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FAQs on the Algae Eating Blennies Feeding

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 Behavior, AEB Compatibility, AEB Selection, AEB Systems, AEB Disease, 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,

Won't eat all types of algae. A bit alarming amount of BGA growth amongst Poritids out at one of my fave dive spots, Two Step, near the City of Refuge, HI.  

Your opinion my friend's fish (abuse through ignorance?)     5/4/13
My friend asked me to look after his pets while on vacation. I was appalled at what I encountered in a couple of ways. The one relevant to aquariums is linked below. He has a fish of some kind, and I don't know the species.
<The algae-eating blenny I take it you're referring to>

 But it doesn't take a genius in my mind to know this fish doesn't belong in a home aquarium. I am not sure if the video shows it, but it looks emaciated to me. I feed the tank two types of pellet food as the owner instructed, and this fish did not recognize either as food.
<Mainly eat attached filamentous algae; though can be trained to accept other foods>

It swam around frantically looking for food though. I truly ached for this poor animal. And I was angry too...please give me your opinion on this so that I can share it with my friend. I feel so bad for this fish.
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algblenfdg.htm
and have your friend do so. Bob Fenner>
Re Your opinion my friend's fish (abuse through ignorance?)     5/5/13

> <Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algblenfdg.htm
> and have your friend do so. Bob Fenner>
That's the problem--my friend won't read all that. He's already 'lost' a Mandarin due to ignorance.
<Mmm, easily done>
 And he thinks I am alarmist and a bleeding heart. But I do understand not wanting to get in the middle of a personal squabble.  Thanks for your time.
<Perhaps sneak in some Nori, Kombu... show him/her what fun it is to offer... BobF>

what are all the foods Atrosalarias fuscus will eat?   9/26/11
are they as finicky as lawnmowers? thanks
<Bout so. 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>

Lawnmower blenny 03/23/2008 Hey all, <<G'Morning, Andrew today>> I know you get a ton of questions about lawnmower blennies and the trouble with keeping them in smaller tanks (I have a 55gal). I got one a while ago on some bad advice and I don't think he's got enough micro algae in the tank to keep him around long term. I've read most of your feeding suggestions and I've tried Spectrum pellets, Nori and even frozen foods, but he doesn't seem interested (although everything else in the tank loves the spectrum pellets and something is eating the Nori while I'm gone). He hasn't gotten real skinny yet, but I think it's only a matter of time. <<ok>> Anyways, I'm going to try and build my own sump with a refugium in it and hopefully grow some small fragments of rock with algae on it to feed him along with some macro algae to keep nitrates down in the main tank. My question is, how do I best grow micro algae in a refugium, and does this sound like a good idea or is there a possibility of algae spreading back to the main tank and causing a problem? Also I have a fairly new tank and I'm still dealing with Cyanobacteria, will this refugium hopefully help with that problem as well? <<All you need is some flow and lighting. about 30w of lighting is good number to aim for...Chaeto is one of the more common macro algaes to use for nutrient export. Under normal circumstances, macro algae is the only algae which you would want to be growing in there. Yes, the refugium will aid in the fight with your Cyano, for sure>> Couple other little questions while I'm here: 1)My lawnmower was almost pure white when I got him, and now he's really dark, he looks more like the pictures I've seen of LMBs in your archives, so I'm assuming that's good. Some days he'll even be half white (tail) and half dark (head). Is this color change due to surroundings, or is it more of a stress thing? <<Yes, this is a normal thing to occur, and a lot of the time, the colour change is attributed to stress>> 2)My Nori which I got a while ago for sushi purposes (which is getting harder to eat after owning an aquarium) says it's roasted. Is that OK for fish? Do they have unroasted Nori? <<yes, that is fine to use. Just ensure that its not a flavoured variety>> And might as well throw a stocking question in here since I'm typing... I have 2 small yellow tail damsels, a peppermint shrimp, skunk cleaner shrimp, the LMB, 5 red-legged hermits and some turbo snails. After some more research and lighting I'm going to add some polyps and some hardier soft corals. <<Sounds very good to me>> I'd also love to add a black percula clown and a flame angel to the tank. Is that pushing it? Both fish seem like they'll fit in aggression wise and shouldn't harm the inverts am I correct here? <<The flame angel will be touch and go with corals, some report them nipping, some done. The clown may have an issue with the damsels, as they are part of the same family>> I'm concerned about a 5" angel and the amount of nitrogen it'll create. <<The fish itself would be ok in your tank>> My LFS keeps a pretty constant stock of both and they vary in size quite a bit so should I pick fish that are roughly the same size as my damsels or larger to avoid aggression, or worry more about color/alertness/feeding etc.? <<The main thing to consider is compatibility with future stocking here i feel, coral wise>> Thanks for your site and all the information you provide, Chad <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Lawnmower Blenny/Feeding New Spectrum Pellets 3/8/08 Hey Guys/Gals, <Hiya Joey> Just a quick statement. On 3-6-08 someone wrote in and asked what to feed their Lawnmower Blenny because it was not getting enough food. I have a solution. New Life Marine Spectrum sinking pellets(1mm). My lawnmower loves them. Have tried other brands and they do not accept them. Have also heard of many other success stories. One bad thing, the fish will get spoiled and not eat as much micro-algae. Most other fish will eat them too. <Thank you for sharing this info Joey. I too am trying this same food and indeed it is amazing how well this food is accepted by all fish. Moorish Idol's eagerly accept it also. Do watch the video at www.nlpublish.com. Maybe this is the bridge we needed for keeping finicky eaters.> Thanks, <Thank you. James (Salty Dog)> Joey

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>

Fat, very fat Lawnmower Blenny  8/6/07 Great freakin' site guys! Thanks for all the great info, you guys really are experts. Well, here is the question. I have a very fat blenny. He will eat anything that fits in his mouth (except other fish). His turds are huge and grayish green. He's extremely active, but his respiratory rate seems a little faster than that of my other fish. Is this normal for this type of Blenny? <Mmm... normal? To be too fat? No... would likely be consumed in the wild, eh?> He seems fine other than that. At night this problem seems to calm down. I feed all my fish (Scooters, Green Mandarin, Hawk Fish, Forktail Cardinal Benny and my awesome Dragon Wrasse) mysis shrimp, Hikari bio-pure vitamin-enriched red blood worms, and Spirulina flakes (will start feeding Formula 1 & 2 this week). My Mandarin loves the Blood Worms. My tank is a 55 gallon with about 55lbs of live rock (no coral). All my parameters are were they should be. I use Tropic Marine salt and have about 2 inches of substrate (sand and crushed coral). My tank is very peaceful, no aggression. I'm worried about the LMB's breathing and color of stools (not that I know what they should look like). If he has parasites, how would I know? He looks fine, just fat - really fat - He's about 4 1/2 inches long with about a 3/4 inch belly (no kidding). What do you think? <Slow down on the killer cal.s. Less food...> Also, I'm cultivating my own "Tigger Pods" ( for the first time ). Are they real Copepods? <Yes> I want to make sure my Lovely Mandarin gets they food he needs. I want him around for years. Got any ideas for food, besides that which I mentioned? <Posted on WWM... RMF>
Re: Fat, very fat Lawnmower Blenny
  8/9/07 Thanks for the reply. You guys are great. I visited some local fish shops and found, other than mine having the biggest belly of them all, to have the same breathing rates. Thanks for all the info you post. What a help you are. - Thanks again, Ringo <Do try to slim that bad boy down... Not good for it to be so fat. Cheers! BobF>

Blenny Not Eating Hello WWM crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here> I've had an algae blenny for about 6 months now and he's been doing fine up to about a month ago when the tank started being dominated by red hair algae. The Blenny stopped eating and he is so thin now that I'm afraid he will die any day now. <Well- two things: First, you need to review water conditions. Usually, red algae are indicative of high nutrient loads. Do check water chemistry, review husbandry procedures (water changes, skimming, and feeding habits), and take action to eliminate the root cause of the outbreak. Second- if the red algae is of the "Cyanobacteria" variety (more slimy than hairy), there is always the chance that the fish is suffering from toxins (these algae can be toxic to fishes if ingested) as a result of eating the algae. This is a very remote possibility-but it could happen. A better possibility is that some of the same water conditions that are resulting in an algae outbreak are causing this fish to suffer. Check them regularly!> The odd part is that there is still some algae on the glass but he isn't going after it. I see him swimming around the glass like he is looking for some algae to suck on but he never does. What can I do to help him since he doesn't seem to go for the formula 2, blood worms or brine shrimp that I feed the other fish? <Well- depending on the species that you have, they are not exclusively algae consumers, so your idea to try other foods is a good one. I'd keep trying targeted feeding of a variety of food items. I'd even try enriched brine shrimp. Although much maligned, brine shrimp might serve as a stimulant to get this guy eating again. Keep trying, observe the fish carefully for any outward signs of illness, and take any corrective actions that are necessary. hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
Re: Blenny not eating
Hello,  I may have some help for the person with the Lawnmower blenny that's not eating.  Every time I feed my Niger trigger and my blue spot goby in my 60 gallon acrylic sump SERA brand Marin tablets, my Lawnmower blenny goes crazy trying to find it and will eat as much of it as it can, but the Lawnmower blenny in our main tank won't even touch the stuff.  Eating anything other than algae is very strange for Lawnmower blennies as far as I have ever seen.  Mine must be the exception.  This might help.  Jeff <Thank you for this. Will post in the hopes that the person with the non-feeding blenny will see... and that others will benefit from your shared observation. Bob Fenner>

Algae Blenny I have a 20gal. with lots of algae on my rocks (mostly green hair). I bought an algae blenny but I don't think he is getting enough to eat. I see him pick at the rocks all day but still seems under fed. <<The chances are that you just don't have enough... these fish typically need about a 60g tank to keep them healthy.>> Is there any other food I can feed him? <<Not really besides live rock with algae on it. Please do read the following URL and FAQs beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trublennies.htm>> Shaun Nelson <<Cheers, J -- >>

Algae Blennies Hello, I currently have a 20 gal. tank with about 19 lbs. of live rock, a coral banded shrimp, tomato or cinnamon (not sure which one) clownfish, a Banggai cardinal, 2 hermit crabs and some snails. My tank is about 2 years old. I had some trouble until I put in all the live rock. Lately I have been trying to keep an algae blenny but have failed twice. Could they have starved to death?  <Likely yes... take a look at the "Blennies" and FAQs section on our site: a Salarias will definitely not be sustained in a twenty gallon system... but there are some other (pictured) species that might (don't get as big, aren't as active), like members of the genus Atrosalarias...> I fed green marine algae in the dried sheet form. I also fed brine shrimp and formula 1 for the other folks. I am not planning on putting another one in but would like to figure out what happened. Thanks much! <Well done my friend. 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>

Algae (of some sort) I have a lawnmower blenny and some hair algae growing off my water flow director and he won't eat it. Could it be he doesn't know it's there?  <Highly unlikely... and almost as unlikely that this is a green algae that is palatable... Probably a blue green, aka Cyanobacteria> Should I just clean it off myself? How would I clean it? <Yes, remove the unit, lightly bleach it for an hour in a container, rinse thoroughly in freshwater, replace. Bob Fenner> Thank You, Sandl

Lawnmower blenny Bob, I had a green algae problem in my tank, but after doing what you have suggested the problem is gone. One of the things I did was purchasing a Lawn mower blenny which did a great job. The problem now is that there is no more algae for the blenny to eat and it has lost a lot of weight. I tried feeding it dried seaweed but it wasn't interested. Is there anything that I could do to save it or should I just return it to my LFS. Thanks for your help. >> Hmm, how big a tank do you have it in? Anyway to grow some "extra" algae on some live rock... in a sump, refugium or your hospital/quarantine tank? Maybe try "algae wafers"...  If all else fails, do return the animal. Bob Fenner

Lawnmower Blenny Hi, I discovered something that might be of interest to your other readers.  I noticed a lot of people have trouble feeding lawnmower blennies.  I had the same problem.  Or so I thought.  I did not have that much algae in my tank, and he would not touch any of the algae sheets I would put in the tank.  I even tried macroalgae.  Nothing.  Then I noticed the other day, after I would feed my other fish, something interesting.  I feed my fish a mix of formula two, prime reef (both flake), and Kent marine platinum herbivore and carnivore pellets.  That little blenny bugger started eating the pellets!  And not the herbivore formula, but the carnivore ones.  I would be curious to see if it worked for any of your other readers.  Thanks for your time.   >>>Hello, People have trouble feeding lawnmower blennies because they often do not eat prepared foods in captivity. Some do, your specimen being one of them. It's good that you found a pellet that he likes, but that high protein pellet will not be suitable for him long term. Cheers Jim<<<

Lawnmower Bennie Hey there, I have a Lawnmower Blenny for about 3 month's now. I notice that his stomach is sunken in. What can I feed the Blenny. The fish always seems to shave off algae from the glass. I see him try to eat hair algae that is present in my tank. Thanks, Anthony >> Yes, these animals (mostly Salarias spp.) are prodigious algae eaters... and not much else. If you can't move the animal to a larger tank with more algae, do try offering "green" foods like sheet algae (you can buy from fish stores or oriental food (sections) of human food stores), other algae-based foods (dried, pelleted)... Bob Fenner

Lawnmower Blennies I'm expecting a shipment of two Lawnmower Blennies tomorrow. I have lots of maroon colored algae with bubbles. Will they eat this? Do they carry any parasites? I'm contemplating dipping them in Methylene Blue and wonder if this could harm them because they don't have scales. I will also quarantine them. If fish are going to be quarantined for 2 weeks or more, is it necessary to put them through the stress of a dip? Thank you for your time. >> Lots of questions! I love it! Yes to the likelihood of the Lawnmower Blennies eating the maroon colored algae, and no to the bubble types... About the only thing that touches the latter (aka Valoniaceae) are the "Emerald crabs", genus Mithrax... and yes to the dip in Methylene blue and freshwater (IMO), along with the two week quarantine... These fish (es if you want to include all blennies/oids) rarely bring in communicable diseases... but are surely tough enough to tolerate the added procedure... and I would/and do, do it. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner

Lawnmower Blenny I have a Lawnmower Blenny that seems to be getting thinner and thinner. We have had him in our 55 for almost 3 months, and seems to be swimming around and eating (algae off of the glass and rocks and such) just fine. He has occasionally eaten some of the brown marine algae I feed. Along with him, I have (cleanup crew wise) 6 turbo snails and about a dozen or more blue and red legged hermit crabs. I also have 50 lbs of live rock in the tank. I don't have a sump, but do have a Berlin skimmer, and Penguin 400 BioWheel filter. The tank is lit with a 10,000 K, 50/50 and full spectrum 40 watt fluorescent lights. One more question... Livestock wise (in addition to the above), we have a Flame Angel, Koran Angel, Yellow Tang, Christmas Wrasse, Maroon Clown and a Bubble Anemone. What temp. should we keep the tank at? I have been told 75-76 by some, and 79-80 by others. Thanks for your wonderful Q&A column. I have learned a ton!!! Dan Farnham >> Thanks for writing... I would either move the Lawnmower Blenny, or add more live rock... about all this species (Salarias fasciatus) eats is filamentous green algae...  And your temperature is fine in the mid-seventies... the animals will/would live faster/shorter lives at higher temperatures... but is that what you want? Me neither. Bob Fenner, who likes diving in warm water... 

Blenny Hi Bob, The local fish store said a Lawnmower Blenny and Rock Blenny will do the same thing: eat hair algae. Is this true? <Yes> I went to buy a Lawnmower Blenny since I had read online about their appetite for green hair algae. I trimmed it to where it's a 4th an inch off the rock. Will the Rock Blenny eat it? <Yes> Also, I bought some Margarita Snails and some red-legged reef crabs. However, my Lunar Wrasse is having a field day picking at them. He knocks the snails off the rock and glass and I think he has actually eaten some of my crabs. HELP!! <Yes, they will all be consumed in time> Thanks in advance! Barry >> <You're welcome, Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower??? I know that the Lawnmower Blenny eats algae but is it a "sand sifter"? Also would the Neon gobies from FFExpress be a good cleaner species. Its says that if they are captive bred that they may not clean. Would those? Thanks, Tim >> Lawnmower Blennies (mainly Salarias fasciatus) are not much in the way of Sand Sifters.... they spend most all their time in/on the rocks... and Neon Gobies, tank raised or no will generally learn to be cleaners... if there are customers to be had. Bob Fenner, whose Sand Sifter, Blenny, and Goby articles and more can be found, perused at www.wetwebmedia.com, including images.

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny Hey guys, <Hi, MikeD here> I have a lawn-mower blenny who has eaten all the hair algae in my tank and he looks hungry.<He probably IS!> Every time I put seaweed in the tank the hermits, peppermint shrimp and emerald crab eat it all and he does not get any. Do you have any idea how I can feed him and not have massive arthropods.<Why are you concerned about the arthropods? My suggestion is to feed the amount necessary to keep the Lawnmower Blenny healthy and if you start getting too many 'pods, add a scooter blenny or a Mandarin. It sounds like you have one of the few tanks where one might be happy> Thanks
Re: Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny
He died. <MikeD here. Sorry to hear about your blenny. These fish can be very difficult to keep and almost never do well in "pristine, spotless tanks" ,along with, IMO, many other species. Their diet requirements are simply too complex for someone who only wants a few pretty fish to swim around and be perfect, and are erroneously quoted as being necessary by many well meaning but misinformed sales people with little or no experience, so I highly doubt that much of the blame is yours.  As I mentioned earlier, your concerns about "pod explosions" and such indicate that both you and your fish would likely benefit if you stuck to undemanding, easily cared for species, and this is not singling you out in any way as incompetent, but rather is just a fact.>

Helpful Tip for feeding Lawnmower Blennies Just thought this info might help. <Thanks for this> Hey folks. I have some great news for those of you having problems feeding   your lawnmower blennies. New Life Products makes New Life SPECTRUM  Marine Fish Formula; sinking pellets. I purchased my first lawnmower  over a year ago and soon after realized he wasn't eating and I began to worry.  My daughter named him "Little Feller" I desperately searched the internet for an  answer. After reading many posts and articles and many failures in trying to get  him to eat, I about gave up. I even tried sanitizing some fresh algae from the  nearby fresh water pond placing tufts of the stuff bunched together with rubber  bands in the rocks, but nothing would work. I had temporarily ran out of Formula  1, so I was feeding the Spectrum for a few days until I could run out to the  fish shop. Within 2 days, the blenny started devouring the stuff. This was after  no eating for 2 weeks and I'd just about wrote him off. I felt so guilty that he  was suffering. Within a week he was fat as a hog. He recently bought the farm  after jumping out of the back of the tank. (SAD) I just purchased a new  lawnmower (Little Feller II) about a month ago. I was worried that my previous  success was just a fluke. By the 2nd day in the tank he was eating the Spectrum  just like my previous blenny. Just as a test, I tried Formula 1 and Formula 2  and he just spits them out after tasting them. But the Spectrum; He loves it!! I  hope this is helpful to anyone having feeding problems. <Am friends with the maker, Pablo Tepoot... and feed his foods to my African Cichlids... and have seen the Spectrum line fed to Moorish Idols, Parrotfishes, many other difficult-feeding fishes in public and private aquaria around the world... the food is to put it simply, amazing. Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower Blenny Addicted To Lettuce? Hi folks! <Scott F. here today!> Just a (hopefully) quick question here.  About a month ago, I acquired a great little lawnmower blenny (looks like a Salarias ceramensis from the pictures).  After a stint in the quarantine tank, I've added him to my main tank. <Good procedure! Here's a pat on the dorsal side for you!> For the first few days, he didn't eat, which worried me, but now he's taken off.  My question is this: I've been offering him food to supplement his diet of algae, but I can't seem to get him to eat anything other than romaine lettuce; I've offered him Nori, but he ignores it.  I know they were feeding him romaine at the FS, and I think that's just what he's used to, but I also know that "land food" just isn't as good for fish as other things he could be eating. <Right! Do encourage him to eat foods of marine origin.> Do you have any suggestions for weaning him off of the lettuce to something healthier? <If he's eating some sort of sheets of vegetable material, then a natural "transition" would be to use Nori, which is processed seaweed used for sushi or musubi (yum!). You can purchase it at any Asian market, or you can pay more (!)and get the kind packaged for aquarium use...> And if I can't get him to make the switch, is there anything I should do to increase the nutrient value of the lettuce, or types of lettuce that are better than others (I know iceberg is pretty much devoid of nutrient value, so none of that of course). Thanks for your help! Kirsten <I suppose that you could use Romaine or something with slightly higher nutritional value, but I'd really get him off of the lettuce ASAP. In fact, my "Lawnmower Blenny" has been with me for several years, and eats just about anything. In fact, when I first obtained him, he showed little interest in algae, and was more interested in frozen foods! Give him time and variety, and this little gourmet will come around! Bon apetit! Regards, Scott F>

Snail question. Mike, <Hi Nathan, MacL here.  I guess they sent you to me because you felt my advice to you in the past was erroneous.  I have to say I'm sorry but I stand by what I said to you. I feel and have seen lawnmower blenny's eat hair algae. <RMF has as well... many times, in the wild and captivity> You do have to watch closely and make sure all your fish are eating and getting enough to eat. ALWAYS. But I have a friend who has lawnmowers in his tank right now eating there way through a hair algae problem. Now he has cut his in the past cut his hair algae down or pulled some of it out to a shorter length to do this as well. But please accept my apologies if my advice didn't work for you.  On here we can ONLY speak from our own experiences.  I gave you mine.> Thanks for your advice on feeding fish and I agree completely. The only reason I was feeding flake was because I was on vacation, otherwise, I feed frozen food exclusively. <You might consider mixing up your food types simply because it provides your fish a wider range and larger selection of foods and therefore nutrition.>  I also disagree in that I think San Francisco Bay brand is garbage because Brine Shrimp or Artemia I think is the primary ingredient in everything they sell, but Ocean nutrition is a little better. <I think if you use brine shrimp in any form you really must supplement with vitamins of some kind.> I especially like their Pygmy Angel formula. The ingredients sound very good (algae, krill, shrimp, squid, etc..) and it is a good food for my herbivore tank (tang, flame and firefish).  I also used Fenner's recipe and made my own food which is more vegetarian based.  I buy that Mysid shrimp from that fresh water lake that is over 65% protein. I can't remember the name of the company who makes it.  My carnivores love it.  What about flake food with Zoe, Vita Chem or Selcon?  Does adding this to the food make it a decent food or still not very nutritious even with the vitamins added? <Adding the vitamins helps, the food does have some nutrition in it, in my experience but adding vitamins and trace elements always helps.> Anyway, my question is about snails. I have 5 turbo's in my 40. I need to get some Cerith or Nassarius, but have not had time.  Well, in the mornings I see very small snails about the size of an eraser head. At first there was only one or two 3-6 months ago, but this morning I counted 9! LOL. <Its possible you have snail hitchhikers but its also possible you have baby turbo snails. You might want to search the snail identification FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailfaq.htm> They only come out at night and have not gotten bigger than that. Are they bad? If so, how do I get rid of them aside from physically pulling them out? <As long as they aren't cone snails they should be okay in the tank.> I had Aiptasia and bought a peppermint who promptly ate it. I had bubble algae and bought a emerald crab who promptly ate it. <I've had bad person experiences with emerald crabs who have gone on that attack.> Is there a similar solution for these snails if they are bad?  Now, I want to say my reef tank is doing incredibly well.  I bought very small frags of Xenia and Yellow and I think Brown Polyps for 5 bucks each and I have fragged these onto three more rocks, each. I also got a couple red mushrooms free and have fragged them onto two more rocks.  I have almost no nuisance algae in the tank at all and none on the gravel. Water conditions are perfect.  <Define perfect? O of everything? Phosphates etc? >Thanks for the advice. <Anytime>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny <Hi, Mike D here> Some woman on your website recommended I get one so it is her fault he died.<OK. I'm surprised anyone would suggest a lawnmower blenny for hair algae as most won't eat it. Other macroalgae, yes, but hair algae has very few fish that enjoy it, the reason it's such a famous pest. Sadly, this is the eventual end to MANY Lawnmower blennies> I think her name began with an M. I told her I did not have a lot of hair algae in my tank, but she insisted I did and recommended I get a Lawn Mower Blenny and now he is dead, starved to death. Oh well, all my other fish are doing well, Twinspot Hog, Yellow Tang, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, Firefish and Chalk Bass. I am on vacation this week and they all eat flake food which is good.<Eventually you should try some raw shrimp (Grocery store variety NOT LFS type!) on your Hogfish and Chalk Bass...you'll be amazed at how well they like it> I have the tanks set up as a carnivore and herbivore tank to make feeding easier so Spirulina flake for one and seafood flake for the other. I intend on getting a Crosshatch or Blue Jaw Trigger and a Solomon's Fairy Wrasse and a couple Blue Chromises or maybe a Blue Tang or a baby Yellow-Bar Angel to round out my 40 gallon reef and 29 gallon fish only tanks. I am gonna place an order probably with LiveAquaria, but they never have all the fish I want in stock at the same time. I am moving next year and will upgrade to a 125 and 55.<I'd suggest holding off on other angels until well after the move. Many don't survive the change to a new tank. I'd also suggest improving your foods, as flake foods are often fine for small juveniles but larger hogfish, wrasses and sea bass need a substantially meaty diet to do very well, and again, many of the best foods DO NOT come from the LFS>  

Mystery Fish Update & Starving Blenny 5/21/04 Dear Bob or whoever is helpful today- <Anthony Calfo at your service> Mystery fish update: The mystery fish is growing quickly! It is over an inch now & is starting to get some color (black, white & red on the dorsal fin, red on the head & red on the caudal ventral fin) It is fun watching this little one grow & trying to figure out what it is. New question. I haven't been able to find a definitive answer so here is goes. Setup (running 6 mths): 55 gal, 90# CLR, 5" DSB, 5 gal refugium (macroalgae, bugs & 3 lettuce Nudibranchs), 1 gal refugium (with Aiptasia), protein skimmer, 2 percula clowns (probably false), 1 cleaner wrasse, 3 green Chromis, 1 Jeweled Blenny, 1 emerald crab, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp, 3 sand sifting stars, 1 brittle star, 1 Halloween crab, asst. snails & hermits, 1 rock anemone, 1 Condylactis, 1 leather soft coral & 2 clumps of Anthelia.  When I purchased my Blenny from the LFS he was fat, now he is very skinny. I asked the LFS what to feed him & they suggested "Seaweed Selects Brown Marine Algae" (dried). I purchased a little clip to hang it on the tank. The big turbo snails go bonkers for the stuff, but Blenny doesn't touch it. <I can only assume you are referring to Salarias fasciatus without another scientific name provided, if so... they need a remarkable amount of microalgae. Large tanks with established films of green microalgae or young hair algae (like Derbesia). Spirulina based foods may help here. Really a matter of putting this fish in the right tank for it> I've also attached different types of macroalgae to the tank with the same results.  <they do not eat macroalgae or plants my friend> I've been trying this for about 10 days now & there is no interest in Blenny's part. I'm very concerned that my fish is going to starve to death.  <yes... although the fish can be hardy and long-lived, it will not be so if the tank is immature or too small (not enough microalgae growth)> Do you have ANY suggestions of what I can entice it with to eat. It is certainly hungry because it kisses the glass & rocks all day long looking for scraps of algae. <exactly> I'm driving to "the big city" tomorrow where there are larger LFS's & may provide a larger variety of food items for Blenny. Please send me some direction before my fish dies. Sincerely - Jennifer  <sigh... the problem here is that you bought/were sold the wrong fish... or the right fish for the wrong tank <G>. They do not fare well long term by target feeding. It really is as simple as needing a large tank that naturally grows a lot of microalgae. The fish may need to be traded away for best chance at survival. Anthony>

-Starving Blenny- I sent this yesterday to crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com I haven't heard back so I'm sending it to this address hoping for assistance. <Unfortunately we're a little short staffed because of Interzoo, please only send once.> Thanks Dear Bob or whoever is helpful today- <Kevin here, hope to be helpful!> Mystery fish update: The mystery fish is growing quickly!  It is over an inch now & is starting to get some color (black, white & red on the dorsal fin, red on the head & red on the caudal ventral fin)  It is fun watching this little one grow & trying to figure out what it is. <Sounds cool!> New question.  I haven't been able to find a definitive answer so here is goes.  Setup (running 6 mths): 55 gal, 90# CLR, 5" DSB, 5 gal refugium (macroalgae, bugs & 3 lettuce Nudibranchs), 1 gal refugium (with Aiptasia), protein skimmer, 2 percula clowns (probably false), 1 cleaner wrasse <yikes, in the future please don't support the continued import of these critters since most don't survive for very long in captivity.>, 3 green Chromis, 1 Jeweled Blenny, 1 emerald crab, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp, 3 sand sifting stars, 1 brittle star, 1 Halloween crab, asst snails & hermits, 1 rock anemone, 1 Condylactis, 1 leather soft coral & 2 clumps of Xenias.   When I purchased my Blenny from the LFS he was fat, now he is very skinny.  I asked the LFS what to feed him & they suggested "Seaweed Selects Brown Marine Algae" (dried).  I purchased a little clip to hang it on the tank.  The big turbo snails go bonkers for the stuff, but Blenny doesn't touch it. <If it's the same algae eating blenny I'm thinking of, they require almost constant feeding to keep up their weight.> I've also attached different types of macroalgae to the tank with the same results.  I've been trying this for about 10 days now & there is no interest in Blenny's part.  I'm very concerned that my fish is going to starve to death.  Do you have ANY suggestions of what I can entice it with to eat. <These critters are more of green algae eaters, so I would select the dried seaweed appropriately. If the fish is really that skinny, it may be wise to move it to your refugium in hopes that he will take a liking to some of the greenery in there. If you choose to leave it in the main tank, I would move seaweed eating snails out so the blenny can feast without bother. This fish should also eat from the water column with the other fish in the tank, and if it does, do your best to stuff it full of whatever you can get it to eat. You may want to try breaking up the dried seaweed and feed it like flake food.> It is certainly hungry because it kisses the glass & rocks all day long looking for scraps of algae. <See if your LFS has a rock covered in hair algae or the like, I'm sure the blenny would be very pleased.> I'm driving to "the big city" this afternoon where there are larger LFS's & may provide a larger variety of food items for Blenny.  Please send me some direction before my fish dies. Sincerely - Jennifer BTW, I did hang some rinsed lettuce in the tank last night & no one touched it. <Avoid the terrestrial foods in favor of dried seaweeds, they're much better for them and natural to boot. I hope this helps, -Kevin>  Blenny had gone to bed already so maybe she will be more excited about it today.

Lawnmower blenny starving I purchased a lawnmower blenny 5 weeks ago.  He will only eat algae off the sides of the tank and off the live rock.  His favorite seemed to be brown diatoms algae.  Now the tank is algae free and he has nothing to eat.  He is very thin now, and I can see his bones.  I've tried Spirulina flakes, romaine lettuce, frozen brine shrimp, Nori.  He is not even interested in the food, he lets it float right by him.  I tried sinking pellets, but the hermit crabs run off and eat it all up.  Is there something that I could smear on the glass? I have a 2 month old 29 gallon FOWLR, 27 lbs live rock, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite all at zero, Aqua C skimmer, penguin bio wheel filtration, and 2 clownfish (who eat like pigs).  Any suggestions would be appreciated, the poor guy is starving!<I would try feeding him Caulerpa and/or Nori...Caulerpa can be purchased at your LFS and Nori you can purchase from an Oriental food store. Good Luck, IanB>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny I just got a new lawnmower blenny. What would you suggest feeding it? he is uninterested in Nori so far, but I have only had him for two days. Thank you for any help!! <Well, these fishes are pretty good consumers of microalgae, but they will certainly eat other foods. In fact, my specimen probably eats more frozen foods than algae! Try a variety of prepared foods, with an emphasis on vegetable matter. If you don't have sufficient algae in the tank to help sustain this fish, you could purchase a couple of algae covered rocks and place them in his tank. This will help supplement whatever else you're feeding him. Enjoy this little guy! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding The Lawnmower (Blenny) Hello, thanks for a great site, fun reading other peoples questions and your answers. I have a 75 gal, 4 month old system, wet/dry, Protein skimmer, UV, and Eheim bio canister all my fish are doing great, Copperband, Tang, Tasseled file, Picasso and 10 other various Damsels, a lot of fish.. <Wow- larger tank down the line, I hope...?> Anyway, my Lawnmower Blenny keeps the tank very clean, it has never taken to  eating any other food that the fish eats, it only eats the brown algae. Is it possible to get him to eat anything else? <It can and will munch on other foodstuffs...In fact, mine seems to have adapted so well to prepared foods- that he shows little interest in algae any more!> I am hoping he does not eat its self out of food. Thanks ahead of time for any suggestions of food ...Tony, Natick, Mass. <I'd encourage it to eat a variety of frozen foods, such as Mysis, "formula" foods, etc....he'll get used to them in time, believe me! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny  thank you so much for your help!!<Thank you for writing!> I was told ocean nutrition formula 2 is good.  should I add garlic or Selcon?  <This food would be good as it is made of mostly algae.  I would add Selcon instead of garlic (garlic is mainly for repelling parasites).  Cody>

Feeding a Lawnmower Blenny (Pt. 2) Thank you so much for your help!! I was told Ocean Nutrition Formula 2 is good. Should I add garlic or Selcon? <Either additive to food is acceptable and beneficial to these, and other fishes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning their use. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Starving Lawnmower Blenny? Greetings once again Crew, After an exhaustive search on Lawnmower Blennies (Salarias Fasciatus) on your site, I couldn't find much in "ideal" conditions for a tank for his eating habits. I have a LMB ( about 4.5 inches ) in my 54 Gallon Reef ( 60 lbs LR, 80 Lbs LS ). I watch him eat and even "crap" all over the place, but in the past month or so, he has looked thinner to me than normal, despite his usual activity. I don't really have any kind of algae problem, and the only thing in my tank that may eat algae are 13 scarlet reef hermits and/or 12 Nassarius snails. Is it actually possible to "not have enough of an algae problem?" My tank is just about 4 months old, and if there is such a thing as not enough algae, are there certain conditions that need to be present for the Lawnmower Blenny to eat plentily? Thanks in advance for any advice. Cheers, and keep up the great work!  Rao    <It's possible to have algae overgrazed by other cleaners and starve some. You should try to get this fish eating regular fish food or give him much more habitat.  Feeding is your best option.  Craig>

Lawn Mower Blenny Diet, and No Mercy..  12/5/05 Hi Guys/Gals, <Hey, Adam J with you tonight.> I have been reading the different, excellent articles provided on WWM regarding lawnmower blennies. I believe I know what your suggestions might be. I still have to ask because it will make me feel better. <I understand.> I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank, specific gravity: 1.022 (low, I know) Ammonia: 0, Nitrite:0, Nitrates: 0, PH: 8.2, Phosphates: 0, Temp 78. The only other inhabitants is a 1.5 inch maroon clownfish. I have not seen any aggressive behavior. <Yet, keep an eye out'¦adult maroons can get quite nasty.> The blenny has been in the tank for about 2 weeks. He has rapidly gone through the algae in the tank, <Well honestly, in the future, while it can be difficult for a species such as the lawnmower blenny, I prefer to make sure they are eating prepared foods during quarantine before introduction into the display. While I understand there is natural algae in the display for the animal to feed on its much easier to monitor eating habits in a smaller area without the intrusion of other livestock, not to mention disease transfer.> though there seems to be plenty left to feed him. I am attempting to wean him onto other prepared foods, Caulerpa, etc. <My lawnmower blenny loves many of the wonderful prepared foods available from Ocean Nutrition such as Spirulina and Formula 2 (Frozen, flake and pellet version). Dried Nori soaked in a nutritional supplement such as Selcon is also very nutritious and while this animal is an herbivore they do appreciate meaty foods such as krill and Mysis shrimp as well.> Since his arrival into the main display, the blenny has had very rapid gill movement. This rapid breathing has seemingly increased the past few days. He is still swimming around, eating and perching on the rocks.  <Sounds like normal behavior.> Like the dad that I am, I have started worrying about the many different diseases that blennies can succumb to. My thoughts are to maintain good water chemistry, keep up with water changes (I change 5 gallons weekly)...and just watch him. Any other ideas? <Just provide a varied diet and keep an eye on aggression.> I do have a QT/hospital tank available to set up. Thanks All, <Welcome, Adam J.> PS. Marina, be nice if I have made any errors. I checked! I promise! <Hey if she doesn't spare me you're not getting any special treatment! Hehe.>  <<As long as you try.. but if you're in school I figure you should know anyway, yeah? <wink wink>  Marina>>

'Not so' Odd Lawnmower Blenny - 4/11/2006 Hey all, <<Hi Aaron.>> I have a question concerning my lawnmower blenny. He is now established in my tank and sits on a perch in plain sight in the daylight. When I first got the blenny it would pick at rocks for algae. It has now given up at that and now fights my 2 perculas and royal Gramma for food. Will he eventually get sick since this fish is meant to be an herbivore? Thanks, Aaron <<Many of this species move to meaty foods as they age in aquaria.  It is common, and is posted on WWM.  Lisa.>>

Lawnmower, Blenny that is, Diet  - 05/10/2006 Hello, <Hi.> I have done some research on this website about the Lawnmower Blenny's diet, but can't find out what type of algae these guys prefer.   <In my experience they will eat whatever algae is available though they prefer what is easier..."less" thick algae...filamentous algae and such.> I have all sorts of algae in my tank.  I purposely don't clean the glass on the back and side of the tank so he can eat. <I leave a patch for my specimen as well.> I notice him eating the film algae.  Does he eat any other type of algae? <I feed mine Caulerpa, though he seems to just pick at it. He love Gracilaria, Nori and Botryocladia.> He goes through stages of being really fat and really skinny, with no noticeable increase or decrease in the algae available.  I guess all I am asking is, what is the preferred diet of this species? <Supplement with some fried Nori, ocean nutrition formula two, spectrum flake food and Spirulina.> Thanks. <Anytime.> Kurtis Schubeck <Adam J.>

Conflicting Lawnmower Blenny Diet Information 6/6/07 Hi, I've been a longtime reader of your site and am always impressed with the sheer volume of information available. I've been planning on picking up a lawnmower blenny. One part because I enjoy the fish, and the other reason is for slight hair algae grooming. However I've come across some conflicting information on your website about their diet that have left me slightly confused. In one reply from Mike D I've seen : <I><OK. I'm surprised anyone would suggest a lawnmower blenny for hair algae as most won't eat it. Other macroalgae, yes, but hair algae has very few fish that enjoy it, the reason it's such a famous pest. Sadly, this is the eventual end to MANY Lawnmower blennies> </I> In other replies I've seen from Bob F : <I> Regarding the hair algae, if the system is 55 or more gallons do consider getting a Lawnmower Blenny... a fabulous green filamentous scraper... only one, because this is about all they eat.</I> Now is it slightly possible a Lawnmower Blenny won't eat hair at all, or is it more of a 50/50 gamble? I want to know how much I should initially supplement for its diet if there's a chance it won't find any of my greens appetizing. With thanks and respect, Craig R <Heeee! Well, being one of the two... I will re-state that I've seen these genera (Salarias, Atrosalarias) feed on what appears to be almost exclusively "hair algae" (a pretty vague term) in the wild... AND in captivity. I do suspect that these species will/would consume other morphological types of palatable algae in both settings... but that the latter are absent in their territories on the reef... possibly from consumption! And further will state that filamentous alga of a few Divisions, including Cyanophyceans, Chlorophytes, others... are likely NOT palatable to these fishes... and hence not likely to be consumed in confined or wild environs. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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