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FAQs on the Algae Eating Blennies Health

Related Articles: Algae Eating Blennies, True or Combtooth Blennies, Ecsenius BlenniesTube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

Related FAQs:  Algae-eating Blennies, FAQs 2, & Algae Eating Blenny (AEB) Identification, AEB Behavior, AEB Compatibility, AEB Selection, AEB Systems, AEB Feeding, AEB Reproduction, & Combtooth Blennies 1, Blenny Identification, Blenny Behavior, Blenny Compatibility, Blenny Selection, Blenny Systems, Blenny Feeding, Blenny Disease, Blenny Reproduction, Ecsenius BlenniesSaber-Tooth Blennies, Blennioids & their Relatives, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

Fighting with tankmates?

Was lawn mower blenny "really" dead?      3/30/14
Dear Web Crew Media.
I had a lawn mower blenny (Benny the Blenny) for 3 years. He was loved.
He jumped out of the tank, I hear the splash, found him and put him back in the tank. Two days later he did it again. 
<Uhh, cover the top>
This time no one was around, but I had seen him swimming around the day before. So he was out of the water somewhere between 15 hours and 15 minutes. He was lifeless cold and a little stiff, but not completely dried out and still had some color. 
My daughter's cried, I cried, and we buried him in the garden, including flower ceremony. I then went on-line to try to figure out why he might have jumped as this was not an issue for 3 years.
To my horror, I read that blennies have been found out of the water for hours, look dead, only to be put back in the tank and recover.
<Mmm; not for hours>
I went to the garden, dug him up and put him in the tank, but he did not recover so I buried him again... and cried again. If I had put him back in the water before I buried him, might he had been alright? Did I bury the poor thing while he was still alive, and in fact kill him?
Is what I read about a lawn mower blennies ability to be out of water for hours, look dead, only to be put back in water and come back to life true? I don't know how to think about this...
Thank you.
Regards, Michelle
<There are some fish species... with a good deal of cartilage in their branchiostegals (gill supports) like carps... that can live out of the water a good time depending on temperature and humidity. Not Blennies. Bob Fenner>

new fish in QT tank      5/23/12
I had an attack of velvet in our 55-gallon reef tank that cost us five fish. We moved the survivors to a quarantine tank I set up, and they did well. Eight weeks later, they're now back in the display tank.
I replaced four of the dead fish from our LFS yesterday. I have a dosage of .5 Cupramine in the 20-gallon QT. Filtration is provided by a Fluval canister and an Reef octopus HOB skimmer. The fish in there are a Midas blenny, a coral beauty, a lawnmower blenny and a royal gramma. The Midas and coral beauty seem fine. My question is about the other two. Last night at three in the morning, I woke up for some reason. Since I couldn't get back to sleep, I decided to check in on the fish. There on the carpet next to the tank was the lawnmower blenny (the tank is 95 percent covered).
He was still alive, so I gently picked him up and put him in the tank and he swam under one of the ornaments and stayed there. Today, while he moves around, he is not at all eating any of the food I put in there for him (no algae in a copper tank, alas), neither the Nori nor the algae flakes. 
Although upright, he's breathing hard, and his tail is often. He's clearly stressed but he also seems to be struggling to navigate the bottom of the tank. Could he have injured himself?
<For sure, yes>
 Is it the kind of injury that might heal?
<Only time can/will tell>
Would he be better off in the DT?
<I'd wait a few days>
the LFS had him for two weeks. the manager said he checks his fish regularly and saw no signs of disease. I'm afraid though if I do move him into the DT, which would obviously have more food for him, he could potentially reinfect that tank.
That also brings up my second question. The royal gramma is completely freaked out by the coral beauty. He ducks away, lays sideways and goes into a panic when the coral beauty (unagressively) swims by. I read on WWM that the royal gramma generally doesn't pick up diseases. Would it be better off if I just put him in the DT without waiting the two to three weeks I was planning to quarantine?
<I'd run all through a preventative bath enroute: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
Thanks for any advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: new fish in QT tank, AEB hlth. f'      5/25/12

(not for publication, no need to respond)
<I/we respond to all>
Of course I did the research and read the article before writing you. (I am an historian and know the importance of research.) My concern is getting it to eat in quarantine and if not, what to do.
<... Will try to emphasize... thought we'd gone over this... I would summarily dip/bath and move this fish to the main/display system. Salarias, Atrosalarias spp. are remarkably external parasite free... These are historically VERY tough fishes>
I appreciate very much though the quick response.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: new fish in QT tank     5/25/12

Will do, thanks.
<Please report back re your experiences w/ this fish. BobF>
Re: new fish in QT tank - 5/27/12

hi crew,
To follow up: the lawnmower blenny has been in the tank a few days now. It's eating up a storm, which is great to see but also probably my biggest concern. Frankly, our favorite fish in there is the dragonet, and I'm a little worried that they're competing for the same food source. I continue to supplement the dragonet's food with Nutramar ova, but in our 55-gallon tank —  albeit an established one filled with probably seventy five or our eighty-pounds of live rock — there is only so much to go around, and as you continually warn, it's hard enough to keep a dragonet alive under the best conditions.
The lawnmower wanders the entire tank. We've even seen him hanging on the heater and the return outlet for grazing. He also nipped at the starfish, although I think accidentally. I've read your warnings about them being aggressive, so we're going to watch it carefully when we put the coral beauty in there. Our last coral beauty died from a large wound near his throat, and I'm beginning to wonder if that wasn't the result of a bad encounter with our previous LB.
Thanks for all the good advice (and I'm greatly enjoying the handbook -- you've got me thinking about adding a couple of Bannerfish when we set up a larger tank).
<Cheers, BobF>

Re: new fish in QT tank, AEBs     5/25/12
Hi again folks,
I wouldn't bother you again, except I think I've stumbled upon an interesting question: and that is quarantining a lawnmower blenny. I asked the expert at my LFS about how to keep them alive, and he basically said "pray." Reading through other sites, I haven't come across any better answers, and since I'm not especially religious I'm a bit concerned. I can't get mine to eat either Nori sheets soaked in garlic or algae wafers.
I also tried pellets and Spirulina cubes. I'm curious if you have had reports of success, and if so how with what? If it doesn't eat, then one must balance the question of safety for the larger tank against the safety of the blenny. I don't want to starve him but I also don't want him to infect the display tank. If he continues to push away his plate, when do you suggest I move him?
<These genera, species are very tough... almost always accept all kinds of foods...>
Many thanks again (your book is coming today via Amazon).
<...? Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeblensart.htm
and the linked files above.... Search before writing us... B>

Big, bulging blenny belly     2/2/12
Hello crew,
I have a starry blenny that has been with me for about 4 or 5 months now.
He has been healthy thus far, has a lot of personality, and has been a great addition to our 75 gallon setup.
Two weeks ago we added an orange spot goby. The goby took to the tank well and immediately went to turning over the sand. The blenny wasn't very happy with the addition and had to eat everything in sight and chase the poor goby around the tank.
<Ah yes; happens>
Last week we noticed that the blenny had a bulging belly so I looked through the FAQs to come up with an answer. I found several things that were close to our problem and came to a solution. We starved the tank for a few days and watched his belly subside. Case closed right!? Apparently not!
Although it did get noticeably smaller, his belly never returned to, what I would call, a "normal" size.
<Mmm, may well have swallowed a good deal of hard to digest material>
When we feed the tank, he eats his fair share and maybe then some and still grazes all day long. His belly is still distended and appears lumpy and to either be pulsating or, for lack of better words, swimming inside him. Is this normal?
<It does happen; but not "normal", healthy, no>
He still acts normal and appears healthy. I saw another question about a blenny with the same type symptoms as these but no answer posted. Any idea what this might be? Or what to do?
<Sand/gut impaction... You/I might add a bit of Epsom Salt. Do search WWM re, read Neale's piece re:
Thanks for any and all help you can provide.
<Welcome. Likely "this too shall pass". Bob Fenner>

Re: Big, bulging blenny belly    2/2/12
Hello again,
<Cheers Rob>
Thank you for the response. I read the article and noticed all the fresh water references. Will these methods pertain to saltwater systems as well?
<Ah, yes>
 I would assume so since you had me read it. Just making sure. How long do I treat the tank? 1 dose?
<Usually just the one; diluting w/ successive water changes>
 Or more? Do I need to do a water change after x number of days? If so how much do I change?
<Just regular changes will do. Very low danger>
Again, thank you for all your help. I am very grateful.
<Welcome! BobF>
Re: Big, bulging blenny belly    2/2/12

Hello again,
<Cheers Rob>
Thank you for the response. I read the article and noticed all the fresh water references. Will these methods pertain to saltwater systems as well?
<Ah, yes>
 I would assume so since you had me read it. Just making sure. How long do I treat the tank? 1 dose?
<Usually just the one; diluting w/ successive water changes>
 Or more? Do I need to do a water change after x number of days? If so how much do I change?
<Just regular changes will do. Very low danger>
Again, thank you for all your help. I am very grateful.
<Welcome! BobF>

Starry Blenny mouth/lips  1/16/12
I just purchased a starry blenny 3 days ago and it hid for awhile.  It now rests on rock edges as I read it is supposed to.  But now I can see it's lips and it appears like something has been eating at the lips.  They are white, non-symmetrical, thick and the mouth is always opened wide.  Have not seen it eat yet.  I have nothing in the tank that would eat at its lips.  Any ideas or does this sound crazy?
Jeff Gauthier
<Not crazy; rather common injury from capture, handling, shipping... fishes in the wild do often "rub their faces raw" in cubicles, on nets, plastic bags... This almost always rapidly heals on its own. Not to worry. Bob Fenner>
Re: Starry Blenny mouth/lips  1/16/12

Thank you
<Welcome. BobF>

Strange behavior from a Lawnmower/Sailfin Blenny?   12/11/11
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 accepting food.
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 days.
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: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm
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 ate himself to death? 3/4/10
Dear crew,
I have been reading through your FAQs, and have found plenty of information on these guys not eating, but have not run across this yet. My set up is a 75 gallon FO, with a 29 gallon sump, 130lbs LR, and a combined 120lbs LS sump and DT. Other fish in are a goby, 2 Perc clowns, and 3 Yellowtailed damsels (I know to watch these guys),
<Should be fine here>
as well as some shrimp, snails, and crabs. Parameters are good. I have had a running fight with hair algae, which was one reason I purchased this guy.
I had him for 2 months, and he was a great addition to the tank. Always fun to watch. I never saw him eat prepared foods directly, but he was always going over my rocks and glass.
<Is their (Salarias, Atrosalarias et al. spp. nature>
To the point, even though he never ate the food I offered, he never started to look thin. In fact, quite the opposite, his belly swelled and he got really, really, fat. Fish don't really show much in the way of facial expressions, but he almost looked uncomfortable he was so fat. The last couple of days he was alive he would just rest on a rock for a bit, then move to another and do the same, but wasn't really active in feeding of the rocks and glass. At the time, I assumed he was such a pig he needed to take a break from eating so he could digest what he had taken in. Well, several days later I found him laying on the bottom of the aquarium. Any ideas on what killed him?
<Mmm, perhaps it was summat to do with what this fish ate>
Did he eat himself to death? Are there diseases that cause the belly to swell?
<Oh yes... the condition, edema, is common to various infections, some parasitic infestations>
I was thinking maybe he ate a small hermit crab shell and all, or had some sort of digestive blockage preventing him from passing his food?
<Is a good guess I'd warrant>
Please help, I like these guys, but don't want to see another one die.
<Did you autopsy this specimen? Bob Fenner>

Re: Lawnmower Blenny ate himself to death? 3/4/10
No sir I didn't perform an autopsy, thought had never crossed my mind.
This does intrigue me, is it realistic for a casual fish keeper to be able to make a determination from such an endeavor?
<Indeed, it is. Gross necropsies can be very and easily revealing>
Thank you for your valuable feedback.
<Thank you for your query. BobF>

Lawn Mower Blenny, death... Grn alg. contr. reading  -- 1/22/10
I have been having problems keeping a lawn mower blenny in my tank. It is a 100 gal reef tank 100 lbs of live rock, assorted corals, two saddle back clowns a yellow tang, royal Gramma, about 6 hermit crabs (blue, crimson leg) assortment of snail. Tank has been up about 2 years now, no major problems, except for recurring hair algae. My filtration is a freedom filter and a power filter and two power heads for extra circulation. we have about a 5 inch sand bed.
<Mmm, any chance of adding a refugium?>
The most recent blenny was eating the algae hot and heavy for about 2 weeks then he just stopped, got very thin turned black and became crab food shortly after that.
<There are many types of unpalatable and toxic algae>
I have had the water tested several times at different shops all said my levels were fine.
<For what folks can/do measure...>
We do a 10 % water change weekly and use Prime, and water stabilizer to the water also we use Instant ocean sea salt. Water temp is about 76 and we have VHO lighting 560 watts. The only thing most shops tell me is I would be better off without the freedom filter and replace it with a sump system.
<Good advice>
We also use R.O. water for changes. Shops tell me that they just die sometimes.
<Mmm... okay. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FilamGrnAlgC2.htm
and the linked files above... to give you insight to your options here.
Bob Fenner>

Sick Lawnmower Blenny!   1/15/10
Hello WWM Crew!
After reading everything I could on WWM and everything I could Google...
My lawnmower Blenny must Be suffering from Bulimia nervosa!
Seriously, he eats up, bloat up, heat some more... then vomit!
Never saw the fish poop!(definitely constipated)
Plus, his belly moves around like there is a worm in there.
I first thought it was a muscle, intestinal movements of some sort but...
He's been eating well, no signs of stress.
Normal, Constipated, worm?
Which one is the right one and what do I fill the QT with for how long?
<Perhaps regular water conditions, plus Epsom... maybe an Anthelminthic...
possibly adding Metronidazole as well... the first for general constipation, the last two for worms and Protozoans respectively. Can you use the search tool here?:
for each of these Materia medicae?>
Please the poor thing is beggin me to fix him
Thank again WWM
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower Blenny (S. fasciatus), hlth. dis. transmission  -- 12/14/09
Dear WWM Crew,
As always, thank you for your site and your invaluable advice!
We currently have a Lawnmower Blenny (S. fasciatus) in our 20 G quarantine tank (QT). It is exhibiting an odd (I think) appearance and behavior and we wanted your advice before moving it into the display tank.
The odd appearance is that it shows no pigmentation on the back 2/3rds of its body (see photo).
 On a couple of rare occasions, however, the pigmentation seemed normal for a short period time.
<Mmm... stress>
The odd behavior is a lack of interest in eating. Not feeding on the rocks, the glass or any of the frozen food (Bio-Pure) or dry food (New Life Spectrum) that we have tried to feed it. It is also extremely skittish.
As soon as it sees any movement outside the tank, zip! It's dashed behind its favorite rock. Most of the time, however, it just perches on top of its rock.
<I see this>
This fish has been in the QT (see photo) for 10 days. This tank uses an Eco-Systems Pro 40 refugium. Water parameters are: Temp @ 78 degrees, Sg @ 1.024. NO3 @ 5 ppm, pH @ 8.3, Ca @ 460 ppm Mg @ 1275 ppm.
Is this fish sick or stressed?
<Mostly the latter>
Will being alone in a tank stress a fish?
Should we move it into the display tank?
<Yes, I would>
Your advice will be most welcome.
Thank you!!
Jan & Ellen
<I don't consider that there is much risk of vectoring an undesirable organism by moving this Salarias. Bob Fenner>

Fat lawnmower has critters in his tummy...  4/19/08 Hello again! <Dana> You all were so helpful with my last predicament, I thought of coming to this site again first for some more info! I have checked out the disease pages, especially on parasites and I am trying to decide if my lawnmower blenny has tape worms or if these are just the copepods he munches on along with the algae! Watching these things 'swim' around in his tummy made me think, ooh, babies! But, no, they're egg layers so, now I'm a little concerned. He is acting very normal and healthy, eats like a horse, just never noticed the movement inside his tummy till just now, any ideas? These 'things in question' look dark in color and maybe a few centimeters long, about the size of a copepod, <... cm.s, not mm.s?> have I answered my own question?! Thanks again! Dana <Mmm, have never heard, seen such... a size/shape parasite... that would be moving about here... Perhaps a picture? 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>>

Lawnmower blenny; rock beauty... hlth.   2/4/08 Good morning to all, your thoughts would be much appreciated: I have a rock beauty which I obtained (rescued) at about 1"; he eats well and a year or so later is about 3"; <Commendable> for the past week or so, he has been holding one gill cover out significantly, kind of the way one would expect if a cleaner was being solicited; but this is constant, respiration is normal, as are his routine and feeding; no evidence of any injury or any parasite that I can see; he is in a FOWLR without any cleaner wrasse or goby (I haven't seen a healthy cleaner wrasse for sale for years). Thoughts? <Sometimes... fishes, pomacanthids do this> Secondly, I purchased a lawnmower blenny who over the course of a month eliminated 95% of the filamentous green algae in the tank; however, he is now losing weight and isn't interested in flakes, dried algaes or any of the usual carnivore items. Ideas? Thanks, Steve. <May be internally parasitized... perhaps the algae, though goodly in quantity is insufficient nutritionally... I'd likely supplement the food... try Spectrum pellets... If it continues to lose weight, a treatment, serially or concomitantly with a protozoacide (e.g. Metronidazole) and a vermifuge (e.g. Prazi-)... All covered on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower Blenny Quarantine 01/23/2008 Greetings, <<Hello, Andrew here>> Great informative website. I read it daily. <<Thank you>> Just a quick question regarding quarantine for a Lawnmower Blenny. I always quarantine my fish for 3 weeks. Although my newly acquired blenny is active (he even tries to jump out of the tank every time I remove the cover for feeding), I am concerned that the blenny is not adapting well in my bare bottom quarantine tank. I would like to move him as soon as possible to my display tank so he/she can feed on the algae and interact with the live rock and sand. <<Yes, the blenny will not adapt well to the bare bottom of a quarantine tank. However, quarantine should not stopped because of this fact. Quarantining is a must with all fish and should be carried out. The fish will soon settle when it gets added to the aquarium. Provide a good algae diet for the blenny while it runs through this period>> He has been in quarantine for 8 days and shows no signs of ich or other diseases. Should I stick to the 3 week quarantine or could (should) I move him sooner? <<As above, stick to your normal quarantine process>> Thanks. Mark Hill <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Bloated and gasping Lawnmower Blenny   8/22/07 Hey guys:) Here's my question. I have a lawnmower blenny who has been resting in a hospital tank for the last week. He is sickly bloated, still. I put him in the hospital tank because his breathing was so rapid he seemed like he was gasping for air and about to pass out and die. I thought it might be parasites invading his gills, his outer body seemed normal, nothing that I could see other than his breathing, so I gave him a 5 day tetracycline bath along with AP Pro 'quick cure' for possible parasites. <Mmmm> Temp is about 82* in the tank. His breathing, although very calm - meaning it's still rapid, <These blennies are "fast breathers"... can you state about how many gill movements per minute? A good approximation can be made with an assistant watching a time piece, and you tapping a pencil on a piece of paper per movement...> but at this point seems more like a nervous twitch than a breathing problem, and very bloated belly, worry me. My main tank is very healthy. No problems with the rest of my fish. Got any ideas? Ringo Gene <SLOW the feeding of this animal WAY down... Perhaps administer Epsom Salt (see WWM re... the search tool...). Time, patience otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bloated and gasping Lawnmower Blenny  8/23/07 Hey Bob, thanks for your reply. ... My Lawnmower didn't make it through the night. He must've had a bad infection? <Maybe...> He got so bloated in the last few days. This infection must have been around, slowly progressing, for the last 5 to 6 weeks. I contacted you about his fat belly around five weeks ago. His breathing seemed normal at that time, it was his big belly I was worried about. (I found out a little to late that I could purchase medicated frozen food from an LFS, whom I contacted yesterday. He seemed to think it was an infection in his belly. Wish I had time to get you the info on breaths per minute you requested. Can you recommend a good 'symptoms and cures' book I should own? Maybe yours? Read somewhere you have a book out. <Microcosm/TFH is coming out with a new one soon that's supposed to be very nice... my fave as a stand-alone is Ed Noga, Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment... but it's pricey... and not very hobby-user-friendly...> PS You replied <Hmmm> when I mentioned the medication. I was told to treat the fish in this manner by 2 LFS's. Should I have done this? <Not what I would advise, no> They seem to know how to 'buy, sell and raise fish', but there medical skills... We need a fish medic. Someone could make a good living in Los Angeles should they open a 'LF Clinic'. A sad day for me, Ringo Gene - not a Beetle:) <Heeee! Nor a Beatle? My fave all time musical group! BobF>

Re: Bloated and gasping Lawnmower Blenny   8/24/07 Yeah, Beatle. Ha! Anyway, as far as the medication, what would you have advised for this situation? Would sure help me in the future. Ringo - Parents were, ...on something:) <Fab, gear... hard to type with all these rings on me fingers... Perhaps administration of a modicum of Epsom Salt... see WWM re. BobF> Ailing Lawnmower Blenny Good morning one and all. I have a quick question regarding my Lawnmower Blenny. He started off looking good and fat and is now slowly becoming more thin. There is still a predominance of hair algae in the tank that he takes no notice off but instead tries to eat the glass of the tank. What supplements can I give him in order to get him fat and healthy again? He ignores the Nori and the Dulse that I use to feed the tang. <Very bad sign> All tank parameters are great and everyone else is healthy, the corals are flourishing. Now I just need to get him back up to speed. Any suggestions would be great. Cheers. Julian Hunt <Of the major categories of probable cause here I'd discount bullying, environmental pollution effects... and suggest that "something" internal is at play... gut blockage from swallowing "something", perhaps a developmental/genetic anomaly, more likely an internal parasite of some sort. You can either "wait this out" hoping the animal may spontaneously cure of its own (they get thin quite quickly, and can perish in days to weeks w/o food), or try force-feeding the Blenny with an anti-parasitic compound or mix (I suggest food laced with Metronidazole)... in a quarantine system. Bob Fenner>

Chubby Salarias (Algae Eating Blenny) Bob, While reading your newest faq page today (a daily ritual...just hope the boss doesn't see!)  <Yikes, me neither> I read a question from someone that was worried about a chubby Salarias, and would like to relate a recent experience I had with a lawnmower blenny. <Ah, great... can barely wait till we have somewhat of a "forum" for folks to do this interchange> I had an outbreak of ich in my 72 gal in which I lost a couple of fish, including a lawnmower blenny. I treated my tank and was able to save 3 fish, much thanks to you on your help with that situation. After all had settled down I ordered another Salarias from FFExpress, and it arrived healthy and happy and went to work eating off the live rock. Within the first two weeks I noticed he was FAT...this little fishes belly was so bulged he could barely perch on his fins without his gut hitting bottom. Yet he continued to eat and eat and eat. A month after adding the fish I added a small flame angel that also spends a great deal of time picking off the live rock, but also eats flake and frozen food very well. Then, 3 weeks ago I added a 3" yellow tang, that eats a little flake food but spends most of the time grazing. <Okay> Over the last 3 weeks I noticed the Salarias getting thinner and thinner, yet he was still munching on the live rock. Unfortunately when I came into the office yesterday after the weekend he was laying on his side and breathing rapidly and was dead by the end of the day. Despite the 60+ pounds of live rock, did the angel, tang and blenny simply not have enough grazing food?? Or did the blenny eat himself out of food his first month? ( I can't stress how fat this fish was!) In all he only lasted about 10 weeks in the tank. <All of this is possible... My "standard" statement is not to place a Salarias fasciatus in anything smaller than a sixty, with plenty of healthy, established live rock... and not to have too many competitors for the filamentous algae to be cropped there... Sometimes I'll give a nod to the equally prodigious and typically smaller Atrosalarias fuscus, another True or Combtooth Blenny that is commonly available... instead, as it tends to come in smaller, doesn't get as large, not as likely to starve...> I'm hesitant now to get another Salarias because if I don't have enough available food I don't want to loose another fish. This blenny was about 5 inches long. Is that large?  <Yes, about maximum size...> What is the possibility it died from old age?  <Some> I didn't' notice any parasites on him, and all the other fish are fine. The tang and the angel are the only other fish that eat algae in the tank and would take away from his food source (other than a clean up crew) Anyway, just curious and thought I'd pass on my experience with a fat Salarias...maybe it will make someone think on their purchase of tankmates in relation to available food.. I know I will, despite the fact that the lawnmower blenny (nicknamed Torro) was the most popular and comical fish in the office tank! Thanks, as always, Kris, PA <Thank you for this input... I would try the Atrosalarias genus or request a decidedly smaller Salarias (three inches or so) if it were my system. Bob Fenner>

One last question. (chubby Salarias) Hello again. Thanks so much for all of your advice and help so far. We ended up going with a Rusty Dwarf Angel and a "Lemon" Tang (not sure if that is it's real common name because I haven't found anything on it yet.) <Likely a mimic tang variety of Acanthurus pyroferus... take a look on the WetWebMedia.com site re these> But after 5 days, they've both done extremely well, and there's been no quarreling between any of the fish. the two new fish have both taken to the reef aquarium comfortably and have found their own niches amidst the other fish and reef life. it's still too early to tell, but I think they'll last us a while barring any freak accidents. I just had one quick question, though. since we removed the murderous Hawkfish, our algae blenny has started to get noticeably chubby given his newfound freedom to graze wherever he pleases. should I be worried about it eating too much?  <No... this happens in the wild and in captivity. No problem> otherwise, all the fish are doing well. the Dottyback has even eased up a bit on its aggressiveness since the introduction of the bigger dwarf angel. thanks for all your help. Chris Pua <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Sick Lawnmower Blenny 8/1/04 I need your assistance.  My (female) lawnmower blenny seems ill to me.  She seems less active then normal and she is eating but not at the same rate she used to.  I had the manager of the fish store stop by to take a look at her and he said she was losing some color on her back but should be ok.   <hmmm... based on these symptoms, there's not much to go on here (and it does not sound like much/any problem> I am really concerned.  I checked my water parameters yesterday and they were fine, I also took a sample into the fish store to have them test and they said the parameters were fine also.  I really would like some suggestions on how to help her.  I absolutely adore this little creature.  Thanks in advance, Karen <the best way to stimulate fishes is a series of hearty water changes and improving the diet. Let me suggest that you do at least three 25% water changes in the next 2-3 week and add some Dick Boyd's Vita-Chem (for vitamins of course) and Selcon (for HUFAs) to the diet (usually soaking the thawed frozen foods... thaw and drain first, then add the supplements before feeding to fishes). No worries :) Anthony>

Sick Lawnmower Blenny III 8/2/04 Thank you for your response.  I added some "Kent Garlic Supreme" to the food yesterday  and did a partial water change today.   <very good> I have also purchased and added to the food  "Kent Zoe Marine". <I have little regard for Kent products personally... but this may be helpful indeed> She, the lawnmower blenny, seems to be doing better today.    <the water change gets the credit I assure you> We were also wondering if the moon light could be disturbing her at night , could it be affecting her rest?     <no more than the moon on a reef <G>> We turned the moon light off when we went to bed last night and she seemed to do better this morning..   Thanks again.  Karen <you fuss/worry too much Karen... and I say that affably. Relax my friend... it is a relaxing hobby.  Fussing with your tank and fishes in the long run makes things worse.  Allow the system to find a groove and run a more natural course without frequent knee-jerk reactions. kindly, Anthony>

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 F>

Mysterious Death Hello, I have one question: Why my SALARIAS FASCIATUS died? Everything was ok, but for few days his stomach was  VERY BIG.<Could have been bloat> I thought that he just ate too much but today I saw him behind the rocks... What cause that?<Also could be a hitchhiker in the LR that killed him> My water par, are great. In tank there was only him and Foxface. Please tell me why he died...<I can not give you a definite answer here all I can do is give you possibilities.> BTW: I can't take him out of the tank, will my cleaner shrimps ate him?<Probably not...you need to take this fish out post haste. It will pollute your water.> BTW2: I'm going to put Zebrasoma flavescens to the tank. Will be any problems with my Foxface (it's 55 gal, but will be 195).Will they fight? <I Have seen people do this before...normally it works but sometimes it doesn't. If it were me I would purchase a purple tang or a red sea sailfin tang because of the color difference.> THX guys <No prob, IanB>

Quarantine?  3/10/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Jan> As always, thanks for all of your help!!  It is a great comfort to be able to reach out to you folks and get such great advice and help! <Yes> We have a 72G reef tank with about 80 lbs. of LR.  Our water parameters are (Temp=77deg F, Sg=1.025, pH=8.3, Ca=380ppm, Mg=1290ppm, dKH=6.75, Ammonia & Nitrite=0ppm, NO3= 5ppm).  The tank was set up and cycled last May.    For about the last six months our live stock has consisted of a pair of clowns (A. ocellaris), a fat mandarin (S. splendidus), and a school of 9 Chromis viridis.  15 various corals, 2 tube worms (Protula magnifica) 2 turbo snails and some (+/- 8) blue legged hermit crabs.  In addition to this we have 3 peppermint shrimp (L. wurdemanni) & 2 fire shrimp (L. debelius) and 2 common cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis). We have 3 questions. 1. Our LFS has been holding a Hawaiian Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens) for us for the last 2 weeks in their "quarantine" tank with water dosed with copper.  However, while the Tang has been alone in this tank, the tank is connected to other tanks running on the same water.  Should we quarantine this fish? If so, for the full month or just two weeks? <I would quarantine this fish, or at the very least run it through a prophylactic FW dip/bath... detailed on... WWM> 2. We are also thinking of adding a Lawnmower Blenny (S. fasciatus) as our tank has plenty of algae on the LR.  Given this fishes need to graze algae, should it be quarantined?  If so, for how long? <I would quarantine this species for two weeks... some smaller, likely-to-starve Blennioids for a shorter duration> 3. Also, concerning the Blenny & Tang, given the size of our tank and the current livestock listed above, do you see any potential problems with adding either or both of these fish? <Mmm, no... not really... The fifteen species of corals here (in a 72 nominal gallon volume) should not be added to though... as they are likely "used" to each other... will/would react to new Cnidarian life adversely> Thanks!! Jan & Ellen   <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Avoiding A Blenny Bummer! (Collection Practices for Blennies)  7/7/07 Dear Crew, <Scott F. in tonight!> Does anyone know how the Brown Combtooth Blenny, Atrosalarias fuscus, is typically collected? Specifically, whether chemicals are typically employed or whether these fish are generally subject to stressful transit due to their collection location? I purchased one on Wednesday and all was well, but this morning I found him serving as breakfast for my cleanup crew. Thanks. Andy Bulgin <Interesting question, Andy. This is one of my absolutely favorite fishes! I did a little checking with a couple of my contacts at some wholesalers/transhippers here in L.A., and no one seemed to feel that they are subjected to any unusual collection practices. Most of them are net-caught, although there are collectors in parts of Indonesia and The Philippines that utilize chemicals to flush them from the rocky crevices in the reef where they are usually found. This practice, although less common than in the past, still occurs, unfortunately. For the most part, these little fishes do ship pretty well, although they do often go a long time without eating. Since a large part of their diet is composed of algae, they may take longer to adapt to captive life, and could be rather depleted by the time they reach the hobbyist. However, with careful quarantine and feeding, they generally adapt quite well. Hard to say what did yours in, but it could have been one, more-or none of the above-mentioned factors! In the end, you just need to use your judgment and select your specimen carefully. Good luck next time around! Regards, Scott F.>  

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