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FAQs about Blue-Spotted Jawfish 1

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 2,
FAQs on: Blue-Spotted Jawfish Identification, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Behavior, Blue-Spotted Jawfish Compatibility, 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,

Re: Treatment Options Early Onset Crypt in SPS; and Blue Spotted Jaw input       6/2/15
Hello Bob,
Thank you for taking time out of your weekend to respond to my query. I currently supplement feeding with Selcon, but will read the material you suggest to see what else I might do to boost immunity in situ.
<This is really about it... perhaps a double dose of iodide-ate every three days as well>
In keeping with he above, today I spent the morning doing basic maintenance; things like water change, skimmer cleanout, removal of detritus and the like. While I was doing this it began to dawn on me that I may have been premature in attributing the symptoms on the Emperor to Crypt. For example (1) there are no signs of infection on any other fish, (2) apart form one instance about two weeks back, the Emperor has not been scratching or "flashing" which is something I have routinely seen in the past with this infection, (3) while I see an opaque blemish on each lateral fin, they never quite degraded to the telltale white dots associated with this pathogen, and (4) typically with Crypt the infection seems to miraculously disappear after a few days to a week as the trophonts drop off the fish, only to come back much worse after the life cycle reverts to theronts in higher (and eventually deadly) numbers. In this case the fins never quite cleared, but got gradually better on the left side and then appeared on the right side of the fish.
<Ah yes; I see this>
The above new doubts about my diagnosis makes your suggestion for a more conservative approach for now all the more cogent. In the meantime I wonder if I might ask you to take a look at the attached photographs. The first photo shows the left side on September 2nd. This was about a week after I first noticed the blemish on the left lateral fin and the one time I saw the fish scratching. I ascribed the lesion to the scratching but now I am not so sure. Over time the lesion has substantially healed, and until last night there were no visible signs on the right lateral fin.
The second photo was taken today and shows the right lateral fin and the blemish, which I thought was early onset of Crypt. While you can't see it in the photo, the eye detects some irritation on the skin/scales just behind the right lateral fin when pressed down on the body.
<Mmm; the first pic looks like a physical trauma... the second unfortunately appears to be the beginning of a bacterial infection... perhaps w/ a Protozoan involved>
Could it be I am not dealing with Crypt at all but something completely different?
<Different almost assuredly... t'were their time I'd really like you to read through either ed. of Ed Noga's "Fish Disease" Diagnosis and Treatment"... expensive as an analog book, one can download as an e'... on Amazon>
Thanks again for you time and highly valued advice.
<A "furan bath" of high concentration perhaps>
P.S. - I also thought I would make a comment about the Blue Spotted Jawfish, in the interest of sharing and posting.
<Ahh; I thank you>
When I purchased the BSJ, I made the mistake of buying the fish without detailed research before purchasing. I did research once I had the fish in QT. I read WWM's post about the need for deep sand bed and cold temperature. I made accommodation with the sand bed depth. I also read in Scott Michael's book "Basslets, Dottybacks and Hawkfishes" that the fish was collected in Gulf of California and would be suitable in a temperature range of 70-82F.
<Mmm; ScottM and I agree on most all... but not here. I have collected "Rosenblatt's Opistognathid" and knew the original describer (Alex Kerstitch, RIP)... I've never been in water higher than the mid to upper sixties F. where this fish is found. Am wondering what Fishbase.org states: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/46578
Ah, they too list it as "tropical"... Not>
I deeply regret not taking more heed of your article, but rather choosing to be led by emotion and used Michael's reference as an excuse to sidestep your recommendation about temperature. As mentioned previously, the BSJ never settled into the display. While he was never harassed by his tank mates (they were very curious about the new inhabitant) he was very
reclusive. The first day he did begin to burrow in the sand, but then retreated in a makeshift burrow under a Montipora plate coral. I am of the opinion that this fish also needs very docile tank mates and the stress is a contributor to my current situation.
Ultimately I made the mistake of leaving the cover off the tank and as is reported in the literature, he jumped out of the tank and perished. I am ashamed that my hubris led to the suffering of this fish. I am now of the opinion that this should be a "show piece" fish in a system dedicated to making this species thrive.
<Am bcc'g Scott here as I've mentioned his name. Bob Fenner>

Convict Blenny & Blue Spotted Jawfish      7/22/14
Hi there! Hope everything is well with you today! Okay so lets get right into it. First of all, for some reason 2 things have alluded me over the years….. one is that the Convict Blenny has been known to eat other fish
<This is so.. and Pholodichthys can get quite large>
….. yeah………. and TWO, that Blue Spotted Jawfish are cold water fish
(although I DID know about the Catalina Goby!). So here I am, wondering WHY the temperature requirements stated for the BSJ are not shown as 55 to 72˚F, since this is so important!
<Shown by whom? It is clearly stated that this is a non-tropical fish in EVERYTHING I have written about it; on WWM and elsewhere>
Here I sit, pouring over information, kicking myself for making just a NOOB mistake, when well, I am not a noob! I guess we all make dumb mistakes in the hobby as the years go on! First things first….. the Convict Blenny (Engineer Goby) AND the subadult 5-6”
<Mmm; actually; this is about it size-wise for this species>
BSJ occupy; and peacefully I may add, the same dug out area of my 75 gallon tank. They will both be peeping out of 2 different holes at the same time and the BSJ does not even FLINCH. (right now the BSJ has taken over the CB hole and the CB doesn’t care… yeah he texted me, its all good!
lol The BSJ is so bold that he will go after my Flame Angelfish when the flame starts his normal “I am king of the lab…. uh I mean TANK” wiggle! It is funny that the BSJ is the ONLY fish not intimidated by the flame! So I lowered my temperature to 78˚F, however I did it overnight with fans, so it was not instant, and I plan to drop it to 76˚F come fall. We are in Las Vegas, so heat is a bit of an issue. (although I wonder if I have that much time!) I am, however, in the meantime, really worried about all the things I am reading! The BSJ does eat well and I spot feed him several times a day (although when I lowered the temperature from 82˚F, he is not eating as much…. I assume metabolism is slower or that rather large chunk of Selcon soaked Krill yesterday?) and he looks healthy, not thin, no white spots or whatever is the pre-dreaded BSJ disease starts with..….. yet…. :( …..When everyone is eating, he is happy to swim about the tank for quite a while then settle back into this “den” and LOVES…. now this is a weird one….. LOVES putting his head into the end of the bubbler tube where the air comes out!!! The tank is completely sealed BTW because I lost one to “egg crate” which didn’t work!
<Ah, no... Opisthognathids can/will escape from small openings>
I did add some crushed up shells which he used a few of them, but just for his “hole” entrance. Here are a few of my questions. First, will the Convict Blenny become a threat to my BSJ?
AS in EAT him some day…. the CB is only 6 to 8” right now. My royal Gramma has even gone into their “den” and emerged on his own, not because he is being chased. It all seems odd to me as this behavior and lack of fear is so opposite of what I read. My other fish/etc: 3 Large Tongan Nassarius Snails, Large Cleaner Shrimp (wondering if someone … CB or BSJ will eat him someday),
<Actually; the other way around. Stenopus are fish eaters when large, can get their claws on such>
Solar Fairy Wrasse, Filamented Flasher Wrasse (yes those two are an ongoing experiment…. mix up the rock when I do a water change and they seem okay, it’s been 4 months with no death or nipped fins so far), Royal Gramma, Cleaner Wrasse (Had him 4 months… eats my arm and Mysis shrimp… impulse buy with the Flame Angelfish), a very DUMB tank bred Platinum Percula who likes to host the skimmer tube, and one Picasso Clownfish (estranged female from the Platinum….. I think she is in love with the BSJ…. hosting a rock by his entrance… lol jk). Corals are Frogspawn, Green Star Polyps and some lame Palythoas. Sand is not super fine, but average.
Besides possibly buying a chiller for my BSJ, what is the highest temp they can tolerate.
<Can reach into the seventies F... but will live much shortened life>
What is DONE TO THE BODY of a cool water fish. Does the warm water suppress the immunity and cause illness?
<Mmm; take the time... and search for a function curve for proteins... as a matter of... temperature I guess; but these have been generated for other variables as well... there's a "curve" that you'll recognize for "optimal" point; a range from there that drops off on either side of the scale for the variable measure... Heated up animals can often thermally accommodate up to points; but do suffer for being under and over-heated>
If there isn’t anything in the tank, I am hoping he just won’t GET ill if this is the case. Or is the BSJ disease actually the body’s response to warm water?
<To some extent; first and second order>
As in a complete break down of the endocrine systems or something similar?
<This and the CNS are definitely involved; as are simple overall protein, cellular physiological functions... 1/2mV squared... kinetic energy (temperature) speeds up all rates of reaction>
Should I remove the Convict Blenny?
<Eh! See WWM re the species>
I really appreciate your insight. While I could just SELL The BSJ, I would have to insist the person has a cool water tank. What temperature could both those fish AND the BSJ co-exist in if I buy a chiller?
<Barely overlap thermally... low seventies F would be a near median value>
I feel obligated to make this BSJ life long and happy…. how long would that be?
<Most only live a few months in warm settings; a few for years. Rosenblatt's Jawfish is a current darling/fave in a few public aquarium institutions... most kept chilled>
lol Thanks so much for all your answers and sorry if you had to read through this several times….. I had a lot of questions. Take care!!!!
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Can't/won't respond to this mess <below>
> Subject: Convict Blenny & Blue Spotted Jawfish      7/22/14

> Hi there! Hope everything is well with you today! Okay so lets get right into it. First of all, for some reason 2 things have alluded me over the years….. one is that the Convict Blenny has been known to eat other fish
> <This is so.. and Pholodichthys can get quite large>
> ….. yeah………. and TWO, that Blue Spotted Jawfish are cold water fish
> <Yes>
> (although I DID know about the Catalina Goby!). So here I am, wondering WHY the temperature requirements stated for the BSJ are not shown as 55 to 72˚F, since this is so important!
> <Shown by whom? It is clearly stated that this is a non-tropical fish in EVERYTHING I have written about it; on WWM and elsewhere>
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=747+871+748&pcatid=748  shown here… well ONE of many places. As I read, most people assume they are fine at 76 to 78.
Re: Convict Blenny & Blue Spotted Jawfish..............      7/22/14

um, okay…. just having a conversation, you left many unanswered questions and I thought what you had to say was interesting and I was just posing other points of view and curiosity. Sorry that you are having a bad day. Hope it gets better for you :)
<Am having a fab day; just don't like to sort through messy corr. Please write out your comments if you want to communicate.

Jawfish with bulge? Misplaced sp.      6/26/13
Hi Crew,
As always, thank you for continuing to build up the WWM site ­ it is a precious resource much appreciated by all of us aquarists who continue to learn so much from you every day!
<It is our shared passion... to share; inform, inspire fellow aquarists>
Here is a bit of info regarding my setup:
I have a 175G tank that has been running for a bit over two years. Water parameters are pretty stable: SG 1.023, Alk 180 ppm, pH at 8.2, CA 240,
<Low for biomineralizing life; fine for fishes>
ammonia, nitrites and nitrates all below detectable levels although temp tends to run a bit high at 80F.
<Too high for this species
... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BlueSptJawArt.htm
The tank has a 2" inch sandbed
<And too shallow for Rosenblatt's Jawfish>

and live rock. In terms of livestock,  I have:
* 1 Spotted Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides) which I know, I never should have gotten, but this was before I was an avid WWM reader. I have given him extra care and he has been happily with me for 2 years now, so I guess I'm one of the success stories.
<Ah yes; congrats!>
* 1 Yellow tang (Zebrasoma Flavescens)
* 1 Diamond Goby (Valenciennea puellaris)
* 3 Ocellaris clownfish
* 1 Sea Hare (Aplysia oculifera)
* 1 Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
* 1 Blue Spot Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti) - the individual in question
* 1 Pajama Cardinal (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
* 1 Red Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
* As well as 1 Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa), 1 Fighting Conch, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Coco Worm (Protula magnifica) and a Crocea Clam
I also have a few SPS (Leather Coral, Button Polyp and a few Kenya Trees that I fight to keep under control).
<... a factor here as well... And these need higher [Ca], proportionate Mg...>
No life form has been added to the tank for 6+ months.
I am reaching out to you because my Blue Spot Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti) seems to be in trouble. He started eating very little and even rejecting food about ten days ago. His behavior became a bit more reclusive than normal (he has a little cave under the live rock that he loves and tends to spend most of the time peeking out of it), although he appeared otherwise fine. I left for a business trip for a week, and now I came back and noticed that he has developed a large bulge in the middle of his body - as if he had swallowed a rock - so I am concerned about him. Last night he ate a little bit but still not in his usual quantities.
I attached a picture - let me know if it is too blurry and I'll try to take another one.
Any ideas?
<Mmm, yes; is a tumor of some sort... could be parasitic, cancerous... can't say w/o sacrificing the fish, other micro- work. Treatment? I wouldn't medicate. I would move this fish to cooler water, in a system w/ more fine sand...>
As usual a BIG, Texas-sized thank you from Houston!
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

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: Stocking Question/Dwarf Angel and Other, O. rosenblatti 6/16/10
Thank you for your response.
I have seen mention on your site of the Cool Water nature of the Blue Spotted Jawfish. I have seen somewhat varied descriptions of what "cool water" means. (Which I understand, as it is much like my field of medicine - varied opinions and suggestions abound!)
<Mmm, "subtropical"... let's state somewhere around/between 60-70 F.>
I also, though, saw one person (WWM crew member) mention that the Multicolor Angels are also "cool water fish", because of the depth at which they are found, and that they would be optimally kept in cooler water. I assume the same might be true of the Deep Water Coral Beauty?
<I would assume so... though, am unfamiliar w/ C. bispinosa collected at such depths... for economic/physiological reasons of both fishes and humans, most all livestock is collected in less than a hundred feet>
If I modified my fish list to include possibly a different version of Anthias/wrasse, all emphasizing a more "Deep Water Habitat", would it be more reasonable then to house the Blue Spotted Jawfish in the tank?
<Mmm... not really. I am attaching a not-yet published (I sell content... writing, image work) piece on O. rosenblatti. Please don't send this about, but do read... Not a good species for the majority of "tropical marine captive systems">
If so, what would be the optimal temperature for this?
<Below 72 F.>
It seems that a lot of the Stony Corals (more the version I keep) are found in deep waters also, so I thought this might be a good perspective for my tank.
I was reviewing some articles on other fish that might fit into the deep water category:
Thanks again,
Lynn M
<Thank you for your further sharing. BobF>

Blue spotted Jawfish, damaged -- 3/31/10
We have a blue spotted Jawfish whose mouth on the left side seems to have turned pink & almost appears bruised I know this isn't the best photo but he is burrowing like he does. Do you think he is I'll or somehow hurt?
<I do... and very likely misplaced... You do realize this is a sub-tropical species... that requires deep fine sand, very large space front to back...
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BluSptJawF.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue spotted Jawfish -- 3/31/10
Misplaced?? Please elaborate.
<... read where you were referred>
If there is more I could or should be doing to make him happy or comfortable I would be happy to make those changes. Maybe I should also tell you he has lots of room but chooses to make his burrow under the live rock. This morning he was actually swimming all around the tank so I'm hoping that's a good sign since normally he is quite shy.
<... I have an as yet unpublished article (in process) on Opistognathus rosenblatti I can/could send along... but the salient points are covered in the aforementioned FAQs file. BobF>

Re: Marine Stocking List, Achilles Tang, Rosenblatt's Jaw sel. -- 3/14/10
Thanks for the quick reply, just a couple follow up questions, first, since I already have the Powder Brown Tang, he's about 4" max, and I will be adding the Achilles Tang last should he be larger or smaller to diffuse aggression between the two?
<Discernibly smaller... Large/r Acanthurus achilles rarely do well being caught, held, shipped... specimens in the 3-4" or so overall length range are best for aquarium use (to start)>
My second question is, my
research on the Blue-Spotted Jawfish all suggests that his temperature range is at least 74F-80F with some places suggesting 76F-82F,
<No my friend. I have been out in this species range... the water temperature is rarely in the lower 70's... I'm attaching an article written for the pulp 'zines (I'm a content provider to the hobby and trade), that is not yet in print. Please don't post this on the Net... for your perusal only>
I'm not implying that you're wrong it just seems everywhere has their own idea, I plan on keeping my tank at a steady 78F which seems to be a happy median on the requirements of the fish I plan to keep.
<And as you'll see this species has other "not often supplied" environmental needs (deep sand bed of material suitable for burrow making, width of system...) that almost always results in much shortened life spans in captivity>
My priority is the health of my fish so even though the Blue Spotted Jawfish is a beautiful fish and I'd love to keep one, if I can't accommodate it properly I won't risk it.
Thanks again,
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Marine Stocking List... reef, and O. rosenblatti f' 3/14/10

Just wanted to say thanks for that article! I learned more about the Blue-Spotted Jawfish from it than ALL of my other research combined.
Hopefully you'll publish that article soon so others thinking about purchasing one can do so with the proper knowledge.
<I do post work that runs in the pulp zines generally right after publication. Thank you, BobF>

Blue Spotted Jawfish Temperature requirements 2/18/10
Hello Bob
Just finished reading your excellent article about Jawfish in the UK magazine UltraMarine, I found it very interesting and informative and I am looking forward to your new book on small systems. However one thing has left me a little confused, you have the Blue Spotted Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti) listed as a cold water species but in Scott W Michaels Reef Fishes series of books he gives its temperature requirements as 21 to 28 degrees which is also the same as he suggests for the Yellow Headed (Opistognathus aurifrons).
<Mmm... this is much warmer than the water this fish is ever found in its range... 82F? More like a high of 74, summat like 23 C>
I was thinking of trying to obtain a pair of these beautiful fish (with a view to seeing them breeding, displaying and egg carrying) for a new large reef tank build, but now I am not sure as I wouldn't want to invest in these only to find they were not comfortable at tropical temperatures and not last a reasonable time (they are around £125 each in the UK). Please could you confirm who is correct on this fish as I respect both of you but do not know which advice to take, I also do not want to needlessly shorten the lives of a pair of these fascinating fish.
Regards, John Gibbin
<I'd plan on keeping them cooler. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Blue Spotted Jawfish Injury 12/12/09
Dear Wet Web Media,
I spent several hours trying to find the right article to answer my questions. I have had 2 ocellaris clown fish, a yellow tang, and a blue spotted Jawfish in my aquarium for over 6 months with not one problem.
<Mmm, I've recently penned an article on Opistognathus rosenblatti. It's not posted on WWM pending publication in pulp 'zines... but I want to state that this fish is difficult to keep in most hobbyist settings long term...
Is not really tropical, but cooler water, and needs much more room/space than folks realize, esp. for such a small species... Like a four foot or more long and two foot or more wide sandy bottom area footprint... With no competitors in the way of fish life in its space>
I test my water about every 2 or 3 days and keep up with my water changes regularly. Recently however, I made a very big mistake. I went to a fish store near my house and ended up leaving with a lyre-tail wrasse. It goes against my better judgment because I was not planning on getting anymore fish. Well I should of known better because this new fish took a decent size chunk out of my poor jawfish's tail. I put my Jawfish in a hospital tank
<Too stressful>
and added some antibiotics to the water (Metronidazole 250).
<... this is NOT an antibiotic, but an anti-protozoal. Of no benefit here, and in fact, deleterious>
I am really hoping he pulls through, I would like to know if his tail will ever grow back?
<If not too badly chewed, placed in propitious circumstances>
What is the likely hood that he will survive?
<Long term, not good>
I feel pretty stupid for not doing my homework prior to adopting this wrasse.. the man at the fish store was not informative at all about this animal, although I accept the responsibility of not doing my research.
<I would return the Lyretail Wrasse to the store, and place the Blue Spot Jaw in the main display, and not "treat" its injury further. Bob Fenner>
Photograph of injured blue spotted Jawfish
Looks like a healthy specimen otherwise! BobF

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>

Lagoon System 8/1/09
Hi Crew,
Reading the dailies and good work as always.
I have a question if you have a moment. I am building a new tank, and doing something a little out of the ordinary and though I have done research, can't find information on some of the fine points and I am hoping you can help me out.
I am putting together a 90 gallon lagoon system, and have a question on the substrate. For reference, it is a standard 90 gallon tank, with a rear overflow and return, 30 gallon sump/refugium, external recirculating protein skimmer, lights are an ATI T5 fixture, heater and chiller. Water movement will be by a Vortech, though as this is a lagoon I expect I will not be running anywhere near max.
The plan for the tank will be to have a bommie on one side of the tank to provide shelter and filter, not too large, and a five inch substrate which will be planted with seagrass and macro algae.
For stocking I am planning on a few corals, an elegance for certain, probably a Montipora digitata, a Sarcophyton on the bommie, and see how much that takes up and what grows on the rock.
Fish, definitely a blue spot Jawfish,
<Mmm, Rosenblatt's Jaw doesn't really live in such a setting, lagoons...>
and a watchmen goby with shrimp partner. Others to be names later Sea grass will be manatee grass, star grass, and oar grass. Algae will be red macro species.
The question I have is dealing with putting the substrate together. I am mixing different sands together to get a mix of size grains, per Dr. Shimek's article in Coral a couple of years ago. Will start with CaribSea Special SeaFlor, mix in some Fiji Pink, and some very coarse aragonite (1/4' or so grain) that I have. That will form the middle layer.
<Sounds very nice indeed>
The bottom layer will be coarse sand to avoid anoxic sections, and the top layer will be Fiji pink and rubble, shells, and white coral rock whacked with a hammer (to please the Jawfish).
<Will all be mixed in short time...>
I know the seagrass will have roots about 2' from the surface, and I will mix in some live mud in this layer;
<Put the mud at the bottom...>
but what I am not certain of is how deep each layer should be?
<The deeper the better... total at least four inches>
I only get one shot at this as this sand bed will not be so easy to swap out. Any advice or alternatives is appreciated
Your friend and WWM Forum member
(Hi everyone at the forum reading this! You guys do such a good job over there too!)
<Do send along progress reports, pix of your system please Dean. Bob Fenner>
Re: Lagoon System... Opistognathid sel. 8/3/09

Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Dean>
Now I am really confused. You say that Rosenblatt's Jawfish doesn't live in lagoons.
<Correct... I have collected this species myself at "Land's end" in the corridor at the southern tip of Baja Ca.>
I have read many sources, but for this discussion will quote Fossa and Nilsen (The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium) where they say "Jawfishes of the genus Opistognathus are also a first choice".
This information is repeated in other places as well.
<... I am/was not disputing that these are reasonable aquarium species; just that they are not "lagoonal">
I have got to say one of the difficult things in setting up this tank is identifying what species are appropriate. The hobby just does not organize information that way. I am trying to be diligent in my research; very
Are any of these fish inappropriate?
Yellow Watchman (Cryptocentrus cinctus)
Orange Spotted Shrimp Goby (Amblyeleotris guttata)
Randall's shrimp goby (A. Randalli)
Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
PJ Cardinals (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
Pearly Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)
<Mmm, no... i.e., they all can be housed together, given sufficient room/habitat>
I do not plan to have all these fishes, but this is a list I have put together of appropriate species for a community tank. If you have any suggestions for something I missed I would appreciate it.
Inverts: Elegance coral,
<Very stinging, predaceous... may well eat some of the bottom fishes>
Open brain, maybe a Sarcophyton on the bommie, a derasa down the line, tiger pistol shrimp (Alpheus bellulus). Very excited at this build.
Thanks, will keep you posted. I have tons of pix already - and it's still dry Dean
<Enjoy! BobF>

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.>

Blue Spotted Jawfish with white spots. Disease? 02/09/09 Hello WWM, Before sending this email I have searched the pages for Jawfish disease/health and have not been able to reach an answer, so I hope that someone has seen this before. My blue-spotted Jawfish in one of my tanks has been fine for months but recently I have noticed he/she is developing white patches or spots along its body. <I see these> Behavior seems fine, no noticeable changes, appetite is normal also, and respiration seems fine too. I guess his (we will go with "him" for the sake of this email, sex is however, unknown) behavior has always been a little out of character, since he has never constructed a burrow, <Very unusual... and a good clue here... There is something re the substrate not to its liking... too coarse, sharp...> he prefers to hang out in front of, or under the overhang of a piece of live rock he calls home. My ocellaris clown also hangs out with him in this particular location, they appear to get along well. Since these two fish are around each other so much, I would assume if it was a parasite the other would have it, or another fish in the tank, but all others seem fine, including the clown. <Not parasitic> Please look at the attached photograph and let me know your opinion. Is this some form of disease/parasite? <Mmm, no... mechanical injury> Could it be old age? I will say that this particular Jawfish does not look as "plump" as another blue spot that I have in a separate tank (base rear of the skull appears slightly indented, not as "full" as the other fish, it is kind of wrinkled). Thanks in advance, Landon <Do try placing at least a sizable tray of mixed rubble and soft coral sand in the area where this Opistognathid "hangs out" for its use. It does need to burrow. Bob Fenner>

Jawfish System Size Questions, sel. -- 02/01/09 Hi! <Reed> I am in the process of setting up a 15 gallon high reef tank for a Jawfish (dimensions 20"L x 10"W x 17"H) with a 6-7" sand bed. It will be covered, have a sand bed of varying grades, have about 10 lbs live rock (that is anchored to acrylic rods for the fish's safety), and contain LPS and SPS. I have been reading that Jawfish that reach lengths of 4" or less should be fine in a tank as small as 10 gallons, so I was planning to keep a blue spotted Jawfish (most places list it as 3.5-4" although the WWM info lists it as 6"). <Mmm, Opistognathus rosenblatti? Needs more room than this... and too likely to have problems with anything other than tropical E. Pacific Cnidarians... yours may well sting this Jaw> I came across a question asked on the WWM site earlier today that lead me to believe that blue-spots may be more "high strung" than pearly Jawfish, <I do agree with this> which has made me rethink the idea of adding one. I don't want to add a fish only to have it waste away. If I did not add a blue spot I would be considering a pearly Jawfish or a black-cap Jawfish (Opistognathus randalli, I believe). Which of these three species, if any, would be acceptable to keep in the tank I am planning? Thanks, Reed <Either of the last two... but... there will still be potential trouble with the Scleractinia... Bob Fenner>

Anthias and Jaw Fish? Sel./Sys. 10/14/08 Hello Bob and Crew, <Chris> Thanks for the amazing resource! <Welcome> I have 2 stocking questions for you. I am currently upgrading what has been a very successful 30 gallon SPS dominated tank (yes, required lots of overkill equipment not normally seen on a system this small to maintain proper parameters) to a 65 gallon display with a 37 gallon sump and 20 gallon refugium. I will have approximately 50X turnover in the main display (non laminar flow, random to keep my SPS happy) <Ahh! Much better, and easier to maintain> Filtration for the new system will consist of an AquaC 180 skimmer, ~100 lbs of Fiji live rock and the fuge (on reverse daylight cycle). I will be using a Phosban reactor and carbon reactor (carbon as needed) to maintain low PO4 and high clarity. The system will be running an AquaController maintained calcium reactor and Kalk reactor to maintain pH/Ca/Alk. <Lots of automation> My current stock includes a small flasher wrasse, a yellow assessor, a mandarin (eats Mysis) and a Banggai cardinal. I also have a golden angel (Centropyge aurantius) that has been in my quarantine system that I would like to add to the new tank should it be able to prove itself generally uninterested in eating SPS corals clams and Acans. <You'll see> (small frags/a clam will be rotated through the QT system to assess this behavior as best as possible.) There are two additional species I would like to add but am wary of stocking capacity and fish behavior. 1) In the past, I have always maintained ~1 inch of sand in my reef tanks (which was vacuumed weekly as part of my water change routine). I have read several opinions on this site and others re sand depth and this species. Do you think this fish <... Opistognathus aurifrons?> be reasonably content with 2-3 inches of sand and would it be okay to employ this much sand with a weekly/bi-weekly vacuuming regimes? I would rather not go into the uncharted territory of DSBs if I can help it (and would gladly forgo this specimen if need be). <S/b fine here... may well pile up some of this material... No big deal> 2) The other slightly controversial addition that I would love to include but fear I may need to forgo is a m/f pair of some sort of Anthias. I have found hugely conflicting information in regard to the husbandry of these fish. I see that conspecific aggression is a major issue in haremic groupings between females or between two males. I have not been able to find any information about the behavior of a male female pair (particularly in the relatively small system) Pseudanthias bartlettorum seems to be on the smaller end of the easier to maintain members of the group. Nemanthias carberryi also seems to be a smaller species that might be suitable (sources conflict on adult size). What are your thoughts on putting a m/f pair of these or other Anthias in the described system? <Some species, as you state, can/do get along in smaller numbers, sex ratios in captivity. Bartlett's is a good choice here, but your system is getting a bit crowded...> I do not anticipate adding additional fish to the system beyond this stock list. Thanks for your time and input, Chris <And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anthias and Jaw Fish? 10/14/08
Hello Bob (and crew), <Chris> Thanks for your quick reply. My apology for not including the species of jaw fish I am looking to keep! I thought i had included that info but in retrospect i see that i did not! I wanted to house a single Opistognathus rosenblatti <Ahh, named in honor of Dick Rosenblatt, of SIO here (in San Diego)...> in the system. Will he work in the proposed environment? Best regards, Chris <Mmm, I discourage its use here... this species really needs much deeper substrate, a much larger display to "feel comfortable"... it would too likely perish (or jump out) quickly here. The TWA "goldhead" would be a much more appropriate choice/try. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anthias and Jaw Fish? Stkg., 10/15/08
Hello Bob (and crew), <Chris> Thanks for the heads up on the O. rosenblatti. <Ahh, I do wish Alex Kerstitch (one of the first to collect...) was about still> I am finding the 65 gallon tank to be remarkably awkward to stock. If they are not right for my system, i just assume to forget about trying to keep the jaw fish and the Anthias. <This really is best... perhaps the next (even larger) upgrade...> Clearly he system is too small for most (if not all) tangs but i saw a citation on your website where someone was told they could get away with a Ctenochaetus sp. in this size tank. sources seem to conflict on Ctenochaetus tank requirements (even on this site). Do you think I would be pushing the boundaries of proper husbandry to include a Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis in my proposed system? <Ultimately, yes... if this setting is "too busy" with other livestock, folks happening by, this Chevy will be very unhappy> I would think that if I could keep this species, I would leave the fish population to consist of the yellow assessor, the mandarin, the Banggai, the flasher wrasse and the golden angel (should he make the cut in terms of not eating corals...) <... and to tell you more of some "fact" (truth if you can allow the term), C. aurantius lives in quite large "lek" territories... about the size of a typical room in a house... I would not stock this species here either really> I think that my total system volume (~100-120gal) and my filtration scheme is large enough to handle this population but I'm not so sure about tank space. <What you hint about is very important... Psychological/behavioral space... as you state above, a/the 65 gallon really isn't very large> The Banggai and the mandarin occupy a different niche in the reef than the others so they may not be in such a conflict for territory. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your time, Chris <You have them, welcome. BobF>

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

Bluespot Jawfish, avail. 8/8/07 Hello crew. Any idea when the Bluespot Jawfish will be back in stores? <Mmm, no... not so much a seasonal item, as just a species with a limited distribution and collection range... Depends on when folks get out to get it...> Also, are they able to collect them year round? Any restrictions? <Collected from time to time, depending on when folks travel to Baja's tip... need the money. Do have to have Mexican and U.S. permits... but these can be had nowadays. Have your LFS contact Quality Marine in LA. Bob Fenner> Thanks Dan

Blue Spot Jawfish, sel. - 7/20/07 I was just wondering if you know why this fish is so rare in pet stores? I live in Illinois and have seen the fish twice at a price of $300.00. Are they a protected fish? Thanks Dan <Mmm, just not common or easily caught... I knew the original describer, Alex Kerstitch... and have seen this fish in its range: http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=46578 The lower third of the Sea of Cortez... Oh, and demand I guess. Bob Fenner>

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.>

Re: Opistognathus rosenblatti 1/29/07 Thank you so much for your quick reply BOB lol Sorry, but for some reason I always think you're a Ron. <I hope you like him... too!> I'm a bit confused as to why all the books list them as a tropical species... when in fact they are not. I have searched many sites and read many books and have not seen this fish ever listed as a cool water species until I found the German reef site. This incredible fish has been basically wasting away in our tanks because of it. I'm at a loss as to why this "new knowledge" isn't being published in more reef and fish magazines, books, forums etc. Reef keepers must be made aware of this change. In my humble opinion, anyways. thank you Lynn McKinney <Mmm... you can search the location sites given on Fishbase.org: http://fishbase.org/museum/OccurrencesList.cfm?id=46578 and in turn the weather/water temp. data for these localities... not all that warm, I assure you. BobF>

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>

Opistognathus rosenblatti- acclimation - 04/27/06 I have a 300G. reef tank. (96in.X30in.X24in.). I have a rather open aquascape: 1/3rd of the tank is a rounded slope; narrow at the top to almost the top of the tank, widening in a rounded fashion as it meets the substrate. In the middle, a islandic bommie to maybe 1/2 the height of the tank. The right third is a series of caves to about 2/3rd the height of the tank. The substrate is sugar fine sand and moderately coarse aragonite 5 to 7 inches deep. There are many, many nooks, crannies and hiding places. I have had a Opistognathus rosenblatti in the tank for better than 8 months. Unfortunately he died when he jumped out of the tank (stress related to the capture of another fish?). <They just do this> He had no trouble burrowing, and hiding when necessary. At any rate, I have purchased another Opistognathus rosenblatti, and have read that when acclimating a Jawfish one should leave the lights on at least overnight, or some sort of night light (re: Scott Michaels). <A good idea, practice> I put him in the tank this past Sunday A.M. and made sure ALL possible exits from the tank were covered. He swam around and retreated to the back of one of the caves, he never displayed any gasping. Only my Harlequin Tusk showed any interest in the Jawfish, <Can eat it> and whenever the Tusk came near the Jawfish, the Bluespot flared at the Tusk, but never ran. Only once did the Jawfish display any jumping behaviour. On this past Monday morning, the Opistognathus rosenblatti was on the opposite side of the tank, near the bottom. Although I could not see that he had actively burrowed, he was using one of the crannies in the rockwork and had piled up some rubble in front of this area. Interestingly this is right next to another small cave-like area (the previous Jawfish had excavated this) that the tusk uses to hide and sleep in. The Jawfish has eaten enthusiastically each day. Monday afternoon I noticed that the Bluespot was up in the upper left corner of the top of tank, and mainly seems to have remained there. He does NOT seem stressed, <Should be on/in the bottom...> he eats, he is not gasping. As I have mentioned the rock work reaches almost to the top of the tank on this side, and the Jawfish bounces in and out of the rock work in the same manner as Jawfish bounce in and out of a burrow. Okay, so the Opistognathus rosenblatti has been in the tank 3 days, but should I be worrying about his hanging at the top of tank, rather than actively burrowing? <I would, yes> I noticed that even with the previous Jawfish I had, he would occasionally swim about the top of the tank, not just hang around his burrows (Opistognathus aurifrons seem to stay near their burrows much more than Opistognathus rosenblatti). There are really too many hiding places in the tank to get a fish out without completely dismantling the rock work. The Tusk doesn't even seem interested in the Jawfish any longer. <...> I guess what I'm wondering is should I be worrying, and is there anything I can do it about it anyway? <?> Any thoughts from anyone? <Always keep your beer in a cool place> I hope I've not been too long-winded. Thanks so much, Dave Harvey p.s. any thoughts, hints, tips regarding Jawfish care would be greatly appreciated. DH <Mine are posted on WWM. Bob Fenner... friend of Alex Kerstitch (RIP), the discoverer of this species, and acquaintance of Dick Rosenblatt... 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 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 spotted Jawfish Hey guys. Just got a blue spotted Jawfish. I usually quarantine all my fish for a minimum of 3 weeks. <excellent... 4 weeks/better> Anyhow, the quarantine tank is a bare bottom tank. Is the Jawfish ok, for a few weeks in a bare bottom tank (some PVC) ? <PVC tubes of varying diameters are likely fine. But if the fish back into a corner of the aquarium... offer a butter dish of new dry sand to reduce the stress> I know they like to burrow, but just curious if this is an innate need, or something they like to do. <eh... really a big deal for their behavioral needs/stress> I don't have substrate in the tank since I occasionally need to medicate in there. <agreed...all QT must be bare-bottomed> Should I set up something small and put substrate in there, or is he ok. Thanks for all the help. Jim <good thinking overall... kudos to you. Anthony>

Treatment stress versus illness First, as with so many before me, I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks for all the conscientious advice you've (all) given on the subtle art of salt critter care. _The Conscientious Marine Aquarist_ has been my unfailing guide for the several years I've been in the hobby, and I've found no other printed source that compares favorably to it. Likewise, this site is extremely helpful. However, having read the FAQs and many letters and responses on parasitic diseases and troubleshooting, I remain in a quandary and hope you can help. <We'll try> The set up: I am transitioning from a 3 year old 30 gallon small peaceful fish and live rock tank to a 60 gallon fish and hardy invert/tolerant corals tank with a plenum, deep (over 4") aragonite/live sand bed with a separator at 1 1/2 " depth to protect the plenum from diggers, more intense lighting (240 watts of pc lighting, 50% white and 50% actinic), approximately 100 lbs of live rock, brisk (20x/hour) circulation divided between several pumps, and air-driven skimming (which seems to kick the tar out of our finicky Venturi skimmer in terms of skimmate production). <The usefulness of various skimmers labeled as "Venturi" type is huge in variance> The new tank has been cycled for a few months and is maintaining good, stable conditions (zero ammonia and nitrite, falling nitrate as the plenum comes into effect -- it seems to have a longer maturation time -- pH 8.2, salinity 1.0235 at 78 F, dKH 8. <Yes... a general "rule", the larger the system, the longer to establish> The tank went through a diatom bloom and a little red slime production, both of which were eaten by the cleanup critters (a variety of snails and small hermits) or passed away naturally as conditions matured. Once everything looked good, we started moving stock. Sadly, we had little old stock to move as the switch was catalyzed by the fact that the lighting on our 3 year old Eclipse hood had been shocking our old system, quietly killing our fish. We put a stop to that when we noticed frayed fins, heavy breathing, and some slight lateral line erosion on our pair of true Percula clowns and psychedelic mandarin goby, all of which have been with us for the whole three years (yes, we bought the dragonet before we bought the book that told us not to, but with 60 lbs of live rock in a 30 gallon system and lots of live brine enriched with Selcon and VitaChem he was thriving until the electrocution began. The dragonet was the first to move, as the critter-rich waters of the newer system seemed to offer his best chance of recovery. He has been feasting there for several weeks and is very active and slowly fattening again, but has a bald (colorless) patch on top of his head which neither recovers nor worsens. <This will hopefully improve with time> It is not as "dimensional" as the hole in the head pictures I've seen, but I assume it's a combination of nutritional issues and electrocution. Nonetheless, he's doing well and really pigging out on enriched brine and all the life in the new tank. Next we added a store bought royal Gramma. We dipped him but our treatment tank was already occupied by the Percula clowns, as their electrocution damage evolved into a very deep-seated and stubborn fungal infection of the mouths, which we are still treating. The Gramma was bright and beautiful for almost a week, then developed a heavy whitish slime and -- since we were totally unable to catch him -- died in two days. We waited in terror to see if the dragonet would show signs of infection, but none developed. So we bought two Banggai cardinals, dipped and quarantined them with the clowns for a week and a half and then added them to the tank. All was well, and still is with the dragonet and cardinals. Here comes the dilemma. After a month of looking, my reef retailer was able to acquire a blue-spotted Jawfish -- my long-time dream fish -- for me. He suggested that the fish would undergo less stress if dipped and placed immediately in the system he was destined for. Since the hospital tank does not have a sand bed for him, I agreed and so after a long dip and acclimation I placed him in the tank. After a scary while of sitting in stun on the floor, he set up a deep little burrow for himself and moved in. On the second day he started eating hungrily (flakes, strangely enough, ignoring all live food offerings). But he is extremely noctophobic, leaping out of his burrow and cowering when the lights go out, so we've had to give him a "night light" to keep him from freaking out. <Good idea> Anyway, morning of day three (today) he is sick, with clumps of very dimensional (over a millimeter high and wide and somewhat uneven) white clumps and a few "strings" of white body slime as well, which I presume is a reaction to whatever's eating him. He's still eating, and given how stressed he is I'm afraid to stress him more by moving him to a treatment tank or dipping him. However if we're looking at Oodinium or Brooklynella it seems from reading your site that he has little chance of recovery, none without treatment, and has probably already infected the whole system. So, what do you think the disease is, and what would you do were you in this situation (given, yes, that you would never have put an unquarantined fish into your tank in the first place). Sorry for the length of the inquiry, but I feel that detailed information is crucial to looking at things in a whole-systems approach, as you advocate. Thank you in advance for your help! Ananda <At this point I would try adding a cleaner species or two, and otherwise "hope for the best". I agree with your assessment of the role of stress here and the likelihood of improvement with further movement. Bob Fenner>

Sores on a Jaw Fish I have a blue spot Jawfish that has 2 small sores on near the base of his tail fin. Due to the nature of a Jawfish, he spends mush of his time with his head out of his dugout when I am at the front of the tank. Of course, if I back up, he'll hover in the column, but then I can't see the injury well. I'm sure you get the idea. <I think so, yes.> So far this problem has existed about a week, but I do not see the wound healing or getting worse - it seems to be on the balance, in limbo. <These types of things take time - more like a month.> I have a Q-tank that is unoccupied, so I could move the fish BUT, is the difficulty and stress of trying to extricate a Jawfish worth the move? <Probably not unless the spots start to spread.> (tank is 30" deep and the Jaw is well dug in) Is there a greater risk of damage in trying to get the Jaw to the Q-tank than the risk of the sore getting worse? <I'd be concerned about both.> Thanks a lot. BTW. I got my signed book the other day, "Reef Invertebrates". It's quite impressive. I'm soaking in every page, and letting my children check out all the pictures! You did us all a favor with this book! <I'm glad you are enjoying it.> Bill Roh <Cheers, J -- >

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>

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>

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.

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>

Blue spotted Jawfish Hey guys. Just got a blue spotted Jawfish. I usually quarantine all my fish for a minimum of 3 weeks. <excellent... 4 weeks/better> Anyhow, the quarantine tank is a bare bottom tank. Is the Jawfish ok, for a few weeks in a bare bottom tank (some PVC) ? <PVC tubes of varying diameters are likely fine. But if the fish back into a corner of the aquarium... offer a butter dish of new dry sand to reduce the stress> I know they like to burrow, but just curious if this is an innate need, or something they like to do. <eh... really a big deal for their behavioral needs/stress> I don't have substrate in the tank since I occasionally need to medicate in there. <agreed...all QT must be bare-bottomed> Should I set up something small and put substrate in there, or is he ok. Thanks for all the help. Jim <good thinking overall... kudos to you. Anthony>

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 spotted Jawfish. Hi, I just got a blue spotted Jawfish from Jeff's Exotic Fish and I was curious about what is best to feed them? Sometimes he will eat stuff I put in the tank but none of it seems to be sufficient. Any ideas? Thanks! <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner> Rian

Plenum, Yes! Jawfish-No! Bob, <Scott F. on call today> I have a 75 gallon reef tank with a plenum. It has been working very well. I would like to add a blue spotted jaw fish to the tank, but I'm concerned that even with the protective screen below the first layer of sand the jaw fish will disturb the plenum system to the point of severe problems with my system. What do you think? <Your concern is definitely valid. Even with the plenum screen in place, It is too disruptive to have this fish in a plenum-equipped tank, IMO. I'd rather keep these guys in a separate aquarium assembled just for their special needs. The fish will do better, display more readily, and both you and the fish will be happier in the long run. Good luck! Scott F.>

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