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FAQs about Marine Fishes 1

Related Articles: Marine Fishes

Related FAQs:  Marine Fishes 2, & FAQs on Marine: Fish Identification, Fish Behavior, Fish Compatibility, Fish Selection, Fish Systems, Fish Feeding, Fish Disease, Fish Reproduction,

Old Wife, Enoplosus armatus

Captive Bred Marine Fish 11/7/07 Hi again guys, <Hello Mike> Thanks for all the help setting up my reef tank so far. All is going great (knock wood). <Great.> I am interested in adding tank bred live stock (e.g. False Percula, Banner Cardinal). No LFS in my area consistently offer captive bred fish. Can you recommend some on-line providers that are reputable? <Yes I can. Don't know your whereabouts, but my choices would be: www.drsfostersmith.com (Wisconsin) www.premiumaquatics.com (Indiana) If you live near the West Coast you may try: www.marine depot.com (California, believe San Diego)><<Mmm, no... OC. RMF>> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Mike

We were fishing here in NC when my wife caught this. Someone told me this was a wrasse   10/12/07 <Mmm, likely an Echeneid... a Remora: http://wetwebmedia.com/echeneids.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: is it a remora? Maybe a cobia...  10/14/07 Hi Bob --> <Neale>> I thought I'd mention the cobia (Rachycentron canadum). It is very easy to confuse cobia with remoras such as Echeneis naucrates. <Ah, yes... and as a note of coincidence, the liveaboard I was on this last week in the Bahamas had a pic of one that was speared... of about 20 kilo weight> They are strikingly similar in shape and colour. I couldn't see for sure which the photo on WWM actually was. The "give-away" is the shape of the dorsal fin. Cobia have a series of short stout spines anterior to the dorsal fin (vaguely similar to the arrangement of spines on a spiny eel). Remoras, obviously, have the front half of the dorsal fin modified into the flat adhesive organ. Cobia are quite common in the warmer parts of the NW Atlantic, and indeed some people actively fish for them. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/Cobia/Cobia.html <Couldn't make out this character, but you are right, it might well have been a Cobia. Will post along with. Cheers, BobF>> Cheers, Neale

Do fish suffer from exposure to Uriah Heep? (interesting) - 7/20/07 HELSINKI (Reuters) - A Finnish researcher is to study fish in an aquarium while a rock group performs nearby, to see if the sound causes any ill-effects or distress. Bands including aging rockers Uriah Heep will perform on Friday night to about 3,000 fans in a tent just a couple of dozen metres away from the aquarium. "I will be looking for any abnormal behavior or activity," said researcher Mikko Erkinaro. The 500,000-liter tank is home to salmon, trout, pike and perch and other species common in Finland's brackish coastal waters. "It could be quite nasty to arrange such an aquarium and a performance venue (so close)," Erkinaro said, "especially when the (band) is a bit old-fashioned." <Heeee! B>

Fish ID question... Guyana/Bahasa?    7/17/07 Hello Crew! I'm trying to translate a text about commercial fishing in Guyana, and ran across some common names I can't find anywhere... a trio of blinker, catfish and menari. They also say most of the fish caught in the area are "skinfishes", so I'm assuming those three are probably scaleless fish. Catfish is easy, but I'm trying to find what "blinkers" and "menari" are... Any ideas? This is one of the times I really wish they'd use scientific names... ;-) Fishbase and Wikipedia are no help... <Nor to me... "Menari" is a place name and has meaning in Bahasa... but what relation to Guyana? Perhaps this is mis-spelled? Maybe a colloquialism... a qualifier rather than a description (e.g. a "good" food fish...). Don't know what a "blinker" is either... though many fishes do have more/less nictitating mechanisms> Once again, I'm in your debt... even if you have no idea what they are :-) Thank you! Audrey <Perhaps contacting a fisheries person in the country of origin? Bob Fenner>

Behavioural Question, SW fishes    6/13/07 Hello Bob & Crew, <Mike> I have a question regarding the curious behaviour of the inhabitants of my aquarium. I read all the compatibility info on these species that I could, but nothing on "group behaviour" though. <Wouldn't it be great to have such...> Set-up: Three month old 72gal. Bowfront with 80lbs LR, 1-2" Reef Sand, Eheim Pro-ll Filter, Hang-on slightly oversized Skimmer, and now a new Maxi-Flo 1200 Powerhead. Thanks for that advice Bob. (I knew your name sounded familiar. Small world. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist was one of the first books I bought at start-up. Served me well, thank you) <Ah, welcome> Stock: Various Snails and Hermits, smooth Brittle Star, Conch, Feather Duster, Colt Coral, Blood Shrimp, Coral Beauty, 2 Percula Clowns and a Pixie Hawkfish. Water quality tests well weekly. PH 8.2, no sign of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, I'm slowly raising SG from 1.021 to 1.023 as per Bob's advice. I do have a little trouble keeping temp stable though. The heater keeps the temp up (mid 70's) and I occasionally have to use my home A/C to bring it down. (from low 80's) <Small vacillations, changes here should not be a problem in this good-sized volume> Here's the situation that I find odd. The Blood Shrimp set up shop at one end of the new (but cycled) tank in a crevice between two rocks with a nice view and a bit of beach in front. (Lucky Shrimp!) I noticed when I added the two young Clowns, they liked to "hang out" on the beach in front of the Shrimp's luxury accommodations. They might only take the occasional stroll up and down the beach. Then I added the young Coral Beauty and, sure enough, she likes to hover around in the same crevice above the shrimp when she's not cruising the length of the tank swimming in and out of all the tunnels. I just added my Hawkfish, and now he seems to want to hang around with the crowd at the same bottom corner of the tank when he's not rock climbing all over the tank. (Don't ask why the Coral Beauty is a "she" and the Hawk is a "he". It's either a mental thing or just lack of knowledge, or both) <You are to be congratulated for such self-awareness> Ok, it may not be a 210gal tank, but 72 gallons is looking huge the way these inhabitants are treating the available real estate. I don't understand. I did my research and built all the tunnels and hideouts to accommodate my stocking plan and now everyone seems to want to live at the same address. Trust me. The rest of the beach front properties are equally nice. I know. I built them. I do not limit feeding to this end of the tank, and there are no Sharks, Triggers or nets at the other end. Is it the draw of the Shrimp's "cleaning station"? <Likely to a large degree, yes... This Lysmata has probably "set the dynamic" here> He is only doing minor detail work on the Coral Beauty at present. I do have short bursts of tiny air bubbles intermittently coming out the filter output tube at the opposite top corner of the tank. Are they trying to keep away from this? <Perhaps> They certainly don't mind cruising the area. Where they congregate is right beside the entrance to the room they are in. Do they just want company? Ours; theirs? <Heeee! Hard to state... there could possibly be many factors at play... Would it not be neat to have several such systems? Or this one on a set of casters to rotate, move around... to investigate whether it's some aspect of ambient lighting, perhaps the dipole moment of our planet... That may be influential here?> I can not see anything inside or outside the tank at the other end that I can recognize as a problem (but I am not a fish). Again, they do cruise the area regularly. Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with this. Frankly, it makes observation easy. But is it normal, or is it extremely unusual and should I be looking for something. <Maybe there is some sort of predator... perhaps a crustacean hitchhiker toward the other end...> Everyone seems to get along so far. Only one tiny Clown occasionally tries to play tough guy with the new, but larger, Hawkfish. This is just too funny to watch. It's half the size of the Hawk! Just wanted to check if there is anything to worry about here. (I'm sure you are accustomed to all novices worrying too much) Thank you for your time and any words of wisdom you may offer. Mike <Likely no worries... and the stock will "spread" out in time... Esp. with the Clowns growth... Bob Fenner>

Re: Behavioural Question - 06/14/07 Hello Bob & Crew, Just a thank you note. No reply required. Funny, we had the same thought of being able to turn the "tank on casters" to test the attraction to that one end of the tank. <A friend who was studying fish physiology... orientation to polarized light... actually had a tank on a record player... to slowly rotate...> I will not be attempting this any time soon. <Heeee!> For what it's worth, I am very impressed with the crew's knowledge, patience and the level of service you are providing to baffled, head scratching, nervous mother aquarists of every skill level. <So am I!> I can only imagine how grateful the surviving fish are! <Ah yes my friend... Karma works in many ways... perhaps the antithesis of that "pay back" thing> I may not know anything about fish, but I do know a great deal about service and yours is excellent. My fish thank you. Mike <And we gladly accept them cosmically. BobF> I know certain fish can transition from freshwater, brackish, and saltwater.    5/11/07 Hello Crew, I hope everyone is having a good day. <So far, so good!> I know certain fish can transition from freshwater, brackish, and saltwater. <Indeed. Such fish are called "euryhaline fish" as opposed to "stenohaline fish" that are confined to freshwater or saltwater habitats their entire lives.> Does their food need to change also? <A good question. It depends upon on the fish. Certain fish live in one environment for part of their life cycle, and another environment the next part of the life cycle. In many cases, there are dietary changes along with these ecological changes. Atlantic Salmon for example live in freshwater as hatchlings and for the first few months of their life, feeding mostly on insect larvae. They then go to sea for a few years where they feed on crustaceans of various kinds and small fish. Once they reach a certain size they will migrate back into rivers to spawn, but during this spawning run they don't feed much, if at all. They then return to the sea and begin feeding again, in preparation for the spawning run the next year. Other fishes, like scats, simply eat whatever they find wherever they go. These fish move between freshwater and the sea all the time, and what they eat depends only on what they encounter. For the aquarist, one of the striking things about brackish water fish is their greediness. The problem is making sure you don't overfeed them and compromise water quality as a result. Some brackish water fish are predators, and need a primarily meaty diet, but most are omnivores and take a variety of foods including algae, plant matter, frozen foods, and pellets.> I know the salt levels change, but what other effects does it have on their bodies? <The change in salinity is the main thing euryhaline fish have to deal. So in freshwater a scat (for example) will be pumping out excess water while conserving salt, but doing the reverse when it is in the sea. Secondary issues will be differences in temperature (the sea varies more slowly than neighbouring rivers so may be cooler or warmer depending on the season), pH, hardness, and other aspects of water chemistry. Salt water also provides more buoyancy than freshwater, and euryhaline fish also need to adjust the amount of gas in the swim bladder to keep the same level of poise when swimming.> I am particularly interested in mollies. <The relationship between mollies and brackish water is complex. Mollies are naturally found in freshwater, brackish, and marine environments. But in aquaria they tend to do poorly in freshwater, being very prone to fungus, Finrot, and the "shimmies". It is not 100% clear to me that they need brackish water, and some aquarists have suggested that it is the ambient level of nitrates that matter. In brackish water nitrate is less toxic than in freshwater, so the mollies will thrive even if the nitrate levels are quite high. It certainly seems to be the case that people who have luck keeping mollies in freshwater aquaria also keep the nitrates at very low (practically zero) levels. In ordinary community tanks where the nitrates are around 20-100 mg/l, mollies just don't do well.> Thank you,      Ann <Cheers, Neale>

Another half-baked idea? SW, FW tog.  - 4/9/07 Someone on another forum discovered this. I have no idea if it's a wind-up or not. But it's certainly insane! http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6016770.html Now you *can* keep marine fishes in your freshwater aquarium! Cheers, Neale <I see future queries with titles such as "Clown Trigger not Getting alone with Koi fish..." Thanks for sharing...Adam J.> <<The real issue... compatibility... Brings back memories of the "Magic Ocean", "Wonder Water", other sucrose products that would allow this temporary association... Raising specific gravity, osmotic pressure sans ionic content. Bob Fenner>

Mullet culture, fingerlings source   3/19/07 Note: add family... Dear Sir:   I am Maryam Jorjani and am working Golestan Fisheries Research Center in Iran. we are researching about propagation and larviculture Mugil cephalus. now we do not  have this fish and we need to provide fry / fingerling. do you know person that help us?     Thanks a lot .and I  am  waiting for your reply   Maryam      Golestan Fisheries Research Center   Gorgan   Iran     Tel:+981712222601   Fax:+981712240290 <Pleased to meet you. I did work on this Mullet species' aquaculture years back... but I don't know where you can commercially purchase young. According to fishbase.org: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/tools/aquamaps/receive.php M. cephalus range extends into the lower Persian Gulf... Could you collect it from there? (the young are easily seined in shallow water where found. Bob Fenner>

I.D. Fish, Need to be a Conscientious Marine Aquarist - 03/17/07 Hi! Bob, <Sorry Bob's honoring St. Guinness, Mich filling in.> Can you tell me something about this fish, <Well, I can tell you lots about this fish... It looks like it's alive and maybe it has fins and possibly one eye or an eye socket...  It's not a flame angel, a lionfish or a Naso tang...  You're kidding me right?  Did you look at the photo?   I've have it for over 3 months but I don't know anything not even the name it's name, <What are you doing?  You don't know the name of the fish, and presumable don't know the care requirements of this fish ..., which you've had for three months!!!  Come on, step up to the plate my friend.  Please do your research and know the care requirements before actually assuming care!!!    I'll try to get a better picture and send it to you, thanks for your time. <Will need a better photo to be of any help.  For future reference, please start with the research, not the fish.  -Mich>  


Fish ID sans pix   2/25/07   Good evening guys,    <James>   My tank has been set up for about two months without any major disasters. I caught the hitchhiking octopus and gave him to the LFS. <Good> I have just a couple of clown fish and a cleaner shrimp for something to swim around for now. Four days ago, a new fish appeared. It must have hatched from an egg on the live rock (indo). It is about 3 and 1/2 inches long. <! must have been languishing in a pocket of water, moisture more like it... during the transit from the wild... Marines ARE tough> It looks like a stretched tadpole. A long fin running from behind the head to the tip of the tail both dorsal and ventral. The head is about 1/4 inch in diameter, blunt in the front, and it tapers to the tip of the tail. Any ideas? <Mmm, likely a blennioid or Gobioid... narrows the search down to a couple of thousand possibilities> Do you know of a web site that might have pictures of young fish? <Fishbase.org> I tried to get a picture but he disappeared into the rock and I haven't seen it since.  My wife thinks it is an eel of a sort. <Maybe... does it lack pectoral fins?> I am thinking that it must be a large fish of a sort to be that big just after hatching. What should I put in for food? Well, a bit strange but many thanks for any insight.      Jim <Is likely "getting" what it needs currently of/from the LR... a pic? Bob Fenner>

Re: Fish ID sans pix   2/26/07 Thanks I will check out the web site. It reminded me of a fresh water glass catfish but more compressed vertically. It just swam in the current in a cave for hours. Unfortunately the angle was too sharp to get a picture. It looks like a sawn off knitting needle with continuous ventral and dorsal fins. It does have small pectoral fins. <Not an anquilliform then> I have the camera close for the next time it appears. Thanks,      Jim <Welcome. BobF>

Re: Fish ID sans pix, Carapidae?    2/27/07 Well no pictures yet but I believe that I have a Pearlfish that lives inside the sea cucumber. Thanks for the help.   Jim <Oh! You and ChrisP are in agreement: Hi Bob, Was just looking at the FAQs and saw you were working with someone on a fish ID.  Here is the post. Re: Fish ID sans pix   2/26/07 Thanks I will check out the web site. It reminded me of a fresh water glass catfish but more compressed vertically. It just swam in the current in a cave for hours. Unfortunately the angle was too sharp to get a picture. It looks like a sawn off knitting needle with continuous ventral and dorsal fins. It does have small pectoral fins. <Not an anquilliform then> I have the camera close for the next time it appears. Thanks,       Jim <Welcome. BobF> Sounds a lot like a Pearl fish, Encheliophis homei and mourlani / Onuxodon margaritifera , aka the famous ReefCentral gonad eating Buttfish.  Wonder if this person has a cucumber in their tank? Chris <Interesting speculation Chris... Perhaps this "hitchhiker" came in, not with the LR, but inside a Holothuroid... Hope he sees your input. BobF> Help with ID of USO (Unidentified Swimming Object) please, fish    2/20/07 Good morning Crew! <Good morning> I apologize in advance to requesting assistance with an ID without a photo (I know it's nearly impossible) however I'll provide as much info as I can.  I am not looking for an exact ID, just a general idea of what I might have in my tank- some guesses as to the family of fish my USO (unidentified swimming object) <I like that!> might be. Or the families I might narrow my search for an ID to. I am concerned that in the long run, my tank might not be well suited to this particular USO and I'd like to figure out it's needs and compatibilities from the get go if possible. I recently received my live rock (as in yesterday) from Tampa Bay Saltwater company and I have a hitchhiker that I am going to affectionately call Nessie.  I can't get a photo of it- Nessie's really elusive- but I have now caught two sightings of it. Here is the known information regarding Nessie and what I have seen: Nessie IS a fish. I first had doubt to this at the initial sighting due to size, however there was a smooth side to side motion that lead me to believe that it was a fish.  This fact was confirmed with second sighting which occurred at approximately 12:10 AM, EST.  Nessie's body shape is very similar to a freshwater Plecostomus. The head is broader than the rest of the body and the nose is covered in 8-12 short bristles- I am assuming that these are for camouflage, predation, or for sensory assistance.   Nessie's locomotion is similar to a Plecostomus as well, undulating side to side and propelled from back to front. There did appear to be caudal fins, however, I will admit that I was not that focused on them. Perhaps I will be able to observe those better in the future.  Nessie is approximately 5-8 inches long. and approximately 1" to 1 1/2"  wide at the head - head seems to be flatter than taller, neutral colors (from what I could observe with very little light) and seems inclined to be more on the nocturnal than diurnal side.  The mouth also seems proportionately large, rather than appearing round in the front, it appears to be rather flat and wide (I don't know how accurate this observation was- take with some salt). The first sighting was when I was moving a very large rock- Nessie was underneath it and was startled by the light and the sudden (though very brief) lack of cover.  At that sighting, I thought that it was black or very dark in color. This time it seemed to be more in the browns or grays and possibly striped vertically (dark on light) - though I only think I saw one stripe and that was near the eye. Both times Nessie has been seen, it's been located on the bottom (parallel to the bottom) , and seems quite comfortable and rather suited to the substrate, but doesn't seem suited to being perpendicular to the substrate. Nessie has also only been observed in the dark or very dim light. I just can't believe a fishy hitchhiker this big came in my rock and survived the journey. Any guesses as to what it might be?  It is incredibly well camouflaged and I do have my guesses, but I am curious as to what the experts might think. My feeling is that this tank might not end up being quite the vision I had in mind. But a little adventure might be a very good thing.   Thank you for any help you can give me. I'm going to try to get a photo of Nessie at some point- but it might be as clear and as successful as the photos of a much more famous namesake. Lee <A photo would be great. You did however give a pretty good description. I think there is a good chance you may have some sort of a blenny there. You might want to have a look at the photos on WWM as well as species photos and profiles on www.fishbase.org. Best of luck IDing your USO, Leslie>

Fish ID... spelling - 02/11/2007 Hi again, thanks for previous info! Another one for you.  We have a fish that I think is called a false grunny <Mmm, a Gudgeon? Grunion? Gunnel?...> (?), can't find any info about it on the net. <Try the above spellings... maybe on fishbase.org> It's 2 inches long & 1/2 bright yellow, 1/2 bright pink with purple rimmed eyes.  It looks like it has a growth, similar to wart, on one gill.  I think it is a brown colour (hard to tell against the pink) with a red spot too.  Any ideas & what should I do?? Sue C <Yes... nothing much to do... do find out what the actual species is... its "life requirements"... Most Gunnels are not tropical... Bob Fenner>

Fishies won't come out and play 1/20/07 I have a quick question for The Crew. <and I might have an answer for ya! Graham T. with you tonight.> I just bought a Foxface and Blue Spotted Puffer a week ago and they seem to be uncomfortable in the tank.   The puffer is a little better then the Foxface but they pretty much just hide in the back and come out every once in a while to eat (if I'm not standing by the tank). <Normal for the Foxface, and not a cause of concern for the puffer, either.> Does this mean they're not feeling healthy, therefore they don't feel strong enough to take on a challenge like "get used to humans"?  Or does it mean they are simply not social?  Appreciate the help!! <It means you may have to give them more time to acclimate to their surroundings. Consider what they've been through.> Jon <-Graham T.>

Eel Hitchhiker? - 11/07/06 I come to this site frequently, the information has been so valuable in helping me establish and maintain my saltwater tank that I started 2+ years ago. <<Happy to read this>> Let me begin with this story...I live in an area that recently had an early October snow storm that dumped 23 inches of very wet snow. <<Buffalo?>> Storm started Thursday as we were going to our LFS I was buying new coral as my Xenia, which took over my tank for about 2 years, had started to slowly decline. <<I've heard speculation that xenia may actually go through such cycles of "wax and wane" and that if you "leave the rock be" the Xenia will usually re-sprout to grow again>> As I have read on your site this can happen for no reason. <<Ah...yes indeed>> So happily I was buying new exciting coral (pocket book was not as happy), in other words I was having a ball. <<Hee-hee!>> Until that night we lost our power, we could hear our trees and the golf course trees crack like the sound of a shotgun blast. <<Mmm, yes...have witnessed the devastation wrought by heavy wet snow before myself>> After two days of bailing our sump pump, and having blankets covering my tank, I finally found a generator in Syracuse, NY. <<Invested in one of these myself a couple years ago>> We live outside of Buffalo, I would have driven to Albany to find one, or Canada, or Penn.... <<I understand.  I was lucky enough (in the middle of an extended power outage) to buy the last generator available on the truck...while the truck was still about 16 hours away!>> Two days without a filter on my tank, the skimmer, the heater or lights...I was VERY lucky, I only lost the rest of my Xenia. <<Lucky indeed>> We now have a generator, which we used until the power came back on 9 days later. <<Yikes!  Glad you were able to acquire one>> So with that story, my tank set up is a 75-gallon tank, with a Remora skimmer, and an Eheim filter as my old Magnum 350 filter fried when we had a surge from our generator, which flooded my hardwood floor. <<...?>> Good story is that the insurance company paid for a new filter (Eheim) and will pay to redo our floor, all of it. <<Wow...excellent>> Ah, back to my tank, I have a deep sand bed, about 75 lbs of live rock, a Yellow Tang, Rabbit/Fox Tang, <<Foxface?  Siganus species?>> one damsel, 3 clowns and cleaner shrimp, Harry the brittle star and an unknown fish that I never bought.  I think it is an Eel. <<Hitchhiker eh?>> Reason for my sending this is due to my recent adding of coral.  I have a very nice Hammer coral on one side of the tank, the other side has a green Torch coral, and I also have some buttons, mushrooms and a sea mat.  This unknown fish has been with my tank since I started adding live rock, so about as long as I have had the tank. <<Okay>> He only comes out once in a while to dart at the turkey baster that I use to feed Harry. <<Interesting>> I don't see him at any other time except to see sand fly out as if he is cleaning. <<Maintaining/expanding a burrow...you're probably correct>> Which means that if I have my button coral on the sand, in a couple of days I will find it buried.  But if I move them to a higher spot in my tank, they don't like the light.  If I have the lights on less, the Hammer and Torch coral don't like it. <<Just one of the problems with "mixed garden" style reefs>> Now is this what an Eel does? <<Some of them...some "fishes" too…in fact there is a goby that looks very much like an eel (the name escapes me but I had a trio of these in a reef at one time years back) >> <Pholodichthys likely... Engineer Blennies/Gobies... RMF> Hide, eat when it wants and plays/buries in the sand? <<Yep>> This guy is big, yet I never see him. <<Most of the eels kept by hobbyists will usually become acclimated/accustomed to the aquarist/their surroundings.  The gobies I mentioned earlier were quite secretive and only appeared at feeding time>> Only time I saw his full size is when I added the sand to my tank to make a deep-sea bed, did I mention that he was darn hard to catch? <<I'll bet…did you happen to get a picture of this critter?>> I had to move all my live rock to a holding tank, he is about a foot and 1/2 long, or was, I am not sure how big he is now. <<Yowza…and non of the other tank inhabitants have "disappeared?">> So does this sound like an eel?? <<It does…I don't believe the goby I'm thinking of gets that big>> Goby?? <<I'm doubtful now>> He is kind of unique, so do you have any advice on how to work around him and my coral?  Any advise information would be great..... <<Do some reading here and among the associated links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm>> Thanks, Kris <<Regards, EricR>>

Atlantic cod keeping, sourcing   10/1/06 Hi, I was just wondering if you could keep Atlantic cod in a aquarium. If so how big would the aquarium need to be and also where could I find them for sale. Paul <Mmm, depending on the initial size... and how long you want to keep them... a hundred or so gallons... to several hundred... With a chiller... Source... I'd look to a public aquarium that shows Northern Atlantic fishes for their input. Bob Fenner>

Unknown Damsel? Mmm, some family else  9/29/06 Hi Mr. Fenner <Johanna> I work in an aquarium and we got a marine fish donated to us that we are having difficulties identifying. I believe it is some sort of a damsel, <There are some 330 or so described species...> but I am not certain. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the fish, <Really helps> all I can give you is a brief description. I have looked up damsels on FishBase, <Ah, good... though they don't have pix of everything> but not found a picture to match. The mystery fish is about 30 cm standard length. <A foot!> The fish is red fading into black towards dorsal fin. There are three, or possibly four, small but bright blue spots along the lateral line evenly spread out between the beginning and end of dorsal fin. It has a proportionally long caudal peduncle and an otherwise deep body shape. The lateral line is not broken and continues out to end of peduncle. <A good clue> The tail is homocercal with a deep fork. Mouth is terminal and slightly superior. It is not a Garibaldi as far as I can tell. The unidentified fish has a much deeper red color turning to black and the tail is too sharply forked, not smooth lobes like the Garibaldi. We have a couple of small (3 inch) garibaldis and they have the same blue color spots as our mystery fish. I know it is next to impossible to try to identify this fish from a brief description. I am fairly new to the aquarium trade and is hoping that I might be describing a common aquarium fish. <Mmm, not common to the trade...> I am not certain that it is a damsel, but general body sharp reminds me of one. The fish does fine in warm temps (78 degrees) and lived with a large tang and a panther grouper. We have tried various foods on him and he is not picky at all. Will eat anything that goes into the tank. He is also not aggressive towards other fish and has no apparent territory. Any hints of help you can give me is greatly appreciated. If you know of a good key that can be used on fish that are still alive that would be helpful to. I really do apologize for this email, but I do not know who else to turn to. My boss thinks it is a wrasse, but all of the aquarists are convinced other wise. Thanks for your time. Your forum is a great resource and very valuable to me. Sincerely Johanna Wren <Mmm... want to wait on a pic, but could this be a Holocentrid: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/holocent.htm There are a bunch of Squirrelfish species that semi-fit your description... BobF>

Sweepers  3/30/06 I've have already searched through your website and have not been able to locate any information.  I have a question regarding sweepers, who I believe are in the family Pempheridae. <Ah, yes....!>   Why don't you see them offered for sale? <Good question... hot hard to find in reef, coastal/rocky settings... and easy to catch (have done so)... But don't take to handling well (die easily with scale, slime loss from netting)... and the one real reason: They're "not on the list"... of items/animals folks order/buy through the "chain of custody"... A phenomenon I call the Founder/Flounder Effect... "Folks don't ask for things they don't know about, so they don't see/gain exposure because they didn't get caught, because no one asked for them..."> I see them in reef pictures all the time (usually hovering around a coral head along with various Cardinalfish), so it appears as though they are fairly common.  Are they difficult to keep? <Have been kept by Public Aquariums off/on... but the vast majority of caught specimens die in a short while...> Are they similar to the Anthias species in that they need to be frequently fed in order to be successfully kept?  Or do they simply not ship well? <Good questions... I know naught. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help, Brian Lory Polynemus... 10/11/05 Hello Bob: Might you have any information regarding Polynemus paradiseus or could you point me in the correct direction. Thank you, Jeff Howe <Hey Jeff! Am out in HI currently... so no print ref.s here... Have never seen this Threadfin sold in the ornamental trade, but have occasionally seen other polynemids at wholesalers... My impression is that they don't do well in captivity. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Brotulids Hello, I saw the most beautiful fish today and I believe it is in the Goby family. The LFS called it a "Dusky Botulid." <Missing an "r"... see above re... and put this family name in your search tools, fishbase.org... Not a goby, Gobioid...> I have a 90 gallon reef tank and I really want this fish. But I have a very small Yellow Citron Goby (little over 1 1/2 inches) and I wonder if they will fight or will the Brotulid want to eat him? <Mmm, should get along: http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Brotulina&speciesname=fusca > What can you tell me about this fish and this fish in my tank with the Citron Goby? Laurie from CT
<Bob Fenner in HI> 

One that is a struggle Hi Bob, <John> I would greatly appreciate if you would take a quick look at the attached.  I believe it to be some form of a Grunt.  My primary tool for Species Identification is a C.D. authored by Ross Robertson which has pictures of 1185 individual species from the Eastern Tropical Pacific.  I have a good working relationship with Ross but have not sent him this photo as of yet not wanting to stress the relationship by overwork. <Mmmm, do you have Allen, Steene and Randall's tome on ETP Fishes on hand?> It might be a juvenile Sharp Snout Grunt, Haemulopsis elongatus, but the distance between the eye and the mouth is too short and the "snout" is much pointed when I compare it to Ross' picture of the Sharp Snout Grunt (picture attached). <Doesn't look like this fish to me either> I also do not believe it to be any of the following:  the Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus; California Salema, Xenistius californiensis; Cortez Grunt, Haemulon flaviguttatum; Goldeneye Grunt, Haemulon scudderi; Greybar Grunt, Haemulon sexfasciatum; Sargo, Anisotremus davidsonii; Shortfin Humpback Grunt, Mircolepidotus brevipinnis; Spottail Grunt, Haemulon maculicauda; Wavyline Grunt, Microlepidotus inornatus; White Grunt, Haemulopsis leuciscus; and Yellowstripe Grunt, Haemulopsis axillaris. <Neither any of these... I searched on fishbase.org under the haemulids and sciaenids (is this a croaker? Can't make out whether the lateralis reaches the end of the caudal from the image... though the anal, dorsal fin counts, opercular flap suggest the croakers> Since I live in San Diego I have good access to the SIO Library which is another place to look.  And if all else fails I can contact Ross and see what he has to say.  Either way I will keep you informed of where I am on this guy.   Note: it comes out of the surf at La Playita, San Jose Del Cabo and provided by the bait guys as a by catch of sardines (Flatiron Herrings). Any suggestions? <I do! To have Dr. Randall take a look/see... he will likely be able to place to at least genus by sight. Jack, any help here? Thank you, Bob Fenner out on the Big Island, sans references> Thanks again for any advise you can provide. Best regards, John T. Snow

Re: One that is a struggle John: Sorry, my knowledge of eastern Pacific fishes is very limited.  All I can say is that it does look like a haemulid.  You should contact Ross. Aloha, Jack <Have they tied you directly to a computer! That was quick! Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

TEP fish ID ref.  Hi Bob, <John> Went to Scripps Oceanographic Institute Library this afternoon.  They  had only one book by the authors you recommended - something to do with  Butterfly fishes.  You suggested "Allen, Steene and Randall's tome on ETP  Fishes".  Can you send me a little more information on this topic as I  will probably be back there tomorrow. Thanks, JTS <Sorry re... a bad reference... it's actually Gerald Allen and Ross Robertson: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0824816757/qid=1101097168/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-0523620-9223833?v=glance&s=books Bob Fenner>

TEP book, the SIO library Hi Bob, <John> Thanks.  Yes, I know that book well.  Unfortunately it is a  little pricey or I would buy one.  Ross' C.D. has all those fish plus  a whole lot of more information.  I believe with C.D. was created  after that book. <Yes>   I would be happy to send you a pirate copy (it is not the  cost, just the logistics of getting another one).  The cost is $10.00 from  him directly and it is truly a tremendous piece of work!  And I discussed  with him "why so cheap?" - and he advised he just wants it our there for us  goofy fish amateurs like me to use and his price just covers his costs. Please advise and I can send you one. <I will gladly pay the ten dollars... VERY reasonable. If you have not done so, do go check out the QL section of the S.I.O. Library... and if not up on how to search their holdings et al., have a Reference Librarian there show you Melville et al. tools. A treasure! You can use their works gratis, though not "check out" books. Bob Fenner>

Aussies discover world's tiniest fish SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - They must have needed a really small hook, but Australian scientists say they've caught what they believe is the world's smallest and lightest fish.

In fact, researchers at Sydney's Australian Museum say the Stout Infant fish is so minuscule - it would take a million of them to tip the scales at one kilogram - they are seeking to have it listed as the world's smallest and lightest vertebrate.
The microscopic fish, first discovered by Australian scientists in 1979 but not classified until today, is formally identified as Schindleria brevipinguis. Males of the species are just seven millimetres long while females average 8.4 millimetres.
The world's current acknowledged smallest vertebrate is the dwarf goby fish. Males of that species reach 8.6 millimetres and females 8.9 millimetres.
The Stout infantfish, a wormlike thread with big - comparatively speaking - eyes but no teeth, scales or pigmentation, has only been found near one island off Australia's east coast.
It was listed as a new species in the Records of the Australian Museum, Volume 56 Number 2, published Wednesday after two American researchers, William Watson of the National Marine Fisheries in La Jolla, Calif., and H.J. Walker of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, confirmed it was a separate species.

- Runnin with the Pony -  (clownfish/anemones, kingish angels, detritus helpers... marine maintenance) cheers j-, <Cheers.> john here, dad always says you got a work horse and if he will get you to your destination, well ride em then son, it doesn't matter how you get there just get there! man all those pictures in the Fenner book I just bought makes my tongue drip sweat! if I had known about this sport years ago I'd have stopped baseball and put my trunks on a lot more often and been gone for weeks, but that's a different story isn't it. <Perhaps.> Jason , my question is this I really like the relationship that a clown fish and an anemone have, but can you have one separate, like I want an clown but not an anemone {I've seen then poop, its enough to put drapes around the tank while this happens.} <Yes, you can keep clownfish without an anemone - I have one, it does just fine.> I know the yellow clown is very friendly. but I think maybe my x-mas wrasse will kill it. <It's possible but for whatever reason most fish don't seem bother clownfish with the exception of the super-mean and those with giant mouths.> the wrasse is to busy running from my blue angel. sometime they get along sometimes the angel gets a hair up his wazoo and has to show his domination! will this ever stop. <Probably not until one is no longer there.> and if I take the angel back will the wrasse get kingish {if you know what I mean}? <Yes, quite possibly.> and another thing Jason  what is the best thing to put in the tank to clean detritus {my angel puts it out in buckets} keeping in mind that I have a scooter blenny. <Well... two things, first scooter blennies don't eat detritus. Next your best bet is to add more circulation so that the detritus stays in the water column where is can be picked up by your filtration.> ps the live rock I have is starting to spit out all kinds odd critters I love it although some of these things are probably bad! <Not necessarily.> I know how the game is played. its called take some bad with the good, and grin and bare it. <Hmm... not my definition of a game.> thanks in advance cheer man... <Cheers, J -- >

Mono Argenteus Trigger? Bob, Have you heard of a Mono Argenteus Trigger? Do they have a more common name? We have one in our tank and would like some facts on it for the wall posters. Please offer any information you have. I appreciate your time. Thanks! Pearl Hettwer <Mmm, likely you're referring to Monodactylus argenteus... not a triggerfish. Do place this name in fishbase.org or WetWebMedia.com and see if this is the animal you have. More scientific and husbandry information will be found on these sites re this fish. Oh, and all the species of known Triggerfishes (family Balistidae) are listed as well. Bob Fenner>

How Much for This Fishy? >Hello Mr. Fenner, my name is Star, and i was wondering how much Paracanthurus cost? >>Hello Star. Bob is out of the country. Marina here. >What is the price range for them? If you could please e-mail me back. >>You can just use Google for this, please do so. >Thank You, Star 

Mystery Fish Inquiry Hello - First off I would like to say Thank You for having this great website. I have journeyed to your site with various questions & through a search finally found answers to almost all of them. Today I have a stumper question that I'm hoping you can help with. The set-up in question is a 20 gal tank for sea horses (still don't have the sea horses yet) with 2 - 5 gal refugiums. It has been running about 2.5 months. I have cured LR, DSB, grasses, few snails, hermit crabs, 1 emerald crab, 2 peppermint & 2 ghost shrimp living within the set-up. A little over a month ago I received 2 shipments of macroalgae (1 from IPSF & 1 from FAF), mostly Gracilaria sp. I put them into the refugiums & let them go. Much to my shock about a week ago there is a baby fish swimming in one of the refugiums. Two days ago the fish took the big slide into the main tank. It is 3/4" long, is shaped like a baby salmon & is brown in color. It doesn't hide during the day, it usually hangs close to the rock but darts around frequently. I realize that it will remain a mystery for awhile as to what my little baby fish is, but I would like to know if you have suggestions on what to feed it. I have a small colony of amphipods in the set-up. I did start hatching out brine shrimp & adding it to the tank every other day. I don't know if he is eating them or with they are just being lost in the tank. I did add a few frozen brine shrimp to the tank yesterday, but I think they are too big. Clearly the baby fish is eating something in the tank (it seems to be growing fairly quickly), but I'm not certain if whatever it has found to eat so far will sustain it. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you - Jennifer <Glad to read of your careful preparations. The fish in question very likely originated from IPSF (I am near Gerald's lab here on the Big Island of Hawai'i) as either a fertilized egg or small larva... on the Gracilaria or in the water it was shipped in. The species? Only time can tell... as many larval fishes are obscure at this size/age. Feeding should not prove difficult with your twin refugiums... nor would I be concerned with waiting on the addition of your seahorses. Bob Fenner>

Flying fish in the Land Down Under Hi there Mr. Fenner While on the internet looking for information on flying fish in the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, I came across your email address on a site. I wondering if you could recommend any sites with information as we are having a lot of trouble locating any with much information at all on flying fish. It is for my grandsons assignment due this week. We have been searching for weeks, but cannot hit on much info. I have looked under Exocoetoidei, flying fish and Atheriniforms. At this stage we are looking for the life cycle and reproductive system with pics if possible & the internal structure of the flying fish. We have also tried the encyclopedia etc. Hoping to hear from you soon, Joan Christie <Flying fishes are important commercial fisheries organisms in a few places in the world, so much of their natural history has been studied. I would start with fishbase.org in your online search for information, and once you have the scientific name/s of the species you're interested in, go back and plug this/these into Google, other search engines for more... and if this doesn't get you enough of what you want, utilize the services of a reference librarian at a large college library. Bob Fenner>

- Which Fish is This? - My LFS recently got in a beautiful fish I have never seen before.  They have labeled it a "blue barred Pseudochromis", but the only picture I can find that looks anything like it (navy, almost black, with two longitudinal metallic blue lines down each side) is a red sea cleaner wrasse. <Hmm... well, there are a lot of Pseudochromis that aren't even described. Could be you have the genuine article.> What's more, I observed it trying to clean a couple fish in the tank. <Well... there are quite a few non-standard cleaners that clean as juveniles. Could be this is the same behavior.> Is there some other fish, i.e. a "blue barred pseudo" this might be (best guess without a picture, I know), and assuming it is a red sea cleaner Larabicus quadrilineatus, this is a fish you would recommend strongly against (cause it is beautiful!)? <Actually, would recommend against the Larabicus quadrilineatus because the adults are obligate coral polyp eaters.> Jim <Cheers, J -- >

- Thompson's Fairy Basslet - Hi guys, Just bought a Thompson's fairy Basslet, I have it with a Tuskfish, red Coris wrasse and a Lyretail Anthias in my 135 gal. My question is what can you tell me about Thompson's fairy Basslets or where can you steer me to educate myself on these fish. All my other fish I have learned about on your site but cannot find anything on the Thompson's Anthias. Thank you for any help you can be. tom from NJ <I'm afraid for now I can't be of much help. I can find no listing of a fish by these names in FishBase. In fact, the only Thompson's fish is a dogfish so... probably not what you are looking for. Too often, fish names are made up on the fly by someone in the chain of custody who doesn't know what they are looking at. I'd spend some more time pestering the people at the store where you bought it, see if you can look at the 'sheet' that would declare this fish in the shipment. Try very hard to get the scientific name... this would help immensely. In the mean while - if the fish looks like an Anthias, treat it like one... Cheers, J -- >

Finding Fishy Information... Hi, Good job-I checked!!  Do you know of anywhere where I can get a comprehensive and accurate list of marine/SW fish? Pref. online. Then I can leave you alone :) Jake <Well, Jake, one of the best sources anywhere is Fishbase- http://www.fishbase.org/search.cfm You will be able to find out more than you will probably need about almost any marine fish you can think of! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Fish i.d. question     Hello, my name is David Howard, and I'm currently enrolled in a Marine Biology course in Colorado. During the process of running fish tanks in the classroom we received a shipment of fish from the Indian Ocean off a reef and we found the fish pictured above. <Mmm, what you've sent is a line drawing... of a generalized Perciform fish... What you received is likely some Pomacentrid, a Damselfish> As of yet we can't identify it at all. I realize the picture I'm sending isn't wonderful, but I'm not incredibly adept with computer sketching, and I don't have any kind of digital camera to take a picture with. <Time to borrow one> I believe the closest thing we've come across color wise is a black sunshinefish, but we later realized that the fins were nothing alike. We were wondering if you could just throw us out a few vague ideas on what this fish could possibly be. <Black Sunshinefish? Doesn't come up in fishbase.org... Got a scientific name?>     We've noted thus far that it has 9 dorsal spines in front of a tapering dorsal fin, as you can see. The caudal and dorsal fins are the most confusing characteristics we've see thus far as they seem to be more characteristic of a wrasse, and yet the fish is shaped like a damsel, and was shipped to us as a damsel. The pectoral fins are actually a translucent gray, and the body is just very slightly counter shaded below the mouth. <If the scales are cycloid it likely is a Labrid... does it have two pairs of "nostrils"? Then a Damsel/Pomacentrid>     Also, we've noticed that the fish doesn't seem as active as most damsels (it can barely swim away from our risers tubes when the pump gets going) and is about three the size of any of the other damsels (mostly green Chromis, blue tails, and dominos.) we received. It's caudal fin has an extremely slight difference between lobes, and it doesn't look like the normal "scissored" tails of the damsels we have now, it's more "squarish". It likes to tuck in it's dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins close to it's body, making them almost completely impossible to see. Could this be throwing us off?       sincerely,       David Howard       Aravada West Marine Biology <Could be one of several families of Percoids. Pix please. Bob Fenner>

Handicapped Gramma! Hi Crew, <Greetings! Ryan with you!> I just like to say thank you for your help and support, I've asked a question before and gotten excellent information.  How do I know?  Because it worked! <Under promise, over deliver!  Works every time ;)   >  Now I have another question that I hope you can answer.  Here's some background first...... This weekend I purchased a Royal Gramma.  The tank had about ten of them all floating in separate containers to keep them from fighting.  I check all the fish up and down and picked the best one. (The feisty one, who was flashing his fins and mouth at another fish floating next to him).  I got him home and acclimated him to his Q-Tank and all was fine that night.  The next morning he ate well and was swimming around just fine.  But after the second time I approached the tank to look the fish over I noticed that he didn't have a left side fin.  It was completely gone!  He just had a stub sticking out where the fin should be.  I noticed the stub moves when he does, so there is muscle movement there.  But he swims just fine and eats anything I put in the tank, and seems very happy.  So my question is, do missing fins like this grow back, or will he be the "Gramma without a side fin"?  It just burns me up that I completely missed this, but I really like this fish for the color and personality and hope he makes it to the main tank.  Thanks for your future reply.  Tom <Tom, you're going to have to be very patient with this wounded little Gramma.  He's going to need a variety of good foods, high water quality and lots of hiding places.  With time, he'll grow the fins back.  I would keep him quarantined as long as possible-Haven't you always wanted an excuse to set up that nano?  I really wouldn't put him in your display until he's 100%.  The more stress he endures, the longer he'll be swimming in circles!  All kidding aside, I'm sure he'll be just fine.  See ya! Ryan>

- Online Fish Monger - Do you know of a very reputable company to purchase saltwater fish from on-line? <Yes.> Thank You, James -- James Hall <Do try one of our sponsors, http://www.themarinecenter.com/ - a very reliable source. Cheers, J -- >

Shy (Not Sly!) Fox... Foxface question Hello, { another '17' on the way ;-) } <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> I have had a Foxface for 2 weeks and he was great till yesterday... Every time yellow, active and with smile on his 'foxy' face... Since tomorrow he is sitting behind the rocks and from time to time (rarely) showing his nose. I don't know what's wrong... His stings are rather hidden {but when picking pellets, they are opened}, but he looks like 'zebra' {black & white}... Is stress cause that behaviour or my eyelash blenny which is swimming like crazy {REALLY active fish}??? It looks like foxy is quite scared but I don't know why... Is it normal that Foxface from time to time has that kind of behavior??? Thanks <Actually, yes.. In my experience and observations of others, these fishes are much like tangs...Some individuals are very, very "outgoing" and social, and others are amazingly shy. And, of course, it's certainly not an unusual occurrence for these guys to go through periods of time where they are shy and inhibited. I'd keep a close eye on the blenny to see if it is, indeed irritating the Foxface. If the fish is otherwise healthy, then I will venture to guess that in time, this guy will become much more sociable. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

HELP -- need advice! Thanks for the advice.  It troubles me to hear that you are surprised with their size.  Should they have grown more?  Am I doing something wrong?  I feed them every day (variety of foods high in protein) <Are you feeding them veggies? Sushi Nori is now available at many grocery stores, and you can find it at Oriental Markets if worse comes to worse. Some fish food makers are selling it as prepackaged fish food, for about 5 times the price of sushi Nori (and it's the same stuff!) and they look very healthy -- brightly colored and definitely not skinny. They are also all very active fish -- acting content with their surroundings. <Well, then I wouldn't be too worried.> Also, how do I find a mate for the clown? <Buy a juvenile of the same species, after some squabbling (and maybe not even then) he'll change into a male, your female has already established her place.> I've tried an anemone but didn't have any luck. <Anemones are generally hard to keep, and can live for decades, if not centuries in the wild. Please research them thoroughly before trying that again.> Plus she never would come out of it! <That's called hosting and is what clowns do in the wild. Prevents them from being eaten and their host anemone is protected from predators too.> How can I get a mate for her?  I would love to do that. One more question.  I have about 35lbs. of live rock in the tank right now. Should I add more with the new angel coming?  Could I add maybe one new piece every two weeks or so? <Most angels are nibblers and need a lot of LR. Getting a 100lbs+ wouldn't be out of line. Cure it in a separate container and add it to the tank once it's cured. Even then, you should wait a few months (at least) before adding the angel. Here's the info on LR: www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm  > Thanks so much!  You all are lifesavers! :) <You're welcome, and we try out best.>

Life expectancy? >What are the life expectancies of salt water fish.  I have a regal tang, percula clown and a bi-color blenny in a 30 gallon tank.  Thanks. >>All species are different, but the fishes you've mentioned should live at least ten years, with the tang possibly having a lifespan of 20 years.  Marina

Dynamic (Bill)fishes Dear Bob, Hi!  Your site is the best premium resource on the web.  I have many aquariums in my house.  I have great fascination for dynamic shaped fishes. Sailfish, marlins when shown in art look quite impressive with their sail. Do any other fishes have such special bony back structures.    <I'd bet most anything they do... have seen, come across vertebrae and other bones on beaches (likely from caught specimens), and have marveled at how light they are... and in our town (San Diego) there is a billfish (think a Makaira, Xiphias gladius) demo. at the Natural History museum... that shows where it struck and went through about a four inch central beam of a ship! What sort of force generated and conserved can these animals attain? Bob Fenner> Fond Regards, Nicholas

A Delightful German Fishing Tradition Dear Bob and crew, I received this question from Silke Matthau of the Bavarian State Opera in Germany. It seems to me that he should be asking an historian rather than an aquarist, but I wonder if any of you have come across this in your reading? <I am unaware of this practice/tradition, but it sounds wonderful. I am sending this note to friends in Germany for input in turn. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Howard Norfolk. Aquarticles.com Hello Howard Norfolk, I found your wonderful collection of fish on the internet and enjoyed the beautiful pictures so much. my name is Silke Matth?s and I work for the Bavarian state opera in Munich. we are in the middle of a our new production of the abduction from the seraglio from Mozart. our set designer heard about the fact that royals (kings, emperors?) used to have floating (hollow) jeweled fish attached to their boats, whenever they traveled by sea. This would give them the impression, their boat was permanently accompanied by beautiful, colorful fish sparkling and twinkling in the water. My question: do you have any further information or even pictures about this topic? Please let me know, if you know anything about this fact. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon. thank you so much in advance. Have a nice day. Best wishes, Silke Matth?s

How many types of fish produce appreciable amounts of electricity? <All told about 11 families, a few hundred species... are strongly and weakly electrogenic. Bob Fenner>

Lazy Student, Grunts dear Mr./Mrs. I'm a graduate student in marine science & fisheries major, I need a help to find about a fish , I got few information about it but still I need more, so I wish to get what I need here in that website. Family: Haemulidae (grunts) 1- Global zoogeography of family 2- type of food and feeding behaviour 3- type of preferred habitat 4- reproduction which include:-         - spawning frequency or season         - Age at first maturity         - Nature of sexes         - number and size of eggs         - Courtship behaviour         - parental care         - larval movement and distribution         - Adult migration 5- major predator thanks <You can find all the above on a search of the family, genera and species... through a literature search pursuant to looking up the group on www.fishbase.org Otherwise, take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm re searching for pertinent literature. Bob Fenner>

Fish Suitability Hi Bob, just recently bought a 90gallon salt water system and have been using many internet pieces as a resource.  I find your site one of the most useful in that other people can share their experiences and you always seem to have some knowledgeable feedback. <Thank you David, the crew puts in many hours..> I have 90lbs of live rock, live sand, 2 clowns, 3 Auriga (?) Butterflies, a coral banded shrimp, a pistol shrimp, 1 emerald crab, a yellow spotted box fish,  a "pretty pink" goby, about 15 snails, and 35 (well 34 now) hermit crabs.  Everyone seems to get along great. First question.  I was at Big Al's this weekend  wanting to get a few more creatures for my 'community tank'.  I spotted a Mandarin Goby (dragonette?) and thought that would be a great fit for my tank. <Poor choice, needs 150 gallons mature tank with plenty of LR and pod production, most die sadly.> While the girl was bagging my fish I spotted another interesting small fish (2.5" long) that I learned was a Dragon Wrasse.  She said that it was also a good fit for my community tank.  I double checked while she was bagging my dragon wrasse and asked her again in front of another staff member if both were community compatible and also mentioned what I had in the tank already.  Both agreed that these would be good fish to have.   <Shall we kill them now or wait for the BBQ?> I introduced my fish properly to the tank, yet my Dragon Wrasse sunk to the bottom on its side without moving.   <Properly would be into a QT tank perhaps after a FW dip. No quarantine? Please read more on WWM!!!> I thought it had died instantly... then all of a sudden it scampered around the tank twice and disappeared for 24hrs.  I understand this is typical?   <It surprised you didn't it? In the wild it might have worked to escape being dinner!> Anyhow, my dragon wrasse surfaced from the sand this morning while I was having breakfast... looks like he was hungry too.  He would swim very tightly against my live rock as if he was hunting.  He'd then spot a hermit crab and pick at its legs.  I think he may have bitten off a leg of one of my hermit crabs but he seems to leave all the fish alone.  From what I have read on your site as well as other internet material... I would be better off catching my Dragon and exchanging him for something else?  Your comments? <Yep, he will eat your coral banded shrimp too when he's big enough.> I don't know why they would've suggested a Dragon Wrasse for a community tank.   <Money?> Should I keep him and see how he adapts to the rest of the tank?  If I keep him properly fed do you think he'll leave my crabs/snails alone?  Or should I take him back?  Your opinion? <I would take him back.> Second Question. I have never been able to find information on my so called "pretty pink" goby - that's what Big Al's called him.  One of the more knowledgeable guys at the store (his name is Bob too) told me that this goby will pair up with my pistol shrimp, yet after two weeks they still hide in their own separate hiding places. <These symbiotic relationships sometimes happen, sometimes not. Two weeks isn't a lot of time.> I have read that a 'goby shrimp' will pair up with a goby... yet they included pistol shrimp in the description within the article.  As well, is their such a thing as a "pretty pink" goby??  Or did they name it wrong.  It has a dark purplish underbelly with orangey or light pink spots.  It doesn't dig, but hides under a rock.  Will these two pair up? Or do I have the wrong creatures for that kind of relationship to happen? <Possibly. To find out what you have going on, check this out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm> Last Question.  My Coral Banded Shrimp seems to be cleaning my butterfly fish.  Is this odd???   <Normal cleaning behavior with large enough fish....> I also noticed that last night it appeared as though he was hunting my Mandarin Goby.  The dragonette (are these names synonymous?) was sleeping on a rock and the Coral Banded snuck up on him. It looked as though he speared my goby in the side, but the goby was able to swim away and looks to be alright.  Is this common?  I thought Coral Banded Shrimp feed on algae and other micro-organisms in liverock? <No, they are quite carnivorous and will hunt small fish and other shrimp.> One last comment.  Looks as though my pistol shrimp has dug himself quite the tunnel under about a 40lbs stack of my live rock.  It looks as though he collapsed my nicely assorted stack of rock, does that surprise you?? <Not at all. Best to secure your rock with burrowers> In my community tank, are any carnivorous fish gonna be ok?  Or is that a dumb question?   <Not unless you don't like your other fish....or inhabitants.> Big Fan! Dave <Thanks for being a fan Dave!  Craig>

Feeding Nori and Trapping fish in a Reef Tank I bought some of the Nori (actually the Seaweed Select brand - same thing but more expensive...sorry but the Oriental store here is like 30 minutes away). <understood> I offered it the second night - no action. It's in there again tonight - still no action. <I'm starting to doubt your patience at large <G>. Rest assured... all in good time. The fish will not starve, I assure you> The yellow occasionally nibbles on rock but not much interest while the Kole yellow eye is non-stop munching on rocks glass everything. <sounds like perfectly natural behaviors> Do you think either of them will eventually start accepting Nori <I am certain of it> or is it just too new an environment...should I give them a week or two to settle in <yes please> (or will they starve before then?) <not at all...most fishes can easily go several weeks without food> Should I offer it daily now, <yes, in small amounts. And do try lower or nearer to the rocks. Some tangs fear the surface of the water and reflections off glass/water surface> considering no interest presently, or only every other day??? <all in good time> I am sorry to hear about those gobies.......I would give them to someone with a well established system if I knew how to get them out of my tank. Any suggestions???? <they will trap easily... most fish do when you learn the right trick. One of my favorite ways to trap fishes in a rockscaped aquarium is as follows: take a small Ziploc bag filled with a concentrated slurry of live brine shrimp. Seal the bag closed. Then take a rather large plastic bag (10x22 or bigger), fold the top down a coupe of inched to make a rigid collar (you'll see...) and sink the whole bag under water in the reef... making sure to get all air bubbles out. Fluff the large bag out a bit and throw the sealed small bag of brine shrimp (sans air too) into the back of the bag. Then squirt a tiny amount of live brine shrimp at the mouth of the bag. The premise is to lure fishes to the mouth of the bag to feed on the brine shrimp and entice them to swim to the back to take a shot at the "mother lode" in the sealed baggie once into the back they are often confused and run into the bag wall in an attempt to run towards the reef when you go to snatch the bag (you are sitting patiently by the tank). You might take it a step further and tie a slip noose of fishing line under the collar of the bag and run a lead of line to the bark-o-lounger that you are sitting on in wait for the silly twits to swim into the bag. Best regards, Anthony>

Fish Lifespan How long can I expect my fish will live if the conditions I give them are good? Yellow tang? <Easily 10-15 years or more.> Blue devil and Yellow tail damsel? <Well over five years, perhaps as much as ten.> Boxing shrimp (red banded)? <I don't really know about this one. Easily over five years, but I don't know the maximum. What I can say, is just about any fish will live longer in captivity than in the wild, given appropriate care and conditions. In aquariums, they are free from disease and predation. The predation is the real killer. I remember seeing a study on Jawfish which showed they only lived about a year in the wild. They eventually get eaten. It is like this with many smaller fish. They are food for someone else.> Thank you, Carlos D?z <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Rapid gill movements? REM...er, RGM: rapid gill movements? Hello guys, hope things are well.  <and to you the same with thanks> This is a quick one (I think/hope!). I've seen many warnings against improper gill movements, but a description of what that is hard to come by.  <each species is different... but 60/min is close for many> I agree that this along with other observations is a very good indicator of health, and I'd like to know where my fishes' breathing should be at. Right now, the fish I'm researching are the ones I own...one of each of Centropyge tibicens (4-inch) Pomacanthus semicirculatus (2 1/2-inch) Zebrasoma flavescens (4-inch) Ctenochaetus strigosus (5-inch) Pseudochromis diadema (2-inch) 2 Amphiprion frenatus (2-inch) Thanks for the input Matt <yes... a lazy and deliberate once per long second is "normal" for many fishes. Labored breath is fairly obvious and indicates impending infections of parasites in gills, low dissolved oxygen, etc. Best regards, Anthony>

Without trying to start a big thing I was wondering if you could comment on this! Cultured Fishes from the Sea Hello gentleman The material below is from Flying Fish Express. I saw something similar, about what I assume was a wholesaler, in FAMA yesterday and I wonder if you could read this and comment on whether the part about "step actually causes the gastro-intestinal tracts of these fish to develop differently from their wild cousins, allowing these now captive specimens to assimilate the artificial food" is possible?  <I have heard a lecture from the researcher that developed the technique, I have seen the cultured fishes at several trade shows... I am hopeful of the whole process... but I think that their claims at essentially overcoming evolution for the dietary needs of these fishes is dubious at best. Still not convinced here> The article in FAMA directly mentioned butterflies, but if this is the case wouldn't this be the ideal?  <heck ya!> Fish that had hard to furnish requirements that were no longer those requirements? Ornate butterfly's? Meyers? Angels that need sponges that would no longer need them? Thanks so much for your comments Mac <thanks kindly, Anthony> http://www.ffexpress.com/fish/tank_raised.html <http://www.ffexpress.com/fish/tank_raised.html> >From the crystal clear coves of tropical French Polynesia comes another industry first, brought to you exclusively by Flying Fish Express. Our new line of tank raised fish goes way beyond the usual range of cultured clownfish and Dottybacks currently available in the industry today. From tangs to damsels, these farmed fish are part of our commitment to save the world's reefs one animal at a time. Our aquacultured fish begin their lives just as most wild specimens do. Mature fish broadcast their gametes into the water column where the eggs are fertilized and the ensuing larvae become part of the zooplankton population. Under ideal circumstances these larvae suffer a mortality of over 99% in the natural habitat due to factors ranging from natural death to predation. Our biologists seine these larval fish from the tropical shallows before they meet their natural fate and tank raise them under ideal conditions. Free from disease and predation, the survival rate of these tiny fish is enormously enhanced and they grow rapidly. At a very specific time in their development the larval fish are introduced to artificial commercial aquarium food. This step actually causes the gastro-intestinal tracts of these fish to develop differently from their wild cousins, allowing these now captive specimens to assimilate the artificial food. They actually develop a preference for artificial food making them ideally suited to captive life. Hardy, beautiful, competitively priced and easy to feed, our Flying Farmed Fish are the perfect swimming additions for your marine aquarium. Why purchase wild-caught fish from other retailers and struggle with the age-old problem of "getting them to eat"? Why deal with the hassle of having to keep all those different frozen and live foods for all those different species? >From puffers to butterflies, our cultured fish LOVE commercial pellet or flake food. It's easy, it's fun.......IT'S THE FUTURE!! Keep visiting us for different Flying Farmed Fish arriving periodically at our Los Angeles facility.

Strange Fish picture identification Dear Mr. Fenner, I have come across this strange fish in the local fish market. The fish has plate like chess bones and odd look. I can not find it in any of the books or internet database. Please check out the attached file and if you know what it is, please let me know. <Looks to me (by overall shape, number, placement and size of fins) to be a Pompano of some sort. Please see fishbase.org and put in the genus Trachinotus.... AND run a search by species of the marine fishes in your area/region and match up the two (by genus/species found in your geographic area). Bob Fenner> Best regards!
Liao I Ching

Lifespan of aquarium fish Hello, I just found your site. Anyway, where can I find information about the lifespans of various saltwater aquarium fish.  <The most readily data here are posted (at times) by Public Aquariums. You can find links to many of them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm> I have or should say had a small brown Scopas tang for about 1 1/2 years. This morning I found it dead. Basically I would like this information just so I can tell if it is just old age or other problems. <Mmm, not old age... Zebrasoma Tangs have been kept in captivity for teens of years> I had it in a 50 gallon tank with 60 lbs of live rock. All of the water parameters are fine. Also in the tank are 2 small clownfish, a blue damsel and a yellow tailed wrasse. These fish are all fine and very active. The Brown Scopas has always been very active up until this morning. Thanks, Rod <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Barracuda?? Hi guys. Just a quick question...I noticed my LFS has a pair of barracuda for sale. Is this reasonable?  <very dubious... if the LFS will only sell them to an aquarist with a VERY large aquarium, then maybe OK. But if they will sell them to anybody with a dollar or for smaller aquaria... then they are ignorant> I've never seen them on display in any other store and it just made me stop and wonder. I personally would never consider buying one but I'm a passive tank kinda guy anyway. Thanks...TTFN. Wes <barracuda are miserably stressed tank denizens. They need species specific tanks (no other fishes)... they are skittish, medicant sensitive, ich-prone, susceptible to eye injuries, etc. Really a fish for advanced aquarists only in huge aquaria. Give the LFS owner a kick in the groin for me. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Barracuda?? Well...on a whim I called a SECOND LFS about barracuda. They told me that I would need at least a 30 or 40 gallon tank.....and they get them in periodically..... <hahhahhahahhahha....hahhaha...hoo hoo ...heeheehee... hahahahahhahhhaha ahha...ahha..ha..he..hoo..ahh... ya, close. I just got a mental picture of a 3 ft barracuda dunking its tushy in the 30-40 gallon tank and wearing a grin goading the LFS owner to come closer to try to stuff the rest of him into that tank>> Unbelievable. Still looking for someone who cares about what they are doing....I KNOW they are out there. Wes <And I'm realizing that I'm going to go through a lot of boots if my solution is to kick each and every one of these idiots in the jimmy as my solution to their lack of empathy (I just realized that my very solution itself lacks empathy... but what the heck). Anthony>

<Am sure these boys know that there are a few freshwater fishes sold by this "cuda" name... Bob F>

Fish ID Dear Bob, Anthony, or Steve: <Anthony Calfo in your service> Can you please help me identify these two fish of mine? I have tried to find info in several sources including FishBase and have found nothing. Sorry for the bad quality pics, just got the camera today and these guys move fast! :) <you'll get better and they will get slower in time <smile>> The damsel came in with a batch of Blue and Gold's (Pomacentrus coelestis) and I imagine it must be a hybrid of mutation of some sort? <tough to tell with certainty from the photo... but unlikely to be a hybrid. May very well be a Pomacentrus species> The wrasse was sold by the wholesaler as a "Neon Wrasse", however like others I see on WetWebMedia, it apparently isn't easy to ID this fish by the so-called common name of Neon Wrasse. <Actually, pegged this one... you have a juvenile chiseltooth wrasse (Pseudodax moluccanus). A picture of the juvenile exactly like yours can be found in the Burgess atlas, most pics on the Web show a very different color as adults. Cleaner fish as juveniles, eating algae and small plankton as adults. Not a lot known about this one but feed a wide variety in the diet. This species may not be inclined to hardiness. Best regards, Anthony>

Fish ID Hi! I'm a high school student and I have marine biology. We have a marine tank and a store gave us some fish to cycle the tank. He gave us one and we can't figure out what kind it is. I'll give you the best details I can. He's yellow with black vertical stripes maybe 2 inches long he has a sort of pointy nose. He eats Tubifex worms, lettuce, and flake food. We asked at the place that gave it to us but the person that gave it to us wasn't there and the other people didn't know. Hopefully you can help. Thanks! <please browse the fish photos and articles on from the homepage to narrow down the search. The description is indeed too general to hazard a guess> 

Old Wife What would you consider to be the most frustrating situation for an aquarist?  <This is a long list... "not coming to grips with the realization of their limitations" (maturity) in my estimation> I'll argue for the following: healthy fish added to healthy tank; fish is in great shape and clearly very hungry BUT REFUSES TO EAT ANY FOOD OFFERED, even when seeing other fish taking the food. Just added an Old Wife (Enoplosus armatus) to the tank. <This species lives in groups> The other tankmates (Big Eye, Batfish, Soapfish, a cowfish who hasn't learned that he is supposed to be timid) surprisingly welcomed him with complete open arms. The Aussie has refused thawed shrimp, 2 kinds of pellets, Hikari carnivore food sticks, frozen brine and live Tubifex. Had the gall to swim up to the Tubifex, look at it, and decide against it, swimming away. I'm trying live brine tomorrow (which is surprisingly hard to find in New York City). If that doesn't work, any ideas? Because I have yelled at the tank and he is quite indifferent to my ramblings...neighbors upset but that isn't really an aquarium issue... I really don't want to lose him, because other than this he has acclimated beautifully (I'm sure you know what I mean) and is simply gorgeous. <Do seek out other largish, meaty fare... even earthworms, ghost and glass shrimp used in the aquarium interest. Bob Fenner> Michael Krechmer

Fish Compatibility <<JasonC here... ?>> The old wife: burgess lists them as hardy, but they seem to be temperate from what I researched, and that usually spells trouble...any experience? <<with an old wife? I'm single... >> how aggressive? <<have heard horror stories about old wives>> I'm guessing it'll get along great with my Platax batfish in personality, but wanted to check with you. <<is that similar to an old batfish?> --- Michael Krechmer <<Sorry about the humor there, but you've really managed to stump me... what fish were you asking about? Cheers, J -- >>

That's My Oldwife you're talking About! hey, I didn't name them! Latin is "Enoplosus armatus", but it seems that I'm going to have to find out how hardy this thing is myself. Oh well, thanks anyway. <<Sorry about that, I did just go through the WWM site and drew a blank. I'm sure Bob will be happy to fix that when he gets back. In the mean time, I've found your old wife on FishBase: Oldwife Link on FishBase  Try that! Cheers, J -- >>

Oldwife Follow-up and Where are You Hiding that Fenner Guy, Anyway? <<JasonC here...>> any info on hardiness or temperament? what happened to Bob? should I email him again at some later date? <<well, you know my shtick already... Bob should be in Taveuni by now, and is expected back on 12/7. Definitely get in touch with him for the skinny on the oldwife. Cheers, J -- >>

Old Wife, Enoplosus armatus

Can you help me find a fish? Dear Mr. Fenner, I was wondering if you could help me with something. About ten years ago, in the early days of my interest in aquariums, I was at a pet shop and I saw something that I haven't seen since. It was a freshwater fish that was being sold as a "wolf fish". This particular fish had sort of a marbled light/dark brown coloration and was approximately 2 to 3 inches in length. It's body was elongated and the most noticeable trait were it's teeth. They were very large and very sharp. I wanted to know if you had ever come across such a fish, and if you had any information that could help me identify it because I'd like to find one for my tank. <Mmm, elongated, mottled brown, largish teeth... Maybe a batrachoidid (Midshipman), often sold as "Freshwater Lionfish" (actually brackish to marine). Please use the Google Search Feature on WetWebMedia.com to see our coverage of this group... and will post your query on the Daily FAQs in the hope others can help identify what this might be. Please read this over the next few days. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Matt

Three questions (worms, Wormfish, not-so-wormy wrasses) Bob- It's been over 2 years since I've picked your brain, so I'm going to indulge with 3 questions: 1) I just bought a "Trap-em" Bristleworm trap for my nanoreef, b/c of my first ever infestation after 3 years. When I checked at midnight, it was full of worms; in the morning it was empty. Do you have any suggested mod.s to contain them? <These are posted in FAQs files on WetWebMedia.com under Polychaete, Bristleworms...> 2) I can't find any info on the Curious Wormfish I put in my main tank except for the Fishbase info. It stays hidden under the crushed coral 90% of the time and seems to come out at night. No one picks on him. <They do hide... generally more than this!> 3) Is it crucial that filament wrasses be kept in m/f pairs? I've got a small female that seems to be doing fine. <Not crucial... males look, behave "better" in the presence of females... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Steve

Mysterious tag along Bob, About a month ago I received an order from a web supplier of marine critters. In my order were 3 cucumbers. When I put the critters in my tank 2 creatures emerged from the cucumbers. They were mostly transparent, eel like in shape and 3" long. When I looked closely I could barely make out a fin on the lower part of their body, running about 3/4 of their body. Also, I think I can see gills, but like I said, since they are transparent it is hard to tell. They also keep trying to enter the anterior portion of the cucumbers by bumping their head into them.  <Actually the posterior. These are very likely members of the fish family Carapidae, the Pearlfishes... that utilize the cavity of Sea Cucumbers as habitat.> I did not see them for a few weeks and then this morning I saw one of them again. He seemed to be swimming around the tank in the dark. I phoned the supplier quickly and told them what I saw and they had no idea what it might be. Do you have any clues? Could it be some kind of eel in it's larval stage? <No... do take a look under the family name on fishbase.org> Anyway, it is very curious. One of my cucumbers was sucked into a powerhead and chewed up so I am hoping that the critter was not inside it still. You know how marine tanks with live rock seem to have critters disappear and reappear in an instant. Anyway, you are the only one that may be able to answer this mystery. I have looked in books and talked to several people, so short of getting a text book from my college days, I did not know where else to turn. Thanks, Julie C. <Good observing on your part. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Diademichthys spp. Hi Bob, Do you have any information on these fish?  <Not much. Clingfishes, family Gobiosocid, are rarely offered in the trade in the West> There seems to be little on the net about them, but the Japanese seem to occasionally keep them. <Yes, but not easily kept. Take a beating in capture, transport from the wild. Bob Fenner> Many thanks, Jason Edward

Fish trates? what are three trates of fish? <Mmm, traits... maybe that they live in water, have fins and respire with gills?> How do fish produce their young? <Three ways: By eggs, by livebearing, and by an intermediate format of bearing live young w/o internal attachment> Can you help me? <We'll see. I will try> Thank you, Lynsey Kelly 3rd grade Peoria Illinois <Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia.com>

Re: Unknown Fish Today I was under my tank sorting out the mess in my cabinet, I looked up through the bottom of my aquarium and I saw a fish under a piece of live rock. It is about 4-6 inches long and is very eel like. It is black with White vertical lines on it. I don't even know how it could have got in my tank. <Likely as a "tag-along" on/in your live rock> I hope it is not a Zebra eel. Is it possible that it came in on a piece of live rock? Thank you for your help. <Need better description, data/image to make a guess. Bob Fenner>

Max Fish Size Hi Bob, Glad to see the site is back up.  <Me/Us too!> Quick question, is there a rule of thumb to determine the maximum size of aquarium raised fish as opposed to max size in the wild?  <Hmm, have to think about this... I'd say it's a good guess that something that gets to two feet or less maximum size in the wild would likely only grow to half its size in captivity (at least in home aquarium settings)... and between two and four feet... let's say... about 2/5's... and bigger than that? A sliding scale of much smaller proportion> I noticed in your section on hippo tangs, that you stated they would grow to a foot in the wild and half that in captivity. I'm working on my stocking plan and most references, such as FishBase, only state the size these fishes would attain in the ocean. Thanks again. <Yes... won't it be great when there is a petfishbase.org? Bob Fenner>

Brotulas hi bob, I have a yellow Brotulas and I cant seem to find any info about it. <Not much known (that I'm aware of) re these Cusk Eels, family Ophidiidae) The Key Brotulas (Ogilbia cayorum) is colored green. this is found in my book but doesn't say any thing about it. I have a yellow one in my sump right now. <Well... this species does come in yellow to brownish coloration... gets to about four inches in length... is shy to the point of not being seen... takes meaty foods in captivity. Take a read through fishbase.org and consider writing an article consequent to your investigating, photographing these fishes. Bob Fenner> any info will be greatly appreciated. thanks

Charging ahead with fish livestocking I have read things about these fish and they sound like good fish to have but I wanted to get your opinion.  <Hmm, looks like we're starting out "en media res" here... what fish?> I have a 46 gal. I have two Percula clowns. I want to get a yellow tang next. I understand that they are easily diseased. <Au contraire... one of the usually toughest "on arrival", and ongoing species of popular marines> I want to ask the pet shop to keep one for a week for me to see how it does. they say they treat their tanks for ick from the beginning. Is this asking to much? They use to guarantee their fish for 48hrs. but now they don't guarantee them at all because they said their supplier does not. How would a Flame Angel do? What about a False eye puffer? Thanks in advance! <Whoa, whoa... please apply some of your exuberance to reading through the "Selection" and survey articles on these groups of fishes posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Livestock question got a few questions about selecting some livestock that I wasn't able to answer on my own through research (your site and others). I've been browsing around on the internet looking for neat looking fish to get a general idea as to what I'm gonna stock it with (125gal with three 10gals as sump/macro algae/plankton hatchery). <Good idea> I've got my eyes on some angels and some neat tangs. well anyways here's the questions..... I'm gonna avoid the shark issue but what's up with Remora Sharks? <Echeneids? Actually "Remoras, some of which are mutualistic, and hitchhikers on some sharks... Not good animals for any but the most humongous of home aquariums... very eager eaters, fast growers... and mess-makers... not for reefs whatsoever... Have friends with them now, and years back used them in some large service accounts...> I really don't know how they'd do in a system my size (I really don't want it, just curious). I also got sick of feeding of my lion, so I'm not too big on messy predators (btw he/she died last night due to a nasty battle with Pseudomonas).  <Yikes... wash your hands if you've been in this tank...> here's the real question, are blue spotted rays ok for the home aquarium? <Nah... the couple of species sold by this name have terrible survival records in captivity...> I have my doubts, but man are they neat. no offense, but your ray articles aren't much help like so many of you other articles (utterly valuable by the way, you're my aquarium hero). <Will have to spiff up this section... have revisited recently... > and finally Oriental Flying Gurnards look pretty sweet, but they look too good..... probably as safe as a ribbon eel, or a Moorish idol right? any help would be sweet. <These fishes are fine in a very peaceful setting and quite the conversation piece/s...> Jon drawbridge <Bob Fenner>

46 gallon saltwater tank Mr. Fenner, This is the size tank I have. Right now I have a Percula clown that has been in there sometime. I would like to get another Percula clown because I think they are neat. Will this work and if so should I get another one before getting any other fish?  <Should work... especially if the present one isn't too big, is tank-bred/reared... you have live rock... we have/keep pairs (starting as trios) in twenty gallon high systems (experimental, breeding tanks), often removing "the odd fish out" as one unfolds into a/the dominant female... two in a forty six should be fine. Also, it would be better to have other fish present first... as "dither" organisms> I would also like a Yellow Tang. Should I get it next?  <Yes> s a coral beauty difficult to keep?  <Not the hardest of the Dwarf Angels, but the ones from the Philippines and Indonesia are not worthwhile. If you can secure a healthy specimen hailing from elsewhere, of small size (under three inches total length), you have good odds... a forty six gallon system is a "small world" for these species> I do not want to make a lot of changes. I would like to get my tank set-up with some pretty fish to enjoy and take care of them. How many can I have in this size tank and what fish to you suggest. I want some that are not hard to keep as others maybe. something that will eat the dry food and frozen brine shrimp, and romaine lettuce but I do not want anything that is difficult to feed. Also how many should I add at a time and in what time frame.? I would appreciate your help! Thanks a lot!!! <You need to study, develop your own stocking list... read through the articles on selection, stocking, and the many organism overviews posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for a beginning, and delve into the book references mentioned there... ahead of any livestock purchase... Very easy to make mistakes at this point.... and you need to know more, much more that you don't know enough to ask. Bob Fenner.>

Indian threadfin? hi bob, was given a saltwater fish for my birthday from my wife. this fish looks like its chrome plated about 2 1/2 inches round very flat looking) and has black and white threads coming from top and bottom fins was told its a Indian threadfin. is this the right name? what will it eat, so far its only eating small guppies. is this ok to feed him or can I wean him onto something else? would like to add a purple tang to tank and some hard corals such as Euphyllia family which you suggested to me a few months back. will this fish bother any of my corals or the purple tang , how aggressive is this fish? cannot find any info on fish anywhere, hope you can help. thank you Joe >> >> You might make a pot of coffee and take a look through ICLARM's FishBase:  http://www.fishbase.org/index.htm I doubt if this is an official "Threadfin" (family Polynomial). They're rare in the trade and don't match the description. But probably is a juvenile Jack (family Carangidae), Alectis indicus which can be trained onto meaty prepared foods as it gets older/larger... to 165cm (yep, five feet in length), 25 kilos... a very robust feeder then. Genus Euphyllia corals (family Caryophylliidae) are great for hobby aquarium use... but not wit this fish. Bob Fenner

Pholodichthys When I first entered the hobby, I bought a fish from a local petstore to cycle my tank. It was sold to me as a coral catfish about an inch long and I just referred to it as the five dollar bill that you never saw. Anyway, three years later, it has become one of my favorite fish, it is about 6-7 inches long, black with large white spots that have become more numerous as the fish grows older. It lives under the live rock and coral with it's head poked out waiting for food to go by, and can swim equally well straight forward or backward, great personality. The only problem is that it resembles an eel more than any coral catfish I have seen....and I can't find it in any of my books. Would be great if you could tell me exactly what I have. >> I love a mystery fish identification! Let's see, there are two families of catfishes (Order Siluriformes) that contain marine species, the Ariidae and Plotosidae... and the latter contains the most commonly offered (and very venomous) marine cat, Plotosus lineatus, which is most often referred to as a Coral Catfish... but this species doesn't have the mentioned black spotting, nor swim backwards/forwards with ease... Aha, there is an off again, on again species that does match the description... and it is sold under many names (Eel goby, eel blenny, Eel catfish... ) and maybe Coral Catfish ! Not surprising for folks who delve into such matters, this fish is neither an eel, goby, blenny or catfish! It is most often sold as a Convict Blenny in the U.S., and is monotypic (the only member of its family, Pholidichthyidae... it's Pholodichthys leucotaenia!). This species relative placement in systematics is a little in doubt, maybe it is a blennioid, but Nelson in his most recent (3d ed.) places it in the Suborder Trachinoidei... the only near relative that is used in the aquarium trade are the sand perches... This is a great aquarium species, that does best in small schools, and given dark hiding spaces will live in peace for years. You can look it up in several places now that you have the scientific and common(est) name... You're welcome. Bob Fenner

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