FAQs on the Algae Eating
Related Articles: Algae
Eating Blennies, True or Combtooth
Blennies, Ecsenius Blennies, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,
Related FAQs: Algae-eating Blennies,
FAQs 2, & Algae Eating Blenny (AEB) Identification,
AEB Compatibility, AEB Selection, AEB
Systems, AEB Feeding, AEB Disease, AEB
Reproduction, & Combtooth Blennies 1, Blenny Identification, Blenny Behavior, Blenny Compatibility, Blenny Selection, Blenny Systems, Blenny Feeding, Blenny Disease, Blenny Reproduction, Ecsenius Blennies, Saber-Tooth Blennies, Blennioids & their Relatives,
Lawnmower Blenny behavior
First off, thanks for all you do! I find a lot of my answers here, but I haven't
been able to find this one. I have a very animated lawnmower blenny that seems
to do push ups whenever I approach the tank. He is eating well, is very active
and just silly! Is this a normal behavior in these fish?
<Ah yes; have seen Salarias, Atrosalarias et al. blenny species doing this in
the wild as well. It seems to be related to the presence of conspecifics; some
sort of signaling of their presence (as blenny territories are at times, right
adjacent to each other); perhaps territorial or sexual in nature>
Have a blessed day!
<Always. Bob Fenner>
The amazing belly dancing Salarias ramosus!
Hello Bob! and Crew at WWM,
Interesting, yet concerning, observation to share.
I've had a three inch Salarias ramosus in quarantine for the past two
weeks. She was an outgoing specimen at the LFS! Swimming right up
amongst the Chrysiptera taupou at feeding time and taking her share of
food. Since she has been in quarantine, I noticed that even though she
eats well several times a day resulting in her belly looking as though
she swallowed a marble, her belly is always "pinched" the next morning.
I was wondering about intestinal parasites, and a couple of days ago
whilst sitting there and staring at her stomach, I noticed her
belly...MOVE! Sort of like peristaltic movements or the belly dancers
when they make undulate their abdomen...but, hey, I've seen fish bellies
before and NO, they do not move!
What do you think this is? A huge, parasitic worm?!? or just your usual
belly dancing Salarias? or could it be...Alien invasion!
<Mmm, haven't seen Prometheus as yet... don't know; but would be
treating w/ a vermifuge... Likely Prazi/quantel>
Update on the chlorinated tank. I placed 4 used sponges with copepods
and bristle worms in my sump
<These can make ones tummy wobble like a chubby penguin in a Disney
and added the 7 Chromis three days ago and they seem to be doing well. I
added three pieces of my coral and they too, appear well. I am
considering adding more fish today and am wondering if I should add the
Amblygobius phalaena or the Forcipiger flavissimus?
My worries about the A. phalaena is that he is a sand sifter and there
is nothing in the sand right now and he may do better when the sand gets
populated with some bacteria or other life forms?
<Can/should just be fed by placing meaty foods near, on top of the
The F. flavissimus has been in a bare tank quarantine for the past 6 weeks
so I'm less worried about him having "shock" at a "cleaner" tank?
<Not likely problematical>
I do have a female clown I can add also but worry a little because she was
my husband's office "Nemo" before she nibbled the tail off of a
Centropyge loricula added later - I worry that if I add her as the
"second" fish, she would become the dominant fish in that tank and that
would not be my intention.
Your advice is always appreciated! Ditto regarding your comment about
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: The amazing belly dancing Salarias ramosus!
Good Morning! Bob,
I will treat the Salarias with PraziPro.
On re-stocking the 220 gallon - I will also place my corals moments
before adding the F. flavissimus, then probably add a fish or two every
other day after that. I am not a good coral placer as I cause too many
avalanches when I do my rock scape. I think for me and my fishes sake,
to have all the corals placed then fish so they won't get frightened.
I have 6 tiny Pseudanthias bicolor on hold right now. They have been
there for two weeks, eating brine shrimp, and today, several of them ate
Spectrum pellets! I'm thinking of adding those to the display after
another two week quarantine at home. Do you think they need more
quarantine than that?
<No; not more>
I will hold the P. imperator as the very last fish to go back in.
I am also "planning" on a Macropharyngodon centered tank with the two
princesses to start, but it can't be a big tank like the 220 gallon tank
that I'm re-stocking now. I was thinking maybe 75 or 90 gallon tank.
Do you think there is any chance of them thriving in the 220 gallon with
those big fishes, or will they do better in a peaceful tank of their own
with jaw fishes, gobies, and blennies?
<There is good chance if they are allowed to become situated ahead of
more aggressive species>
As always, many many thanks to YOU and WWM!
I know where I would be without your help, and that is not a pretty
<And you, BobF>
Strange behavior from a Lawnmower/Sailfin
Hello Mr. Fenner and crew, Jeff from Terre Haute, IN here.
<Do say hi for me to Morgan Lidster there>
I have a fairly new saltwater setup, a 75 gallon with 150 pounds of
live rock, a Reef Octopus NWB150 skimmer, media reactor (I use it for
carbon), and other various goodies. When I purchased the tank it was in
poor shape and the previous owner had never changed the water.
Living inside was one turbo snail and a 5 inch or so Lawnmower
Blenny, I assume this to be the adult size. These guys survived the
hour long ride and now have a home in my setup.
<A tough species>
Now to the point... The Blenny has been acting strangely these past few
days. He has been hiding a lot more and doesn't seem to be
I feed New Life spectrum pellets and the blenny along with my yellow
tang get garlic treated Nori sheets on a clip for grazing. The Blenny
used to love the Nori and even eat it from my hand, but now he ignores
it. A lot of times when I feed he will swim to a back corner so he
won't be bothered.
Up until yesterday he would still swim to the front when I approached
the tank and acted like he wanted to be fed, and would even take a
pellet but he just spit it out. He seems to be breathing heavily, and
his mouth is halfway open.
<Mmm, sounds/reads like physical damage here>
I also watched him kind of spasm the last time I fed when he touched
the sand, and I also observed him taking nips at his own tail. He used
to eat off the glass but hasn't moved much at all the past few
It's been going on for 5 days or so, and up until then this was the
second most active fish in the tank after the tang. He would always nip
at my hands when they were in the tank to move something, and would
always swim around the front of the tank when I was near.
I am very late for a water change (a couple months, I try to do a
near-100% change monthly but have been sidetracked),
<Mmm... don't do such wholesale change-outs... Do read here:
and the linked files above>
but my parameters are still in check - Nitrates are surprisingly
holding out at 5, nitrite and ammonia at 0, PH is at 8.0, salinity is
at 1.024, temperature is 80 degrees. The water I use is RO from the LFS
because I have pretty nasty well water in my house. I need to get the
change in soon but I don't really see this as my issue as the
blenny has shown itself to be very tolerant of way worse conditions, I
would suspect another fish (or the crabs or shrimp) to show some sign
of distress first. But I'm no expert! The first thing that came to
mind was low oxygen with his heavy breathing, but there's very good
water movement in the tank, around 3000gph between the two powerheads
and sump return. For reference my fish are as follows: 2 blue green
Chromis, one tiny ocellaris clownfish, one yellow tang, one pink
spotted goby, the lawnmower blenny, a royal gramma and a tiger shrimp
as well as some hermit crabs.
<Not low DO in such a size/shape volume... and the Yellow Tang would
suffer as well>
Sorry for the long winded message, I wanted to be as detailed as
possible as I'm very concerned.
<Me too... again, this is likely a trauma... the fish banged itself
against something hard. Only time can/will tell if this fish will heal
up... As stated, Salarias are tough. Just keep offering food, change
the regimen of frequent partial water changes, gravel vacuuming>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Lawnmower Blenny Color
1. Great work, I love the site and I love the responses.
2. I know you must get sick of questions that are obviously already
posted on your website.
<Mmm, no; just my own responses over and over>
I wanted to share a tool with you I thought you might find useful in
dealing with those questions: "Let Me Google that for You" or
http://lmgtfy.com/ which, when used properly, produces a link that does
something like the following http://tinyurl.com/llom4v (no viruses I
promise). Hope it gives you a laugh.
3. On to my question... please don't use 2. to answer this. I
looked at the website to find out why my Lawnmower Blenny is changing
color and I don't think the explanations fit my situation.
(requisite tank info: 35 gallon tall, 50 lbs live rock, eheim canister
for up to 60 gal tanks, 1.025 SG, 2 percula clowns, 1 blenny, 4 Cerith,
3 Nassarius, brine shrimp (?maybe from the frozen brine shrimp
some Zoanthids, some Aiptasia, some shelf fungus looking sponges
and a whole host of baby snails... I think the Cerith reproduced. Water
chemistry is fine, P .05 ppm - .100 ppm, nitrate is below 1 ppm, and
ammonia is nonexistent).
When the blenny was first introduced to the tank (3 months ago) he was
very skittish and stayed in his little cave, now he comes out and
checks out what people are doing and generally doesn't seem to mind
being gawked at. The darnedest thing is that he seems to be able to
rapidly change color based on the substrate he is against.
<Interesting... can change short term depending on mood/emotion, and
longer term on the basis of nutrition, water quality, environment...
Other fish groups, perhaps most celebratedly some
Pleuronectiforms/Flatfishes, can/do rapidly match their
On the darker live rock he is darker gray to purplish. On the light
sandy bottom he is very light gray to white. We have been arguing about
this in the lab as to whether or not he is changing
color or it is a trick of the light. Your website indicates that he can
change color but only in a night/fright/about to die sort of way. What
we are observing is rapid (minutes even seconds) and frequent (hard to
tell at least 5+ times a day) color change during the day in a healthy
fish who isn't frightened (or if he is too curious to run
<In this small volume, not much opportunity for this>
It all seems to be linked to his substrate. I know your website says
they aren't chameleons but most of those questions are three years
old or so. Has there been any new development / research on this
question in the last few years?
<How might one test this speculation? Mmm, substrate color
preferences... and responses... Bob Fenner>
Nesting Blenny? 9/26/08 Hi there, I have a
Lawnmower Blenny in a 125 gal. tank. I recently did a water change, and
stirred up the sand a little, and since then ( about a week ) it has
been slowly creating a nest in the sand next to a small piece of rock.
I have had this Blenny for at least 6 months and he has never acted
this way before. The "nest" is front and center of the tank
with no coverage at all! He eats and swims with the other fish the same
as before, but now spends his perching time curled in his nest. Is he
just a weirdo or what? Have you ever heard of this behavior? Just
curious. Thanks Amanda <Have seen this behavior amongst Salarias,
Atrosalarias blennies in the wild... do think this may be a bit of both
reproductive and defensive drive at work. Bob Fenner>
Lawnmower Blenny... beh./hlth. 03/06/2008
Hello <<Hello, Andrew today>> I have a 55 gallon tank i
thought i had enough algae in it so i got a lawnmower blenny, but now
his mouth is open and he seems to be breathing fast i have heard it has
something to do with him not getting enough to eat. <<Quite
possible>> But i wasn't sure so i tried feeding him two
different things out of my frozen multipack and putting some of the
sheet algae but he isn't interested in it i was wondering if you
had any suggestions? <<You could try feeding the blenny on other
herbivore based feeds like Spirulina, had personal joy with marine
algae pellets and wafers ( the sinking variety )>> <<Hope
this helps. A Nixon>>
Silly Blenny, or Sick Fish? Hey crew, <Hey Scott F. here
today!> I notice that my algae blenny every once in a while will rub
up against the rocks. He doesn't do it very often and
has done it for quiet some time. Is there a normal behavior
of blennies doing this, or is it ich?? I searched the forums but
didn't really find a definitive answer. Thank you, Todd
<I've seen various blennies engage in this behavior periodically
without them being ill. They are kinda goofy characters at times. My
advice is to simply keep a good eye on the fish and be prepared to take
action should symptoms manifest themselves. Good luck! Regards, Scott
The corals don't like the Blenny Hi, <Hi Lisa!> I
got a rock with a few orange/purple Ricordea and another with
green star polyps about 1 1/2 weeks ago. They were doing
great until I got a Sailfin blenny. He climbs all over the
rocks and occasionally the corals. He knocked the Ricordea
rock over 2 times! <Hee Hee! Very normal Blenny
behavior. They don't seem to care much what they
"climb" over or perch on, and in fact, mine will forcibly
throw objects off of his favorite perch!> The first time
he just tapped it and they seemed fine, 2nd time it was
flipped and sitting on one of the shrooms. I finally got
some glue but when I picked up the rock I realized the Ric
was only partially attached to the rock. It also has a small
chunk missing, the purple looks grayish and the mouth does too.
<Gluing or otherwise attaching corals is a wise choice to prevent
such falls.> Is it dead or injured? Anything I can do
to save it? <It sounds like it is a
bit bleached. It should recover quickly and
completely if you prevent further insults.> As if that's not
enough trouble from the blenny, he's also upset the GSP.
They were 1/2 closed up after the first day w/the blenny,
now they've been closed solid for 2 days. Are they OK?
Will they get used to him? <It is normal for GSP's to
periodically close for a while. If you are sure it is the
Blenny, they may adapt, but it is probably best to move the GSP's
out of his territory. Thanks, Lisa Spencer <best
- The Amazing, Changing Lawnmower Blenny - I have a lawnmower
blenny who is fat and happy. <Glad to hear it.> I have noticed
since I got him that he appears to have the ability to change color
depending on stress level and depending on what his environment is. I
recently added a lot of new live rock and it is covered in coralline.
Now the back half of my blennies has a slightly purple tinge. Wondering
if this is a ability they have or if it is an illusion or if I am just
plain crazy? <Neither one actually... all fish can alter their
colors to some extent, although most aren't chameleons some, like a
couple of the flat fish have an uncanny ability to match their
surroundings. Most others instead have what's known as a
night/fright pattern, typically something that offers an additional
amount of protection in the dark - like extra eye spots, etc. On the
flip side, and in captivity it is not uncommon for a fish to fade its
colors, many times due to nutritional deficiencies. What could happen
in this case is a combination of factors - perhaps a response to
environment, perhaps also a response to being fat and happy.> I have
been searching Q&A's and blennies info and have turned up
nothing. Any insight? <I say no worries.> Its a mystery now and I
would love a expert opinion. Thank you Susan
<Cheers, J -- >
|Re: Neat Blenny Bob: Here is a picture that
you may enjoy. it sure to inspire those who are
struggling with this addiction we call a hobby. This
little blenny has tons of personality. Sometimes we are
so busy working on our tanks that we don't take a few minutes
to enjoy the habitat that we have created. <Indeed. Thank you.
Enjoy: Dan Sovetsky
Napping Salarias in a Softy 12/24/05 Happy Holidays WWM,
<And to you> I few quick question for you, tonight I
decided to watch my reef tank after the lights went out, and to my
surprise I seen my Lawnmower Blenny, S. fasciatus napped out in my Colt
Coral, Alcyonium sp. It looked as if he is trying to make it
his host like a Clownfish. Has this ever been seen
before? Is it a normal behavior for the blenny to sleep in
corals? I notice that all the polyps on the Colt had
retracted while he was in it; could he eventually harm the
coral? If I can get a picture I'll send it to
you. Thanks again and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New
Year! <Nothing unusual, just finding a room for the
night. James (Salty Dog)> Bryan
Lawnmower Blenny Behaviour 4/6/2006
Hello! <<Hey Sonny!>> My lawnmower blenny moves up and down
so fast at the corner of the tank, and stays at the top of the water
right beside the filter. He looks like gasping air, and he does that
mostly up side down. <<Wow, that doesn't sound
good. These fish tend to use their mouths some when
breathing, but certainly not upside down often.>> It started
about a week ago. All the test results are fine. <<Actual number
readings are helpful here.>> It is a fish only tank.46 gallon
with 4 clowns, a vermiculated angel, a hermit crab, and the lawnmower
blenny in it. Do you have any idea what could be the problem?
<<While I do not know what your water chemistry is like, nor do I
know how long you have had this fish, my guess is that the problem is
environmental. A 46-gallon tank is simply too small for this
fish, not due to its size, but due to nutritional
requirements. They need LOTS of filamentous green algae in
their diet, and if your tank lacks this, it will
starve. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algblenfaqs.htm.>>
Thank you in advance, Sonny. <<Glad to
Blenny 2/7/06 Hello All: I first want to say as most
have done before me that your site has helped us in many ways. <Glad
to hear that! Scott F. with you tonight> We have a 120 Gal saltwater
tank that is about 7 weeks old, with about 13 pounds of live rock and a
few pieces of medium to small coral, a few shells and a couple of
handfuls of live plant, a Domino Damsel (despite what we've read is
very friendly with it's tank mates) a Coral Banded Shrimp ( he can
be nasty at times but stays with the live rock mostly) a Purple
Dottyback, a Hermit Crab, 2 Emerald crabs, a Striped Goby and a Red
Emperor, and my favorite of all, The Lawnmower Blenny. <One of my
favorites, too!> We have had the Blenny for about 5 weeks. He used
to be very active and skip about with a ton of personality. Last week
he cleared away some of the crushed coral and sand and" moved
into" one of the shells. He does not come out much any longer and
if he does it is just for a very few seconds and then goes back into
the shell and peeks out. I have the algae sheets in the tank for him to
feed on and sometimes he will eat the flake or thawed
shrimp. Why would he all of a sudden " hide
out " ? He was/is so much fun to watch. Thank you in advance for
any and all help. Charlene & Todd <Well, it's
hard to be 100% sure why a fish disappears. It is certainly a
possibility that the fish is sick or injured, and simply needs to
recover in peace. It may also be that the fish is otherwise stressed
and is responding to some disturbance. In all likelihood, the fish is
imply going through "a phase", and, if in otherwise good
health- he'll head on back out to mingle with his tankmates once
again. The fact that he is eating is a very good sign! I'll bet
that he'll be out and about again in due time! Hang in there!
Regards, Scott F.>
Atrosalarias fuscus Going Berserk
7/26/07 Crew, <Hello> I have a Brown Combtooth Blenny that is
going gangsta on my fish. My display is 110 gallons, with 65lbs live
rock. My fish stock is the offending bully, a Sailfin Tang, a gold
stripe maroon, and a Royal Gramma. <All are known to be aggressive,
particularly the Maroon clown.> Seems that my tank is plenty big for
my stock. <Probably, but then we don't really get to decide
this, its up to the individual fish to determine how big their
territory needs to be.> The Atrosalarias seems especially eager to
pick on the Gramma, but he's not above chasing the Sailfin Tang
around. He's not even partial to one rock--he seems to follow the
Gramma all then pounce like a fisher cat. Is this normal?? I thought
these blennies were supposed to be fairly peaceful as long as they
weren't mixed with similar blennies?? <I would guess that the
Gramma's body type is close enough to the blenny's and
triggering a aggressive response.> Andy