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FAQs about Pineconefishes

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Monocentrus japonicus (Houttuyn 1782), the Pinconefish. To 17 cm. Indo-West Pacific; Red Sea, South Africa to Southern Japan, New Zealand. Found under ledges, in caves at depths of 20 to 200 meters (fishbase). Aquarium photo. 

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Copperband butterfly, tusk & pinecone. Hi Bob/Jason C, <<And hello to you.>> All is going excellent with my tank and the tusk. Pinecone still does not want to eat, at least I never saw him eating but the live feeder shrimp and fish and being reduced everyday. I am assuming that the pinecone is eating them. The only other fish in that 55qt tank is a female maroon clown and should not be able to eat 8 feeder shrimp and 10 feeder live fish. Right ? <<I wouldn't think so.>> Pinecone is not going to be placed in the main tank (reef) for at least another 2 weeks per your advise in other posts and mine that I read always. Main tank (150G with 150lb LR) has 4 damsels, a lot of corals and tusk. I saw a nice copperband butterfly and am interested in this beauty. Is he reef safe. <<They "can be" but are also known to perish for lack of proper food.>> I have brains, polyps, mushrooms, elegance, gorgonians, leathers, flowerpot, torch, feather dusters, finger corals, red chili coral, pink carnation and others like colt in the tank. <<You do know that the carnation and flowerpot corals are almost impossible to keep in captivity? Some people have limited success, and none without a specific regimen dedicated to those particular species.>> I know he is difficult to feed and needs proper acclimation and quarantine. Can he be placed in a reef tank like mine with an Aussie tusk and pinecone? Tusk and pinecone should not bother him but to what extent will be cause coral destruction if any. Do you think it is safe to put him in a reef tank? <<There is no way to guarantee something like this, but of all the Butterflies available, the Copperband is one of the few that has a decent "reef-safe" success rate.>> Will not proceed unless advised by you. Many thanks, Razi Burney <<Cheers, J -- >>

Harlequin Tusk & Pinecone Fish Hi, Many thanks for as always quick & professional advise. You guys are great and are helping me and others a great deal. I am sure that several fish must be thankful too. <<Glad to hear...>> I am thinking about adding a Pineapple/Pinecone fish to my tank that already has tusk. I was unable to get the fish family for pinecone/pineapple <<I think there are two that get imported with any regularity, Monocentrus japonicus and Cleidopus gloriamaris.>> and its compatibility on the web and from your database. Can you please provide some info on this and advise if this is a good fish to have. <<Bob rates these as a 3 on the 1 to 3 scale, 3 being 'poor to non-survivor'.>> I have been told that he is a peaceful fish and is easy to care for. <<Is true that these are peaceful, not so true about their captive care... many problems with rough handling in capture, transport to your LFS.>> Not sure about him till I hear from the tusk expert as my tusk is the most important in my tank. Will not put the pinecone in the tank if he is not a good choice. <<Well, certainly this would be a fine tankmate for the tusk... but, you may find yourself well challenged to keep the pinecone fish.>> Looking for some colorful, tusk compatible reef-safe fish. Having a difficult time making the correct choice. Please help if possible. <<Really, just about anything can live with a tusk except another tusk. I would avoid puffers, triggers, and the like, but there are many, many other choices.>> I will not be getting another cleaner ever per your advise. Will get a goby instead. Thanks for letting me know about that and it does make sense to leave them in the natural reef systems. <<Fair enough.>> Regards, Razi Burney <<Cheers, J -- >>

Pinecone Hi Bob, <Ohiyo! Os!> Greetings from Yokota! As our stay here is 'temporary', my wife and I have limited our reef desires to window-shopping save for a few small F/W tanks. At P.D. World (the LFS) they had, amongst the LPS, two small (4-5 cm) Pinecone fish (Monocentrus japonicus or Cleidopus gloriamaris). The tank was very brightly lit and the fish were hiding by the overflow tube. <Yes... these Squirrelfish relatives do not tolerate high intensity light> They were spectacular fishes and I would like to consider them upon return to California. I've perused fishbase and various fish group threads and gleaned a bit of info, but there are so much more to know. So here are the $64,000 questions: 1) Are they reef safe? If so, would a deepwater reef be more appropriate? <Mmm, will gladly eat small crustaceans (shrimp, crabs...)> 2) Recommended tank size? Tank mates (if any)? <Bigger the better. Sixty minimum for one small specimen> 3) In captivity, do they maintain their bioluminescence? <Can, moved quickly, carefully from the wild...> 4) Any special nutritional needs? <Just... to get them to feed. These species were "darlings" of the Public Aquarium biz a few to a bunch of years back... can be kept> 5) If kept in a darkened or low-lit tank, are there any benefits to a refugium (LR, Thalassia, Halimeda) lit 24/7? <Yes... there are many... You can read about these on WetWebMedia.com> 6) How do they rate on the Fenner scale (1-great, 2-fair, 3-not recommended)? <#3... don't generally live (my estimation more than fifty percent don't survive initial collection to reception by retailers... almost all die within three months of capture> 7) Any ethical concerns? <My own, yes. Not a food fish... but I dislike encouraging end-users all the way through the chain of custody, collection engaging in the use/mis-use of species that have such poor survival records... Better to help direct folks to utilizing others> Sorry to ramble. Trying to do homework first. Thank you and Anthony, Steven, and the rest of the crew. <You're welcome. Bob Fenner> Bryan BTW- there are amazing things sold in Japan; owls, beetles, jellyfish, and the Ranchu… oh the Ranchu, but I'll save that for another time

Pineconefish I know you get lots of emails so you may not remember, but that Old wife (the fish, not a spouse!) I have I asked you about is doing very, very well and growing very quickly. <Ah, good to read. These species are quite hardy in public aquariums... have seen some in Australia that have been kept for several years> BTW, it never has made the sound that gives it its common name. Have yours ever vocalized, and if so, what did it sound like? Is it like the toadfish 'tut, tut, tut' noise? <More like a triggerfish... something like rubbing your fingers over an air-filled balloon... but underwater> My main question is whether you know anything about the keeping of any of Monocentridae. They are offered for sale frequently but I don't know of any bioluminescent fish that do well in captivity. <Only a little. Much more can be found by perusing public aquarium websites, links. These URLs are posted on WetWebMedia.com's links pages. Bob Fenner>

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