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FAQs about Moorish Idols, Family Zanclidae: Behavior

Related Articles: Moorish Idols

Related FAQs:  Moorish Idols 1, Moorish Idols 2, & FAQs on: Moorish Idol Identification, Moorish Idol Compatibility, Moorish Idol Selection, Moorish Idol Systems, Moorish Idol Feeding, Moorish Idol Health, Moorish Idol Reproduction,


Moorish Idol Hi, Bob I have a 135G tank with 120lbs of live rock, 11/2in. substrate live sand), 30G sump and protein skimmer. I recently added 2 Moorish idols in the tank that has 2 damsels, 1 Foxface, 1yellow tang, 1goat fish, 1parrot fish, 1diamond watchman, 1copper band, 1 niger trigger, and 1eblis angel. Of all the fish I have in my tank, Foxface is the one I thought would be safest towards MI. Well, am I wrong about that. Foxface is the only one that is bothering MI.. especially when they are trying to nibble the LR. Other than that MI is doing well except .......................Do MI. sleep? <Yes... they "settle on the bottom and turn to whitish overall" during the night> I have never seen them in their sleep mode. Is it normal for MI. ? Any information would help. Thank you Bob Jo <Hope yours is eating. If not, and this may seem odd, do look into Pablo Tepoot's "Spectrum" pelleted fish food. I have visited with Pablo and seen in first person that Zanclus inhale his food. Bob Fenner>

Sharing Information/Observations/Opinions On Zanclus cornutus -- 06/06/07 Hello WWM Crew, <<Greetings Frank!>> Your site has been very helpful. <<Good to know>> I would like to share my, short-term, experience with Moorish Idols and would love to hear any feedback you would have. <<Excellent...an done of my most favorite fishes>> I purchased 3 Moorish Idols (2-1/2", 3", and 3-1/2") in February 2007 from LiveAquaria.com and put them into my 120-gallon display aquarium that was cycled back in 2003. <<Mmm, too small a tank for three of these beauties...in my opinion. These are far ranging and, yes, aggressive fishes on the reef. Nor do they tolerate conspecifics well in the confines of an aquarium...reason enough to keep them in very large setups>> The main tank has 150 lbs. of live rock, a 35-gallon refugium with 50 lbs. LR, and 35-gallon sump with a Euro-Reef CS80 Protein Skimmer. <<An excellent but undersized skimmer for this system, even without the Zanclus>> I built the aquarium, in the wall, between two rooms for double the enjoyment. <<Nice...my own large reef display is situated in the wall between my dining and living rooms>> The display has 820 watts lighting made up from a Coralife Compact Fluorescent with 4-65 watt 10,000k and an Outer Orbit HQI/Compact Fluorescent 2-150 watt 10000k Metal Halide; 2-130 watt Actinic. <<This is a reef display? Zanclus cornutus is not particularly 'reef safe'>> The refugium has a Current-USA SunPaq Quad 96 watt 10000°K/Actinic. I added the Outer Orbit about two years ago and my nitrates went down to undetectable. <<...?>> I guess lighting is a real key. <<Ah!...yes...for driving metabolic processes and the associated usage/consumption of nitrogenous waste...and maybe something to be learned here for those hobbyists with low lighting on their FOWLR systems...perhaps?>> After adding so many watts I needed to get a chiller and added a Current-USA 1/3 HP Tower Chiller. My tank conditions are: 76-78°F, spg 1.023, pH 8.0-8.3. <<I would prefer you to increase the SPG closer to natural seawater levels of 1.025/026>> I use an Orbit/SunPod adjustable Hanging Kit for the lighting to control the vegetation growth by moving the lighting closer to the tank for more and further for less. Is this okay to do or should I play with the lighting time settings? <<I wouldn't fool with the timing/duration settings...would prefer to see these kept constant (much like in the tropics, where our livestock hails from). But I can't really comment on the other without knowing more about your system/process...e.g. -- what species livestock/corals do you keep?...how 'high' do you raise the lighting and for how long?...what do you mean by 'vegetation growth' (algae?)?...>> Most of my fish are from 2003-2004, are very healthy and all get along. I have 1 Queen Angel, <<Mmm, a very much 'alpha' fish...and likely close to needing a much larger system for continued good health and maintaining 'acceptable' social behavior>> 3 Dwarf Angels (Flame, Herald, Keyhole), <<Hmm...I think you mean 'Herald's'>> Tomato Clownfish, <<A very agonistic species...especially when well established>> Firefish Goby, Yellowtail Damsel and a Neon Goby. Here are a couple things I would like to share: The small Moorish Idol was severely attacked by my large Tomato Clown and didn¹t make it. <<Not surprising...on either count>> Tomato, one of my original cycling fish, is now in my son's 20-gallon tank. <<Hmm, won't get in to the waste/harm/unnecessary need for using live fish to cycle tanks...but do hope that Tomato Clown is alone in the 20g>> They say Moorish Idols are very difficult fish to feed but it only took a couple of days to get them eating. <<It's not so much a matter of getting them to eat...but more a problem of providing the 'necessary' nutrition. Many a Moorish Idol has seemed to be feeding well only to die from apparent malnutrition, or secondary disease/infection brought on by malnutrition. But on the bright side, there appears to be anecdotal proof that the pelleted foods from New Life Spectrum can/do provide the necessary nutritional requirements for these (and many/most other) fishes. If you choose to persist in your pursuit of these fishes I highly recommend you give the Spectrum foods a try>> Now they are fat and eat like pigs. <<Is 'early days' yet>> One thing I noticed is they seem to shake everything they grab, like its alive and they want to feel it fight back. <<As alluded to earlier...these are not 'gentle' fishes>> At first they would shake the food and spit it out. Now they eat whatever I put in front of them. <<Is good to hear>> Moorish Idol in aquarium eating: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDj0coeXhRY Moorish Idol in refugium eating: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-3CfDiEQtY <<Unfortunately, I'm not able to view these at the moment>> They may be peaceful but not with each other in my 120 gallon tank! <<Bingo! Not a 'peaceful' species...very intolerant of conspecifics in such confines...and can be a danger to other peaceful fishes>> I had to move the middle sized one to the refugium because they were fighting. <<Very difficult to keep more than one to a tank unless the system is VERY large...maybe in the thousands of gallons>> He was the more aggressive one. Shortly after that I posted him for sale and found a new home for him. <<Not somebody's 55g tank I hope...>> I once again have a happy tank. Moorish Idols in aquarium fighting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfOiLr0jeSk I have also found that they are very fast healers. <<As are most all fishes...when kept in healthy systems and fed a plentiful and nutritious diet>> When I split them up most of their fins were torn. After about 4-5 days they looked like perfect specimens. <<Fishes have amazing recuperative abilities, when given the chance>> Malnutrition is what I fear the most <<Indeed>> so I feed them 5 times a day--frozen food (Hikari Mysis Shrimp, SF Bay - Marine Cuisine, Plankton, Squid, Cyclops) or Sweetwater Zooplankton in the morning (9am) plus a Rondomatic Auto-Feeder is set for 12, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm into a Feeding Frenzy Feeding Ring with a variety of foods (New Life Spectrum Marine pellets, Ocean Nutrition Flakes - Spirulina, Formula One, Formula Two, Prime Reef, Brine Shrimp, BIO-Blend Marine Herbivore and Carnivore pellets). <<A very nice selection/varied diet...and oh!...I see you already use the Spectrum food...Excellent!>> I am hoping years from now I can tell you my Moorish Idol is doing fine. <<Me too!>> I will keep you posted. <<Please do my friend>> My fish and I thank you, Frank (North Wales, PA) <<Is my pleasure to share with you. Regards, EricR in Columbia, SC>>

Moorish Idol... beh.   11/21/07 Hello Bob, <Joe> I have had two Moorish Idols for a little over a year. They have both grown in size and eat a wide variety of food mainly Spectrum Thera A pellets. <Ah, yes... have seen Pablo Tepoot's Zanclus... almost bulging at the seams on this food> Last week one of them just went off on the other biting it relentlessly for a couple hours. Later that day the one under attack turned very dark <A bad behavioral/physiological sign... Need to be separated stat!> it looked almost like it was covered with soot. I wrote this off to stress as the next day it's natural color had returned and the two of them seemed to be friends again. I have not seen another attack since then but, the one that was attacked has become discolored once again now going on 48 hours although it is eating and acting normal this discoloration has me concerned. Do you have any ideas as to what is going on? Sincerely Joe B. <Inter-species aggression... dominance... Again, I would move them apart. Bob Fenner>

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