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FAQs about Filefish Selection

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

Canthidermis pencilligera in the wild.

Mimic Filefish (Paraluteres prionurus) in groups?   2/16/08 Hi Crew <Melanie> First I must say great site, very informative and I've spent many hours browsing through it. <Ahh, am glad to find you have benefitted> I've been keeping marines for just over 3 years and currently have a 72" x 28" x 28" tank (approximately 200 gallons excluding sump). I have 100lbs of live rock in the main tank with a 1" sand bed and live rock rubble in the sump with Chaeto, lit on reverse cycle. Skimmer is a Deltec TS 1060. Current fish stock includes: 5 x Yellow Tangs Copperband Pair of Common Clowns Midas Blenny Flame Hawkfish Cleaner Wrasse I had a bit of a tank disaster last year when my last tank cracked while I was out of the house. I managed to save all livestock as I had another (smaller tank) up and running at the time and there was about 5 inches of water left at the bottom of the cracked tank. Unfortunately, I still lost a number of fish as I had a bad case of whitespot (I suspect caused by the stress of the sudden move and the tank being too small). One of the fish I lost was my original Mimic Filefish - my favourite fish. At the time I was ready to pack it all in, but I decided to persevere and got myself a bigger and better tank instead! Having been down the route of keeping a number of different fish, I have decided with this tank to try and achieve a slightly more natural look, by keeping 2 or 3 small groups of fish instead (hence the Yellow Tangs). The individual fish in my list are residents from my last tank. I have seen on your site that you recommend the Filefish be kept either singly or in a pair, however, as I now have a reasonably sized tank I was wondering if I may be able to get away with keeping a group of 5 Mimic Filefish? <Mmm... am hesitant to give a nod to this... as I've only encountered this  species in pairs or singly in the wild. Am wondering if more would fight> During my research I have seen it mentioned that they are found in small groups or pairs in the wild. <Really? Would you please send along some of these references? Oh... I see a citation on Fishbase: http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?ID=%2048637... am wondering if other sites are simply aping this report. Again, I have never seen this species in more than twos.> Failing that, are there any distinguishing features between males and females that would allow me to get myself a pair? <None that I'm aware of> Sorry if this has already been asked/answered. Thanks very much in advance. Mel <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mimic Filefish (Paraluteres prionurus) in groups?   2/16/08 Thanks very much Bob for your prompt reply. <Welcome Melanie> I've been doing a bit more research and have found one reference to possible differences between males/females, which I thought I would pass on (http://www.julianrocks.net/fish/Tetraodontiformes/leatherjackets/ParaluteresPrionurus.htm). This indicates that males have a blue & yellow caudal fin. <A neat site... And I do see this assertion... And have just looked through all my pix and can't make out this... but...> I have also found what could be an image of a male (http://www.austmus.gov.au/fishes/fishfacts/fish/pprionurus.htm). <I see> Although I have seen a couple of images on the web of groups, a second viewing makes me think that these are groups of juveniles. <Mmm, maybe. The "pairs" I have seen have been clearly dimorphic, one obviously larger than the other... And I did want to mention that I've observed this fish, and the Toby it mimics "bounce" off others of their kind when they encounter them in the wild... i.e. that they're not social> I am still tempted to get 5 juveniles, in the hope I get myself a male and female and with a view to rehoming 3 of them as they mature, but will speak to my LFS first to make sure they are happy to take them back. I'll let you know how I get on if I go down this route. Thanks again. Melanie <Thank you. BobF>

Re: Mimic Filefish (Paraluteres prionurus) in groups?   2/17/09 Thanks again Bob - think I'll be sticking with just the one then and get back to researching other possible groups <This is likely best here. Cheers, BobF>

Horseshoe File fish (Meuschenia hippocrepis) hardiness?  9/22/08 Good day to you Crew! <And you April> I have searched your FAQ's for this amazing fish from Australia, but have not seen a mention of it here. I am writing to thank you for all of your volunteer time for us, it is appreciated, and to ask if you know about this fish's hardiness in the aquarium? <Mmm, I don't know if I've ever seen this species here in the west... Maybe caught a glimpse of it diving my only trip to Tasmania... Ran a Google search with: Meuschenia hippocrepis in aquariums... Has been kept...> I have learned as much about it as I can with the little I could find on line, and really love it so far. The final piece of information I need to make my decision, however, is regarding its hardiness in the aquarium. I am considering its purchase, high price and all, but do not wish to purchase anything delicate. I understand it is considered peaceful, can grow quite large, 20" max, and would need at least a 200 gallon home. I have a 300 gallon FO+LR set up, at 8 ft. long. I have a 7" Naso Tang, two butterflies, seven yellow tail damsels, and two cleaner shrimp. Thanks a ton for all you do there! April. <Mmm, not really an appropriate choice as this animal is really coldwater/temperate, and your present stock/system is tropical. Bob Fenner>

Bad idea? Filefish sel.  4/25/07  Dear Bob, <Stefan> My marine aquarium has been running for almost 2 years, deep sandbed, plenum in the main tank (1.2m) In total the system consists of about 350L of water. I have 3 clown fish, 1 regal tang, 1 blenny, 1 cardinal. All fish relatively peaceful. I also have a variety of mushrooms, Ricordeas, zoanthids and some leather corals I was thinking of adding a trigger fish, but they grow far to big for my liking and they will eat the hermits, shrimps etc..... Now I'm thinking Filefish. I did some research and it seems that the Redtail filefish (Pervagor melanocephalus) would be the only choice for a reef system. Do you agree with this statement? <There are a few others... Most Monacanthids are found on or associated with reef environments...> Any other species of filefish to consider adding to my tank? Thank You Stefan Dorfling <Not really... Your system is too small. Bob Fenner>

Black Saddled Mimic Filefish Dear Scott F: <Hey there, Connie!> I read a letter today from someone named Rich who recently bought one of the above.  I have been waiting for about three months for this fish and cannot locate it.  Is there some way Rich could let us know where he bought the fish?   If he bought him on the internet or he lives near San Francisco, I would love to know. Patiently waiting. (ha) Connie <Well, Rich- can you help out a fellow Filefish enthusiast/WWM supporter here? If Rich isn't in your area, you may want to check out Marine Center (see the link at the top of the page)...They can often obtain rare and unusual specimens for you. In fact, I can mention at least two occasions where I was looking for something that they didn't list at the time, and they actually emailed me a couple of months later when they finally received it! That's good service! Hope you find your filefish! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Longnosed Filefish Hi, <Hello>   I know this fish is hard to keep, and usually dies within a week. But, if this fish is provided with its exact needs would it live a much longer life? Yours Faithfully Aaron. <Of a certainty yes. There are a myriad of factors that go into an equation of likelihood of survival/mortality... species specific, size, sometimes sex influenced aspects... for relative resistance to capture, holding, moving... feeding response to whatever (if anything) folks are offering... In this case, this species does hold up pretty well to being caught, held and shipped, but most often is "stuck" in situations/circumstances of too small a space, not enough maturity to the system, too many more-aggressive feeding tankmates... and most especially a lack of appropriate foodstuffs. Improving on all these aspects/factors and more definitely improves ones chances of keeping this fish longer, healthier... even to and through reproduction. 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

Tassled Filefish, sel., comp.   8/20/06 Thanks for the great service you provide.  You have helped me and countless others. <And greatly enjoyed most moments...> I have a compatibility question.  I lost a beloved lionfish a few months ago who was the star of the tank.  I would like to add a fish with similar star quality but want to avoid the feeding issues I experienced with the lionfish.  (The lionfish would begrudgingly eat frozen silversides and krill but I had to separate the other fish to give the lionfish enough peace to eat.) <Yes... a common scenario> I'm considering adding a Tassled Filefish to the tank. <Neat animals... but do get large... need a few hundred gallons to "get around" even though not fast moving...> The Tassled Filefish is definitely an incredible looking fish and from what I've read had a good temperament and is likely to accept frozen foods well.  My tank is a 250g fish only tank. <Mmm, a good candidate thus far> The current residents are a dogface puffer, porcupine puffer, Falco's hawkfish, sailfin tang, striped squirrelfish, a male and female bird wrasse, and a male and female blue-jaw trigger. My water quality is consistently good, with ph at 8.3, nitrates between 10 and 30, and kH between 10-12.  I do a weekly 40g water change and get a cup of skimmate every few days.  I feed the fish frozen silversides and krill soaked in Selcon and garlic once daily.  I also give the sailfin tang Spirulina and Formula One Marine Pellets a couple times a day, which the wrasses and triggers also eat.  Most of the fish are pre-adult though the male bird wrasse and sailfin tang are adult size. Do you think the Tassled Filefish would be a compatible addition to the tank?   <It itself should be... there may be a bit of jousting, tussling at first with the tank and maybe some others...> Would it be able to compete effectively for food? <I do think so... if "given enough chance" to settle in>   Would it be harassed when introduced? <Is a possibility> After introduction? <Much less a probability... this species, Files/Monacanthids in general are "left well alone"... hard-bodied, perhaps not recognized as fishes/competitors... I give you good odds here> I have plenty of rock in the tank, but many of the caves and crevices are frequented already by the current residents.  Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.  Mike <Welcome. Bob Fenner, who would start with a "mid-sized" specimen... maybe 4-5 inches overall length.>  

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