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Fish of the Week ~Ecsenius sp.~

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NaH2O

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Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
For the first FOTW, I will cover Ecsenius sp.. I have picked a few blennies out of this large group that are more commonly seen in the hobby. One of my all time favorite fish belongs to this genus, so I look forward to reading everyones' experiences with them.

The genus, Ecsenius, is one of the largest groups, containing 47 species. These blennies stay small, around 4 inches, and do well in reef systems. They prefer scattered rocks for perching and hiding.

I picked three species to discuss: Ecsenius midas, Ecsenius bicolor, and Ecsenius gravieri

Ecsenius midas - Midas Blenny:

A well liked blenny, the Midas Blenny (sometimes referred to as the Persian blenny), comes from the Indo-Pacific region (Gulf of Aqaba and southeast coast of Africa to the Marquesan Islands), and grows to ~4 inches. The coloration is a golden orange, black spot around the anus, anterior part of dorsal fin with a narrow dark margin. The Indonesian form is a grey or greenish to golden yellow color. This blenny exhibits rapid color changes when stressed. They inhabit coral reefs from clear coastal to the outer reef walls, usually where the currents are moderate. The midas blenny has been observed schooling with Pseudanthias squamipinnis (Lyretail Anthias), of which it has been called a mimic due to the similar coloration. They can change color quickly from when they are on the bottom swimming in open water to match the colors of the fishes it mixes with.

This species is different than its close relatives, as it feeds mostly on zooplankton rather than algae. They are excellent reef aquarium inhabitants, and require a varied diet. According to Scott W. Michael, he has witnessed this species biting at the fins of a firefish and goby, but states that it is most likely to become a behavioral problem in smaller aquariums. Too bad everything this species touched didn't turn to gold - I'd love to have a whole bunch of gold around the house. :)

Ecsenius bicolor - Bicolor Blenny:

Another popular blenny, the Bicolor, comes from the Indo-Pacific (Maldives to the Phoenix Islands, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef; throughout Micronesia), and grows to 4 inches. They inhabit clear lagoon and seaward reefs with mixed corals and algae covered rocks. Their coloration gives this species its name, with the anterior being a dark purple/brown/black and the posterior being yellow/orange color. Other coloration is dark dorsally with a broad white lateral band and dusky belly, with or without the yellow tail.

The bicolor blenny loves to perch on rocks and hide in any hole it can fit in, while picking at the microalgae growing on live rock. They do enjoy a good game of peek-a-boo, and love when cats stare at them from outside the tank (speaking of personal experience here :) ). They feed on vegetable matter, and are generally easy to keep. Reef aquarium compatability is debated for the bicolor blenny. The occasional specimen may nip at clam mantles, LPS, and SPS. They may also behave aggressively to members of its own species, firefishes, and gobies. They also have the ability to jump out of uncovered aquariums.

Ecsenius gravieri - Red Sea Mimic Blenny:

The Red Sea mimic blenny comes from....you guessed it, the Red Sea region. More specifically, Western Indian Ocean: Red Sea (including the Gulf of Aqaba) to the westernmost Gulf of Aden. These guys get to a length of about 3 inches. They mimic Meiacanthus nigrolineatus(Blackline Fang Blenny), which is avoided by predators due to its venomous fangs.

The Red Sea mimic blenny feeds on vegetable matter, and also enjoys spending its day perching and picking off microalgae on the live rock. They, like the bicolor blenny, think vegetable matter is especially tasty (mmmm Spirulina). The Red Sea mimic blenny might eat SPS, and bite at LPS and Clam mantles. If you are of the same species, look similar, or are a bottom dweller, then watch out because they might act aggressively towards you.

Let's hear some personal experiences with these awesome fish. Please include any issues you have had and any special care they required.
 

NaH2O

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Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Here is my buddy Humphrey, the bicolor blenny. He likes to spend his day perching from rock to rock and keeping an eye on what we are doing. He isn't afraid of big pink balloons floating by the tank, me in a princess crown, or the turkey baster. He has a "safe perch" that he'll go to if my little 2-1/2 year old is looking in the tank. He loves to pick at the algae growing on my rocks, which is begining to dwindle, finally. Huphrey's favorite game is watching for the cat to walk past the tank. When she is within his sight, he will swim to the front of the tank. Then when she looks in his direction, he will perch himself in front and wait for her. If she is interested in playing, he teases her by swimming right past her and perching on a different rock....she moves to that side of the tank, and he swims right up to her, then goes to a different rock....over and over. Very cute. My rockwork is blennyrific, so he has tons of holes to hide in.

Here's Humphrey in one of his many holes:

 

EvilMel

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
46
Location
Knoxville, TN (for the moment)
http://www.easttnreefclub.com/images/mel-4.jpg

That's a picture of my recently deceased (last month) bicolor blenny. I loved that fish so much. He never nipped at corals, got along famously with atleast 6 different species of gobies, and never jumped out of my very open-topped 135g aquarium. He could get into the tiniest of holes, where he would just leave his little face sticking out. Talk about cute.

I had him over 5 years and we think he died of old age (not especially sure though since fish life span is debatable). He was a treasured member of my aquarium.

I have only recently (maybe in the last 6mo - 1 year) heard of these guys possibly nipping at corals. It really suprised me too. So unfortunately now I am pretty hesitant to get another, well that and I may be moving you guys' way after the first of the year. I have always dreamed of a midas but held back because I didn't want to start a war with my beloved bicolor. I'm thinking once we get settled, a midas might be the way I go.
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
Sorry for your loss Mel. I was completely bummed when I lost my bicolor as well.

I can't wait to see Humphrey and Emily playing their peekaboo game. It sounds hilarious.

I had a bi-color blenny named Gilroy. He also had a "safe spot" in an overturned very large snail shell. At the first hint of "danger", he would back into that snail shell and only expose enough of his head so that he could see what was going on. That's how he got his name. In the 70's, there were bumper stickers that said, "Gilroy was Here", and showed a guys eyes, nose, and fingertips hanging over the edge of a wall. Gilroy reminded me of that sticker when he would look over the edge of his "safety shell".

There's one thing I can say about bi-color blennies....they sure have personality. They like interaction beyond the normal, "I want food" interaction. Gilroy never bothered any of my corals and I'm sure that I will get another bi-color in the future.
 

The Apprentice

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2004
Messages
1,174
Location
Umatilla,OR
Thank you Nikki for posting this article on these Blennys. I have had a Lawnmower Blenny than did a excelant job of cleanning my tank of Hair algae. I lost it due to my Powder blue tang would chase him and Attack him i could never catch him to put in my Refugeium. Makes me want to get another one After reading the Thread But i think its best I dont with Mr grumpy (Powder Blue). Thanks again for this Thread I enjoyed it. Jeff :)
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Well, my sweet bicolor blenny is not a model citizen anymore....GRRRRR. He has taken a liking to my M. digitata and my Tri-color Acro frags. I made a homemade fish trap, and we'll see if I am able to capture him.
 

BlennyBabe

Rachel
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
260
Location
Gig Harbor Wa
I miss my blenny. I used to have a red lip. He was the coolest fish. I had to get rid of him becase he kept taking my snails for rides. He would pick them up, swim to the top of the tank and drop them and then if they landed upside down he would nip at their flesh. I wanted to get clams so he had to go. He was definately cool though.

I have an orange spot blenny now that is one of my favs. He is pretty shy and secretive so his name is waldo. Im always looking for him.
 

blennyluv

Active member
Joined
Nov 6, 2004
Messages
44
Location
montana
i have a bicolor blenny.name is little bopper or booger. he has got to be the cutest, he knows me, when i sit by the tank and put my finger up, he swims to my finger and back to his perch. he has several fav holes and seems to get along good with my other fish. he and my gramma follow each other and compete for food, but seem to get along. i have a lawnmower blenny also, hes a kick, not the cutest kid in the class but a really cool fish. we call him muglsy, foogley or oogley, kind of prehistoric looking. would not trade my blennies for nothing!!
 

MtnDewMan

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Jun 27, 2003
Messages
2,290
Location
Mukilteo, WA
blennyluv said:
how do you post a picture on this sight???
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