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FAQs about Blue-Spotted Jawfish Behavior

Related Articles: The Blue-Spotted Jawfish, Opistognathus rosenblatti, A Cool Fish in More Than One Sense by Bob Fenner, Jawfishes by Bob Fenner,  

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Jawfish never stays in burrow... Jawfish Behavior\Systems 9/7/2010
Dear WWM,
<Hi Laura>
Hope all is well at WWM.
<All is great, thanks.>
I set up a JBJ 28g LED Nano Aquarium around a Blue Spot Jawfish.
<A Beautiful fish, one of my favorites.>
I have 42 pounds of live rock in this tank, a 4" sandbed, lots of shells and rubble for burrowing, and the tank has a covered top.
<Covered top is important, they are jumpers.>
I thought this would make any BSJ quite happy, as the his only tankmates are a yellow clown goby and a juvenile tailspot blenny.
<A nice stocking list for this tank.>
The Jawfish was added first. Tank parameters are: Temp: 77 degrees constant, Nitrates: 0, Phosphates: 0, Ammonia: 0,
Calcium: 460, KH: 9. I got the BSJ 10 days ago.
<All looks good there.>
Although this fish has made small shallow burrows all over the tank under the rockwork, he has not utilized any of the rubble or shells I have provided for him.
<Hmm... what kind of sand? They really prefer a mix of fine sand, with some coarser substrate like a crushed coral>
Even more interesting is that he spends his day and night swimming all over the tank, and I mean, all over.
<That is uncommon>
He goes in and out of holes, swims freely, peeks out of caves, and doesn't bother either the goby or blenny whatsoever. Rarely do I see him in any of his "burrows." He lays openly out on the sand, and eats voraciously from a pipette I use to feed him Spectrum Pellets, and various other meaty foods. His colors are brilliant, he shows no signs of being stressed - not a mark on him, no torn fins, nothing.
<All sounds fine there.>
Is this fish so "comfortable" he does not feel the need to spend his time building his burrow, rearranging it, and living in it, as Jawfish "supposedly" do, or is something wrong with him or the conditions I have provided for him?
<Normally this is because they don't like the substrate - either it keeps collapsing on itself, or it is too rough for its liking. Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishbehfaqs1.htm >
Thanks in advance,
Re: Jawfish never stays in burrow... Jawfish behavior\system 9/7/2010
Hi Mike,
<Hi Laura.>
Thank you so much for your reply.
<My pleasure.>
I have fine sand in the tank. I did put some shells and some rubble pieces in, but there is no crushed coral mixed into the sand at all. I just bought a bag after reading your response. If you could provide me with some kind of ratio on fine sand vs. crushed coral, I would greatly appreciate it.
<Well, make sure you rinse it well before putting it in the tank, you want a mix of 75% fine sand and about 25% crushed coral. Just mix it in with the sand.>
Thanks Mike, and I hope I see some burrowing activity from this guy tonight!!!
<Give it a few days, he should settle in.>
Re: Jawfish never stays in burrow... He is digging now! 9/11/2010

Hi Mike,
<Hi Laura.>
I just wanted to follow up with you on my Blue Spot Jawfish. He is indeed burrowing...big-time!
<Excellent news!>
Has made a snowdrift under a mushroom rock that is 6" high and working quite hard on the project. I haven't seen much of him today. He did do freestyle swimming around the tank when I "woke" him up this morning to feed him. He apparently slept in in his new digs until he smelled the food hit the water.
<That is normal for them. Once he gets his home built, you will see him peeping out more and more.>
I so appreciate your advice and thought you might like to know how much it helped me.
<Glad it helped! Enjoy your Jawfish, they are, by far, some of the most entertaining fish you will keep.>

Re: Blue Spot Jawfish  7/20/07 Thanks for get back Bob. I had a bsj for 4 months, water quality was great and the Jawfish feeding appetite was excellent. He arrange the sandbed to which he liked, <Where are the spaces between your sentences?> and the problems started. The tank was also a reef setup with corals on the sandbed, which he no longer cared for. The Jawfish would blow sand all over the corals on the sandbed, and on the corals that where higher on the live rock. <What they do> It was a everyday event to get the sand off the corals, and I finally gave up. I return the fish for a store credit,8 months later jaw is still in the display tank, and I regret giving him up. Thanks for the excellent article on the Jawfish, I'm ready to purchase another one. I think the two problems that I didn't know were, not giving the bsj any rubble to make his den, and not enough space with the corals on the sandbed so he could a 360 view. I would appreciate any comment you have. Thanks Dan <Good points... BobF>

Blue Spotted Jawfish...Behavior Questions   5/18/07 WWM, <Shawn.> Just purchased a Blue Spotted Jawfish from my LFS about 2 weeks ago. <Neat.> I placed him  in my main tank the other day. He started to make his burrow that evening after he was placed in the tank for several  hours. My question is this morning he started a new burrow about a foot or so from the original one. <Not uncommon for them to have multiple, especially if they are the only animal in the tank that inhabits that niche.> I have read that these little guys  will make burrows until there happy with one. <True.> So finally my big question will he or she go back into any of these other burrows that where built? <Perhaps, perhaps not...depends in the individual really. It is not uncommon for them to have an "area" or territory and have multiple burrows within that territory that they inhabit.> Also will he or she take any of the rubble that was used in constructing the other burrows? <Might, might not, is really a question of individual behavior.> Thanks for your help. <Anytime.>   Shawn <AJ.>

Blue Spotted Jawfish ... beh., hermit health, supplement use...   5/9/06 Hi, I have a 75 gallon reef tank. Everything in my tank has been doing fine. I have a 4-inch Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), 3-inch Clown Tang (Acanthurus lineatus), <Not easily kept> 3-inch 5 Bar Mystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus), 1 1/2-inch Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia), 4-inch Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus), 3-inch Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides phthirophagus), <Ditto> and just purchased a 3-4 inch Blue Spotted Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti ). I have a hammer coral, a torch coral, a Lobophyllia brain coral, a Kenya tree coral, and a couple button polyps. The lighting is four 65 watt compact fluorescents and one 40 watt regular fluorescent bulb. The sand/coral rubble is about 4 to 10 inches deep (ten behind the rocks and about 4 to six inches in the open). There is a 55 gallon sump, about 60 lbs. of live rock, two Magnum 350s (one on the sump and one on the display) display one only runs carbon), a Whisper 60 on the display for circulation with nothing in it and the main pump is a Via Aqua pump (600 gph), and there is a sea clone protein skimmer on the sump too. I have 4 questions. 1) I had a Electric Blue Hermit Crab (Calcinus elegans) in the tank. It always was in its shell and seemed tipped over. Plus whenever I put it on the rocks it would fall off and didn't move much. Why is this? <The item you mention below, the addition of supplements directly to the system is very likely the root cause here> 2) That same hermit crab was dead after the addition of the Blue Spotted Jawfish. I saw what was left of its legs along with the shell on the bottom. Could the Jawfish have eaten it. <No, not likely> 3) In the back of the tank where the crushed coral and some sand reaches about ten inches deep the Jawfish decided to make its burrow there. I couldn't find it for two days and after one day I went out and bought a lid for the tank knowing they are jumpers. Its burrow is very deep. There is about 4 inches right on the back glass and maybe another 4 below because the fish is about 3-4 inches. I know this seems like a favorable spot seeing as he/she can have such a nice burrow but is there anyway that it will maybe come to the front of the rocks or tank so that I won't have to go behind the tank to view it? <Not likely, though it may become more outgoing with time> 4) My hammer coral keeps its polyps retracted almost all the time. They aren't completely retracted but they aren't out like they are suppose to be. My torch coral is doing great along with the others and both are on the same level in the tank and the torch might be getting slightly less light than the hammer coral. I threw that in because both are Euphyllia corals. Calcium is added daily and strontium molybdenum is added every Sunday. Can you tell me why this may be? <... not a good practice to add such supplements directly to tanks. Add them through your regular water changes, through pre-mixed water... Covered on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Tim Morrissey P.S. Do you have any really cool ideas as far as fish for my tank? Also considering the bioload I have now, about how many more fish could my system handle? <Your system is already "full-up" fish-wise with what you list. Bob Fenner>

Jawfish M.I.A.?   2/10/06 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight!> Just a quick question for you. I received a blue spotted Jawfish from the Marine Center yesterday. <An excellent source!> A friend of mine acclimated it (he is a professional tank service person anyway'¦) while I was at work. <Hope he quarantined it first?> He said it was unbelievably nice. The only problem is I can't find it anywhere. I figure that its just hiding. Is this normal, if so how long until I should be worried'¦? Tank is a 150 gallon reef, sand bed ranges from an inch to six inches, mostly on the deeper side of the range. I would say the fish load is rather low. 1 purple tang maybe 5 inches. 1 Hippo Tang about 3 to four inches. 1 Bellus Angel (awesome..) a Pink-Spotted Goby, a Black Percula in a Rose Anemone and 2 Pajama Cardinals. I think I have a pistol shrimp in there somewhere... I hope this fish does well as they are now nearly impossible to maintain and very expensive. Make me feel better! Thanks as always, Brian J Ferraccio <Well, Brian- I don' have a Crystal ball, but I do have a lot of experience with little fishes in big tanks! Generally speaking, these types of fishes, including Jawfishes, will hide for some period of time after their introduction. Once they are "settled in" and construct a burrow, they will be much more visible. Give him a little time and I'm sure that he'll show himself at some point! Enjoy! Regards, Scott F.>

Blue spotted Jawfish question Hello I purchased a blue spotted Jawfish the other day. I have a 75 gallon tank that has about 3-6 inches of sand, depending where in the tank, that is made up of many different sizes. I have also added some larger building rubble. I also have a small yellow tang and 2 Perc. clowns. my concern is that since the fish has been in the tank it has been hiding behind one of my base rocks in the back of the tank where there is almost no substrate. I know this fish likes a 360 degree view, so is he just waiting until he is very comfortable to build.  <Likely so... that and very frightened no doubt from capture, being moved about.> other than that it seems to be fine, no problems feeding. just kinda wondering if I'm ever going to see this fish I spent so much money on. any help would be great. thanks, Jesse Lancaster <Maybe, maybe not. Take care to prevent it jumping out (very common). Bob Fenner>

Get In Your Hole!   4/7/03 Hi there :)<Hey Will, you got Phil, or Bozek on the forums.> Did any of you guys check out my thread on the message board that I got a Blue Spot Jawfish for $50?<Ya, GREAT deal!> Hmm, hehe, well..<You lucky....> It's doing really well- eating like a piggy, defending his territory against wanton snails, and didn't jump last night- but he hasn't made a burrow yet. He's just hanging out in the rocks as if he were in a burrow-- ya know, hovering a few inches over his hole, etc. I've read that they should make their burrow on the first night, and my guy didn't do that.<I read a book that said all tanks need an UGF, so not everything goes as we read.  As much as we would like things to go on time that don't always.  I don't see anything to worry about.  He is eating and that's really good.  Just make sure nobody else is picking on him.> Is that normal?<See above> Thanks!<No problem Will.  I'm sure he will be digging his burrow soon, good luck and post some pics of the little guy!  Hope this helps! Phil>
Re: Jawfish Won't Come Out  4/9/03
Stupid Jawfish!<LOL> He's still just hanging out in the rocks...<Give him more time, I'm sure he will come around.> Oh well, give him time I guess...<Or maybe a beer... j/k plez don't try this. :)  > Thanks for your input Phil.<No problem Will> See ya around the boards!<See ya> -Will<Phil>

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