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FAQs on the Ecsenius, Bicolor Blennies Selection

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 Systems, Ecsenius Feeding, 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,

Do take care to distinguish twixt Ecsenius and Fangtooth Blennies... and avoid the latter! Here is an Ecsenius gravieri in the Red Sea.

Salt Water questions; stkg. Ecsenius, Cirrhilabrus, vacuuming fine sand, mas...    8/31/13
Hello crew! Its been a while since I've needed to bug you guys, and things have been going well. I have a few questions about stocking, dipping, new tank, live rock and sand. I've had a 72 gal Marineland overflow bowfront with about 80# live rock and a skimmer since early 2008. I recently lost a flame angel… literally lost. Im pretty sure I know what happened since
there's been a sudden bloom of Fireworms a few days after he disappeared.
My kids are still looking for him. I had him about 3 years. Current stock include a Fire shrimp I've had for 3 years, a royal gramma I've had for 5 years, and a pair of Perculas for 5 ½ years. They started spawning about 3 years ago. I just let the fry feed the tank mates; no time or interest to try to raise them. I've also had Firefish, a coral beauty, and skunk cleaner shrimp. I live in the Midwest and use tap water. I change 15-20 gal every month. I keep a log book… very helpful. I typically feed
Spectrum marine fish Formula once or twice daily and occasionally supplement with frozen squid, plankton, etc. I keep a 40 gal trashcan of saltwater I mix.
<Ah good>
Until this recent death, I hadn't checked water parameters since 2011.
Yesterday, I checked: pH 8.4, zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and 10 ppm nitrates from an old API saltwater kit. 82 degrees and SG 1.020. Last water change was about 3 weeks prior. All shrimp had been acclimated with an IV drip (1mL/hr over 6.5 hrs). The angels were dipped in freshwater with formalin for about 5-10 min. The remaining fish were dipped in fresh water
Methylene blue for 3-4 min. All animals are then in a 15 gal quarantine tank for 30 days with 5 gal water changes every week or so. I just setup the QT again and am ready to buy new livestock. Now the questions.
One of the local shops has a nice looking 2 inch Midas blenny that they've had for about 3 weeks. Another shop in town has a few 4-5 inch Midas Blennies. Am I better off getting the smaller blenny as long as he eats ok?
<Yes; will live longer, adapt more easily>

Im also thinking of getting a few skunk cleaner shrimp and a fairy wrasse.
I don't usually get more than one species at a time, but figure the bioload from the flame angel vs. a fairy wrasse and a small midas would be similar.
Do you think this is a mistake?
<Not a mistake; I think you'll be fine here>
The shop owner says he routinely gets Solar and Exquisite wrasses and recommends either. Im leaning towards the Solar but would appreciated any advice.
<Both are fine choices of Cirrhilabrus>

Do you anticipate any compatibility problems?
<I do not>
Is my standard Methylene blue dip and one month quarantine reasonable for both fish?
<Mmm, yes; though do keep an eye out that either are getting too thin>
OK, so on to the other questions. My sugar grain sand is getting thin. I use a siphon attached to the faucet for suction. It works great with a toothbrush, but slow removes sand. Any simple advise for adding back sand without a whiteout of the tank?
<Have the discharge from the siphon empty into a bucket, the sand will mostly accumulate, settle there. Rinse (with freshwater) this ahead of returning to the tank>
I anticipate Ill need to wash it with
salt or fresh water once or twice and then.. dump it in.
<Ah yes; fresh>
Next question…
does LR need to be replaced? How often?
<Needs to be added to, renewed periodically... after a year or so, ten percent, twenty... every half year or so. To re-stock w/ microbes to invert.s, algae... and offer more soluble sites for biominerals, alk. mostly>
I've got coralline algae and the
biofilter seems to be working ok. I also have turtle hair algae.
<Chlorodesmis likely>
Finally, Im planning to get a new tank…. As big as I can find.
I really like the overflow setup. I think the Marineland overflow glass aquariums max at 300 gal. I think Id be happy with this but would like to know if there is anything larger with pre-built overflow set-up?
<Mmm, well, easy enough to either drill, have a tank made by others come pre-drilled. Search, read on WWM re>
Do you know anything about the stress of the weight?
I assume the manufacturer will have this, but I suspect they'll recommend I put it in a basement.
<Not necessarily... depends on your floor support/s... often these can be bolstered>
Ill have to keep the 72 gal so the other fish don't become food in a larger predator tank. Do you have any reference for connecting these in series?
<Oh yes; on WWM>
Thanks in advance for putting up with this long email. Rich.
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner.

Blenny & Hermit Crab Compatibility, in sm. SW   8/28/12
Hello WetWeb ,
I have a six gallon tank that is about 4 1/2 years old, stocked with about 4 pounds of live rock, Xenia, Halimeda, a little hair alga and some other soft algae growing from the live rock. Not the most exciting tank so I'd like to spruce it up and add a couple twin spot blennies (Ecsenius bimaculatus)
<May fight here>
along with one or two hermit crabs (C. diguetti). Would the crabs likely leave the blennies alone - assuming the fish are healthy?
<Mmm, yes>

 (Or maybe I should ask, are these blennies fast enough to get away from diguetti hermit crabs?)
Also the details written on the blennies from the vendor I plan to get them from says that its okay to keep the blennies in "numbers" as long as they are introduced at the same time. What do you think about this?
<A gamble... in the wild members of this species, this genus are found either solitarily (more so when young, small) or in groups... but one can see that not just any individuals drift to/fro into others territory>
Do these fish generally do better in groups or by themselves in a nano tank?
<I'd keep singly; or at least have a contingency plan to separate>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Midas Blenny Hi Bob (or whoever might be working this shift), <Steven here this evening as the impending storm has chased me inside.> It is the 40 gal. gal again-- haven't had a tank to comment on--or much else having just moved to LFS deprived Albuquerque. Anyway, things are going to slowly with my tank--esp.... slowly since they can't seem to get me a tank yet. Anyway, I have taken my old discussion of Midas blennies over to reefcentral. There was an interesting spin on it which I thought someone would like to see over here. Several folk have discussed (Steve Pro, for one) that they maybe aren't the great beginner fish that they were thought to be. I am trying to figure the whole thing out as I would love to keep one (and also it's an interesting topic in the absence of real fish :-}) But not if it is just going to die on me in 8 months or so. If you'll remember the discussion was that they will do great for 8-12 months only to decline slowly. <Yes, do remember the discussion.> Several comments in the original discussion were dietary lack and/or lack of a schooling fish to be with. <Not so much strictly dietary in the nutritional sense as the frequency of feedings. These fish always seem to lose weight over time and relate this to living with and sharing the same foods as Anthias.> But does this mean that fish diets are *worse*? Or that the Midas was previously provided with a school of fish? <Probably neither.> Here's a bit of a quote from the reef fish moderator: "I'm not sure what's going on in these tanks. Normally, these are supposed to be very hardy fish. I know people who have kept them a lot longer than 2 years. I wonder if there's been a change in collection or shipping practices. It wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened. For example, 5 or 6 years ago elegance corals were considered a good beginner coral. Take a look at the poll in main discussion forum, and several threads over the last few years and you'll see that most people have a hard time keeping them alive now. It's been hypothesized that a big part of the problem has been a change in the collection and storage of them, and so they're not coming in as healthy. I wonder if one of the big collectors of Midas blennies is having problems like this. <Also implied use of drugs or . Dave" <I believe the problem with Elegance corals is where they are collected now and not so much the shipping or holding.> A couple other speculations are that the fish needs a mate to thrive. My final comment was maybe the bar is raised. It isn't enough anymore to keep a fish 6 months and say you are doing great. Wilkerson comments that anemones were thought to be tough because they lived for 6 months, but not anymore. Do you have any comments on all this?? <Anthony & I were discussing this last night before going out for Sushi. The strongest possibility was what you mentioned, that many fish did not last long and twenty years ago a fish that lasted 8 months was hardy. I still believe the underlying cause is feeding frequency which could be overcome with a large tank (over 100 gallons), a refugium, and frequent feedings with good food (Mysis, plankton, Seawater Zooplankton, etc.).> Hope you are doing fine, your fishless friend in the desert. -des/Jane <Catch you on the Forum later. -Steven Pro>

Midas blennies in captivity? Hi Bob, If you have time you may be catching our discussion on WWF re: my Midas Blenny's death. And not that I wish to knock myself in the head about it. I would like to find out why to prevent further such incidents. <Have seen such> The idea I am getting is that Midas Blennies may not be the great beginner fish they are thought to be. <Agreed> And I am even thinking here I am not quite the rank beginner either. At least I don't talk like one. :-) But here is what I am getting from the discussion: 1. This is not unlike others experience with these fish. (Including Zo-- who has a lot more experience than I). 2. The diet may require large amounts of plankton. <Yes, this is so> I have a refugium, but perhaps it failed to produce at some stage. I was growing Caulerpa and it didn't want to grow. Most aquarists (especially new ones) do not have refugiums yet. 3. This is a schooling fish who seeks the company of Anthias in the wild. <Mmm, no, not really. Found associated with many other fishes.> Perhaps my Blenny sought out the Clarkiis as pseudo Anthias (they weren't orange but oh well). When I had to pull them the blenny was scared. And this is my term depressed. (I am not so sure that fish can't be depressed. They can certainly be scared.) Perhaps a good captive display might be some Anthias and the Midas blenny. (Of course this would require a big tank. And Anthias are considered advanced fish.) <Yes> Anyway, I would definitely appreciate your take on this neat little fish. Though I believe my next blenny will be a bicolor which Zo and Steve both consider a hardier creature. <Other Ecsenius species (than E. midas) are better for captive use. Bob Fenner> --des/Jane

Ecsenius blennies hi bob & co., I've long been a fan of the Ecsenius blennies, having had a couple bicolors and a midas without problems for several years.  <Some of my fave fish species... had some nice pix from a few weeks back of "heads" in holes in sponges, corals... made in N. Sulawesi... but I don't seem to be able to "import" color settings for the new slide scanner (Nikon 4000) that I like...> with the possible exception of my shrimp/goby pair (Stonogobiops yasha w/ tiger pistol shrimp), these were easily my favorites. I'm now hunting for a mimic blenny (Ecsenius gravieri), but I was wondering about some other Ecsenius species that might be available since they were listed on your site. do you know if blennies like lineatus or axelrodi are ever available for the home aquarium? <Only very rarely as far as I've ever encountered... and a bit strange in that there are quite a few of these specimens about underwater, and near the sorts of other organisms collected with similar gear (fine mesh low fence nets... and fishes like Rainford's, other Amblygobius...) and would sell... The one downside to their collection (other than the founder effect of no one ordering because they haven't seen them, so no one catches them because no one orders them...) is that they're ding-dang mean toward each other (very territorial) by species, similar species... so they would have to either be collected individually (expensive) or put in individual specimen containers underwater... Perhaps someone (you?) will aquaculture them... no harder than pseudochromids.> my research thus far says no, but I thought I'd ask an expert just to make sure. what's the best way to go about finding such hard-to-find species if they are occasionally available for the home aquarist?  <Either to have "friends in the right places"... on the import end, who can/will look for "oddballs" (there are always these) on arrival... Maybe try Marine Center (link on the top right shared border on WWM), as they do get an amazing mix of species... mainly high-end but they may have a good lead in turn.> thanks for your time & all the great info on your site. Chris <Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner>

Blennies (Ecsenius Sp.)  10/19/05 We don't see much written about the tail spot blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura). <Understandable it's not such a common offering.> We're looking for a small fish who will help keep the green hair algae in check. This is our only concern so far in the few weeks that we've had the fish in my tank which was first cycled by the live rock. <Care for the Ecsenius stigmatura is relatively easy care should be very similar to that of blennies in the Ecsenius Genus such as the Bi-Color Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor). Provide a tank with plenty of live rock for grazing accompanied by a varied diet and you should be fine.> We have a 40 gallon with 30 lbs. live rock, 2 green Chromis (Chromis viridis), 1 false percula (Amphiprion ocellaris), 2 cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), 6 blue leg hermit crabs (Clibanarius sp.), 6 Astrea Conehead snails, and 6 red leg hermit crabs (unsure of genus / species). Future plans include a royal Gramma and a wrasse (you've helped me narrow the wrasse choice in a previous message). <Ok.>  Also corals (Fungia sp., Actinodiscus sp, and Sarcophyton sp.) and on the wish list. I've read your cautions about having the hermit crabs once we more into the corals. <Risk varies depending on the species.> Thanks for the prior advice. <No problem and good luck. Adam J.> Rejuvenating a very sad tank? And Midas Blenny?  - 03/22/06 Hi Guys and Gals (hey a hit musical?), <Maybe...> Anyway, I have a problem and can't seem to find any type of answer to this. I asked it on the forum and didn't get any sort of answers. I have a 40 gal breeder which I kept quite nicely (even moved from Chicago to Albuquerque) for years. Then I had a point where I wasn't making enough money to keep the tank going. <Yikes... got to move!> I decided I would do the very minimum. I fed the fish, I did very few water changes, and kept the water topped off (sort of). The tank looked like a cesspool but the fish and other critters stayed alive. The neon goby and shrimp were 2 years old and the bicolor blenny and clown over 4. My financial position has changed, so I am trying to reboot the tank. I have so far added a new light unit (Orbit with 2 96 watt bulbs), an RO system, and have a new blue spotted Jawfish in QT (no, I am not that rich-- it was a special treat to myself). <Do keep the tank top covered!> I added a whole bunch of sand and have done a few (plan for more) large water changes (about 9 gal) and am planning more. I have treated Aiptasia by putting shrimp with LR (that was prior to the new sand and all). I plan on putting a phosphate sponge in the filter next time around or so.  I also will be redoing the refugium. (Oh yes, and a very good top!!!) <Ah, good> In the process  of all that rearrangement etc. I lost the blenny and the neon, as well as the shrimp. :-( It is showing improvement, with clearer water, but I have a nice crop of diatoms. Anything else I should be doing?? <Mmm, nope... slow and steady as she goes... with your plans> Since I lost the blenny, I have been thinking again about a Midas Blenny. I really like this fish and like it better than the bicolor. We   had a discussion awhile ago about keeping them and seemed to decide that they are not as hardy as the bicolor. Perhaps it is a dietary thing? <Maybe... I find them about equal...> I was wondering since the foods have been getting better if it might be worth another try. Although I can't seem to keep Sweetwater zooplankton fresh for more than a week, there is Cyclop-Eeze, as well as New Life Spectrum (don't know if there is anything special in there but I am impressed with it), as well as the usual Mysid, etc. Any thoughts on this? <All should be accepted> Thanks ahead of time, --des <Good to "see/have you back". Bob Fenner>

Midas Blenny - Hardy or not?  - 2/4/2006 I realize that people can only speak from experience, so I'm not trying to criticize... rather, I am seeking clarification. On this page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blenselfaqs.htm One person (Cody) says that the Midas Blennies one of the most hardy blennies, and then lower Steve says that they are NOT very hardy.     So is this a hardy fish, or not? -Jeff- <Not to be (or even appear) disingenuous, but both statements can be/are correct. Ecsenius species that have been "well-collected, housed, shipped"... and provided for (large environment, clean, well-aerated water, lots of healthy live rock, not crowded, or housed with antagonistic fish tankmates... are exceedingly hardy, interesting captives. Now, in reality, most are starved, beat on arrival, stuck in too-new systems with bullies, and further stressed, starved to death... Get healthy specimen/s (usually only one to a tank unless it's huge), quarantine briefly (making sure they're well-fed daily), and place in a proper environment and you'll see. Bob Fenner> Midas Blenny Hardiness Clarification  - 01/09/2006 Hey guys, <Nicholas> I was reading over your site, and wanted to clear something up.   <Will try> On http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blenselfaqs.htm , Cody says: Blennies (6/24/03) <Hey! You got Cody today!> Hello.   Is there a blenny that is hardier than others?<I like the Midas and Redlip blennies as far as hardiness goes.  Cody> And at the bottom of the page Steven Pro says: Midas Blenny To Steve Pro or any of you knowledgeable people - Hi on a Sunday AM. Steve, I was wondering why you thought a Midas Blenny would not be a good idea for my two tanks. <Generally not very hardy. They feed very frequent feedings of plankton substitutes, much like the Anthias they mimic.> I wanted a small yellow friendly guy to put in with my two black and white clowns. Bob gives it a rave review in his book. <Not in my copy> Does he grow too big or what? (The tank is 29 gallons) I was also planning to put one in my 60 gallon tank. Do you know of other small yellow friendly fellows who are community-types and are fish? <Gobiodon citrinus or G. okinawae> Thanks for your continued help on stocking my tank. Am still planning on the fairy wrasse for my 60 gallon tank. Are there different kinds of fairy wrasses <Many> and if so should I beware of any particular one? <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm> The current crew is one clown, one pygmy angel and one royal Gramma. Still plan to add 3 Chromis and one more clown to that tank. Fishfully yours, Connie Cavan <Have a nice weekend. -Steven Pro> Can someone say which of these is the better voice? Thanks, Nick <Mmm, well, they are (of a necessity) individual voices. I am more of the leaning of Steven Pro here... there is a huge range (and assemblage) of blennies, blennioid fishes... for given size, type settings, some are far more/less hardy than others. Ecsenius species by and large do well in uncrowded, not-too aggressive settings, with plenty of live rock. Bob Fenner>  

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