Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Blue-Spotted Jawfish Stocking/Selection

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 Compatibility, 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,


Jawfish hovering? 11/16/11
I have a blue spotted jawfish in one of my Nano tanks.
<... This species can't live in such small volumes long or well; which you would have known had you followed directions and searched ahead of writing us. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BlueSptJawArt.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
I have had him for about 2 months and he has always stayed in his burrow with a little more than his head showing. Last night, before lights out, he started hovering outside of his burrow for about 5 seconds at a time and then he would slowly sink back in...he does this when he's peeing in the water normally, but this was different as he was doing it constantly for the entire hour I observed. Is this normal behavior or is it something to be concerned about? What does it mean? Thanks!
Re: Jawfish hovering? O. rosenblatti sel./stkg.  11/16/11

Thank you for the link but I have two qualms.
<Go ahead>
1. You did not answer my question at all (not helping future readers)
<Mmm, indeed I did not... I suspect the behavior you describe is aberrant; due to the too-small confines of this system. One could/might argue that this specimen is more outgoing as a consequence of being more familiar ("settled in"); but I have read accounts, spoken w/ dozens of other owners (including public aquarium displays... perhaps you can contact Fernando Nosratpour, Head Aquarist at SIO's Birch Aq. of Opistognathus rosenblatti)... and the consensus is that this species doesn't belong in small, tropical aquarium settings.
2. It is not 100% fact that these fish require large tanks.
<Actually... you may define "fact" differently. The vast majority of these fish die w/in weeks to a few months kept in inappropriate settings>
As I am sure you are already aware of, much of what is thought of as "fact" in reefkeeping is completely debatable - and to say that very few can keep these fish in small aquariums is, to me, absurd. My blue spot is in a tank all by himself, the temperature is kept at 70 degrees with a chiller
<Ahh, good>
(regardless, their temperature they are found in varies *dramatically* according to this organization:
http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/dests/MexicoPacificInfo.shtml ), the tank is 30g and tall and he has a 6 inch sandbed with crushed coral, fine sand and large pieces of rock rubble. I kept all these in mind because I wanted a jawfish to be the only fish in the tank at all. According to the following sources, 30g is more than enough:
Members of the blue spotted jawfish club on reefsanctuary
Blue zoo aquatics
Scott Michael (suggesting 20g in one section and saying in another only 10g)
<Scott is knowledgeable indeed. I've collected this fish myself...><<Note: ScottM and I likely agree some 98-99% of time/cases, but differ re some species, groups minimum system sizes... sharks, morays in particular... and evidently re this cool-water Jaw. RMF>>
I believe you would be hard-pressed to find more sources stating they need large aquariums. Not to mention the fact that many of the larger aquariums have large, active fish in them (e.g. Tangs, Wrasse, Rabbitfish, Angelfish - there are certainly not many goby-exclusive large aquariums) which would scare a jawfish. You are certainly an expert in the aquarium field: that I do not doubt or I would never have asked you. However, to say that I "didn't follow directions" sounds a bit self-absorbed, as if to say that I am wrong for not following *your* directions (even though, for the record, I have read them and certainly agree with them for the most part). If I *had* followed your jawfish advice of not quarantining my yellowhead jawfish in my large tank, I would have gotten Ich considering that very soon after being put in quarantine with 6+ inches of inert substrate, he broke out in Ich and needed to be treated. Additionally, many individuals have kept them in nanos for years successfully, making it absurd to blatantly say they "can't live in such small volumes long or for well."
<? There are MANY organisms suitable for keeping in small volumes. This is not one of them IMO/E>
If you would like to debate this, I can back this up with links of jawfish that are years old in smaller aquariums.
<Other species; yes>
Myself included, many do not think of the blue spotted jawfish as a particularly difficult fish once it is proven to be disease-free: unsafe and unsanitary collection methods are assumed to be the cause of demise for many of them, not just unhardiness. If you do not wish to respond to this, that is fine...just wanted to bring up these points.
<I thank you for your input; will post/share. I do hope that you/others have more success w/ keeping this species in small systems. BobF>

Blue Headed Jawfish   7/26/11
The website is truly wonderful! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to raising the consciousness of all who are fortunate enough to learn from your research. Now to my question. I read that these marvelous creatures although won't harm your reef, inevitably their fate is sealed once you place them in a tropical tank setting.
>Is a subtropical species<
They come from waters that range between 50°c to very low 70's°c. My setup, like I assume most reefs,
is run at 80°-82°c's. So I was hoping you could clarify for me. I apologize if this has been answered already as I could not find an answer. Thank you in advance for any and all help I may receive.
Bryan Clifford, Chicago, Il.
<Will attach an as yet unpublished article... please don't distribute. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue Headed Jawfish   7/27/11
Thank you, Bob. I regret to say my question still remains. As a hobbyist it is up to me however to do everything I can to ensure the proper conditions are met for any fish or invertebrate. I understand how busy you must be and hate to trouble you any further. If there is any possibility for me to keep one or a mated pair of these beauties then I must/will find the right answer.
<Really requires a large, wide system w/ a very deep bed of mixed rubble and fine coral sand... and temperate water...>
Unfortunately there are many articles out there and enough have read differently enough for me to understand that I cannot and will not buy a Blue Headed Jawfish until I know for certain I can give them the best conditions for their survival and happiness. Either way Bob, thank you for everything!
<Welcome... many people have tried, some with a modicum of success to keep this species in a "garden reef" tropical setting... Even in public aquaria (e.g. Scripps/Birch) they've proven to not live long. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
re: Blue Headed Jawfish   7/27/11

*Bluespot Jawfish I'm sorry Bob! It's late and I'm a yank!!
<Understood... Rosenblatt's (Richard) Opistognathid. BobF>
Hello Again Crew! Reef stkg. Q's   8/1/11

I recently wrote and received information from Bob about Bluespot Jawfish.
Thanks again Bob!
<Welcome Bry>
Aforementioned the site is marvelous and I have recommended it to all I've encountered. Tank setup is as follows: 55 gallon; 48" L, 12" W, 18" H, 60lbs. LR, 25" hang on refugium (4 lbs. LR/rubble),
Chaeto, 2 Koralia evolution 1400 gph, Marineland 48" reef compatible LED's.
I have yet to add any fish or coral. The live rock I added however was top of the line cherry deco and Jakarta, simply covered in coraline algae, Shrooms, xenia, polyps and various hitchhikers. I use top of the line salt and Chicago tap to RO water. I know probably against your recommendation I used a friends well established reef to seed my refugium/tank with copepods and all sorts of good little creatures.
<Mmm, actually; this is a very good idea/practice>
Tank has been up and running for three months with no casualties of any species or algae. The pods are clearly visible throughout the tank and refugium. My parameters are extremely stable and I do a 18% water change every two weeks. Was hoping you could answer two questions. First my list of fish which I know HAS to be negotiable. Is it possible to have Bluespot Jawfish or pair (perhaps different Jawfish if unsuitable conditions),
<Not likely to live long or well in this size, shape system, in tropical temp. water>
Tailspot Blenny (Golden Midas), 2-4 Helfrich's Firefish and either a pair of Mystery or Scott's Fairy Wrasses?
<These others should be fine here>
And secondly with my lighting can I sustain the full spectrum of LPS, SPS, etc.?
<Mmm, the SPS if they're "set up high" on the rock. I might borrow (from club, LFS) a light/PAR meter to assure the areas in question have sufficiently intense illumination>
Thank you as always, Bryan Clifford, Chicago, IL
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: II Hello Again Crew!   8/1/11
Cheers, Bob! Although saddened about not being able to keep the beautiful Bluespot Jawfish in a tropical tank(more people need to know this!),
<Have posted my survey pc. re: http://wetwebmedia.com/BlueSptJawArt.htm
I understand that you simply CANNOT purchase fish/coral/inverts because you like their appearance or behaviors. The Bluespot Jawfish is widely distributed and I have a hard time imagining that all aquarists are well informed of its natural habitat.
<I agree>
Found in the Sea of Cortez, the Bluespot Jawfish makes its home in a subtropical setting, ranging mostly from 50°-60°c. Rarely the water will reach the low 70°'s.
<Say it again my brother!>
They also tend to have wide open sand, very little in the way of "live rock", where they create their burrows. Often these beauties will live less than a year in a normal reef setting. I challenge anyone to Honestly send in a picture of a BJ that they have had in captivity for longer then a year! I've yet to meet anyone, unfortunately. With this being said Bob, I was hoping you could recommend a few types of other Jaws I could research that are compatible with my list from previous inquiry?
<Oh, sure: http://wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm
and the linked files above; particularly "Stocking/Selection FAQs">
As far as the "par reader" thank you I'm sure my LFS will have no problem with this.
<Ah good. Cheers, 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>

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>

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>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: