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FAQs about Pearly Jawfish Stocking/Selection

Related Articles: The Pearly or Yellow or Golden-headed Jawfish, Opistognathus aurifrons, Use in Marine Aquariums by Bob Fenner, Jawfishes

Related FAQs:  Jawfish Selection, Pearly Jawfish, & Pearly Jawfish ID, Pearly Jawfish Behavior, Pearly Jawfish Compatibility, Pearly Jawfish Systems, Pearly Jawfish Feeding, Pearly Jawfish Disease, Pearly Jawfish Reproduction, & Jawfishes 1, Jawfishes 2, Jawfish Identification, Jawfish Behavior, Jawfish Compatibility, Jawfish Systems, Jawfish Feeding, Jawfish Disease, Jawfish Reproduction,


Considering a yellow headed jawfish  11/30/10
Good Morning;
I've got a 90gallon FOWLR tank that I'm slowly converting over to a mixed reef, basically everything is in place now except corals and the new LED lights that are a few days overdue for delivery. I've finally won a very long term fight against green hair algae (a year and a half? two years? Not a fun experience.), and am looking to slowly start adding more livestock to the tank again.
<I see>
Currently I have a pair of percula clownfish, a single Kole tang which are all well established in the tank, and recently added a firefish goby.
I'm considering adding a pair of yellow headed jawfish to the mix, and probably no other fish after that point. At the moment there is a lot of empty water, but my concern is what happens when that Kole tang grows to full size and the coral frags become full colonies.
<Better fewer fishes than too many>
Would I be over-doing it at that point?
<No, not over-doing it>
I really don't want to push the limits of the tank, and I'm more concerned with having a few fish that I really like instead of having a lot of them. Freshwater was so much easier for me to figure out if it's overstocked or not.
<Heeeee! Many saltwater hobbyists would make the opposite assertion>
Given the needs of the jawfish, I'm also working on a plan to get the tank ready for them before they arrive. I have about 3" of mix coarseness sand in the tank already, though am considering adding more should I decide to add the jawfish, along with various bits of rubble and such.
<I'd add some small/er sand in a specific area... where you hope to see these two settle in>
I'll make sure all the rock in the tank is down to the glass, instead of just sitting on the substrate. When I install the new lights I'll also have to re-do the back of my hood to make sure and block any jumpers, as I
know that the Firefish and Jawfish are both known escape artists. I'm likely going to use fiberglass/plastic window screen mesh, unless you can recommend a better material.
<Mmm, this is my fave/best choice>
Oh, and I'll definitely be waiting until the existing livestock is acclimated to the new lights before adding anything else, as it's going to be a big light upgrade from a 4x55w PC retrofit and going to a pair of 160w
LED units.
Is there anything else that you think I might be missing, or mistakes I may be making here?
<Mmm, no... the Firefish/Microdesmids do clash a bit environmentally w/ Opistognathids, being both associated with the bottom/sand... but your 90 has sufficient surface area to accommodate all three here>
It's getting frustrating with all the conflicting information out there on the internet these days,
<Ah yes... the "nature of the beast" eh? Best to search/seek out "qualified" opinions/input whatever source/mode/method one utilizes>
and it's hard to sort out the good info from the bad.
Let's not even go into the bad LFS advice that I've dealt with. Add that long fight with the algae, and I guess I'm just very paranoid about making any fresh mistakes that could un-do all the work I've been putting into the tank.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

2/20/2009 Jawfish sys, stkg pearly Jawfish compatibility Hello Crew! <Hi Danny> Let me apologize upfront, my e-mail system tends to put random question marks through my letters. <I see this.> I've recently acquired a JBJ 24 gallon nano. It is currently cycling with 35 pounds of live rock and over 40 pounds of Fiji pink live sand, so I will not be getting any fish for at least a month. <Very good!> I have in mind that the star of my new little tank is going to be a pearly Jawfish. I've been reading through forums and the FAQ's here of course, to find suitable tank mates. However, I read conflicting information on whether a pearly would peacefully reside with a black cap Basslet, Firefish (red or purple), or royal gramma.? Just to clarify, I am considering just one of those fish with the pearly. Some posts say their niches are too close, others say those fish will reside closer to the rock work and will not bother with the Jawfish. I want to make sure the pearly Jawfish is happy and will not have any conflict with other fish or be out competed. So, are any of those fish compatible? Any recommendations would be great...as you can see, I am particularly found of the elongated gobies and Basslets. :) <Well Danny, they are personally one of my favorite fish as well. I currently have one in my 150 Gal with a Royal Gramma, Blackcap Gramma, and a Firefish. I would say that your best choice here would be to have just the Jawfish and a Firefish.> Thank you for your time! <No Problem> Danny N. <Mike>

Tank stocking... 37-gallon starting with a Jawfish  8/28/07 Okay, my tank is 37 gallons, with 40 pounds of live rock and a deep sand bed. I am getting a yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) tomorrow, <One of my favorite fish! These fish are a delight to watch, with enchanting personalities thought they always look mad to me. A couple things you should know. Hopefully your LR is directly on the bottom of you tank and not sitting on top of your sand bed as this fish may very well try to excavate around your LR. If it is not directly sitting on the glass it could lead to LR collapse possibly crushing your livestock. You should also add a bit of mixed gravel, LR rubble, coral bits so your Jawfish can construct a burrow. Sometime they adapt well to buried lengths of PVC. They are jumpers and will find the darndest little hole from which to escape and go carpet surfing. Please make sure your tank is well covered. More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm > and I'm trying to think of what else to put with it. I know they need peaceful fish. <Yes.> I was thinking of this: 1 blue assessor <Good in theory, though, with all the different LFS I gone to, I've never seen one in person.> 1 Wheeler's watchman goby w/ a pistol shrimp <Neat symbiotic relationship. You may want to consider a Blackray Shrimp Goby (Stonogobiops nematodes) with its symbiotic shrimp as this fish is about half the size and will be less of a bioload.> 2 clarkii clownfish <These can reach a good size up to 5.5 inches... acquire juveniles if you wish to keep a pair.> 2 multibanded pipefish <No. I would highly discourage you. These lovely animals need a dedicated system and specialized care. They can be challenging o feed and require live foods. They generally do not do well in a mixed reef environment. Please reconsider this. Aside from this you already pushing your stocking density. With the fish you mention above.> Would there be any aggression issues here? <Hopefully not, though I would keep my eye on the goby and the Jawfish as they are both bottom dwellers. Good luck, Mich>

Re: Tank stocking... 37-gallon starting with a Jawfish... Now Pipefish  8/28/07 Thanks for the reply. <Welcome!> I understand the concerns about the Jawfish, and my liverock is stable on the bottom of the tank. The tank is also fully covered. <Excellent... Hopefully will save you from potential heartbreak... I love these fish, and I think they are terribly easy to get attached to.> However, the information you gave me on the pipefish goes against the research I've done on them so far. I am aware that they may be challenging to feed, and I would be prepared for that. <Their survival rate is dismal at best and they are really only suited for the most experienced hobbyist who is dedicated to their specific care requirements. Please read here and the related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pipehorsies2.htm > But from what I've read, pipefish actually do better in reefs because of all the microfauna. <Yes, this is true and I likely should have clarified. They do best in a pod/microfauna rich environment. However they should be in a low flow dedicated system with only other syngnathids as tankmates. They should not be placed in your average reef system. This is akin to taking the baby out of the baby pool and placing the child in with the crazy surfers who hang ten before/during/after a hurricane. Contrary to MarthaS... Not a good thing.> They seem smart enough to avoid stinging corals (which I won't have) and most can be trained onto Mysis anyway. <Yes, but they are not easy to maintain and unless this fish is your absolute passion, I would discourage you from attempting to keep.> I do understand that I may be pushing the stocking with the amount of fish, so I would be willing to take out the clownfish. <This is not the issue here. The pipefish is not compatible with this system or any broad-spectrum reef setup. They require dedicated family specific systems.> I'm not trying to argue here, I'm just confused. <I understand and hopefully I have clarified. Mich>

Re: Tank stocking... 37-gallon starting with a Jawfish 8/28/07 Thanks for clarification <You are welcome!> and I think I will now exclude the pipefish from my stocking plans. =) <Yay! I think you are very wise here.> The Jawfish arrived today (from Liveaquaria) and is already eating. <Double yay! Isn't it just toooo dang cute? Thanks for your help. <You are very welcome and I commend you for your decision to avoid keeping pipefish. Mich>

Jawfish quarantine Hello everyone,      I thank you for the headaches you relieve (better than Excedrin).  I just read Mr. Fenner's article on Jawfishes and he stated that if one is to keep multiple specimens in a single tank, it is better to introduce them at the same time.  He also stated that they were somewhat territorial.  If I am to quarantine them (2 yellow headed Jawfish) should I place a divider between the two? <Yes, a good idea in a small tank... alternatively, and this may seem counter-intuitive, if you had a handful of these fish, they could be crowded together w/ little risk> Will they be ok together in a ten gallon q tank for about a month without causing each other damage?  Usually I don't put substrate on the bottom of the q tank, will it stress them out if I don't? <I would place at least sections of PVC pipe, but some coarse coral rubble be best> On a related note, how does one determine the sex of a Jawfish?  Are you guys a non-profit yet? <Don't know how to sex Jawfishes... and not an official non-profit, but not profitable!>   Maybe you should look into it if you're not!  Thank you for your help. -Cory
<Thank you for writing, Bob Fenner>

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