FAQs on Dartfish Selection
Microdesmidae, the Worm- and Dartfishes by Robert Fenner and
Related FAQs: Dartfish
1, Dartfish 2, Dartfish Identification, Dartfish Behavior, Dartfish Compatibility, Dartfish Systems, Dartfish Feeding, Dartfish Disease, Dartfish Reproduction,
Keep in mind the compatibility of other, esp.
Mixing Social Dartfish Species, and Serranus et al. stkg.,
Good Morning and hope everyone is having a Happy New Year. I have a
75 gallon with a 40 gallon display sump/refugium that
currently has no inhabitants. I want to mix species of Ptereleotris
zebra and Ptereleotris heteroptera. I know both are social species but
unsure if the can be mixed and if they can how many of each would be
ideal in this setting?
<Mmm; t'were it me/mine, I'd just go w/ one species here... likely five
individuals. You could mix three of each, but it wouldn't make for as
interesting (to/for me) a display>
I would like 3-7 of each and would probably add Ptereleotris heteroptera
first and let them settle in as they seem more skittish than
Ptereleotris zebra, unless you think they should be added together? I
was thinking of rock pile on left side and right side with sparse rubble
in between. The rubble was intended for 3-4 Serranus tortugarum
<Unless they are/were very small (a couple inches); I would only
add/have one Serranus specimen here. This is a four foot long tank I
which I may not add with the Dartfish although I think they should leave
the Dartfish alone. Fishbase states they can be found in groups and I
have seen them in groups of 4 on divers den.
<Mmm; as adults all Serranus I've encountered in the TWA and E. Pac. are
solitary or in apparent "pairs"; can be found when very small in
few-numbered groupings... DO fight when encountering others in the wild.
Am out dive-traveling in Roatan... see these daily.>
I am also intending to temporarily divide into 3 sections with egg crate
and stitching canvas in an attempt to allow the fish to settle in and
encourage them to take up residence in the intended areas, not sure if
will be successful.
<Good technique; description>
Provided you give the ok should the Dartfish species be separated or
will the 2 species co mingle as 1 group and should they be placed in the
<You could just as well add all at once sans the barricade; again, a
single species would be my choice here>
Other possible inhabitants would be a pair of Pterapogon kauderni or
Opistognathus aurifrons, one of the shrimp gobies, and/or pair of the
Indigo Dottyback which ORA states is rather peaceful and does well in
<Mmm; all are fair choices, but no to mixing, having more than one
Dottyback here... about the same situation as Serranus>
If I went with the Dottybacks I would encourage them to take up
residence on the opposite side of the tank. The dart fish are my
priority and would like to keep with peaceful fish. Interested in your
<You have them>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mixing Social Dartfish Species 1/4/19
Thanks for the quick response Bob! I will probably just go with
The idea was to have the 2 species of Dartfish function as 1 group with
Ptereleotris zebra hopefully encouraging Ptereleotris heteroptera to
come out more and would add a splash of color. I will forgo
Serranus tortugarum and the Indigo Dottyback in this situation and yes
the tank is 4ft. I have a 6ft 125 gallon that I may try 3-4 Serranus
tortugarum and a bonded pair of Indigo Dottyback in if you think that
would be better?
<Yes; the longer, larger, the better>
Could a shrimp/goby pair and a bonded pair of Opistognathus aurifrons co
exist in this setting, especially since I will attempt to separate them
on opposite sides.
<Yes; likely so. I'd give both a couple each options of short lengths (a
few inches) of 1/2 or 3/4" PVC pipe sections stuck at an angle in the
I want to try filling the different niches of the aquarium without
overcrowding psychologically as biologically I think I would be ok with
strong filtration, diligent husbandry, and 40gallon refuge. Pterapogon
kauderni should occupy the top, the Jawfish and/or the shrimp goby pair
will occupy the sand, and the Dartfish should occupy lower rock
work/sand. I have a nice cave just above the middle of the rock work
that I would like to try either Gramma loreto or maybe Pseudochromis
fridmani for the cave
area but that would be on the same side as the Dartfish. To fill in the
open water would 1 male and 2-3 females of one of the smaller
flasher/fairy wrasses and/or Anthias be a good idea?
<Yes; in time. I'd wait a few months (2-3) before adding these>
If all is a go my stocking list would go like this: 5-6 between
Ptereleotris zebra/heteroptera or just Ptereleotris zebra added all at
once, bonded pair of Pterapogon kauderni added at the same time as the
Dartfish separated by egg crate, shrimp/goby pair on same side as
Dartfish with a bonded pair of Opistognathus aurifrons on the opposite
side added together but after the Dartfish, next would be Gramma loreto
or Pseudochromis fridmani on the same side as the Dartfish and 1 male
and 2-3 females of one of the smaller flasher/fairy wrasses and/or
Anthias on the opposite side. This would be it. Sound feasible?
I have other tanks I could separate into if something doesn't work out
Thanks again Jason!
<Welcome Jas. BobF>
Re: Mixing Social Dartfish Species 1/11/19
Thanks Bob for your response. I appreciate what you and others on your
site do to help everyone out. I will put some pvc on both ends of the
tank as suggested and at an angle sticking out of the sand a little.
<Ah, good. Really helps to ease introduction, reduce stress. These
animals do/will move elsewhere in time... esp. if you provide them with
areas/mixed rubble substrate for burrowing (integrity)>
When eventually introducing the shrimp/goby and Jawfish is it better to
release them through a larger pipe directed at the pvc in the sand or
just release them on their respective sides of the tank?
<The latter... will cruise about, suit themselves>
I have been reading on your site and on the net that sometimes the
shrimp/gobies will rent out space in their burrow to Ptereleotris zebra
and was wondering if there was a particular species that this is more
likely to occur with or just as likely with all the shrimp/gobies found
in their neck of the woods, as it would be interesting to witness this
in the tank, and I really like Amblyeleotris aurora, Amblyeleotris
wheeleri, Stonogobiops yasha, and Cryptocentrus leptocephalus, if one of
these would be ok?
<Mmm; any/all are worth trying. Such "companion" sorting is a matter of
Divers Den on Live Aquaria occasionally has Amblyeleotris aurora
available as a bonded pair and with a snapping shrimp. What are the odds
of adding a second shrimp to the above combo that it would be accepted,
as I have sometimes seen a pair of shrimps and a pair of gobies
<Mmm; a bit more than fifty percent>
I haven't checked but, I will after sending this, could a shrimp/goby
combo be ok in a bare bottom quarantine tank with pvc until being moved
into the display tank?
<Yes... I would put a few lengths in... three, five... inches long,
capped (just pushed on; no need for solventing) on one end>
I have a couple more questions, sorry for the long email but I want to
try and ask everything related to the tank at one time. Have you ever
witnessed the Caribbean snapping shrimp, Alpheus armatus, share a burrow
with Opistognathus aurifrons or vice versa?
<I have not; nor heard, read of this>
Same question but with regards to any of the Caribbean gobies?
<Again; never encountered, first or second hand. Alpheus armatus may
kill errant fishes... Do you intend to stock the tank w/ the anemone
it's usually found in association w/? Bartholomea annulata>
I bought 5 Cirrhilabrus lubbocki for this tank that currently resides in
a 55 gallon tank that contains 1 large piece of live rock, 4 pvc elbows
with which to hide, and 15 gallon sump with live rock rubble. This tank
has been up and running for over a year which I'm using as a quarantine
tank and they will stay there for several months until the appropriate
time to add to the display tank. I got them at a ridiculously low price
but they look like they're all male or sub adult not females. Maybe I'm
wrong because I see zero aggression, although 4 generally stay to one
side and the other by itself near the liverock although all 5 will be
found together. I picked this species because it is beautiful, hardy,
easy going, stays small, and
plays well with others of its own kind including males from what I
gather, at least when I see pictures online they all look male.
<Can, do change....>
On to my question, would 1 male or sub adult and 2 females of
Pseudanthias parvirostris do well in this setup, behaviorally.
Sub adults can not be added to the same tank together as I believe they
are already changing to male, correct?
<Sub adults, juveniles, initial phase/females may all be housed
together, GIVEN sufficient habitat/space>
I can't find much info about them other than they are one of the smaller
species, come from deeper waters, and are medium difficulty. I could
leave the fairy wrasse out or reduce there numbers by splitting them in
separate tanks if need be plus I still have additional tanks to move
them to if it doesn't work out. Thanks in advance for reading and
responding to this rather long email. I definitely owe you a beer or 2
next time you are in Central Florida. Jason
<Beer, yesssss. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mixing Social Dartfish Species 1/11/19
Thanks Bob! I will do as suggested when releasing the shrimps, gobies,
and Jawfish. Would taking a hammer to some live rock rubble be
sufficient for them to secure there burrows?
<... not Jawfishes, nor Alpheid shrimps, but drilling large-enough holes
or finding, using rocks that have them are useful for some Microdesmids>
I was thinking I would take some Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico live sand,
crushed coral and sea shells, and the hammered rubble and mix to a depth
of 4 inches for the shrimp gobies sloped to about 6 inches for the
Jawfish as they like deeper sand beds.
When I find the shrimp/goby pair I want I will quarantine them with
various lengths of pipe capped on 1 end without solvent in a bare bottom
tank. You gave "a bit more than fifty percent chance" of pairing the
shrimp together. Is it better to try this during quarantine where it is
easier to separate and is there a particular species of shrimp which
give a greater chance of success?
<Mmm; no. Better in a full-size system; more space>
Alpheus randalli seems to be the most commonly offered pistol shrimp. I
had no intentions of adding Alpheus armatus nor Bartholomea annulata to
this setup unless the shrimp had a reasonable chance of pairing with the
Jawfish but you confirmed what I already suspected. I have read of these
two being found together and have considered setting up a ten gallon
with a 4inch sand bed, mated pair of Alpheus armatus, Bartholomea
annulata, large piece of liverock, and some Halimeda.
<Have not encountered A. armatus collected or sold in such pairs...
Opistognathus aurifrons needs more room; though I note you didn't
include them in your mention>
This is based off some research paper I read several years ago. In the
same paper it stated that Condylactis gigantea is sometimes found
hosting Stenorhynchus seticornis and Malacoctenus boehlkei, although not
at the same time. I need to try and find the paper but seems to me they
found on occasion Condylactis gigantea hosting Malacoctenus boehlkei and
Thor amboinensis within the tentacles
<This last, "Sexy Shrimp" for sure>
and Alpheus armatus under the anemone all with the same anemone. Have
you heard or seen this?
<Have not found the Alpheid in such symbiosis... and have looked,
thousands of times>
I have never seen Malacoctenus boehlkei for sale and the local
collectors I have spoken to have not seen them but would love to try
this as I love pairings you don't see everyday. Thanks Jason
<I too have been querulous re the lack of collection, sale of
Malacoctenus spp. out of the trop. W. Atlantic.... They are relatively
abundant in some places, times... Esp. the upper Caribbean. Not easy to
catch, but if enough folks asked for them... BobF>
Re: Mixing Social Dartfish Species 1/11/19
Maybe I misunderstood you with regards to the fish burrows. You said
"Ah, good. Really helps to ease introduction, reduce stress. These
animals do/will move elsewhere in time... esp. if you provide them with
areas/mixed rubble substrate for burrowing (integrity)". I thought you
were referencing the shrimp/goby pair and Jawfish, not the Dartfish.
<... the holes in rock though are only suitable/useful for some Dartfish
The rocks on the side where the Dartfish are going should have plenty of
nooks and crannies for them. The Jawfish are going in the 75 gallon not
the 10 gallon. Sorry for the confusion. The 10 gallon is for the Alpheus
armatus and Bartholomea annulata biotope as that should be sufficient
for just those two species. Kp Aquatics has the mated pair of Alpheus
armatus but I don't know if I have ever seen it in stock. I could be
wrong about the shrimp and Condylactis gigantea living together, I was
going off of
memory. I feel like Caribbean live stock in general is under utilized,
with few exceptions. Thanks Jason
<Thank you for sharing Jas. BobF>
Re: Mixing Social Dartfish Species 1/11/19
Thanks for everything Bob. I found the research paper at
bbean_sea_anemones_and_symbiotic_crustaceans. I was wrong about the
snapping shrimp as it was Mithraculus cinctimanus that I was thinking
The list all the different symbiotes for 3 different species of
Caribbean anemones. Have a good night! Jason
<Ah yes; thank you. BobF>
Multiple schools of Dartfish in a 120g tank
Hello WWM Crew,
I would like to have your advise <advice> for keeping multiple small schools of
different species of Dartfish in a 120 gallon mixed reef tank, with the support
of a refugium for food.
<Ahh! Can be done... has been. And a functioning, good-sized 'fuge is very
(The tank is not set up yet. I moved, leaving a 75g in storage because I got the
120g, but because I haven't had time to build a stand, am still stuck in a crazy
combo of a 16g high and a 16g bow plumbed together to a 20g sump, plus a
separate 12g AquaPod, all of which are crammed with live rock from the 75g).
I had a half dozen Nemateleotris Magnifica in my 75 gallon tank for about half a
year, with a pair of N. Decora, and I am happy to be able to say that there was
no fighting among all these Firefish (ultimately they were lost because some
carpet surfed, a couple explored the plumbing, and a couple were lost in a tank
crash). I planned very carefully for those fish and had to plan for potential
future aggression before adding them, by re-arranging the rockwork to break up
lines of sight and ensure lots of potential dart holes. When one of the N.
Decora vanished, the N. Magnifica group adopted its living companion and they
shared the same rock space together. I think somewhere on WWM there is probably
a post about my Firefish group experiment.
I would like to have a small school (6 or 7) of N. Magnifica, with a small
school of either P. Evides or P. Heteroptera. Craziness makes me want also just
a pair of N. Decora for the color, but it may be just too much (I really want a
Fridmani Dottyback for color, but I've already tried that with a Firefish and it
was the only time I ever saw aggression from that ordinarily peaceful species of
Dottyback... not trying that combo ever again).
<Some Pseudochromids are far more/less territorial; but I too would not mix
I have had individual P. Evides before with Firefish, but not a group. My
experience with that fish is very limited, as it carpet surfed within a couple
months (please don't rename my inquiry "Dartfish cover-up" - I will make sure
there are no little gaps next time).
<Good. The family's members are escape artists>
Many years ago, I had a couple P. Heteroptera, but they hid to starvation,
probably because they were in a 65g (only 3 feet long) with an aggressive pair
of mature tomato clowns (stupid noob mistake). I think if I have them in a group
without those beasts for tankmates, they should be OK. I love they way they
shimmer and change color in the lights and shadows.
The only fish I already have, are a pair of ocellaris clowns in the 16g bow, and
two yellow-tail damsels in the 12g Aquapod. The clowns are definitely going in
the 120 (they are my buddies, swim in and out of my hand, one of them will
neglect food floating in the tank if my hand is there, and I can pet them).
My thought is that the yellow-tails will have to be left out. I feel like they
would probably be OK with N. Magnifica, but not with P. Heteroptera.
Not sure about P. Evides.
The only definite planned fish besides the clowns is a future yellow Zebrasoma
tang, as that has always been my favorite fish (my favorite color, happy
sunshine yellow; sappy sentiment, but at least I don't name my fish. Anything
other future fish is/are dependent on whether or not I decide to do the Dartfish
Thanks for your advise and suggestions!
Sincerely, Forrest M. , 9-year WAMAS member
<I think you should be fine here. The evides, heteroptera WILL stay together as
a group... likely leaving space for the others in a 120. Bob Fenner>
Re: Multiple schools of Dartfish in a 120g tank
Thanks for the fast response, Bob. I want to add that I am going to try to find
a way to create a higher level section in the tank capable of retaining a sand
cover and small rock structures for bolt holes, to create greater livable
surface space for these fish (illusion of having a bigger tank).
<Ah yes; I/we should mention that evides and heteroptera live in rubble/sand
caves in groups>
I've been wanting to do it for years, but didn't have a wide enough tank; I
think with 2 feet of width, I can fit something in somehow. I know from
experience, that Firefish will not usually go to holes that are all rock, and am
assuming the others won't either.
<Yes; this has been my experience>
I could use some ideas on how to create such a structure, though I'm guessing
that unless it is really deep, I'm going to be replacing sand in it frequently.
<You could put small chemically inert trays... glass or plastic with a mix of
substrate... I'd place some 3/4 or 1" PVC pipe and elbow combo/s... within it...
and periodically lift these out if you wanted to clean them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Multiple schools of Dartfish in a 120g tank
Trying to figure out this Dartfish loft and placement has created
another question, because the tank has closed loop holes in the central back
I was thinking I could avoid that area by making two smaller lofts, but now am
wondering if I should even use the closed loop with all the Dartfish, or perhaps
use a somewhat low flow pump (not sure what size). (The previous owner of this
tank capped the holes, so I was going to replace the bulkheads if I decided to
use a closed loop; I hate power heads).
<Better to use internal pumps then divert so much flow outside the system>
As always, thanks for your advice!
Do you think adding a Firefish to a 75 with an established Flagtail
Blanquillo could/would be an issue?
<Likely not... but study re the species you have in mind... some do poorly
Also, do you think my comet would eat it?
He's about 6" long and ate my clownfish about a year ago. I was shocked to say
Re: Compatibility 5/28/15
Hmm, I just read on Live Aquaria that Firefish should only be kept/introduced as
a mated pair or else they will fight one another.? I have a purple in QT right
<Some species are better kept as duos or in a group. Don't write w/o
reading first. The one mentioned is fine solo>
What do ya think?
Re: Compatibility 5/28/15
Sorry, you're right...
<Am not sorry>
Re: Compatibility 5/28/15
I'm so sorry if you took offense to any part of my email.
I totally agree, I should have researched that specific species before posting
my question. I really value your input...as always, thanks for the advice and
corals and/or herbivores. Marine algae concern, approaches;
and Microdesmid stkg.
I have a 180 gallon (acrylic) saltwater tank that I started 8 months ago.
Equipment includes: In tank refugium (4 inches false back/ 30 ish gallons?) with
600 gph pump and a Fluval 401 canister filter (carbon/ mechanical filtration) to
pull water through it (takes water from top of water column), Aqua C Pro skimmer
in refugium, 2 600gph Koralia and 1 3200gph Koralia powerhead for circulation in
display, 6 blue and 12 cool white 1 watt LEDs from Osmium to light display and
20 cool white 1 watt LEDs to light refugium (reverse daylight).
Inhabitants: Powder blue tang (4"), yellow tang (4"), Kole tang (4"), male
Banggai Cardinal (2.5"), Firefish (2"), Flame Angel (3"), Flame Angel (2"), a
Frogspawn coral (single head frag), Amphipods, and cyanobacteria (small amount
of red and large amount of green hair). The Cardinal fish and Frog spawn coral
were placed in the tank 6 months ago and the rest of the inhabitants were
introduced 4 months ago. Feed 1/3 cube frozen Spirulina enriched brine shrimp,
or Mysis shrimp, or Emerald Entrée once daily on a rotating basis and small fish
Spectrum mixed with omega veggie pellets from an automatic fish feeder twice
daily. Once a week 1/4 cube of frozen Cyclopeeze is fed at noon as a treat for
the Frog spawn coral and Firefish. Fish are doing well, though there are daily
displays of aggression between them (and not just tang to tang). But all stay
out and about with the exception of the Firefish which only comes out when food
is due to enter the tank.
<Most aquarium species of Microdesmids live "in twos"; other species in small
groups. Never singly. See WWM re>
Water chemistry: temperature 78degF, water density 1.026, O2 8.0 (Salifert), pH
closer to 8.3 than 8.0 and consistent day and night (8.2?, Salifert), NO3 less
than 0.2ppm (Salifert), PO4 less than 0.03ppm (Salifert), dKH 10.9 (Salifert),
Ca++ 400ppm (API), and Mg++ 1470 ppm (Salifert).
Trouble started: When setting up the tank I included macro algae (Indo Pacific,
Gracilaria and Ulva) for the refugium as part of their 9 for $99 deal. The
result was the slow demise (and I presume release of nutrients) of the macro
algae. Months later (2 months ago) I tried the same macro algae species again
(this time with more water flow in the refugium) with the same results. During
these periods PO4 climbed (to 0.1ppm the first attempt and 0.03ppm the second)
and NO3 climbed (to 10ppm the first attempt and 5 ppm the second). Now these
nutrients are all but undetectable as they are in equilibrium with the
cyanobacteria, or so I presume.
Plan/ your opinion: To control the algae I was planning on adding 20 Pacific
Nerite snails, 10 Pacific Turbo snails, and 8 encrusting type SPS corals.
My thinking was the herbivores would help tip the competition for nutrients in
favor of the corals (at least in the display). Would this be the best approach?
<I'd also utilize a modicum of GAC and PolyFilter... There are other
approaches... but I'd try these two first>
I could put another skimmer in the display tank but when it was running it was
producing very little skimmate (Tunze Comeline 901) and was a real eyesore in
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: corals and/or herbivores
Thanks, Bob. I had just started adding carbon to the canister filter last week
and will add a PolyFilter.
Also, I will add 2 friends for the single Firefish (will be a much more
interesting display, for some reason I had the impression there could be intra
species aggression with these).
<There can be. What/which species is this?>
Re: corals and/or herbivores
It is Nemateleotris magnifica.
<Mmm, then just two... I'd remove one unless one or two are very small (under
three inches total length)>
Sorry about that, I should know that common names are not very specific. I see
by your response to Brad Chymist on 3/10/13 that this species can be kept in
groups. I missed that one when doing previous searches (I must have searched
using common name and not taxonomic name).
<Ahh, no worries. Thank you for the follow up. BobF>
Nemateleotris magnifica, stkg./sel., comp.
What are your thoughts on a group of 5-7 of these in a 210gal with
~300lbs of Live rock forming lots of caves?
<As long as there aren't other fish and invert. species that cause these
Microdesmids trouble, I think you'll have a fab display amongst them in
this setting. Bob Fenner>
Zebra Bar Dartfish, stkg. 1/6/12
Hello Everyone. I have a question regarding my Zebra Bar Dartfish. I had
<Live in larger groups/numbers in the wild>
in the tank as of yesterday and I was doing maintenance as well as a
water change. You guessed it, one jumped out when I was carting water
between the tank and the kitchen.
I found the deceased on the floor this evening, a shell of his former
self. My question is, can the survivor, he/she live okay by themselves?
<Not likely long or well, no>
I read that they should be kept in pairs or 3 or more in odd number
multiples, if added together. I would be adding 1 or 2 more to one that
is already there. Will this cause a problem?
<Not likely; no>
I have a 50 gallon tank and a 20 gallon sump. My fish consist of a pair of
Banggai Cardinals, Ocellaris Clown, McCosker's Wrasse, Royal Gramma and
my lone Zebra Bar Dartfish. I have 60 pounds of Liverock and a bunch of
corals and inverts. I also read on WWM, that they don't get along with
but mine seem to get along fine, my royal Gramma is pretty timid, doesn't
anybody. Thank You in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re Zebra Bar Dartfish; stkg. 1/6/13
Dear Bob, I wrote you regarding my Zebra Bar Dartfish and that I was
down to one.
<Ah yes; I recall>
I went to my LFS and purchased 3 more. I acclimated them and it was
funny to watch as they did their threat display to the one that was
already there as he did to them. A few minutes went by and they all
relaxed and all started swimming around in a group. My McCosker's Wrasse
and Royal Gramma checked out the new arrivals and then went about their
merry way. I am glad I wrote you and asked your advice and now all seem
to be happy now, and I will watch my tank covers more carefully from now
on. Thank You for your advice.
Firefish Nemateleotris magnifica Stocking &
Thank you all for past advice and for future guidance, as it is always
I have a stocking question on Firefish. I would like to tell you
my tank setup and then give a few scenarios. I have read, even on
this site, many contradicting opinions (gasp) on how many can/should
I have a 55 gallon aquarium, with 60+ pounds live rock, 4” sand bed, 10
mushrooms, 1 toadstool, 2 Ocellaris Clownfish, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1
urchin, 1 brittle starfish, several snails and blue leg hermit crabs, a
large canister filter with UV light, HOB protein skimmer, and water
movement of 425 gph powerhead + 250 gph from the canister. To the
examples… 1) Can I, should I, would it be wise to keep Firefish with the
<Mmm, if there "peaceful" (as most specimens of this species are) there
should be no problem in this size/shape system>
Right now the 2 clowns are about 1.5” each. 2) How many Firefish can
be or should be kept in a 55 gallon aquarium?
I’ve read only one, also that pairs are best, that they like to be in
groups of 3 or more,
<Mmm, no; not this species. Almost always encountered in duos/pairs in
the wild. Don't like close conspecific neighbors>
and that any more than 1 will just end up being 1 through attrition.
3) Is there anything wrong with this stocking
scenario… 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 4 Firefish, and 1 Royal Gramma?
<The Gramma could turn out to be too mean toward the Microdesmids... and
I'd just go w/ the two Dartfishes>
Could I have reasonable expectations of success and happiness?
<... see WWM re compatibility (FAQs) of all mentioned. I'd go w/ what
I've listed above>
4) What if there was a Blue Damsel that hypothetically completely left
alone the new Firefish, would the Firefish likely starve itself just
because the damsel eats so quickly and moves fast?
<Not likely; no>
The only other note is that the aquarium is about 4 years old and
established aside from being moved a couple months ago. I greatly
appreciate any experience and thoughts you can share on the matter.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Hope your <you're> enjoying the Superbowl.
<Just the ads>
I had a couple questions. I just bought a zebra Dartfish
<A social species. Really only lives well/long in groups>
and put him in my 10 gal. QT tank.
<Keep this tank covered!>
I read that certain Dartfish do better without quarantine and was
wondering if I should place him directly into my 37 gallon main
<Mmm, yes... but this is a tad small space wise>
Also, I only purchased one and immediately regretted not buying a
mate for him. Do you think a pair would do better in a 36 gallon
with one tank-bred Ocellaris clown, with about 25 lbs of live rock or
is it too late to buy another?
<I'd buy two more. Bob Fenner>
Re: Zebra Dartfish 2/10/12
Thanks for your advice about the zebra's. I went back to the
LFS and luckily they still had two more so I bought them up
quickly. I have been reading articles on the website and am
thinking a nice hang on refugium would be good to create some
zooplankton for them.
Not having a lot of money I searched the internet and found a
14'' hang on with protein skimmer for around $100.
I'm assuming it isn't top quality, but I'm at a loss as to
what direction I should go. Looking for some much needed
<Mmm, there's always the WWM site... Read here:
and the linked files above... BobF>
Re: Zebra Dartfish... was stkg., now comp.
Thanks for all the advice as of late. My zebra darts are getting along
great, and my clown seems to think he is part of the group. I
ordered a small in-tank refugium to produce
some plankton for these guys which I am sure they’ll
appreciate. My next question is I am looking to add one more
small fish down the road. I would really like a Jawfish of some
kind. I find them incredibly entertaining. My question is
would a problem develop between the zebra Dartfish and the Jawfish.
<Mmm, this is still the 36 gallon... A smaller Opistognathid might
fit, might not>
Would it be better to go for a goby or blenny of some kind?
<A little more likelihood of compatibility depending on
Also, the tank contains 2 Emerald Crabs, who seem peaceful so
far. Thanks for the great site!
Firefish Population, sys.
I have a quick question regarding fire gobies; I've done a bit of
reading through the Q/A on them and I'm getting mixed messages on
the number that can be housed in the same tank.
In one conversation you mention that if two or more are in the same
tank, one will become the alpha and bully the others to death. However
it is mentioned in another conversation that they prefer pairs or
groups of 3.
<Pairs are best if/when they are full size>
I ask because I bought two for my 35gal (36"x12"x18")
aquarium, about two weeks later one showed signs of abuse and died.
<Really a small volume for Microdesmids>
The LFS advised me that they prefer groups, but upon looking them up in
my "Pocket Expert Guide Marine Fishes" book, I discovered to
keep singly unless the tank is "Very Large", which I
don't consider a 35gal tank is.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re Stocking A 29 Gallon BioCube 9/9/09
Thanks for the help. Which shrimp goby would you recommend?
<No specific recommendation, but I like the Yellow Watchman
And as far as Firefish go I have read on your site that they don't
do well in groups..Maybe I am confused..
<You are not, Scott Fellman mentions this in Dartfish FAQ's, but
on the other hand Scott Michael (Reef
Aquarium Fishes) mentions otherwise. My opinion is that they do better
in groups and should not be kept with aggressive tankmates as they will
usually hide and refuse to eat. If I were to choose Firefish/Dartfish,
I would not include clownfish due to their more aggressive feeding
leaving the Firefish with unequal portions of food. A good place for
<<...? The more popular species of Microdesmids kept by hobbyists
are almost always found in twos/pairs in the wild... Some, e.g. P.
evides, in social groups... This is stated on WWM. BTW, none are
suggested for such small volumes as this. RMF>>
Would I be able to have the two clowns you recommended and other fish
as well? The clown pairs can be pretty territorial right?
<As I mentioned, no more than 4 small fish including the clownfish.
The Ocellaris Clownfish can be
aggressive, but is generally limited to conspecifics and/or other
damselfish with similar personalities.
James (Salty Dog)>
Dartfish, sel./sys. -- 4/30/09
Dear crew --
I have a strange question. How many scissortail Dartfish can live
together happily in a 55 gallon tank?
We really like them and we're thinking of getting a bunch. Would
eight or ten Dartfish be happy together or would they whittle
themselves back down to a pair?
<Mmm, not this many and this particular species lives more in a
group than pairs>
four for a while (before they got old) and they seemed happy. Would a
large pack of them do well?
<More the merrier, as long as there is space... three to five
Our tank is 55 gallons, has been stable for almost two years. We
currently have two Dartfish,
<Oh, then three or four>
a diamond sand-goby, and a small one-spot Foxface rabbit fish.
<Mmm, this Siganid (in fact all Rabbitfishes) need more room than
(And live rock with the usual sponges and worms and other neat stuff.)
We just lost our fairy wrasse. :( He was strong enough that when he hit
the top of our tank cover just right, he got through and jumped out.
He'd tried before, but we thought we had it covered well enough.
Rather than getting a new fairy wrasse (though he was really nice in
our tank), we're looking for small, schooling fish, preferably
aquarium bred. We're thinking that expanding our school of Dartfish
would be nice.
<I've never encountered tank-bred Microdesmids... Where are
How many can we be thinking about?
David and Laura
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Reef Safe Schooling Fish 01/18/09 Hi all, been
awhile since I wrote. My question of the day: I would like to get some
schooling fish. I need reef safe and have ruled out Anthias because of
their size, also understanding they constantly fight for pecking order
within their group. Seems a poor choice unless I could house a huge
school. Another I've ruled out is the Blue Chromis. Again, it's
their size. I understand I could start with tiny ones, but know they
will end up bigger than I want. I was told a Firefish -shown as a Goby
on some sights and in the Dart fish family on others - would be a good
choice but in my research it looks like they prefer to pair off so that
tells me they would fight until they are down to 2 or less if there is
no potential to make a pair. <Hmm, I don't know why you might
assume this, but it is not so in my experience/understanding. They are
quite peaceful fish. They do like to pair, or form groups of 3. I
don't think it's common for them to fight when there are more
than 3. They might form separate groups, but I've never heard of
these separate groups not getting along in an appropriately sized
tank.> But the Firefish is the size I was thinking would work best.
I hope to add a Butterfly at some point in the future. <How do you
not have room for Anthias, but have room for a Butterfly? How big do
you want this school of fish to be?> Advice needed: Should I give up
on the idea of having school of something or are their plenty out there
for home aquariums but not noted as such? I need peaceful reef safe and
of course I know you need to know information about my community.
Here's my information Tank: 180 gallon FOWLR . Fish: Foxface,
Percula Clown, Coral Beauty, Six Line Wrasse, Diamond Goby, Yellowtail
Damsel. Other Critters: Red Fire Shrimp, Arrow Crab, 1 lg. Blue leg
Hermit, 25 dwarf Blue leg hermits, 3 Emerald crabs, 25 scarlet hermit
crabs, 1 Sally Lightfoot Corals: Mushroom corals. Note: We plan to
explore Button Polyps or Zoo's that will handle low light but not
until we replace our wet/dry system with a closed loop filter system.
Our existing sump has too many baffles so we're in the process of
ordering a new sump for the skimmer as always! ...one thing leads to
another, huh? In closing, may I share with anyone reading this post to
heed the advice this site gives, especially their warnings. Take the
limitations of your home aquarium serious. No matter what kind of water
box you're keeping, understand it's best to select specimens
with highly proven track records for tank life <indeed> and leave
it to Captain Kirk or marine biologists to go where no man has gone
before! <And/or the very experienced/responsible/intelligent
aquarists.> Thanks in advance for your help, <Best to keep
reading/researching/pondering. You seem to be aware of your choices
here. :-)> Debi aka fiskybizniz <Best, Sara M.>
Re: Reef Safe Schooling Fish 01/19/09 As always,
thanks for a prompt reply....and your reply is interesting. It was left
unstated if I have discovered all my possibilities? As for the
Firefish, one of your sponsors (name intentionally deleted) advised a
group of 5 or more would be a good choice. <This is usually the case
with any schooling fish, yes. The problem is that Firefish don't
truly "school" that often in aquariums. I'm sorry I
didn't take the time to explain this earlier.> Bio's I could
find about the Firefish else remain unstated and/or do not confirm
enough particulars about schooling and staying in a school.
<You're asking for concrete answers when there are only
uncertain ones available. There are so many variables to consider with
the individual fish and the system you might be putting them into. No
one can tell you what's going to happen with absolute certainty.
There is also a problem with the understood definition of
"schooling." With true schooling, the fish move together,
react together, etc. Firefish don't so much "school" as
they do congregate.> Does anyone there at Webmedia know if Firefish
1) school as long as they don't have a mate? <They will likely
school/congregate in any event. Once they have a mate, the pair might
stick more closely together... but I doubt they would entirely alienate
themselves from the group, if they wouldn't otherwise.> 2)
School until they hook up with a mate and then split from the group?
<They might. Again, they're not great "schoolers."
It's more as if they tend to congregate at times.> 3) Or stay
with a pack no matter? <They're not going to stay in the pack
all the time no matter what. Mate or no mate, the group is likely to
disband occasionally/frequently.> 4) Fight with each other till they
have a pair and if no chance of a pair, fight till there is only one?
<They will "fight" occasionally (more like chase each
other). And if they're going to fight, they're going to
fight/chase each other for any number of reasons... might have nothing
to do with being able to pair or not.> Only information I have been
able to find was their desire to pair and split and/or fight with
others of their own kind. What does that mean? <It means they
don't really school so much as they congregate.> You leave me a
little confused about Anthias? Are you saying I could house a school of
them in my size tank? <You have a 180g tank, correct? In such a size
tank, I think you could have 4 Bartlett's Anthias (a good, hardy
schooling fish).> As for my Butterfly idea, I hear ya. Some can grow
quite large and/or be very needy for lots of territory. I would love a
Saddleback but I have not conducted my research to find out if it's
a good fit or another one for Captain Kirk. <Not a fish for the
newbie, but not quite impossible either. I'd definitely put off
acquiring one.> Speaking of CK, did I oops on my comment about
marine biology? I did not mean to imply those in our hobby need a
degree to aspire. <No worries, I didn't take it that way.> It
was a comment to support the depth of the hobby. I hope I didn't
offend anyone. <I don't think you did... don't see why
anyone would take offense. I wasn't offended. :-) Cheers, Sara
Did my Red Fire Shrimp eat my Purple Goby?
2/11/08 Hey crew, <Stormy> Hope ya all are staying dry. <I
am, out in Hawai'i> This is in regards to a missing purple
Firefish. I've a 72g bow and had two purple Firefish (Nemateleotris
decora) gobies. They got along great - stayed together during the day,
and hung out together at night under a rock that also housed a red fire
shrimp. Maybe 3 weeks later, one of the gobies was missing - no sign
whatsoever. Other inhabitants include a sunburst Anthias, a Perc clown,
a yellow striped cardinal, 2 Scissortails, 3 orange Firefish who hang
out on the opposite side of the tank, and a lone peppermint shrimp (I
started with two but only see one now.) It appears that the lone purple
Firefish now hangs out at night with the 2 Scissortails. Could the fire
shrimp have eaten the purple goby? <Is the most likely suspect,
though this Lysmata species is generally not (relatively)
aggressive> If so, I should pull it because I don't want the
lone purple goby to also be dinner? <More likely
"something" was wrong with the other, and perhaps the shrimp
helped clean up the body> And, I suppose at this late date I cannot
add another purple Firefish after the first has been in the tank for a
month? A shame because the two of them together helped make the tank.
<Could easily try adding another individual of this species in this
setting> On a different note, one of my rocks keeps sprouting bubble
algae. Do I dare add an emerald crab? Or shall I just "rent"
one and place the rock in a QT tank? <I'd siphon/scrape and
remove for now... See WWM re> thanks so much for your help, stormy
btw: have you found You Tube videos on life in the aquarium? Just do a
search on mantis shrimp, or whatever - homemade videos of life in the
aquarium - pretty cool. <Thank you for this. We're hoping to add
such video service soon... on a new BB> Earlier I lost one of my
sunburst Anthias to a mantis shrimp. On video, one can see how it was
done. In fact, there is a video with a red fire shrimp grabbing at a
goby, which prompted my first question. <Yikes! Thank you. Bob
Nemateleotris decora/purple Firefish
question 2/8/08 Hello Crew! <RD> Haven't
asked a question here in a really long time.. I have kept a pair of N.
decora in my 55 G reef for about 2 years now. I bought them unpaired,
out of a bunch of about 7 at the LFS and they paired up on their own.
They have very peaceful tankmates - a coral beauty (who is very shy in
personality), Banggai cardinal and some fire shrimp, snails and corals
(I like zoos and Fungiids so my lighting is medium/low - 4x65 watt PC).
I never saw eggs, but they would swim around each other in circles and
wiggle/"dance" quite often, especially in the evening. One
was always very yellow in its body (like the pic of the fish with the
chewed fins in the CA article on Firefish), the other was the
"typical" opalescent/light lavender body color. About 2 weeks
ago, the more lavender one died. Is there any way to know which is left
- male or female (I haven't found anything on sexing Firefish in my
research)? <I know naught> And - should I attempt to re-pair
him/her? <Mmm, up to you. Can live singly... but much more
interesting in pairs> My LFS regularly stocks these. In fact, there
is a nice school that just came in. They are all smaller than my
remaining fish, which is a good 3 - 3.5 inch (these are more like 2 and
a bit) and all have the lavender body, not the more yellow. Should I
get just one, or 2 and try to build a school. <This genus, species
is not one of the schooling type at size... almost always encountered
in twos in the wild> The group in the LFS has no obvious bullies and
is schooling together very nicely - I watched them for over 30 minutes
last night, trying to figure out what to do. Thanks! <I might try
two more... being ready to return one. Bob Fenner>
Microdesmidae stocking ratio -11/27/2007 Hey guys,
<And gals...> I've been doing a fair amount of reading on
your website regarding the family Microdesmidae. In some instances, I
read that 3 are best, a pair is best, and also that it is best to just
keep one as they tend to get aggressive as they get older. ??? <Mmm,
the Dartfishes... are, by species, let's say the sand dwellers...
found in twos mostly... with some rock-occupying species occurring more
frequently in groupings...> I've a 72g bow with a 30g refugium
and lots of live rock and many caves. I've a sunburst Anthias, a
midas blenny, an orange-lined cardinal fish (Apogon properuptus) and
two Scissortails all at approx 2 inch each or smaller. I'd like to
add some Firefish? If I added two Nemateleotris decora (my preference)
and two magnifica, would that be too many, or too incompatible given
the amount of space and stocking ration to-date? The only other fish
I'll add later would be a Perc clown. <A pair/two of each will
likely be fine here... if there's enough fine sand areas for both
to have a territory> I'm also concerned that I have a fire
shrimp (Lysmata debelius), approx 2inches, which mainly hides (lonely?)
<Mmm, no... what they do> Will this shrimp pose a problem with
the Firefish / or with two peppermint shrimp I've just added?
<Mmm, not likely... unless very hungry, the other/s moulting...>
I really don't know why I have him, since I never see him anyway!
What good is he? <Conversation piece at least evidently... source of
lament?> Given this peaceful community, should I opt for some type
of algae eating fish rather than the N. magnifica? <?>
Recommendations? <Keep reading, cogitating furiously... till you
darn well know what it is you're about. Heeeee!> I don't
have any algae to speak of yet, except for macro in the fuge and some
red Gracilaria in the main. Thanks again. p.s. I had three
Scissortails. I would leave the lid open when I fed because I turned
off the pump so that the food didn't go into the overflow. I had
the three scissors for two weeks, and no jumping. Today, I stepped away
'for a moment' to later find one on the carpet, and breathing
hard. He's in the tank, but I don't think he'll make it. I
had someone tell me that I should just leave him there since he's
small for the 'clean-up' crew including the Lysmata debelius to
eat, but I don't want to set a trend for the shrimp with small
fish. I do leave the molting from the shrimp in the tank, do you think
that's ok or does it just pollute the water? <In this size
volume... I would not be concerned> Thank you, Stormy <Welcome.
Thank you Re: Microdesmidae stocking
ratio 11/28/2007 ok Bob Thanks for the feedback.
<Welcome> I've currently a sunburst Anthias, a midas blenny,
an orange-lined cardinal fish (Apogon properuptus) and two scissor
tails all at approx 2 inch each or smaller. And it's ok to add a
pair of each Nemateleotris decora and magnifica as long as I provide
them their own sandy beach area, and a Perc clown down the road in a
72g bow with a 30g refugium and lots of live rock and many caves.
<Yes> By the way, the little scissortail that hit the carpet did
survive. Caught it in time. Yeah, have to have something to complain
about - that red fire shrimp hiding fits the bill. <Heee! Yes>
Thanks again, take care Stormy <Be chatting, BobF>
Cardinals, gobies, and Anthias compatibility and
stocking ratios 11/16/07 Hi guys, <Stormy> Thanks again
for being there! <Glad to be so> Although I've read many
articles on your website, most recently (Family Microdesmidae, the
Worm- and Dartfishes by Robert Fenner and Anthony Calfo /
I'm still somewhat unsure as to compatibility and stocking ration
for future additions I'd like to make. <Okay> Mine is a 72g
bow w/approx 75lbs live rock and a 4'sand bed in the main with a
30g refugium and a 4' sand bed. Spaghetti and Gracilaria macro
algae in the Fuge, and Gracilaria in the main. Current livestock
includes: A Sunburst, a Midas Blenny, and two cardinals -- a flame
(Apogon pseudomaculatus) and a yellow striped (Apogon chrysotaenia).
The Sunburst, although added first and alone in the tank for 3 weeks
still hides in the background with an occasional peek to the front. The
other three are boldly out in the open. <Typical for this Anthiine
species> I'd like to add the following (over a period of time
sorted by next addition) and would appreciate your feedback as to
compatibility and stocking ratios. A pajama cardinal (Sphaeramia
nematoptera)-- will one be ok by itself given that I've the other
two who seem to hang out together? <Should be fine solo> And of
the following gobies -- possibly 3? of each, how many groups can I add?
Nemateleotris decora, Purple Firefish (3.5') the article recommends
established pairs only (will 3 be a problem?) Nemateleotris magnifica,
Firefish, (3.5') Ptereleotris heteroptera -- black tail-spot
dart-goby (3 -- 5') Ptereleotris evides -- scissortail (5')
<Mmm, in a 72 gallon of this shape I'd stick with a grouping of
just one species... the last two are more "outgoing" than
Nemateleotris, but not as colorful...> Thanks so much Stormy
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>
Are two or three scissortail gobies in a 72g best? And
crabs gen. comp. 11/6/07 Hey Good Morning, <And to
you> How is everyone there at WetWeb - staying dry? <Thus far...
though we could REALLY use the rain here in S. Cal.> I've a 72g
bowfront with just one small sunburst Anthias and a lil green striped
goby - although I haven't seen the goby since the second day I put
him in the tank - probably too many hiding places. <Yes> I'd
like to get some scissortail gobies and hopefully will entice the
sunburst to come out more often. Should I get a pair, or three? I'd
heard that if there was an odd one out, there would be less potential
for fighting? <Three would be better here. Some popular Microdesmids
occur in "just pairs" by and large in the wild, but
Scissortails shoal in small groups> Next I'll probably add a
Midas blenny and very far (a year?) down the road a mandarin. My tank
is two months old, but with lots of live rock and sand upgraded from a
26g bowfront that was a year old and it has a growing population of
pods. <Okay> By the way, what is your take on crabs? <Mmm, by
and large not a fan... Some larger decapods are tasty however... Do you
like "Chili Crab"? Mmmm, messy> I've maybe three or
four - couple of red legs and a few others. I hear some say they have
no place in a reef tank and I'm wondering if they're decimating
my population of pods and Stomatella snails. <Yes> If so,
I'll move em out and maybe get one much much later? In fact,
I'm really wanting to get a Sally Lightfoot - any comments on
"her." <If this is Percnon gibbesi, not as much as a
problem... but if/when you read (hint hint) on WWM, you'll see that
most all true crabs can become/are too opportunistically omnivorous to
be suitable for the majority of set-ups> Take care, keep up the good
work, and safe swimming. I've really got to get to work now....
sigh stormy <Me too... D'oh! Bob Fenner>
Psychotic Purple Firefish? - 2/21/2006 Hi;
<Hello> First, I would like to thank you very much for answering
questions in such detail, and with a refreshing attitude of humbleness
that is often a sign of true knowledge. I have already spent
considerable time reading and learning from your answers to
others. I am not aware of a comparable site, for any
subject. <Thank you for proffering your input> I recently bought
my 7-year-old son a used 29 gallon tropical salt-water tank, which came
with skimmer, filter, two double-tubed fluorescent lights (one UV, one
normal) and heater. Based on the recommendation of my LFS, I used coral
sand, with 6 lbs. of live rock and 10 lbs. of base-rock (I believe this
is the correct term for the non-living rock that is seeded from the
live rock). The aquarium was conditioned for six weeks, its
water analyzed a number of times, and then further tested with a
yellow-tailed blue damsel. Everything shipshape. <Good> My son
then wanted a purple-Firefish, and the LFS said that this would be most
probably compatible with the damsel. Upon placement in the
tank, the two sort of circled each other, but no skirmishing
occurred. They seemed to settle to a cautious but peaceful
pattern. A couple of days later, the damsel started to hide behind a
prop in the tank, and refused to come out to eat. Two more
days later, it died. Had to work hard to console my son. I
did some research and decided that the damsel might have been caught
chemically (despite lack of obvious discoloration or deteriorating body
parts). So, we found a LFS which guaranteed Â³no
chemicalsÂ² and got a new damsel. <Impossible to say>
This time, the Firefish started sporadically nipping at the
damsel. After watching in terror for an hour, we took it
back to the LFS. We then got a yellow watchman goby. After
about half a day, the goby took over the firefishÂ¹s hiding
hole without apparent fighting. And now they seem to live in
the same hole (that is where they emerge from when I turn the lights
on). At the same time, the Firefish still seems to be the bolder, more
aggressive of the two. During feeding, he bolts all over the
tank while the goby hangs around its hidey-hole and makes quick darts
at food that floats by. With this background, finally to the questions:
Question 1: Is this normal behavior from fish (especially
the Firefish) that seem to be universally placed in the
Â³peacefulÂ² category? <Is not atypical... such
behavioral problems are accentuated in small/er volumes> Question
2: The LFS I got the goby from highly recommended garlic
(Garlic Guard) to enhance the color of the fish '¹is this
accurate? <... am not such a fan of these Allium products>
Question 3: In a book by Dick Mills, the purple Firefish is
listed as Â³single species per
tankÂ². The two LFSÂ¹s I dealt with have
different interpretations of this: one says you can only put one
Firefish per tank, the other says it means you can only have Firefish
in a given tank. <Mostly the previous/former statement is so... More
than one Firefish (Microdesmid) of the same species can be placed in a
large-enough system (sixty or more gallons let's say), and more
than one species can be placed together in an even larger-enough
system... a 150 plus gallons let's agree on> But the latter
claims that this is inaccurate, displaying his tanks which have
Firefish together with other fish (hence, our decision to place the
damsel and the goby with the Firefish). <... store settings are a
bit different... temporary> I also noticed that your site says that
purple Firefish like being in pairs (quote from Fenner/Calfo article:
Â³This species demonstrates variable tolerance of
conspecifics. It may be best to buy and keep them in established pairs
onlyÂ²). <This is so... almost always encountered in such
pairs or trios in the wild> But I also came across the
following answers from your site when I did a search: Firefish help 4)
Is it okay to keep a Firefish on its own? I read that they need to be
kept in at least pairs. <They feel more comfortable in groups of
three or more.> Just Firefish Remaining and Them So-Called Nasty
Worms... 12/05/05 <Regardless of that fact, Firefish are not
'grouping' or 'schooling' fish. They do tend to group
up as juveniles, however once they reach maturity (and even sometimes
before so) they are highly aggressive and territorial fish towards
other Firefish within the group. It is best to always purchase Firefish
singly and never as a pair or group..> Who, if anybody, is right?
<I agree with pairs to trios... as I've seen them in the wild
and most often successfully kept in captivity. Unfortunately, your
system is too small for more than one> Question 4: Wanting to cover
all colors of the spectrum, my son now has his sight set on a flame
angelfish (temperament friendly, but can be territorial according to
the Mills book). <... not a good choice here or period.
Unfortunately, no longer a regularly hardy import> Yet,
I have an uncomfortable knot in my stomach... Any opinions
regarding compatibility with what we have? Thanks very much for taking
the time. Regards <Do read on WWM re "Nano", small marine
system stocking. There are hardier species, groups for such a small
system as your sons. Bob Fenner> Just Firefish Remaining and Them
So-Called Nasty Worms... 12/05/05 Hi there, <Howdy, Ali
here...> We recently purchased two Firefish gobies. <Bad move,
that unfortunately many, many good willed hobbyist fall victim too.>
Unfortunately we put them in a tank with a royal Dottyback who picked
on one of them so badly that he didn't make it (we removed the
Dottyback to our nano tank-by himself). Another lesson learned.
<Firefish are very prone to being picked on by more aggressive fish,
and in all honesty, the Dottybacks can be true terrors, especially for
similarly shaped fish such as Firefish. Regardless of that fact,
Firefish are not 'grouping' or 'schooling' fish. They
do tend to group up as juveniles, however once they reach maturity (and
even sometimes before so) they are highly aggressive and territorial
fish towards other Firefish within the group. It is best to always
purchase Firefish singly and never as a pair or group. Many vendors are
now marketing 'mated pairs' of Firefish, however even these
fish will turn on each other in relatively short time.> So we have
one remaining Firefish, and my husband read somewhere that inverts will
prey on them. Is this true? We have a couple of emerald crabs and many
hermit crabs. We have also spotted a couple of bristleworms which
I'm worried will harm it (is a six line wrasse a good solution for
this?). Our tank is 26 gallons. What do you think? <Emerald crabs
generally become overly aggressive towards any small fish and are not
recommended for the docile reef aquarium. Bristleworms and small
hermits shouldn't pose any real problems. I wouldn't be too
overly concerned with the bristleworms due to the fact that most of the
bristleworms found in the hobby today are harmless detritivores. Many
years back when wild Atlantic live rock was available to hobbyist, the
large and nasty 'Fireworms' would appear. However, now a days
most live rock is either Pacific or aquacultured Atlantic and the
'bad' bristle worms aren't commonly associated with
them.> Thanks in advance, Jen <No problem Jen and good luck! -
Firefish in a shoal? Can Nemateleotris sp. be kept in a shoal
if their tank is big enough and if there are enough "bolt
holes"? What size tank would you suspect this to be? If it could
be done a species tank would be absolutely stunning. If you have any
ideas about how this could come to fruition please share them. Thank
You! <Not in a shoal per se... but Microdesmids may be kept in
"groups" of a few individuals in "large enough
systems"... most are found in pairs or group associations in the
wild (i.e. not singly), and I would allow a good four square feet of
bottom per individual. Bob Fenner, who refers you to the family
coverage and other FAQs about worm gobies on the www.wetwebmedia.com
Firefish in Pairs? (and sick Red Sea Sailfin Tang) Mr.
Fenner, I hope you had a great time in HI. <Still there, but
just barely> Now that you have returned, Its time to start shooting
questions your way again. I purchased 2 red Firefish and began
quarantining on Sat.-One of them was not as animated and active as his
buddy. He stayed on the bottom of the tank 95% of the time &
actually waited for the food to come to him to eat. Well, he was dead
Monday when I got home. My question is: should I get the surviving ff a
new buddy & extend the quarantine time for the extra days? <Wait
a couple of weeks> Or should I keep the 1 fish alone & add
another Firefish later? I know that they like to be in groups. I'm
also considering a pair of small clarkii clowns as my next addition to
the main tank. Should they be treated w/ therapeutic amts. of copper
(.2ppm) while in the quarantine tank? <No to the copper... simple
dipping and placing with tank-bred specimens> Your book says that
they are susceptible to diseases. <Mainly wild-caught ones> Thanx
again for your advice. Craig ps. my "SICK REDSEA SAILFIN" is
doing great in the main tank. I soaked his food w/Zoecon &
Zoë« while you were in HI & the signs of lateral line has
diminished quite a bit. <Excellent. Congratulations on your success.
Firefish Hi WWM Crew <cheers> I've been reading up
on Firefish a bit, and from your site I've found that they
don't do well unless they are in pairs. <true for most...
but they need to select their own pairs... as in, having been caught as
a pair or forming a pair in captivity upon re-establishment> I was
told by a fellow reefer that unless you get two of opposite sex, once
mature they will kill each other. Is this true? <not so absolute...
many aquarists enjoy various numbered populations... the key is larger
aquaria with peaceful tankmates. If you have a smaller tank (under 100
gallons) do be sure to see that the pair behave as if pair bonded in
your merchants tank and do so for more than a week after import. Best
regards, Anthony> Thanks, Barry
Ptereleotris zebra Hi Bob, I was wondering what you thought
of Ptereleotris zebras? Are they known to harm clams or corals?
<Neither. And I do like this Microdesmid. Please see here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dartfish.htm and the FAQs file beyond. Bob
Fenner> Thanks for the advice, Jackson
Curious about the Curious Worm Goby: Gunnelichthys curiosus
11/26/03 Hey guys (and girls?) got a few questions I couldn't
find answers to. First off thanks for all your help and providing
hobbyists with such an informative and easy to use website.
<your appreciation is... er... appreciated <G>> I am
looking to add 1 or 2 more corals to my 45gal tall tank and I had
a few in mind (I already have a silver-branched pumping
xenia, devils hand, and a small Zoanthid mat-all aqua-cultured) and I
was looking to add either pink cauliflower coral (Pocillopora
damicornis) or a few species of Montipora
digitata. Which would be a more natural, safer combination
in the long run? <cannot speak to natural here regarding mix
(regarding niches for all of the above... varied)... but the Montipora
digitata would be a very hardy and safe bet (weakly aggressive). If you
prefer Pocillopora... go for the brown one instead as it is much less
demanding. I doubt you have the lights to keep a pink one pink. No
worries though> Could I have them all? <do resist
mixing many species in such a small tank without leaving room for
growth... and distance between to temper chemical aggression> And do
have any information on the curious worm goby? <a cute little fish,
but not much to chat about. They are very poorly suited for community
aquarium life. They are very easily intimidated into not
eating/thriving. For perspective, one might fairly say they are more
difficult to keep than mandarinfishes, seahorses or their Firefish
(Microdesmid) kin. The Curious Worm goby needs a very peaceful tank
with deep soft sand for burrowing: Gunnelichthys curiosus> I cant
seem to find any info at all. <Always include
fishbase.org in your searches my friend... a link for this fish
follows. Please be sure to follow all of their links on the page...
info regarding gut analysis telling of natural diet reproduction, etc.
A friend of mine bought one on an impulse buy (I know, I promptly
slapped him) and now it has be hiding out of sight for about 2 days,
with no signs of burrowing into the substrate. Any info will
be much appreciated. Thanks again. -Nick IMO... if this fish shares the
tank with a single wrasse, damsel, clown or tang... it will die even
without aggression from its mates. They are just that shy. Please
suggest that your friend get that marvelous little fish into a quiet
refugium or another tank altogether with ultra slow and ultra peaceful
fishes. They can be kept well under those conditions. Feed zooplankton
substitutes. Best of luck, Anthony>
Why Won't They Show Me?
LFS Refuses to Show That Fish are Feeding >Hi All,
>>Hello, David, Marina tonight. >I went to a LFS today to
purchase my second (and third) fish for my aquarium. I had visited the
store earlier in the week and they had a nice collection of Firefish
(Nemateleotris magnifica), some smaller ones and some larger ones. I
didn't buy then because it would be 5+ hours before I got home and
it gave me time to read up, learn, and ensure I could provide a good
environment for them, as well as test my QT tank. >>I like your
thinking. >Today I went down to purchase the fish, they looked
healthy, no labored breathing, no spots, the dorsal fins were in good
shape, and their eyes were clear (very reflective too, like little
mirrors). Last thing on the checklist was to see the fish eat. However,
the shop person (in charge) stated that he had already fed the fish
that day and refused to feed them again. >>What? Seriously?
>I pressed him on it, but he wouldn't agree to feed them. I
asked when he fed them (with the intent of coming back the next day to
see them eat), but, apparently, he feeds them in the morning before the
store opens for business. >>Well, that's not how things
were done in any shop I worked, but ok.. problem IS, how can you show a
customer who's ready to walk out with those fish that they're
eating alright? Doesn't he want to make the sale, or is he more
interested in spending money on feed? >He assured me the fish were
fine and would have died by now had they not been eating.
>>Bull Pucky! >(Mind you, the smallest Dartfish from 3 days
previous were no longer present in the tank). I've never
worked in a LFS, I don't know the nuances of the trade, but what
harm would there be in feeding the fish a second time? >>NONE.
However, what harm is there in being obstinate with a good and
conscientious customer? >From what I've learned, watching a fish
get fed and seeing him eat is a good indicator on the vigor of the
fish. >>Indeed! And it's been recommended to all since long
before I ever got into this trade/hobby. Not exactly good customer
service, and were it me, I'd try someplace else (if possible).
>The only thing that makes sense is that they weren't eating and
trying to feed them would confirm this. >>Well, I don't
know if we could say that (of course, I wasn't there, so I
couldn't "read" this person as you could). There are some
INCREDIBLY peculiar people who work this trade, my friend. And plenty
are plenty obnoxious, too! <giggle> >If he refuses to feed
them, then there is still a chance of making a sale, assuming that I
trust a salesman at his word. >>Give me a guarantee on the
fish, and maybe we can talk. >Because of this, I did not purchase
the fish(es), nor did I purchase the net, PO4
test kit, fish food, and small siphon I would have gotten with the
fish. >>Good for you! Dollars talk, and they should know
this. >I also doubt that I will ever return to this store. >>I
am in complete agreement, though I'd like to speak with a
manager/owner. >Am I missing something here? >>Nope.
>Or was am I just misinformed? David >>By this person? I
cannot say. Regarding making sure a fish is at least feeding before you
buy? Not at all! You are a smart consumer, good on you, mate.
Stocking Question 06/08/05 Hello Again, A while back I asked
the following two part question, 1a) Can you house more then one
Firefish or does always "one" come out as the lone survivor ?
<< Sometimes pairs can be found at a local store. This would be
the best way to introduce them>> 1b) Can you mix and match
Firefish (magnifica and decora) ? << I really would not advise
that unless you see them in a tank together at the store not
fighting. All fish have the possibility of fighting so it is
really hard to judge what they will do. A lot of times if this is a
large tank and there are a lot of hiding places then most fish can get
along. But you can never plan on it.>> And I received
a response of ... <Google search, keyword, Firefish, on the Wet
Web> Well I did that, and read a lot of articles and FAQS but I
really didn't find my answer, unless it was "written between
the lines". In a nutshell, my setup currently is as follows:
150gal Oceanic RR tank, 160lb LR, 120lb LS, with 5 green Chromis, two
fire shrimp and one cleaner shrimp. Thanks again for your time and
advise. -Stan <<Good luck.. EricS>>