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FAQs on the Ecsenius, Bicolor Blennies Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Ecsenius Blennies, True or Combtooth Blennies, Algae Eating Blennies, Saber-Tooth Blennies, Blennioids & their Relatives,

Related FAQs:  Ecsenius Blennies, Ecsenius Identification, Ecsenius Behavior, Ecsenius Compatibility, Ecsenius Selection, Ecsenius Systems, Ecsenius Disease, Ecsenius Reproduction, True Blennies: True Blennies, Combtooth Blennies 2, Blenny Identification, Blenny Behavior, Blenny Compatibility, Blenny Selection, Blenny Systems, Blenny Feeding, Blenny Disease, Blenny Reproduction, Algae-eating Blennies, Saber-Tooth Blennies,

Leave Cnidarians be. A Lobophytum colony in N. Sulawesi.

Tail Spot Blenny, fdg.      5/17/19
I've been reading and reading a lot of Bob's replies to posts about Tail Spot Blennies not eating. And I'm confused.
You've been telling people to feed them Spectrum Small Pellet food, which I have been feeding all my fish forever. I feel like it's a good all around marine food.
<I do agree>
My Royal Gramma won't touch them though. And my wrasse won't either. Fish are frustrating to feed! The Engineer Gobies love them and the Mollies love them. But the Tail Spot blenny who has been with me for a few months now will not touch them,....and I feed several times a day. My Midas blenny (in a
different tank) loves them! But he's a chub chub, he likes to eat most things I offer. Much more of an "easy keeper" as dog people say.
This Tail Spot blenny isn't into any of the foods I've tried. Not Hikari Mysis, PE Mysis, Spectrum small marine pellets, Cobalt Spirulina Flakes, TDO Chroma Boost,....or algae sheets!
<May have to use frozen/defrosted... crustaceans... and maybe a bit of live to train onto>
He is always interested in the food. Watches it with a lot of interest and even tastes some things, but he always spits it back out. I can tell from his behavior that he is hungry!
He does sometimes scrape the rock or the glass, but not much. I'm surprised he's still alive. He is always looking to see if something might be edible.
That is the hardest thing,....that he looks so desperate and I can't seem to find anything he actually thinks is food.
<Must be eating the interstitial fauna...>
I don't see him chasing or eating my tiny crustaceans either, I have plenty of them running around the tank, I see them at night. What do these guys actually enjoy eating?
<Small infauna or zooplankton I suspect.>
Amanda Wilson
<Howsit? Bob Fenner>

Tailspot Blenny Looking Bad, fdg.      10/25/12
Hey WWM. I have a Tailspot blenny
<Ecsenius stigmatura I take it>
in my Biocube 29 reef tank with 4 other fish and he is not looking great.
His whole body is very thin and where his belly should be it's a little sunken. He is eating like a pig, as usual, and acting fine. I've had him for 8-9 months. Just noticed this 4-5 days ago. Got any ideas?
<Perhaps the type, amount/frequency of the food/s being offered... may be some sort of internal parasite>
All parameters are spot on.  All my other fish are carnivores but I try to make sure he is getting his veggies
<Ecsenius species aren't really much for greenery.>
 by adding Spirulina brine, Spirulina pellets, and formula 2 flakes (and I know he eats all of them).
<... I'd switch from these for a more substantive staple
. My fave: (small size) Spectrum pelleted. Much more food value and highly palatable>
  Tried to get a picture but he is always perching so you can't see his belly. Also my camera sucks. Let me know if you have any ideas of what it could be/what to do or something I should look for and report back to you. 
I know that's not really much info. so let me know if you need more. 
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: re: Tailspot Blenny Looking Bad    10/24/12

Yes, Ecsenius stigmatura.  I know most blennies (Ecsenius) are more into meaty foods but after doing a little research it seems most agree the Tailspot differs in the way that it should eat mostly veggies.
<Mmm, I disagree. Have watched and photographed this species in the wild...
all members of the genus mainly consume small invertebrates, free-swimming and benthic>
  I feed 1-2 times a day a variety of foods (formula 1 flakes, formula 2 flakes, Spirulina pellets, frozen Spirulina brine, frozen Mysis).  Since they are mainly herbivorous (or so I have seen/researched) I have been trying to make sure he gets his veggies.  Is there anything I can look for to indicate if it is a diet problem vs. bacteria infection, worms, or something else?
<Mmm, not really... practically... Have to basically take the fish apart... or use a vermifuge or other lavage... and microscopic examination>
  Do you recommend I QT him or is that not worth the stress on the fish until I diagnose the problem?  Just looking for advice concerning what I should do.  Thanks!
<... Already given. I'd switch to more nutrient dense/rich food/s. B>
Re: Tailspot Blenny Looking Bad    10/25/12

Alright.  That's very interesting about the diet.  If you look online you will read a lot about how they need their veggies!
 Nothing can beat directly studying the animal in its own environment though!
<Agreed. There's something about my own observations that supersedes others' opinions>
 I will try to feed more nutrient rich foods.  Thanks!
<Is what I would do. Welcome. B>

Just sharing... Fdg. Cynarina and Ecsenius    8/16/11
Hi Crew,
24 gallon AquaPod with 96w of T5 lighting, live rock and crushed coral bottom.
I got a Cynarina a few weeks ago and put it at the bottom. It was not in the best of shape when it arrived. The flesh seemed to be shrinking off the outer perimeter of the skeleton.
I put it on the bottom but it didn't seem to like it so I put it up in the rock and the septa really expand when lights are on. I can't see the skeleton when it is expanded but after the lights are out you can see that it is not completely covering the outer part. But it is looking better. I fed it last night (chopped up silversides) for the first time. I placed it in the center and it seemed to just sink in. The mouth did not open but the food did go in somewhere.

Also got a Tailspot Blenny a couple months ago. He was not eating and was getting real thin. My other fish are carnivores and he was not eating any of their food and not eating algae from the tank. I thought they are herbivores but Mr. Fenner indicated, in a response, that he should also eat meaty stuff. Someone suggested I try algae wafers which I did and he went straight for it and really fattened up in a very short time. Since then he has also been eating the carnivore food and I see him scraping the glass and rock as well. So I guess it just took him time to get used to his new home.
<Thank you Sam. BobF>

Feeding Bicolor Blenny   5/2/11
Hello gents and gals. You guys have gotten me through a few instances already and unfortunately in this hobby you never stop learning.
<Mmm, I count this as a fortunate condition>
So I have a 20 gallon aquarium with some algae growth. I have acquired a 1.5" Bicolor Blenny. Very active but still hides sometimes when someone enters the room.
<Natural behavior>
I want him to have sufficient food. He eats off the glass and rocks but he won't take any pellet or flake food I try to give him for herbivores or omnivores.
<Doesn't eat such>
What should I try or how should I try to get him to eat these? Does seaweed (the one they sell in sheets like for tangs) sound like a good idea? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you in advanced. I am a very big fan.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ecsenblenfdg.htm
Bob Fenner>

Ecsenius stigmatura, feeding 4/21/11
Hi Crew,
I have a 24 gallon AquaPod and just got a Ecsenius stigmatura. Really a very pretty and healthy fish. His tank mates are a Green Clown Goby, Firefish, Blue Chromis and a spotted Cardinal.
<The Chromis and cardinals generally do best in groups.>
He hid at the bottom for about a half day, then came out half way then all the way. He now has moved up and parks himself under my open brain which is on a large clamshell on a rock (brain is over 6 inches and does not fit on the sand). My other fish are all carnivores. I feed freeze dried Mysis, Cyclop-eeze, newly hatched brine shrimp and chopped frozen silversides.
<I would consider adding a quality pellet food.>
I got some Nori when I bought the blenny but I don't see him eat. The online stores list them as easy to care for but I am afraid he will starve.
I did some more searching on WWM and found one entry where the blenny was eating vegetation off the rocks and there was concern about starving once that was gone. The reply was simply that it is a concern if you see him getting thin. I have a bit of algae but I don't see him eating that nor the food I put in nor the Nori. Any suggestions as to what he might eat.
<I would try a good pellet food, perhaps bits of algae wafers and see how that goes.>
Re: re: Ecsenius fdg. from 4/21  5/3/11

Bingo. I got the wafers and he went straight for it. He is still emaciated but I think I got it just in time.
Thanks for the advice.
<Mmm, more meaty foods should be added as well... BobF>
Re: Re: re: Ecsenius diet... using WWM    5/8/11

I was a bit confused with the statement about more meaty foods. Everything I read about this fish indicates it to be a herbivore and not an omnivore.
<Look again... are omnivorous leaning toward carnivory>
Anyway, all my other fish are carnivores so he does have the opportunity for meaty stuff. And by the way he does go for it.
He is almost back to normal so it looks like he is getting the nutrition he needs.
By the way I got a Royal Gramma a few days after the Tail spot Blenny and for some reason he does not like the Tailspot.
<... please search, read on WWM before writing. These fishes, genera are incompatible. BobF>
He hounds him and opens his big mouth. Sometimes the Blenny opens his and puts it right up to the Gramma.
When I started feeding wafers, the Blenny would go down, find it, take a nip, go back up and then go back down for another nip. The Gramma keeps trying to figure out what the Blenny is doing down there but just can't figure it out since algae is not a food as far as he knows.

Feeding... Ecsenius    8/18/07 Hi Crew, I have had my tank for over 3 years and all my fish have been carnivores. I now have a spotted cardinal and clown goby and just added a Bi colored blenny that a neighbor can not handle. I have plenty of hair algae but I have not seen him attempt to eat any. <Not many types/species are palatable> I am going to give him Nori. It is supposed to be a herbivore <Ecsenius species? No> but it eats whatever I put in the tank which is basically Mysis or pellets for carnivores. Is this going to hurt the blenny? And if I put in herbivore flakes I am sure my carnivores will eat it as well so will that hurt them? <No, no> I am sure bigger tanks have all kind of mixtures and it seems to work. But in the long run if fish eat what their system was not made for I would expect the fish not to last long. In the wild they know what they want to eat but when we give them flakes etc. we do not send along the contents information. Can they smell the difference? Thanks <? As long as the food/s are nutritious, no worries. Bob Fenner>

Midas Blenny feeding questions.  6/6/07 <Jamie> Hello again Crew! At the rate I keep writing, I feel like we will be on a first name basis in no time flat! :-) I have a question about feeding my first tank inhabitant, a Midas Blenny. He is a great little fish, appears healthy as he eats well, has his favorite nook in the LR but is often swimming in the water column. My question is regarding feeding this awesome little guy. I have reads the FAQ's here, and done some research. I know they like zooplankton and are grazers, nibbling throughout the day. As a result, I am feeding him 2 times a day, hoping this is adequate. <A live sump/refugium would be ideal... Ecsenius spp. feed continuously during light hours...> My question is specifically to prevent me from over feeding. I have read several different opinions on feeding guidelines. Some say what they can eat in 30-60 seconds, some people say what they can eat in 5 minutes is sufficient. I would like some clarification, specifically for this fish. Currently, I am feeding almost exclusively frozen food: Mysis, and from a variety pack that contains frozen cubes of algae/seaweed, shrimp/scallop, brine shrimp, etc. My question is how much is too much per feeding? <Just look at the tummy> I am putting in about 1/4 of a frozen cube, 2 times per day. The Blenny eats what appears to be everything, and between meals is frequently out swimming near the top of the tank looking for more. I am reluctant to feed more as I don't want to screw up my water parameters, but I don't want him hungry, either. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated. Like I said, this is a subject it seems everyone has a different opinion on, so I would gladly welcome yours. <Concave no, convex, yes> Also, do you think the variety of food I have for him is adequate for a zoo plankton feeder such as the Midas Blenny? <Is fine> If not, what other foods should I be offering? <Cyclop-Eeze, Mysids...> I would like to try pellet food also for him, but so far most of the pellet food I have seen for a fish his size are sinking pellets. <Look into the finer size of Spectrum...> As this guy has never ventured to the lower half of the tank, I think they would go to waste. I am wondering if there are floating pellets out there, or should I skip them all together? <Worth considering, using a brand like that mentioned which is nutritionally complete... Very useful for offering through automatic feeders (what I do) that can deliver a few times per day... very useful for when you are on holiday...> As always, thanks for the advice. It is greatly appreciated. Jamie <And as welcomed. Bob Fenner>

Questions on nano tank setup/inhabitants  7/23/06 Good afternoon WWM Crew!  I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your continued support.  I don't know if I would have had the courage to finally "take the plunge" & start my first marine aquarium if it weren't for your valuable website.  I have been researching & reading off & on about reef-keeping for several years & have found this website & the conscientious aquarist such a help.  I have several issues that I'd like your advice on & hope you don't mind the long e-mail.   <Not at all> First off I'll tell you a little about my setup.  I have a 12 gal JBJ nano cube dx (I know you are cringing but because of space restraints this was my only option.... <Can be made to work...> me, my husband, and two babies under age 2 in an 800 sq ft house.  Space is at a premium.)  set up 7 mo.s now.  I have the back three compartments set up as follows:  #1- Chemi pure, carbon, small sponge that is rinsed weekly, and MJ 600 that has tubing aimed over the back wall and down towards the bottom to help w/ flow.  #2- 1/3 full of live rock rubble, Chaeto & light. #3- another MJ 600 powerhead, Visitherm heater & temp probe.  My sg is 1.025, temp a steady 78 degrees, ph 8.2, ammonia- 0, nitrates- 0, nitrites- 0.  I have about 14 lbs live rock, lots of encrusting coralline, Chaeto, red Gracilaria, and unfortunately an ongoing battle w/ hair algae, sigh.  I let the tank cycle 6 weeks before slowwwwwwly adding cleanup crew, then livestock.  This was very hard (self control- wise)! <Heeee!>   Inhabitants include 1 ocellaris clown, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, 3 dwarf blue leg hermits, 5 Nassarius, 2 Astrea, 3 margaritas, 1 small colony of Zoas, 1 small colony of pulsing xenia, an ever dwindling population of pods and two new additions:  a toadstool leather & a blenny (Ecsenius bimaculatus).  I do weekly 10% water changes and once a month a 25% water change using reef crystals & distilled water. First question is regarding the toadstool leather.  It was quarantined for 1 week before adding.  Within an hour of putting in the tank, she had all her tentacles out & was looking happy.  Her base was nice and straight and columnar- about 3" in diameter & she stands about 8" tall.  Now, a week and a half later, her base is hourglass shaped.  She still looks healthy, but midway up her stalk, it curves inward & is about   1 ½" in diameter, with the top & bottom of the stalk still 3" in diameter.  Is this something I should be concerned about?   <Mmm, not necessarily... a "natural" reaction to being moved...> I removed a small sponge that was growing up against her stalk while she was in quarantine (didn't know if it could have been exposed to the air).  This didn't seem to affect her at the time.  Also, I've noticed that the margaritas & Astreas occasionally crawl up the stalk (about once or twice a day) and the cleaner shrimp and hermit crabs will climb on her also, but less frequently than the snails.  It doesn't seem to really bother her, as her tentacles stay out during their attention.  Is there anything I should do? <Mmm, keep an eye on your fishes... as good/best "bio-indicators" here... for signs of distress, have a good deal/volume of pre-made water, another unit of Chemipure to switch out if the Toadstool changes the water chemistry too much, too fast in way/s that mal-affect the other livestock> She is the showpiece of my tank & I've grown quite attached already...would be sad to lose her but I could find a new home for her if you feel she won't thrive in my tank. <Mmm... will have to "trim", "frag" this soft coral in time...> Concern #2:  The bimac blenny.  He was in a short quarantine (5 days) because I've read that this is best for blenny's, made even shorter because he didn't seem to eat a thing in quarantine.  Otherwise, he seemed quite happy & healthy spending much of his time perched on his rock.  My first concern is that I have never (in three weeks) seen him eat.  There is plenty of algae in the tank & I also feed a rotation of frozen formula 1, Sweetwater zooplankton, formula 2 flakes, brine shrimp, and small bio blend pellets.  Also, soak food occasionally in vita chem.  I feel like it's a good assortment & there should be something in there he likes.  The clown can be quite aggressive at feeding time, so I've tried putting her fav's at one side of the tank & while she is preoccupied, dropping the formula 2 flakes & bio blend pellets on the other side near the blenny.  I can see his little eyes moving as he watches the food, but he never makes a move towards it.   <Hopefully is "nibbling" on this and that when you're not watching> Also haven't seen him grazing on any algae either.  Are they bottom feeders, or do they eat from the water column? <Actually a good deal of/from both... nibbling filamentous algae types that are attached, and small free-swimming animals in the near-bottom water column... more or less continuously during daylight hours> Haven't been able to find this info anywhere. <Have observed Ecsenius blennies for long hours underwater> Then yesterday evening, noticed him rubbing a little on the rocks- which is normal behavior in a blenny from what I read. <Also correct> But he was also occasionally twitching & flashing his tail- if you can understand what I mean. <Yes... a type of "non-verbal communication"... likely intended for the Clown and you> But no other signs of crypt that I can tell.  The clown has never had it so I don't think it's in my tank unless the blenny has had it all along & just now showing signs. <I don't think this is Crypt, or other parasite>   Should I put the blenny back in quarantine or will this be too much stress?  Anything I can do to entice him to eat?   <Just what you are doing really> I haven't seen any signs of aggression from the clown- thought this might be stressing him but have ruled it out. Next question-  Down the road (maybe in another 6 months or so) if everything is still going smoothly, do you feel it would be okay to add a dwarf feather duster & a Florida Ricordea to this system? <These choices should go here fine> After those two additions, my wish list is done- or am I maxed out already? <Close to it, and more... with growth, asexual reproduction> I'm aware of the allelopathy issues that can occur but would like to give it a try.  Maybe with the Chemi-pure & carbon & frequent water changes it could work out? <Yes> I would appreciate your take on this. And my very last question...I promise!  What is your opinion of Boyd's vita chem.? <A good product... I have used this...> Is this a good product, or am I just feeding my hair algae? <Only to a small degree... Worth using for the benefits it affords your other livestock IMO> Thanks in advance for your consideration.  It is much appreciated!!! -Jaime <Thank you for writing so well, sharing... Your intelligence, learning and passion for life shine through. Bob Fenner>

Teeny, Tiny Algae Chompers Alright, I have done (what I feel anyways) is quite a bit of searching around, and I cannot seem to find out if the entire genus Ecsenius, eats undesired algae in the home aquarium.   < I would be uncomfortable making a blanket statement that every species in the genus eats algae, but the majority of them do have algae as a major component of their diet.> I would be ok with something such as the bi-color blenny, but just feel that 4 inches is too large. <They tend to hit their maximum sizes, too! Most of 'em are good eaters> I would much rather Ecsenius opsifrontalis, or the Ecsenius gravieri I would consider a close second, I created a thread on RC, did a search on RC and hear, and checked Fishbase to see if the species eat algae, but I couldn't find out.  Anyways your advice would be grand, actually any 2"-ish  fish that ate algae and is reef safe would be great.   <Tough call... hard to find a reliable algae-consuming fish that stays tiny...I've kept Ecsenius pictus, which stays pretty small, and does like to chomp algae, although not as its exclusive diet. I'm afraid that you may have to use a combination of a blenny, some snails, and manual extraction...Probably best to focus on the elimination of algae through nutrient export mechanisms...Blennies, tangs, etc. are all great, but they don't address the root cause of algae problems...Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Thanks so much guys!-ducati24

Bicolor blenny not eating Okay....things are getting back to normal slowly...no ammonia, no nitrates, ph 8.2, nitrates still a little high at 15 (doing 5 percent water changes weekly). I've got 2 small Percula clowns, a rainfordi goby, cleaner shrimp, pygmy angel (a gorgeous fish!) and a bi-color blenny in my 46 gallon tank (plus a few snails and hermits and baby starfish)  A couple of issues....although I see waste from the blenny, it does not appear to be eating any food other than sucking at the live rock...I have tried:  formula 2, brine shrimp, flake, dried algae, Cyclop-eeze, and dried marine algae flake. <Its eating algae and pods from the live rock, which is a good thing.>  It also seems to sift the sand.  I have had it a couple of weeks....a guy at work tells me they eventually eat but it takes a while....what do you think?  Is there something else I should try? <I think that as long as it has stuff from the live rock to eat it will prefer to eat that.> Also, my clown has had a small white raised spot by it's side swim fin for several weeks...it does not look like ich, it is a little larger.  A guy at the pet store told me clowns get that sometimes and are usually doomed....any thoughts? <It depends on what it is, if its Lymphocystis (Cauliflower looking as it grows) then its not usually fatal> It is eating and acting perfectly normal....doesn't appear stressed at all, so I have been just keeping an eye on it. <Sounds like you are on the right track Lisa, Lymphocystis is usually fixed with good water conditions.  Good luck, MacL> Regards! Lisa

Carnivore Bi-Color Blenny I recently acquired a bi-color blenny, and it was to my surprise and shock when I saw it eat live brine shrimp and squid flesh. I saw that others have posted accounts of blennies eating carnivore flakes, but none that would eat flesh. Is there any fish that may mimic a bi-color blenny? I'm wondering if I have the real deal.  <Erik, you have the real deal. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again, Erik Cornelissen 

Re: Carnivore Bi-Color Blenny Bi-Color Blenny Thanks James. Does this imply that some blennies are omnivores, contrary to what is commonly thought, or that they simply eat flesh in new surroundings or under special conditions?  <Erik, all fish will eat meat. Take a tang for instance or a Sailfin Blenny known to be algae eaters. That is a preference, but they will eat other foods readily. James (Salty Dog)>

Blenny Diet Inquisition <A new Mel Brooks film?> 8/13/05 I recently got a two spot blenny (Ecsenius bimaculatus) for my 5.5g with fuge for a total water volume of 6g. Other inhabitants include 4 sexy shrimp and 1 peppermint shrimp. I feed a mix of Spectrum New Life pellets and Hikari Marine S pellets sparingly (5 pellets per feeding) twice per day. I also dose phytoplankton once a week at the rate of 2ml. Spectrum New Life main ingredients: krill, herring, wheat flower, amino acids, algae meal Hikari Marine S main ingredients: fish meal, krill meal, silkworm pupa meal, starch, dried seaweeds meal Questions: I know the Ecsenius bimaculatus is an herbivore but do you think it will eat pods? <Yes... this genus' members are not herbivores... more general omnivores> Any other food recommendations? I dislike flakes because they get caught in the sponge I use to catch debris as it flows back into the display. Shrimp, whether live or frozen is also out of the question because of the aforementioned reason and because the blenny is an herbivore. Thanks! <Healthy Ecsenius will eat most anything small, meaty... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ecsblenfaqs1.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Bicolor Blenny Feeding    7/20/06 Hi, <Hello> I recently added a Bicolor Blenny to my reef tank, and it promptly disappeared into the rockwork. <To be expected. Natural behavior> My question is, how do I feed it if I can't see it? <Will come out, feed when it's ready> In quarantine, it ate Formula 2 pellets without difficulty. It's tankmates are two small Ocellaris clowns and one golden hogfish, all of which will certainly eat before the blenny. Thanks for advice! Jason
<Patience... Bob Fenner>

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