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FAQs about Blue-Spotted Jawfish Compatibility

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

FAQs on: Blue-Spotted Jawfish 1, Blue-Spotted Jawfish 2,
FAQs on: Blue-Spotted Jawfish Identification, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Behavior, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Stocking/Selection, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Systems, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Feeding, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Disease/Health, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Reproduction, Jawfishes 1, Jawfishes 2, Jawfish Identification, Jawfish Behavior, Jawfish Compatibility, Jawfish Selection, Jawfish Systems, Jawfish Feeding, Jawfish Disease, Jawfish Reproduction,


Subtropical sand stirring species recommendations needed     7/4/12
Hi WetWebMedia,
    I'm hoping you can help me out with some advice. I'm in the process of setting up a 75 gallon subtropical system (68-72 temp. range), specifically designed to house a pair of Blue Spotted Jawfish (75% fine/25% coarse sand bed, at least 6 inches, etc). I'm having a hard time finding a suitable sand stirrer for my set up that will tolerate subtropical temperatures.
<Mmm, I wouldn't use any here... Opistognathus rosenblatti really don't like other animals stirring about them... Perhaps some cooler-water burrowing snails...>
 I was hoping you could give me some recommendations that will be suitable for a newly set up system. If possible, please list some species that are listed as tropical, but do fine at subtropical temperatures due to natural fluctuations in their indigenous areas (I'm having the hardest time finding this information specifically) that are commonly sold?
<Mmm, there are quite a few possibilities... I'd check into Fishbase.org, Books re fishes of the Sea of Cortez... Kerstitch, Findley, Thomson... Lythrypnus dalli is a for sure choice>
 If not, perhaps my only option is to locate a cold water vendor
<The larger (marine livestock wholesale) houses (esp. LA) deal in such, often sold as tropicals>
 and specifically buy a sand sifter from a sub tropical area. Such as a Red Goatfish, who's also from the Sea of Cortez.
<Ah yes... but I would only employ such in a MUCH larger system... hundreds of gallons>
Although, a goatfish may not be the best choice being that they get quite large and are demersal. If this is my only option (besides stirring the sand myself), do you have any suggestions of specific species?
<The system maintained (and now abandoned) at S.I.O. (where namesake Dick Rosenblatt is still a prof. BTW), just kept these solo as a species... they're too skittish otherwise... Won't "come out" if there are other active fishes present>
 If none of these options are viable due to various reasons, maybe the best option is to stir the sand bed myself weekly?
<Likely won't need much stirring period... best to keep all in low light...>
 Your opinion is
greatly appreciated!
Thank you,
<Thank you for your query. Bob Fenner>

Jawfish, Shrimp Goby and Pistol Shrimp compatibility  11/13/09
Greetings Crew,
As I know you have heard many times, another sincere thank you for the countless hours you spend educating aquarists and the many ways you help us to understand the complex needs of our tanks.
<A pleasure to share, understand our helping others, their systems and livestock, and receive their gratitude>
I have researched this question, but remain unclear it it would be workable for the safety of the animals concerned (I have contrary related experiences on your site and wanted to ask very specifically):
<Go ahead>
Could I have a Blue Spotted Jawfish and a Shrimp Goby (and its Red Banded Pistol Shrimp) sharing a tank?
<Mmmm, maybe... if there is sufficient room (like a five or six foot length system), and lots of rock work, and adequate feeding of the Opistognathus rosenblatti on a regular basis... I give good odds if so (more than 90 %).
Otherwise the Jawfish might "bug" the Shrimp Goby too much, perhaps even try to eat the Alpheid>
They would be the only animals, other than a small selection of corals. It is a new LED lit, fully covered tank, with a lot of live rock sitting directly on the bottom glass, roughly 4-5" of live sand, with an overall size of about 32 Gallons with external refugium and skimmer.
<Mmm, this volume is too small IMO/E for one specimen of this species of Jawfish even. Though it does not get very large, O. rosenblatti (named in honour of Dick here in San Diego at SIO, UCSD) is a very "nervous" fish, that needs quiet, that a dearth of active fishes and room grants.>
If the Goby and its companion are not wise with the BSJ, could I add a Golden Midas blenny?
<Ecsenius midas would be a much better choice here... or for something that looks and behaves very similarly, a Pseudochromid>
I think the BSJ has a terrific amount of personality (I find he watches me as if I were the one in the aquarium!) and I would like to add another fish with a similarly engaging personality. I have had the BSJ for some time now in a QT, so I would move him first into the new home.
<If placing this fish in a 32 gallon system, I would leave it in there by itself for a few months before trying any other VERY easygoing fish/es...
Perhaps some species of Cardinalfish... DO make sure you have any openings to/through the top completely screened. This fish is an escape artist>
Thanks again for your always thoughtful advice.
<Bob Fenner, who has collected this fish at the terminus of Baja, CA. Seen it on display a few times, public and private>

Sick blue spotted Jawfish: Jawfish Health\Compatibility + Overstocked + Aggression + Crypt 7/22/2009
Hello and a "thank you" in advance for your help......
<Hi Trisha.>
I know you're going to ask so here are our stats:
90 gallon with ~75 lbs of live rock, 20 or 30 gallon fuge using bio balls, red sea protein skimmer, 25 gamma watt UV sterilizer (been on for about 2 weeks) stocked with a Sailfin tang, baby hippo, royal Gramma, two clownfish, 6 line wrasse and the blue spotted Jawfish.
<Crowded tank.>
The hippo broke out with some ich a few weeks ago and we started with the vitamin c and garlic.
<Not a cure. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and
here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm >
It cleared up and then reappeared, so we got the UV sterilizer and we know that this isn't a cure for it but can possibly help. It has not cleared up and the Gramma has been seen with a few spots on his tail.
<You are going to have to treat the Crypt and soon.>
We are doing ~weekly water changes and our water parameters are as follows:
Ph 8.04 (added a bit of buffer)
ammonia: 0
phosphates: 0
nitrites: 0
nitrate: .5
Alk = 9.2
salinity 1.025 (measured with a refractometer)
mag: 1280
calcium: 410
<All good.>
I have been unable to catch the hippo to do a freshwater dip or QT but now our Jawfish is very sick. He has what appears to be torn fins and something going on with his skin. His breathing is somewhat labored but he is still eating.
<Has he ever constructed a burrow? Your substrate may not be to his liking. Also, are you sure that none of the other fish, particularly the clownfish or the wrasse are beating up on the Jawfish?>
We set up a hospital tank for him with a few PVC pipes so he'd have places to hide and then placed him in the hospital tank after he was sitting in the middle of the tank not moving much. He has ate a bit in the tank and his breathing has somewhat calmed down.
<Likely aggression in the main tank.>
I am attaching photos to see if you can identify the problem. Some are from our tank and some are from his hospital tank.
<He does look better in the hospital tank.>
On an extra note, I'm a little worried about a "emerald crab" we have,
<Another potential Jawfish bully.>
I've seen him a few times and he looks more brownish than green.
<Without a picture, I can't tell, but Emerald Mithrax crabs do have color variations. Further, no crab is ever to be trusted completely.>
I'm wondering if the on-line company we ordered from sent us another type of crab and it is ,for lack of a better word, mean to the Jawfish and does not belong in our tank.
<It is likely a Mithrax crab
Any ideas how to catch this crab?
I tried bating him with a piece of shrimp but he held on to the rock like he was Arnold S. and I wasn't successful with getting him out of there. The reason I'm saying this about the crab is because the Jawfish hasn't ever really decided on a home, he kept on changing and a few times I found him just sitting in the corner.
<This is a clue here: Jawfish need to burrow, and if they cannot, they get stressed. It may not like your substrate.>
I know they need a 360 view so I had set up a few PVC pipes so he could have that but he never adopted them for a home.
<Some will, some won't.>
Currently, he is in a 5 gallon hospital tank with a air-stone and a small hang over filter.
How often should I be doing water changes-if he makes it-and how long should he be in there?
<Water changes daily and he cannot be in there for long.
What should I be giving him as far as medications.
My LFS gave me something for him saying he thought it might be bacterial, but this is just from what we were describing. I apologize that I can't tell you what it is as I didn't go in, I had another fish friend helping me out while I tried to get the hospital tank cleaned and ready.
They said to throw the syringe out and it was amber colored-copper perhaps?
<No, copper medication is normally blue-green.>
I'm sorry-I know I loaded you up with questions. Thank you for your time and response.
<You have a few issues here. First, you have crypt (ich) in your system - you need to get that taken care of. Second, you have a few fish that are inappropriate for a 90 gallon, as they will get too big in time. At this point, I would return the Jawfish to the store particularly in light of how expensive they are, until you get the other issues in your tank resolved.>

Pairing Blue Spot Jawfish 03/04/2008 I am writing to ask if it is possible to have Blue spot jaws pair up? I purchased a small BSJ and within a week found a larger specimen with a substantial size head. I rolled the dice and hoped they would form a pair. Well, little BSJ went fin to fin with large BSJ. The little one escaped alive minus a hunk of his lip. Now each has started to settle on different ends of the tank, and engage in stare downs. I have moved LR to create obstructions in their sight paths. Is there any hope they will pair? <<I Would guess not. Keeping two Jawfish such as these does need a large amount of space between them, and i imagine in your tank, they are literally at opposite ends>> or should I just be happy I don't have little bits of blue and yellow very pricey fish flesh floating about? <<Yes, be happy>> Just to add, they are alone in a species only 30 g tank. LR and deep mixed sand bed. Just hermits and cleaner crew. Both are eating fine, even the one with the missing lip. <<To be honest, i would not of recommended two of these in a tank so small>> This is my first attempt at BSJ. I have breeding pairs of pearly jaws in 2 other tanks. But these flashy fellas seem a very different beast, than their Caribbean cousins. <<Indeed. More reading for you here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm>> Thanks, Beth <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Jawfish/Systems/Compatibility 2/15/08 Hey Guys, <Hi Jason> Love your site. <Thanks> I recently purchased my second Blue Spot Jawfish for my 24G mini-reef (more on the first BSJ, which died, in a bit). The BSJ shares the tank with a very peaceful Chalk Bass. The fish get along fine and there is no problem with food competition when I target feed with a baster. There is  an abundance of soft coral (zoo's, recordia <Ricordea>) and two nice hammer corals in the tank. Pretty deep sand bed (7" in front) and a pretty uncluttered layout, with an open area in the front of the tank. The tank is well covered to prevent jumping. In my opinion, it is about as good a Jawfish environment as one can create in a tank this size. <Sounds good.> Before I ask my question, I need to jump back about 8 months. Last summer, I bought a very healthy BSJ and watched it waste away in the same tank, finally dying after a long 6 weeks. Although I did not know at the time, there seems to be a decent amount of anecdotal evidence< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishsysfaqs.htm> suggesting that the BSJ is a "cool" water fish, better suited to 72-76F temps than the typical 78-81F tropical tank (the temp of my tank the last time around). Indeed, the slow deterioration of my last BSJ seems consistent with the "wasting" one might see with an overheating fish. <Could very well have been caused by shipping/handling stress.> In preparation of buying the new BSJ, I lowered my tank temp to about 76F. Neither the corals nor the chalk bass seemed to mind, and the BSJ has acclimated extremely well since being added last week. At any rate, here is my question: how much lower do you think I can bring my temperature down before I start to risk the Chalk Bass and the very typical assortment of softies and hammers I have in the tank? My main concern is that temps get a little harder for me to control in the summer months despite having air conditioning. If I could get the tank down to about 74F by spring, I'd feel extremely good about the BSJ's chances...but I don't want to jeapordize <jeopardize> the rest of the life in the tank. How low can I go? <Between 72-78 would be acceptable for all your animals.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Jason

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 Hello there. I have been looking into getting a blue spotted jaw for my 55g reef, but I still have a few questions. First off, it looks like brittle stars are not good tank mates for them, as well as the serpent stars. I currently have a large brown brittle star, and was wondering if I should remove it before the introduction of the jaw. <yes...they are generally territorial towards other benthic animals> Also, it is about 10" across, <nice...almost eatin' size...hehe> so do you have any recommendations to animals that could substitute for it's "detritivore" capabilities and stirring the sand? <a smaller goatfish species would be interesting and quite effective. Sturdier starfish too like the sand burrowing star (Archaster typicus) AKA "White Linckia" from Indonesia> Also, once I get some various rock sizes, and the jaw makes his home, is he likely to keep digging all over the place and making new burrows, or will he mainly stay in the one he built? <many homes in time> I ask because I have some LPS on my sandbed, that I don't want to have buried. Thanks. <just be sure to keep species that can shed sand (no open brains but Fungiids for example are good. Best regards, Anthony>

Blue Spot Jawfish Blues Hi Bob,  <Anthony Calfo in the house... rapping to a funky beat... while mix-master Bob gets new gold caps on his front teeth (one tooth with a fish stamp cut out of the gold to let the enamel shine through> I was hoping that you could give me some advice before I invest in a rather expensive fish. My tank is 30 gallons and includes one of each: Halichoeres chrysus - golden wrasse Paracanthurus hepatus - blue tang True Percula Clownfish (All of these fish are very small - 2 inches or smaller) Pistol Shrimp - Synalpheus species Cleaner Shrimp - Lysmata amboinensis I am seriously considering buying a Bluespot Jawfish and want to know what I need to change (if anything) in my tank in order to accommodate this fish's needs.  <I seriously recommend that you don't buy this fish for such unnatural company. Such Jawfish are best in species tanks with very deep (6-12") sand of an appropriate grain> I want to make sure that this Jawfish is comfortable and healthy. <species tank only my friend> My plan is to add 1 or 2 watchman gobies eventually. Are they OK with the Jawfish?  <Yowsa!!! a surefire way to stress the Jawfish if not elicit an all out war among like competitive benthic creatures! Way bad, dude> Any chance that the Bluespot Jawfish would pair up with my pistol shrimp the way that they do with shrimp and watchman gobies? <what are you smoking? Heehee... seriously... ahhh, no. Commensals almost ALWAYS have to be collected together. At least the species has to be natural, and more often they literally have to be collected together. Not going to work unless you find a pistol from the Sea of Cortez... good luck> Once again, thank you for all your great words of advice. <and thank you for putting up with my humor as well. Anthony>

Mixing Jawfish? 3/24/03 I would be grateful for an opinion on Jawfish compatibility: <easy one... they are scary territorial> Can more than one Blue-Spotted Jawfish get along in and 80G tank? <probably... seek females (smaller head/jaw, buccal cavity)> How about one Blue-Spotted and one Yellow-Headed? <not recommended... but a very tight cover on the tank for all is... they are serious jumpers> More than one Yellow-Headed? <perhaps yes... 2... not more than 3 conspecifics. All need very deep substrates too. Some say 12" ideally. Most all say 6" minimum> What about Dusky Jawfish--can they be kept more than one to a tank? <indeed, not. Quite aggressive to each other.> Thanks! <best of luck... do try to purchase a pair/trio from the same tank/dealer for better chance of compatibility. Anthony>

Gobies and Jawfish >Hey Guys, >>And gals.  Marina here. >Is it alright to have a Blue Spotted  Jawfish  and a Amblygobius phalaena Goby >>Do you mean "Amblygobius"?  Check this link for information--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobiusfaqs.htm >in a 135g together? There will also be a Purple Tang, Ocellaris Clown, Flame Hawk, Blue Hippo and possibly another Tang. Also, can gobies of different species be kept together in a system this size (Amblygobius Phalaena  and Mahidolia mystacina)? >>To the best of my own knowledge, care should be taken with animals that occupy the same niche, or have very close taxonomy.  I would exercise care, and not try to mix similar species. Look here for a bit of information on the shrimp gobies (which I think would do alright with the Jawfish or the A. phalaena) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm >Last questions, are Copper banded Butterflies truly reef safe? >>Generally, yes, though there are always stories of some that may get a bit nippy with some types of corals.  Keep them well-fed and I would expect few problems. >And I have read and heard that they will eat Aiptasia Anemones, is that true, and would they eat an Anemone like a Curlicue or a Bubble Tip Rose Anemone? >>I've heard the same as well, it's not an "always" kind of thing.  Also, to the best of my knowledge curly-cue's are an Aiptasia, I've never heard of a Copperband getting nippy with the larger anemones (especially if it's being hosted by clowns). >Thanks for your time,  Nick Shushkewitch >>You're welcome, Marina.

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