Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Moorish Idols, Family Zanclidae: Systems

Related Articles: Moorish Idols

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

Moorish Idol In Reef tank?/Moorish Idol/Compatibility 2/11/11
Hi there
<Hello Marci>
You probably get sick of hearing this but I love your site, it is so informative.
<Never get sick of it.>
Two days ago, I inherited a medium/large Moorish Idol. It was healthy and eating.
<Lucky you!>
I put it in my 200 gallon fish tank with 2 large angels, 2 large tangs, and a few other smaller random fish. One of the large angels is really beating it up it. He has him pinned in a corner, and if the Moorish Idol tries to go elsewhere in the tank, he chases him. I have two choices.
I can leave him in the fish tank and hope things will settle down or transfer him to my 180 gallon reef tank. I several small fish in there (cardinals, a couple of Anthias, a Mystery Wrasse, 3 tangs, all smaller than the Moorish Idol) The tank is full of Zoanthids, and hard and soft corals. In your opinion, should I put him in the reef tank, knowing that he will possibly nip at corals or take my chance that since he already is eating pellets, he won't destroy the tank?
<If things haven't calmed down by now, I'd definitely move into the reef.
There would be a medium risk, it may or may not bother the corals. In the wild their primary diet is sponges, algae, and benthic invertebrates.
If it were me, I'd risk losing a few polyps rather than lose a beautiful Moorish Idol that's eating prepared foods.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Moorish idols - 1/30/04 Hey, <Hey> First off your site is the best on the net and is very helpful. <Thank you for participating> I have a 75 gallon tank and was wondering if I could add a pair off Moorish idols in the tank in a year or so. <A pair in a 75 is a no go. Too small an environment for such a big adult fish (9-11 inches) As a matter of fact, I wouldn't choose even one fish for a 75 gallon, to be honest. Just too restricting> In that time the setting will be as follows:  80 pounds of live rock,  1 six line wrasse, 1 purple tang, 1 Banggai cardinal fish, 2 percula clownfish, possible some Firefish and some additional invertebrates. <Seems to me that this will be a little tight. Not to mention, too many Moorish Idols die just to get one to your tank (that will likely still be disadvantaged due to stress, feeding, amongst the other givens like water quality and room enough to roam for a large fish such as this.> I would be getting an automatic feeder to feed new life spectrum 4 times a day and be feeding brine shrimp and Selcon, seaweed and some other additional foods. <admirable> will this work? <I would rather you try a different fish as I think this will ultimately lead to death. Worth a try if you must, but I would only try one and maybe leave some of the other fish on the list out of the scenario. Moorish Idols are slightly aggressive in pairs and trios in confined spaces. I know that in the ocean they have been known to move in "schools" but....well......that is the ocean. Our tanks are far from that, eh?? Do your research, here. Look through our site, forums, magazines, reef clubs, other sites and any literature you can find. Be informed as knowledge is half the battle. ~Paul> Thanks Akira.

Moorish Idols This is not so much a question as an observation regarding Moorish Idols. Given how difficult of a fish they can be to keep, even for experienced aquarist, I thought I'd pass on some insights I've had on keeping them over the past few years. First off, don't even consider purchasing an Idol unless you have a 150 gal or larger tank. I have a 5 year old, 150 gal reef tank with Acroporas, Montiporas, etc.... The swimming patterns these fish deserve is compromised with anything smaller. You might get away with it in the first 6 months, but, I guarantee the fish will waste away eventually. This is a very sensitive fish, and tank ergonomics are very important to it acclimating efficiently. Again, there might be exceptions, but it will be rare. Also, just as important to the size of the tank, is the way the tank is aquascaped. If you have it overloaded with coral and rock, the Idol will not be able to swim in a normal manner- long, graceful slow turns in varying directions. My 150 is a custom design set up with a depth is 30 inches. Even with my configuration, I feel this tank is still on the small side for a med- large MR. Additionally, you need sufficient live rock to help the MR eat during it's acclimatization. Rarely, will an Idol eat right away anything prepared etc. Again, it does happen that they do, but rarely. As for a way I found to help a very finicky eater transition to prepared food- here it goes. Over the first month the fish would not even look at anything I put in the tank- I tried everything from Nori to frozen sponge, flakes, pellets. It wasn't until I took some frozen Angel Food from (it has sponge in it) and placed it in a specially designed clip that has a kind of plastic net attachment and placed a couple of cubes in the netting and set the clip into my rock work. Since almost all Idols pick at rock, the food was displayed naturally and he went for it. Then I placed some Nori in the clip and set it into the rock with the same results. I did this for a couple of days, and then placed the clip and suctioned it to the side of the glass-He continued to go after it. Finally, to make this process work really easy, I have the clip attached to a little bit of fishing line that is secured to the top of the tank, which makes accessing the clip a breeze. My MR has been living a year and has gotten enormous. One other thing to mention, don't have any aggressive fish in the tank as the MR rarely are aggressive and will get bullied. I hope this helps anyone who is considering getting an MR Rich Heisen <Thank you for your input. Will share. 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>> *

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: