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FAQs about Leaffish, Taenionotus triacanthus

Related Articles: Rock and Scorpionfishes, Keeping Lionfishes and their Scorpaeniform Kin by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner, Blowin' in the wind, the Leaf Scorpionfish, Taenionotus triacanthus, by Bob Fenner,

A gorgeous Leaffish, Taeniatus triacanthus, in a gorgeous soft coral setting... okay, in gorgeous Fiji.

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Leaf fish not eating      5/11/18
<Hey Ash>
I have a *Taenianotus triacanthus *that I've had for about 3 months.
<Oh, one of my faves. Am always looking for them while out dive traveling in their range>
He lives in 37 gallon tank with three *Hippocampus erectus *sea horses, two Hawaiian feather dusters, plus about 30 pounds of liverock with some hermit crabs and snails, small sponges, and macro algae. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all zero and pH is about 8.2. Water temperature 75*. He's been
eating ghost shrimp and small mollies which I keep and feed good food for at least a week (only live).
About two weeks ago the leaf fish's eyes started to go cloudy and he stopped eating. I tested the water again to make sure everything was still ok (it was), did some research and decided he was probably about to shed since his skin also looked a little dull. He did shed a couple days later but the cloudy eyes stayed and he still wouldn't eat. I tried a freshwater dip (pH adjusted) to check for eye flukes but nothing came off.
<Mmm; and this fish does have places where it can "get out of the bright light" I take it>
Since a week and a half ago he's only eaten one ghost shrimp. I was worried maybe it was vision problems so I tried moving him into a smaller container while feeding to make it easier to catch food, but still nothing.
He still seems to act the same in the tank - staying in his same perches, sitting upright, moving around (although I still think he's having a hard time seeing). I can move him to a quarantine tank but am not sure what to treat him for. Do you have any suggestions?
<I do; considering your test readings, the other livestock doing well, that you dipped the fish w/o resolve, I'm wondering if your Leaf has a nutritional deficiency/syndrome. Easy to treat w/ marines; I'd add both a complete liquid vitamin and an appetite enhancer; like SeaChem's Vitality product... directly to the water as well as soaked on foods just ahead of offering.>
No sign of anything wrong with the seahorses, by the way.
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaf fish not eating      5/11/18

Thank you. He does have shadowy places to get out of the light (which is not especially bright), including a couple of caves in the LR. That said, his favorite perch is actually at the top of the LR about 2/3 up the tank, out in the open.
<Ah good>
I'll try the Seachem, thank you.
<Welcome. BobF>

Fish Compatibility?    1/9/13
Hey Guys/Gals. How are you?
<Fine, thanks>
 I have a quick question. I have a 40 breeder with a 29 gallon sump. It is a reef, and has been up for 2 years. I was wondering the compatibility between a Blood Red Hawk And a Yellow Leaffish. I do realize the Hawk will eat shrimp and whatnot, but that is not really an issue for me. Can this be done?
<Mmm, yes; these two are fine temperament wise. The only real issue I see is trying to get food to the Leaf, past the Hawk>
 Any tips or advice that will help me either make a decision, or help with compatibility? Thanks for your time. Aaron.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

How can I tell if my leaf scorpion is sick?     12/9/12
Aloha Crew,
I am soliciting your help once again...
I have a small yellow leaf scorpion exhibiting some distressing behavior, and as I have never had any experience with fish pathogens and symptoms, I do not know what the problem is.  Since the fish has natural camouflage, I can't identify any external anomalies or lesions. the only thing that I noticed today is that he has incomplete shedding of his skin.
<Actually; this is a common, natural behavior with this species, many "aquarium" scorpaenids... e.g. Pteroines. They do shed their skins>
  Just a few days ago, he shed normally, his entire skin at once, but now it is hanging off of him in tatters. 
<Not unusual>
For the past week he has been darting and lunging in the tank, and trying to rub his body on the rocks.
<Nor this>
 When he is not doing that, he is sitting on the rocks at a deeply canted angle, not perched upright as he has always done in the past.  His color looks a little "off",
<And Taenionotus does change its color>
and he as on at least one occasion swallowed a lot of water to make his belly bulge out, then returned to normal later on. 
<Not atypical behavior either>
He also seems unusually lethargic when he is not darting or lunging.
Some background...
I've had the leaf scorpion for about 5 months now, and he was doing fine with a small dwarf frogfish (Cheeto) in a 10 gallon tank.
<Hard to keep such small volumes stable, optimized>
On the 5th of November, I re-homed them both to a 29 gallon tank. 
<Ah good>
The 29 gallon was bought from a friend moving away, and came stocked with Liverock, a blenny, a goby, 3 small clowns,
<Smaller fishes will be inhaled>
2 snapping shrimp, a few Zoanthids, a 2 inch conch, and 3 small hermit crabs.  The previous tank owner mixed artificial saltwater (I don't know why - she lived on the beach here in Hawaii...) and the Liverock is apparently of non-Hawaiian origin. 
<Mmm, doubtful; restricted>
Since moving it to my house, I've replaced the water with local seawater, and removed the Zoanthids.  The yellow watchman goby has disappeared, one of the snapping shrimp ended up as a meal for the yellow leaf (I'm surprised he fit it in his mouth).
<I'm not surprised in the least>
 I've added another small leaf scorpion, and a coral beauty angel
<Needs more room than this>

 to mow the algae down.  I plan on removing the 3 clowns and the remaining goby, as I feel their presence and energy may be stressing my dwarf angler and (possibly) the leaf.  This will leave me with a 3 inch leaf, a 1.5 inch leaf, a 2 inch dwarf angler, and a 2.5 inch coral beauty as the only fish in the tank.  Other than the aforementioned inverts, wild caught shrimp have been added to the tank, and have been the primary food for the 2 leaf scorpions and the frogfish, actively hunted in the tank since the move.  Before, primary diet was freshwater feeders and mollies.
What do you think could be ailing the yellow leaf?
<Nothing really; but I would remove the Centropyge on general purpose>
  I am guessing it must be something related to the move.  He was fine for the first 3 weeks, but has started to go south within the past week.  A specific pathogen?  The diet shift?  Stress from the tankmates? 
<Maybe a bit of the last>
Something in the new aquarium that I listed?  Water chemistry is "safe" according to strip testing, and I use natural seawater, so I don't think that is it.  There is a lot of algae growth in the tank (why I got the dwarf angel)
<See WWM re other means>
 but the tank is filtered with an Eclipse 3 hood, and a Marineland C-220 canister hooked up to a chiller maintaining the water between 72-74 degrees.
Please let me know what you think, and treatment options.
<No treatment suggested>
Thanks, much respect and aloha.
-- Lee
<A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>
Re: How can I tell if my leaf scorpion is sick?      12/9/12

Mahalo nui loa for your prompt response, Bob, and good to hear from you again.  Unfortunately, I may not be doing an adequate job of explaining my leaf scorpion fish's behavior and symptoms.  He is getting worse, and I am afraid he is not long for this world.  Last night at lights out, he was lying completely on his side, gasping gently (about 50-80 breaths/ minute) with his skin still in tatters.  It looked like one of his eyes was occluded and cloudy, maybe from shedding skin, but hard to tell.
<Mmm, may be time to return this fish to the reef>
This morning, I just found him tail up, face down in the sand, gasping at a much slower rate (40-50 breaths a minute) with his skin still in tatters.
I don't know what else to say, except that his behaviors are getting much worse and abnormal for this fish.  Something hasn't "felt right" about his health and behavior for the past 10 days or so, and now he is finally showing significant symptoms.  At first he seemed to really like his new home, and was eating the wild caught shrimp and snapping shrimp with gusto (but not overfed in my opinion), but now I'm afraid that I should have just kept him in the smaller tank where I could more easily monitor him and control his diet.
Do you think these symptoms are Thiaminase-related (due to diet consisting largely of various shrimp species), stress related, or an unknown pathogen?
<Possibly, but can't tell from here>
 I have another leaf I just introduced into the tank,
<I forgot to mention this last time, but this species is really best kept singly, even in  very large systems
. They don't "live together" in the wild... too stressful in captivity. Have noticed "excessive yawning" when this is done; indicative>
 and I don't want him to suffer the same fate. (The new guy is already hanging out next to him, like holding his hand on his deathbed or something.  It's tearing me up!)
I have found very little on disease treatment of this species, apart from your "Blowin' in the Wind" article, but none of the symptoms or presentations are leading me to a specific treatment.  I really think he is in bad shape.
Also, as weak as he looks now, I am considering sacrificing him to science, as I have a friend who is a fellow marine biologist and currently studying Scorp venoms and genetics.  He may do well as a martyr, with his genome immortalized in the annals of science.  I just have to make the call while he is still alive, and I don't think there is much time left.
Please let me know your thoughts.
As always, thanks for your counsel.
<I'd return the one to the sea. BobF>

Leaf Scorpionfish Compatibility  7/23/11
Hey all! I am a huge fan of your site! It is amazing and very informative. So yesterday I was browsing the livestock of my LFS and saw the cutest little Leaf Scorpionfish. He was ~1 inch long. I was wondering
if he would be compatible with an ~8 inch Snowflake Eel and an ~2 inch Blue Spot Toby Puffer?
<Mmm, maybe... due to its small size... it might get eaten by the little Echidna, picked on by the Toby...>
Tanks parameters are completely normal and the tank is 34 gallons with live rock and live sand. I am really afraid of the eel coming across the Leaf Scorpionfish on the prowl for food.
<Me too>
I heard that if both fish were spot fed that the should most likely leave each other alone. Is this true or not?
<A toss up. Bob Fenner>

Has my leaf fish poisoned my tank?    2/16/08 Hi, <Hello Francesca> I had until today a pink leaf fish (Taenionotus triacanthus). Last night our skimmer went absolutely crazy for no apparent reason. <? something...> On inspection today the skimmer had calmed down but I noticed my Scribbled angel had dark patches surrounding his gills where the usual bright yellow stripe is usually found and was struggling to swim and the other fish were starting to nip at him. When checking the other tank mates, we discovered the leaf fish had died. It was hard to tell as it sat still for long periods of time anyway. I am now concerned that it may have released toxins upon its death. Are they known to do this? <Yes> So far only the Scribbled Angel appears to be affected and I have added some activated carbon to be on the safe side. Should I be looking at removing the livestock from the tank? <Perhaps... I would at least execute a large water change, increase aeration... But if you have other stable system/s...> I have removed the angelfish who is now swimming in a bucket full of tank water from my other marine tank and appears to be breathing easier. Thanks Francesca <Mmm, all Scorpaeniform fishes are toxic to some degree... Think how slow this species moves... makes sense that it would have such defense. Bob Fenner>

Will a Leaffish eat my inhabitants, Taenionotus comp.     2/16/08 My LFS has had two of yellow Leaffish (Taenionotus triacanthus) in stock for a few weeks, and one of them has been calling my name. My current setup is a 75 gallon with 1 Percula Clown, 3 Carpenter's Flasher Wrasses, and 1 Foxface Rabbitfish. Would the clown or wrasses become a meal for the Leaffish? <Mmm, maybe> I also have an assortment of Zoanthids, Ricordeas, and a couple of anemones. <I should make a few comments here...> The nems are either BTAs or Condys, clones from a hitchhiker. Would any of the cnidarians be a problem, since the Leaffish like to perch? <Possibly, yes... could be stung, ingested... but this species, Leaffish do live about Actinarians, should recognize them for what they are. Bob Fenner>

Re: Will a Leaffish eat my inhabitants   2/27/08 I decided to get the Leaffish. Right now, it is still small. It is also quite active, which is why it caught my eye. I will keep a close eye on it as it grows. <Okay> When trying to wean the fish to frozen foods, how long can it starve before it becomes a concern? <Weeks> To feed it, I have frozen Piscine Energetics mysis, which I soak in Selcon. I also have some frozen clam strips, and I plan on purchasing some frozen krill. Are these good food items for a Leaffish? What about silversides? <I'd skip the frozen/defrosted silversides... the Mysis are fine... as would be ghost shrimp... particularly if you could raise them up for a while... feed them well.> Also, I did not mention the size of my setup previous email, but it is 75 gallons. Thanks for your advice. You guys have a great site. Rick <Thank you. BobF>

Leaf Scorpion Question (Compatibility)  1/30/08 I recently purchased a BEAUTIFUL Leaf Scorpion for my 50g soon to be predator reef. (Fully cycled 75g downgrade. Only other inhabitant is a small, very peaceful green spot puffer) <May be/come very nippy...> He's eating, active, and otherwise lovely. (Or she) My question is this... I already asked another LFS to special order me a pair of leaf fish. <Mmm... a "pair"? Taenionotus triacanthus I've seen a few times with more than one individual w/in arms reach of another, but these Scorpaeniform fishes are not social...> Will there be problems adding more once this guy gets acclimated? <Adding more what?> I'm not sure how they'd get along, not finding any good information regarding this. I was thinking of maybe just asking the LFS to order me one red leaf scorpion. <Mmm, and do change color... vis a vis their surroundings> Still worried once this new guy gets settled if he'll be bothered by a new "friend". What do you suggest? Thanks :) <As long as slow moving, non-aggressive. Have you read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/taenionotus.htm and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaf Scorpion Question (Compatibility) 1/31/08
Yes, I've been doing tons of reading on these guys. Last night the complete opposite of what I was expecting happened... Puffer almost became a snack for the scorpion!!! <Ah, yes... all Scorpaeniforms (e.g. "Lionfishes") have large, distensible mouths... hunt mainly fishes... by stealth, inhaling...> Luckily my BF saw the encounter and I was able to net the scorpion, who then released the puffed up puffer. Today puffer is avoiding the bottom of the tank like hot lava. I didn't know how well scorpions get along with each other. Whether or not it is necessary to introduce at the same time, on a full moon, or never since I think they're so beautiful it would be nice to have one more. <But... would they be happy? Healthy crowded together... My experiences seeing them underwater cause me to believe otherwise... Often this group will "yawn" if "bothered"... and having had the occasion to see them thus pushed together (by divers or guides... for making pix), yawning...> Then again I don't know if they're capable of fighting since the most energy I've ever seen come out of this guy.. was... um... They move? ;) <Sometimes, yes... not fast, except their mouths... Bob Fenner>

Taenionotus triacanthus 11/08/07 Hello, I have a few questions regarding Leaf fish (Taenionotus triacanthus). <Neat animals> First off, I have an 86g tank(26"T x 16"W x 48"T), which is stocked with plenty of LR (takes up about 1/3 of volume of tank). I'm almost done with setting it up, so I have absolutely nothing no livestock, other than LR hitchhikers. I really like the appearance of the leaf fish, so I'd like to keep a pair or two. How many leaf fish could I keep in my tank? <Mmm, don't know... have happened upon three, maybe four individuals at one time in a space about this size in the wild... but most are found individually. Not a common aquarium species> Are they at all territorial between different pairs? <Again, can't say> Also, what is the prey size to leaf fish size ratio? Meaning, if my leaf fish is 2" long, what is the smallest fish I can safely keep with it? <About two inches... likely with size/growth, most anything no more than an inch smaller is fine> Finally, have you ever had any experience with them? What's your opinion concerning their level of interesting-ness? <I have only rarely seen this fish in captive use... but always look for them in the wild in their range... Is my article posted... Oh yeah, here: http://wetwebmedia.com/taenionotus.htm and the FAQs for the Rock and Scorpionfishes above... is where the Taenionotus Q and A's are to be found. Bob Fenner, less random> TIA, Random Aquarist

Building a Biotope System. Fiji Biotope/ Taenionotus triacanthus Compatibility    7/16/07 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> With the help of Reef Central and WWM, I'm about to cycle my first tank, so I'm pretty excited. I've been researching and learning about this hobby for years, so I'm really happy to take my first jump (or dive) into it. I'm glad that all that money I spent on equipment won't be going to waste. <Nope- just helping build the aquarium industry!> I've helped my dad setup a few FW tanks, but they all eventually turned into disasters after he refused to maintain them properly, which at least helped me learn from his mistakes. <Learning from our mistakes is how most of us have grown as hobbyists, so this is all part of the fun! I've made tons of mistakes, so I have learned a lot!> Anyways, I've planned for this tank to be an 86g (+30g sump) Fiji lagoon biotope. <Nice...A biotope fan like myself!> I plan on covering all of my liverock with Chlorodesmis fastigiata. <Can be tough to maintain, as it requires a lot of flow, but a cool species nonetheless. The color reminds me of a haircut that one of my buddies had back in the day, but I digress!> I also plan on getting a BTA and a pair of Maroon Clowns. I recently found out that lagoons are supposed to have low water flow, but I have a powerhead that will put out a high flow rate. Is it not uncommon to have high flow in lagoons? <Well, the term "low flow" is really subjective, and is in my opinion-misinterpreted by hobbyists.. Even the lowest flow in a typical lagoon is way more dynamic than you would ever imagine. I vividly recall an incident where I had to swim after my surfboard in a certain South Pacific lagoon some years back, and found that the current was far beyond anything that I'd consider "low"! I would not be concerned about providing too much flow in this biotope. Just don't blast your powerhead directly into your organisms.> Does Chlorodesmis often cover entire rocks or does it only appear in small patches? <Both, actually. It can grow into pretty large stands if conditions are to its liking, and if no predators are present.> I've always liked the look of Taenionotus triacanthus, but before now I never knew exactly what their native range was. Now that I use FishBase.org, I can now consider them possible additions to my Fiji biotope. <A great source of information that more hobbyists should use- especially us biotope geeks!> However, I have a few questions about their compatibility before I put them on the shopping list. First, are they dangerous to snails? <I'd be more concerned about small fishes, shrimp and crabs falling prey to this species, myself. Sure, the potential exists, but I would not be too crazed about it.> Second, will they be eaten by a Bubbletip Anemone (BTA)? <There is always a potential risk.> Also, if I add them before the clowns, will they be picked on? <Quite possibly. They are pretty timid fish, and should be kept with passive fishes that don't act too aggressively.> Finally, do they pose a threat to the maroon clowns with their poisonous spines? <These spines are generally defensive weapons. I'd be more concerned about injury to myself. Handle these fishes with extreme caution!> Thanks for spending your time reading and answering this. I hope you have a nice summer (or winter). Sincerely, Random Aquarist <Summer in this hemisphere now- but I'll take your wishes for a nice winter as well! Best of luck to you...Do keep me posted how this turns out! Regards, Scott F.>

Leaf lion fish compatibility  11/16/06 Hello, I have a 7 month old, 55 gal. tank (Skilter and an Aqua Clear power head) with Live rock, many hermit crabs, some brittle stars, a small pencil urchin, snowflake eel and a leaf Lion fish.  I have good water quality and do a 20 gal water change (with ocean water) every week. <Wow> I really enjoy my Leaf lion <Taenionotus are great animals> and eel and am raising shrimp (opae) for them to eat. <Oh! Sounds like you're in HI... am out at our place in Holualoa, mauka of Kona... and have friends who raise/use some of the shrimp here...>   I also feed them fish scraps (uncooked).  My husband wants some fish he can see!  After scouring your wonderful site, I was thinking an arc eyed Hawkfish (Will he get along with the leaf lion, I do see them sharing coral heads with the speckled lion fish?), <Oh yes> Humu Humu trigger fish (Will he bite my lion?), <Yes, too likely so...> or juvenile yellow tail wrasse (does he poop too much for my system?). <Mmm, well, you're near the comfort/max. for this sized volume, the gear you list... along with the big weekly water change... I would look to getting (another) larger tank... if you can fit this in>   Do I have room for any one of these in your conservative opinion, and which one is most compatible with my Lionfish.  Or do you have another Hawaiian fish you could recommend? <An Arc-Eye or Forster's Hawk is my best choice for adding here... are "large" enough, peaceful enough, and don't contribute much to the bio-load...> I would be willing to release any one of my existing fish in order to give my beloved some color.  Since discovering and scouring your site, I've already returned my pair of coral banded shrimp, and three damsels to their original tide pool in the interest of not overcrowding. <Ah, good... Nice to be able to go, get your own, mix and match eh?> Thank you for your time and your site.  It is a fish life saver for those of us who are just learning this business. Amy <Mahalo to you and yours. A hu'i ho! Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaf Scorpionfish compatibility
  11/19/06 Thanks for trying again, I never got the previous reply, <Mmm... a recurring, seemingly increasing problem... Are folks blocking our responses somehow? We respond directly to all received> can I find it on your site? <Yes... rather than have you search: http://wetwebmedia.com/Rockfishfam.htm archived> ...I figured you trashed it due to my poor spelling, so I corrected and tried again.   <Mmm, no... would send back to you with a note re if so> I realize the Humu Humu is a no go, what about the wrasse or the Hawkfish? <Please read... BobF>
Re: Leaf  Scorpionfish compatibility   11/19/06
Aloha, and Thank you again.  I used to only change the water once or twice a month, until I read your water change article...  I will be getting a bigger tank 8ft long! <Congrats!> My husband is going to build into our home... when I get things down in the small tank and the eel gets too big... I'll wait for the wrasse (and others) until then. <Ah, good>   I'm glad you approve of returning fish, I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do. <Is>   No need to reply, just want to thank you again and wish you clear water during your stay at Holualoa.  Amy <Mahalo my friend. BobF>

A Concern about My Leaf Fish  9/28/06 First, thank you for all of your advice with respect to purchasing and caring for leaf fish.   <Welcome> I have a concern about my leaf fish.  On Sunday, he ate 2 gut-loaded (Cyclop-eeze and Selcon) ghost shrimp and 1 small frozen Mysis (the first time I got him to eat anything frozen).  Today (Wednesday night) he is still very plump in his belly. <Only need to eat/feed about once, maybe twice a week...> He is usually only plump for 1 or 2 days after eating and so I am a bit concerned that there is some type of blockage.  Should I be worried? <I would not, am not> Is there anything I can do other than monitor the situation? <Not really> Otherwise, he is acting normally (or at least as normally as a leaf fish can).   <Waving, yawning... mainly sitting about> My tank parameters are as follows:  Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Temp 80 degrees, pH and alkalinity stable and within normal range.   Also, on a different topic, there are just a ton of pods in my tank.  There is nothing in there that eats them (just my leaf fish and some Zoanthids, a frogspawn, and a leather in the tank) and they are becoming an irritant to my Zoanthids and sometimes even land on and annoy the leaf fish.  Is there anything I can do to decrease there numbers? <Mmm, add a predator...> Is there a coral that would eat them <Not efficiently> or an animal that would be compatible with a leaf Scorpionfish in a 25 gallon tank with 25 pounds of live rock? <My choice... likely a Labrisomid, Tripterygiid... Maybe a Gobiosoma species... many possibilities> I really appreciate all of your help! Adam Carlis <BobF>

Re: Please help, Leaf Scorpionfish has gotten worse  9/29/06 Mr. Fenner, <Adam> Again, thanks for your help.  Please, if you have a moment, I have one more (important) question.  My leaf fish, along with being a little bloated, appears to actually be sick.  These are new symptoms as of today:  His pelvic fins appear to have worn away (the rays are still there, but the flesh is just gone).  It also appears as though this is starting to happen on his caudal fin (beginning at the tips).  I attempted to get a picture, but he is not in a good area to take one and they are nothing if not lazy. The fish is part of a pair that I purchased online.  The first showed similar symptoms upon arrival and died about 3 weeks ago.  Everything else in the tank (LPS, Zoanthids, Softies) <... these are likely the root cause of trouble here... chemically and physically mal-affecting this/these fish> are healthy, growing, and show no signs of a water quality issue.  I really want to save this fish.  Please, what can I do? <Move it to a system w/o these cnidarians> Again, my tank parameters are as follows: calcium 400 Magnesium 1300 Sg 1.026 Temp 81 Ph 8.3 Alkalinity 4.5 Ammonia 0 Nitrate 0 The tank has low-medium flow and there are no other fish that could be messing with him. What do you think this is?  I have some Melafix that says it treats fin rot and is safe to add directly to the display (25 gallon).  Will this help? <No> What should/can I do? Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks again Adam <Move it, or the stinging-celled life... they're incompatible. Bob Fenner>

How do you know if a nocturnal fish is eating? Triacanthus   8/29/06 I have a 25 gallon SW tank with 28 pounds of live rock.  It is home to a pair of leaf Scorpionfish (the only current and future fish inhabitants for this tank) <This is about all the metabolic activity this volume can readily/safely handle> that I recently purchased.  My question is, since I have read that they feed mostly at night, how am I to know if they are eating? <Mmm, Triacanthus can/will feed during the day... might need to practice with live foods... I'd try some... oh, I see this below> Two nights ago, I put 6 ghost shrimp in the tank in the evening.  When I went to bed, they were in the tank.  The next morning I couldn't find them. Can I assume they were eaten by the leaf fish? <I would, yes>   The other possibility is that they died and were consumed by my clean-up crew (hermits, snails, Mithrax crab).  Short of staying up all night, is there any way to tell if they have actually eaten? <Mmm... try placing these shrimp during the day on a day when you can be present pretty much all the time... They only need to feed this much about once a week...> They appear to have full bellies, so that is an ok sign, I guess. <Yes> Also, how long should I let the shrimp sit in Selcon before putting them in the tank? <Mmm... diluted in mostly seawater... ten, fifteen minutes... then this water added with the shrimp to the system (marine fishes "drink" their environment> I want the leaf fish to have a balanced diet until I can get them onto frozen foods. <Understood> Thanks a lot, Adam <This is one of my favorite species... to photograph and hunt for underwater. Bob Fenner>
Re: How do you know if a nocturnal fish is eating? Taenionotus fdg.   8/30/06
Thank you for your quick reply and helpful advice.  I love your book, by the way.   <Ahh!> My LFS encouraged more regular feedings (2-4 times a week).  Is that because they sell me the ghost shrimp or is there something to that? <Too much, too frequent IMO> The leaf fish are unlike any fish I have ever kept before because it is difficult to tell when/if they are hungry. Thanks, Adam   <"Index of fitness"... apparent fullness, tells all. Bob Fenner>

Weaning a fish onto frozen food... Taenionotus triacanthus   8/12/06 WWM Crew, <Adam> I love your website and you have helped me numerous times in the past (and also caused me some concern after making a purchase before researching on your site and just taking others' advice, i.e. the purchase of hermit crabs for my tank). <An area of broad discussion...> I am planning on purchasing a leaf Scorpionfish <Neat animals: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/scorpaeninae.htm> in two weeks.  He is at a LFS now and is healthy looking and eating live shrimp voraciously.  I would like to get him onto frozen as quickly as possible.   <Can be trying...> Here is my current plan:  buying a dozen or so of the live shrimp he is eating now, freezing them.  Adding some garlic and then using a clear feeding prong and some fishing line to dance them in front of the little bugger until he decides it is actually food.  Should this work?  Do you have any other suggestions or ideas? <Mmm, your plan sounds good... I would try other already frozen/defrosted and warmed whole meaty items as well...> Also, I was thinking that a couple of shrimp a couple of times a week should be plenty for him, is that the case? <Likely so for this species>   What do you suggest as a feeding regimen? <This sounds good... best to "play it by ear"... or eye... if it looks hungry...> By the way, I finished The Conscientious Marine Aquarist recently and thought it was great. <Ahh, glad you enjoyed this book> thanks a lot, Adam <Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Leaf Scorpionfish    4/4/06 Bob, I would like to set up a small tank for a leaf fish.  I have read through your website thoroughly - thanks for the great information - but I still have a few questions: 1.  What kind of clean-up crew do you suggest?  Other than shrimp, should other inverts be left alone? <Anything more than mouth-size should be fine> 2.  I assume that, other than a second leaf fish, he would have to be the only fish in a 30 gallon tank.  Am I correct, or is there something else that might be able to avoid his gaping mouth? <Mmm, a few types of animals... Seahorses for instance...> 3.  If I put him in my 90 instead, would a bicolor goatfish harass him or should he be ok? <Might be hard to get food to this fish, but could be done> I really appreciate your help.  I have been thinking about this for a while and want to make sure I have everything planned out properly before I proceed. Adam <One of my fave fishes to photograph... Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaf Scorpionfish  - 04/05/2006
Bob, <Adam> Thank you so much for your response. <Welcome> I spent some time at a popular LFS in the Chicago area today pricing out options for my tank.  I was hoping you could offer me a little guidance. They seemed to think that I had three options: 1.  Buy the 24 gallon nano cube.  Also, purchase a small protein skimmer designed for the tank.  ($500 with stand) 2.  Buy the 25 gallon IFS system ($940) 3.  Buy a 30 - 40 gallon reef ready tank, add a refugium, a protein skimmer, and a protein skimmer ($1300) <... all options... and there are many more... less and even pricier> I plan on buying live rock and live sand from Tampa Bay Saltwater for any of these options. <Good outfit> In the end, this tank will house only 2 leaf fish or 1 leaf fish and a second fish that could cohabitate with a leaf fish (please give me some suggestions).   <Posted on WWM... perhaps a Pseudochromid... > I may add some easy to care for soft corals or something, but don't plan on hard corals, clams, etc. at any point. Will the nano cube do the job for me or do I need to go with one of the more expensive options? <Could likely do with the cube> Also, I will be moving in 16 months and so want to make sure I have a system that I could move with me (12 hour drive away) if possible. Thank you very much for your help, Adam <Perhaps a membership at the local Zoo/Aquarium for this period of time would suffice? Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaf Scorpionfish   4/7/06
Bob, <Adam> Thank you again for your reply.  Hopefully my welcome has not been worn out and I can slip a couple more questions in. I just purchased your book (it arrives tomorrow).  I tried to buy it at a LFS, but they suggested The New Home Saltwater Aquarium, and were charging $60 for what appeared to be a used copy of your book. <Wow! Wish I had stored my "pay" for this/these in copies!>   I purchased the book they suggested and have read it cover to cover - incredibly basic information.  I have spent about 30 hours doing web research and reading all I could in that time on the WWM website (it is fantastic by the way). Despite this, I have three more questions. 1.  I am unable to find a specific procedure for getting my soon to be purchased leaf fish to accept frozen or prepared foods.  I have been told that they are one of the more difficult fish in the family to train to eat non-live food.  Do you have any tips or suggestions for how to successfully undertake this process? <Making/using a "feeding stick" of plastic, wood dowel... with a split on the end... wiggling food items near the front...> Until then, what live food do you think is best for a leaf fish? <Small livebearers, ghost shrimp...> 2.  In your opinion, is it worth the risk of having some of the LFS water in my tank to avoid netting the Leaf Fish? <Not likely an issue... better to "Boris Karloff" mix the new and shipping water and net out the fish... dispose of mixed> I am worried about damaging his fins.  I have read that this is appropriate with lionfish and was wondering what you thought in this case. <Not an issue here...> I really appreciate your assistance.  Like I said before, I am not going to do this until I am sure that I can do it right. Thanks a lot, Adam <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tankmates or expensive food?? Hi guys. <Good morning, JasonC here...> Thanks for providing such a valuable resource for us.  Your site has helped me out numerous times and I've only had my saltwater tank a little over two months.  Ok here are my questions: (tank is 45 gallon tall, 76 degrees, 30lbs live rock, 1" crushed coral substrate, great water condition-just had it tested, 1 4in leaf fish, devils-hand coral, and a few hermit crabs and Astraea snails) 1.  My leaf fish is very lazy, I feed him ghost shrimp and/or feeder guppies every 3 days, he only eats what shows up on his side of the tank- seems to be in great health though (had him for a month).  Is there anything marine I could feed him? I heard freshwater feeders aren't that great. <Just about anything that is meaty and of marine origin would do - shrimp, squid, clams/mussels - chopped up into bite-sized chunks.> 2.  I'm very interested in getting a Firefish goby (or 2) but from your site I gathered that they do best in pairs. Can my tank support 2 of them? <It could, but that would be about the practical limit.> And will the leaf fish try to eat them (he seems too lazy to actually chase something, and I'm hoping the Firefish will be too big anyway) <I would bet money that the fish that seems lazy would suddenly develop just enough energy to eat them. Do recall that part of their MO is to just chill in one spot, looking like debris, until the time is right to strike.> 3.  Can I add live sand to the tank this late? <Yes, although your live rock will liven the substrate you have already.> I've read that I need a deeper substrate bottom. <Nah... 1" is fine, and unless you want to up it to 4" or better, stick with what you've got. It will be easier to clean.> I figured live sand would be best. <Yours will be live soon enough.> Thanks again for all your help.  Its experts like you guys that keep us motivated. Cheers- Nick C. <Cheers, J -- >

Leaf fish I can find little information on the Taenionotus triacanthus (leaf fish). Do you know how they fare in captivity? <Pretty well. Reasonably hardy. Can live in the right conditions. You do realize they are venomous right? Be careful handling > If they will accept frozen food over time, and how to feed? <They like meaty things and eat in bulk like lionfish. So feed 3-4 times a week. If they don't eat right away try a live feeder shrimp. Needs non aggressive tank mates> They seem to perch instead of swim. Does that mean a feeding stick may work? <A feeding stick will likely serve you and the fish well> Any info would be great, or if you could direct me to a good site. Thanks <You're welcome! Hope that I've helped. David Dowless>

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
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