently in your column suggesting a blenny was okay with these fish was  wanting to use the blenny for natural algae control thanks in advance for  your comments and a very informative and educational column >> Worth a try with a larger (let's say about 4") individual... these are fast, smart animals... do place it down near the rock when you release it... maybe feed the trigger and eels at about the same time... Bob Fenner

Goby/blenny Bob- Here is more info on my reef tank that you requested so that you could fully reply to my question about blennies/gobies (original question and reply are below). <Ah, good. Thanks for the info.> 58 gallons with 71 pounds of Manono live rock 1/2 inch layer of aragonite <Grade? I'll assume this is not egg-sand or more than 1/8"> water quality and movement is superior 2 96w PC Currently I have 1 Percula clown and a yellow tailed damsel. Ideally I would like to place a Flame Angel, Purple or Desjardin Tang, Banggai Cardinal, Lawnmower Blenny, Neon Goby and a substrate sifter in the form of a blenny or goby. I am concerned that the tank might be over populated with this mix and will be willing to not place the Banggai Cardinal in the tank. <Leave out the Desjardin's Tang. Too big for this size system> Other concerns are: I like the lawnmower Blenny for algae purposes and the Neon Goby for parasite purposes. Will the Neon Goby and Lawnmower blenny compete for food resulting in the loss of one?  <Nope... different foods, niches> I would like to place a "substrate sifter" but three blennies/gobies seems like too much competition as well.  <Yes, just one sifter would be best... and the tangs you list will turn the bottom over to an extent> Maybe I should drop the Neon Goby and buy a Pacific Cleaner Shrimp for the purpose of fighting parasites. Any suggestions? Thanks a million, Rob The Lawnmower should only go in when there is substantial filamentous Green algae (Chlorophyta) to consume... and start with a small specimen... only one. Maybe a Cryptocentrus, Atrosalarias, Amblygobius, Valenciennea species after the system has been up, running a good six months... Suspect we will be "chatting" between now and then... Bob Fenner Blenny Sifter Choice > Bob- > Is there a goby or blenny that you could recommend that stirs substrate aragonite). > <Many, but need to know how big your system is, what sort of other livestock,  if/how much live rock you have... many of these fishes starve, and there may be other organisms that would be better to recommend for your circumstances> > Also, are neon gobies an effective way to partially control parasites? > <Oh yes, and most would-be predators recognize them as "friends" versus > snacks... but once again, need more info.... about what else you have, intend  to place in this system>> Thank you,  Rob > You're welcome, > 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... 

Exallias brevis correction Bob, After reading Gregor's message today with a reference to this site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WCMCRepRev.htm, I then went to http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WCMCRepRev.htm, and from there looked up information on blennies (I did my thesis research on blennies, hence my interest). I was impressed with the amount of information you (or someone) has made available, but I should point out one correction. For several stalwart species that are perennially offered to aquarists....Another gorgeous shallow water member from the same area is the leopard blenny, Exallias brevis with its beautiful brown mottled exterior." You should be aware that Exallias brevis is an obligate corallivore and does not do well in most aquariums. I have seen them accept foods other than live coral but they generally do not survive long in captivity, and of course they are a disaster in a live reef tank. You might mention this in your write-up. The true leopard blenny (if anything is true about common names!), is Cirripectes fuscoguttatus which is another large, spotted blenny similar to E. brevis. However, E. brevis is much more common and therefore more likely imported. BTW, male E. brevis have a pink or red color and females are brown (both sexes are spotted). C. fuscoguttatus is never red but is spotted so it may be confused with female E. brevis. Hope you don't mind a bit of trivia, but in fact since E. brevis continues to be collected, even here in Hawaii, I think aquarists ought to be wary of purchasing them.

Thanks so much for writing Bruce... will be checking the file... Do know of this pesky obligate polyp eater... finally have some decent images from Maui last month of it "in action"... and am amazed and embarrassed to find a "plug" for it (yes, those are all my postings on WWM site)... and will remove post haste... took a look at the piece in question... and the sentence doesn't make sense to me at all... the line reads "from the same area"? Exallias is not found in the Caribbean... except as a nomen nudum according to ICLARM's FishBase... and they have no other "common name" relational prompt for "leopard blenny" than the ill-fated Exallias brevis.... mea culpissima. Will just delete the sentence entirely. Looked in my most recent published effort, "A Fishwatcher's Guide... that Dr. Randall was so kind to lend images for... sent copies for you and Charles Delbeek (through Ms. Renate) of this work... hope you received... and I do condemn the collection, use of the Sailfin Blenny there...  Thank you again,
Bob Fenner

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

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