Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Filefish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Filefishes

Related FAQs: Filefishes, Filefish Identification, Filefish Behavior, Filefish Compatibility, Filefish Selection, Filefish Systems, Filefish Disease, Filefish Reproduction, Filefishes eating Aiptasia

Paraluteres mimic juvenile.

Orange spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris), sys., fdg.  -- 07/10/08 Hi crew, <Mohamed> I seen 1 of these in a LFS and bought him because I know that it will not survive without sps. <Generally not> I kept it in a nano and placed some small pieces of sps to feed on. After a week its still alive but the small pieces of sps was not enough so I pleased him in my reef with a number of small sps frags and he started feeding immediately on the polyps. <Yes> The question is will the orange spotted live happily with the sps without causing any harm like killing my sps or stopping the growth, etc in other words by eating the polyps from the sps what damage can the orange spotted cause and can I keep him in the reef or place him back in the nano? thanks Mohamed <A matter of balance... "so many foxes, so many hens"... if there's sufficient coral... Bob Fenner>

Oxymonacanthus longirostris... keeping... fdg. mostly   -02/20/08 Hello, I'm setting up a 110 gallon (30" tall) seahorse/ peaceful tankmate aquarium. I'm interested in having an Oxymonacanthus longirostris. How much Acropora would I need to support this fish and how much light do the Acroporas need? <About a tank full of this size for a "pair"/two specimens> Would the filefish also accept live foods like copepods, rotifers and brine shrimp? <Not likely, no> I've also read that they will learn to accept frozen food in a peaceful setting. How likely is that? Thanks, Sherry <Very small possibility. Bob Fenner>

Re: Oxymonacanthus longirostris  -02/20/08 Thanks Bob, <Welcome Sherry> I'm a big fan of your writing. Another idea I had was to set up a refugium so that I could rotate the corals as they are grazed upon, using the refugium as a recovery room. <An excellent idea> Anyhow, I mainly looked into the long-nosed filefish because it appeared on a list of "possibly compatible seahorse tankmates." Boy am I glad to be able to read about these fish in advance. It may be years before my tank is established enough for the filefish (or two)! Best regards, Sherry with the empty tank (for now! Patience is a virtue.) <Ahh, yes... Cheers, BobF>

Longnose filefish... Mr. Fenner, I recently made a foolish, impulsive purchase of a longnose filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris) from FFexpress. I saw how beautiful the animal was, and at an attractive price of $11, it was a sealed deal. I saw the "restricted" logo next to the name on the web site, but for some reason I assumed this was because it was a delicate shipper. The strange thing is, I am very particular to what I put in my tank. I have researched it all out and have put together what I consider to be a very healthy and enjoyable system. This is ironic because I learned almost everything I know from reading your most recent book, but I failed to peruse the section on filefishes closely enough to see that you strongly dissuade us from purchasing the longnose filefish. <Ah, a "slip", not a "fall"... we all make them.> Is there anything else that this fish might consider eating? I visited wetwebmedia.com and saw that it eats specifically "Acroporid" coral.  <Yes, almost exclusively> What if I purchase Acroporid coral polyps on a medium-sized rock and let the fish eat. Will it strip the rock clean before anything has a chance to grow back?  <Hmm, depends on size of both... predator/prey... but most Oxymonacanthus die "mysteriously within a week or two regardless.> You may be shaking your head at my irresponsibility on this move, but at this point, I just can't stand the thought of watching my fish wither away. What a waste. I would greatly appreciate any extra information you may be able to divulge. Thank you. <To continue in your quest for more suitable species, specimens and further your efforts at informing others (as you have done here) in avoiding them... so that appropriate ones will be provided, others left in place.. Bob Fenner>

Tassled Filefish Diet Suggestions Hi Bob, I am a somewhat experienced marine hobbyist and was wondering if you might have some creative ideas for feeding my large Tassled filefish. He appears to be a very avid eater, but seems only to swallow brine shrimp (which does not fill him up easily) and live ghost shrimp (which I often have a hard time finding locally). He shows no interest in other prepared frozen foods (1Trigger Food, Formula One, etc), flake food or pelleted food. He seemed interested in squid until I chopped it up small enough for him to eat; he eats it then spits it back out. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. I like to see my fish nice and fat, but he's starting to get a bit on the thin side. Thanks so much, -Stacie <Our slight coverage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/filefish.htm and Fishbase.org doesn't provide much: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=7975 in the way of clues... other than habitat... Would try fresh live rock (in hopes of discovering a favored food type)... and what you've been doing... along with soaking same in a vitamin prep. (stimulates appetite). Of monacanthids, this species does pretty well in captivity... many specimens I've had contact with eventually take most all meaty foodstuffs. Bob Fenner>

Feeding Aluterus scripta Bob, What does the file fish Aluterus scripta feed upon in nature? Thanks, Josh <Of all the many times I have seen this fish (Aluterus scriptus) in the wild, I've never observed it feeding. Fishbase.org says: "Feeds on algae, seagrass, hydrozoans, gorgonians, colonial anemones, and tunicates." Bob Fenner>

Re: My Gray bellied Regal Angel... (actually Harlequin Filefish? Oxymonacanthus food...) Hi, Thanks for the response. In reading a lot of literature out there I was under the impression that O. longirostris simply will refuse food. What I did not know is that it will eat, but will not assimilate the nutrients. I was told by a person in the Waikiki aquarium years ago that they feed their specimen with a special gel type food they make in-house. Perhaps someday a fish food manufacturer will figure out a mix of stuff that it will eat, digest, and assimilate. Until then... sigh. <<Thanks for the additional info. Cheers, J -- >>

Filefish Food Files? Dearest Crew: <Scott F. your Crew member today!> I went to my LFS (after I consulted with you guys) with my list in hand (pix too!).  Out of all of the fish we discussed on my list, they had only one of them, which is fine by me! <Part of the fun, though...Makes the "search" more enjoyable..> So, I "signed the adoption papers", and I am now the proud guardian of a Blacksaddled (or Mimic) Filefish - Paraluteres prionurus!  I must say, it is a gorgeous specimen, about 2" from the tip of his mouth to the Caudal Peduncle (add another inch if you include the tail)! So, the fish is in quarantine for a few days. <Glad to hear that you're embracing this practice! It will pay dividends down the line!> So far he has not eaten. I have offered shrimp and salmon at different times.  I have read that they also eat algae, and I have some in the QT, but he doesn't seem to eat it. He does rub his mouth on the glass, as if to pick up on microbes (hopefully!), but he does not seem interested in the bigger stuff.  I just need to know: 1) what else I should offer; 2) do they have a different primary diet from what I am offering; 3)when should I worry about him not eating, and 3) can you use a better picture for you website, because my guy is a beauty!?  Thanks, Rich <Well, Rich, these fishes will generally eat just about any of the commonly available frozen foods. I'd try some of the Ocean Nutrition foods, such as "Prime Reef", "Brine Shrimp Plus", or even frozen Mysis. These are all eagerly accepted by this species, and offer a good balance of animal and vegetable materials. I Would start to worry if he doesn't eat in about a week...You might try adding some liquid vitamin preparations, like "VitaChem", in his tank water. This may provide some nutrition (as fishes drink water), and may stimulate him to eat. As far as the pic is concerned, why don't you shoot it out to Bob and perhaps he can add it to the collection? Good luck with this fish! Regards, Scott F>

Re: The Filefish Files.. Scott (or current crewperson): <Scott F. your Crew Member tonight!> Thanks for the advice on feeding my Blacksaddled (or Mimic) Filefish -Paraluteres prionurus.  I had some frozen Mysis and, indeed, he eagerly accepted it! <Sweet! Mysis is my favorite all-around food...It seems like just about (notice I said "just about"!) every commonly-kept marine fish seems to love 'em. They're a lot more nutritious than brine shrimp, and come in a variety of enriched versions> Now I will try to offer some other stuff too. <Good idea> Do fish generally eat less while in quarantine, or should I offer him the "at least 3 times a day" recommended? <I would recommend 2-3 times per day, and make sure that you change water on a regular basis (you know me- I like the twice weekly/5% change) and employ sound husbandry...Quarantine is a great time to get fishes strong and healthy before introducing them into the display> To follow up on diet, as I read more information from other sources, they seem to suggest that this fish is going to eat just like the fish it mimics, the Saddled Toby - Canthigaster valentini.  This would mean I cannot keep this fish with inverts or corals, right?  Please say it isn't so (no corals yet, but inverts - yes)!  Thanks, Rich <Well, Rich- I'd have to say that he is not going to be entirely safe with corals...The best sessile inverts to be housed with this guy would be animals like anemones, which they will generally avoid...You could try it in a full-blown reef, but I'm afraid that it will be a potentially disappointing experiment! By the way, Connie, a fellow WWM reader, has inquired where you obtained your specimen from...Would you be so kind as to post a reply that we can put on the page? Thanks! Scott F>

The Valentini mimic: Paraluteres prionurus. I recently acquired a Valentini Filefish, Paraluteres prionurus. <A very hardy and beautiful critter.> It's in a 60 gallon tank (250 litres) with plenty of live rock and coral rubble substrate. He seems to be growing quite thin. I thought at first it may be he was just acclimatizing to the tank, but after a week, he still doesn't appear to be accepting the foods I give my fish. <This is a very hardy fish, if it ate at the store it was purchased from, it should eat in your tank.> I feed my fish daily. With frozen Mysid shrimp, Nori seaweed, frozen brine shrimp, Spirulina tablets, and special marine pellets. <Try some frozen clam, table shrimp, small krill, and other types of pre-packaged frozen marine foods as well.> I alternate the food, so each day they get something different, but it still seems he isn't eating. I'm just wondering if there is any special thing I can do to make him eat, or something special to feed him. <For now, try go get hold of some live brine shrimp. The little writhing critters are usually too tempting to resist. It can be slowly switched over to frozen with time.> I've looked all over the net and haven't found much information on them, and was wondering if you could help me. <Since this is such a hardy fish, it may have been mishandled. Try live brine shrimp, it just might do the trick. -Kevin> Greatly appreciated Cayne

Tassel Filefish I have a Tassel File which has been healthy and with me for about 1 1/2 years. It is about 8 inches from nose to tail, hand fed a variety of foods in an aggressive tank. He has done very well up until the past three days. I noticed what seemed to be some broken blood vessels, or bleeding under his skin, and a swollen mouth which is getting progressively worse. <Good observation, description> He is interested in eating, but can't. I was able to place one small piece of squid in his mouth yesterday which he ate, but today nothing. Again, he shows interest but can't or won't eat. Any suggestions? Wendy <Yes... check your water quality... execute a large water change in any event, lower your water temperature if it's in the high seventies F.... and add a vitamin/appetite stimulant to the water (e.g. Selcon)... Hopefully your fish will rally, heal on its own. Bob Fenner> 

Long Nose Filefish...NOT! For Captive Keeping - 02/13/06 Hi there! <<Hello!>> I am just curious if someone could answer a question about a long nose filefish? <<Ah yes, Oxymonacanthus longirostris...beautiful and interesting little fish...and completely unsuitable for captive keeping.>> I recently bought one and yes I knew that they would be hard to feed. <<(sigh)... More like impossible.>> The one I have seems to be doing great, <<Doubtful my friend.>> I have many different foods both frozen and liquid form <<!!!>> that I was told it would eat, and that simulate what it would eat in the ocean. <<Someone is sadly misinformed...or lying to you.  Either way, no excuse for you not doing your own research BEFORE buying this fish.  Oxymonacanthus longirostris feeds almost exclusively on Acropora polyps...unless you are prepared to buy live corals for this fish to feed upon, it is doomed.>> Anyways, since he has a long snout with a hole on the end of it and his mouth does not move, how can I tell if he is eating it? <<Mmm...you state the fish "seems to be doing great" yet you don't know if it is feeding...I assure you it is not likely at all.>> Also, what would you suggest to feed it? <<As already stated, live Acropora polyps.  Your best hope is to return this fish to the store that sold it to you...perhaps you can inform them of its unsuitability to the aquarium trade...  Regards, EricR >>

Long Nose Filefish...NOT! For Captive Keeping II -- 02/14/06 Thank you for the reply, as I said I knew that it was a hard fish to feed, and sorry for not doing my research before buying it.  I just wanted to know if you had any additional information on the fish, because what I have read in the site from a few other owners of the long nose filefish, they have had luck with feeding. <<But what constitutes a "few"?  One in fifty?...a hundred?...a thousand?>> And to make you aware I think that it is feeding due to its activity when the food is in the tank and it swims from one side to the other very fast which I thought meant that maybe it was swooping it in to its mouth. <<Why would you think this?  Have you actually seen this fish ingest food? (apparently not, according to your previous email)  Have you done any research on the feeding habits of this fish?>> And on a side note I do know that you guys know a lot about the fish and that is why I contacted you, I did not need your response to be so rude, <<No, wasn't meant to be rude, but 'was' meant to be matter of fact/to make a point.>> by saying it was my fault for not doing research, and that when I said my fish was healthy looking you replied that I must not know that because I do not even know if it was eating. <<Please keep your facts straight...  You didn't say your fish was "healthy looking", you said your fish "seems to be doing great"...and you did also say "how can I tell if he is eating it?".  A fish that is not eating is not "doing great"...and this fish specie is notorious for "not eating".  And...if it is not your fault for not doing research beforehand, whose fault should it be?>> It actually seems that you do not know the information to tell me because you did not answer my questions you just had a smart remark to give me about every sentence. NOT INFORMATION.  Thanks for the help but for the curiosity of the others needing your help you might not want to be so rude when responding to people just seeking your assistance. <<Is unfortunate you view it that way/that I wasn't able to tell you what you 'wanted' to hear.  Regards, EricR >> Orange spotted filefish... Alive!   2/7/06 Dear Bob, <Terri> I am a long time reader but a first time emailer so please be gentle! I have had a success where many others fail, so this is my one and only chance to brag; plus I thought that you and others might be interested in this. I am the proud owner of an orange spotted filefish that has just past the 18 month mark. <Congratulations!> He, (well I assume he is a 'he'), lives in my 75 gallon seahorse tank with 8 horses and a long nosed hawk fish. I know that you are not going to believe this, but he consists solely on a diet of frozen foods. <Have seen this> This includes Hikari Mysis, Marine Green, Marine Dinner, Frozen Squid and occasionally as a treat, live brine. Additional to this, he picks at a strip of Nori I hang in the tank. Attached are a couple of pictures showing how healthy he is. I keep meaning to borrow a video camera so that I can make a short film of him eating the frozen food and send it to you (if you are interested). It is amazing watching him eat the Mysis through his long tubular snout. I am religious with my water changes, tank maintenance and have a skimmer, chiller and U.V. sterilizer. I am not encouraging novice reefers to try to keep this fish, but I just letting people out there know that it is possible. This is my first filefish and he is definitely my pride and joy! I love him more than my seahorses and that is saying something! Hope you found this interesting, Terri Rennie - (Sydney, Australia) <Thank you for this input. I do suspect that your success is due to the peaceful setting, good care you've provided... and the initial good health of your specimen. Cheers, Bob Fenner> _______________________________________ I don't care what you say... ASCII art is still cool! http://www.seahorse.org (SilverSeahorse)             \ \__            , "     "-.            o   , ---. ` ,           / . "   /  .  /         / /    ,   " . . |               /   / . .  / / /             /    / . . . / - -           |       | . . . | \ \ \           |       | . .  /             \     \ .  /          , " .               \_   " - , ___   `_/                 "  _ .  ,  .  -  "            Gwen the Seahorse                 by Terri, 2005

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: