Tailspot Blenny: Information and Care
The tailspot blenny (ecsenius stigmatura) is a popular inhabitant in many saltwater aquariums. This species of fish is found primarily in the Western Pacific oceans but has been incorporated into saltwater tanks around the world. Typically, the male blenny’s are brighter in color and have longer fins, while females who are in good health will appear to have larger bellies.
The fishes’ color can range from grey to a coppery-brown/orange with a blue-grey head. The tailspot blenny is one of the smaller species of blennies and is an overall easy-to-care-for fish, as it has a laid-back attitude and doesn’t require any special tank modifications.
|Scientific Name||Ecsenius stigmatura|
|Size||2.5 - 3" Max|
|Origin||Western Pacific, Indonesia,Phillipines|
|Tank size||20 Gals minimum|
|Feeding Regine||Once a day depending on Algae in your tank|
|Price level||$20 - $40|
When bringing a new fish into your aquarium, it’s important to know how to best care for it. The tailspot blenny doesn’t require a lot of special care but will benefit from a knowledgeable caretaker and a bit of love and attention. Generally, the tailspot blenny will live 2-5 years in captivity but can live longer under the right conditions and with the right care. You will need to provide some nice hiding places for them to retreat when they feel threatened.
Don’t be surprised if it takes a week or so for them to build up confidence and start to explore their new home. It’s not uncommon for them not to be seen for the first few days after adding them to your aquarium.
The tailspot blenny is known to eat a large amount of algae and will be happiest when introduced into an aquarium that already has a sufficient algae buildup. Plenty of vegetable matter should be offered to the blenny. This includes dried seaweed, algae flakes, and algae wafers that have been specifically formulated for marine fish.
In the right conditions, filamentous algae can be grown on rocks and then rotated, switching with the rocks in the main aquarium to provide your blenny with a fresh source of algae to graze on. To anchor the algae to rocks and other objects in the tank, try using a rubber band to hold the culture in place.
OceanNutrition offers a great balanced diet food for your blenny with a complete feeding guide.
Vitamin enriched brine shrimp and Mysis shrimp can be offered as a treat, but should not be given as the main staple diet because tailspot blennies need to have a vegetable-heavy diet.
Your blenny will need to be fed 2-3 small meals per day, depending on how much algae is in your tank. If your blenny is being underfed, he or she may begin to nip and pick at SPS corals and LPS corals, as well as clam mantles.
The tailspot blenny is reef compatible and will do well with other non-aggressive fish. Tailspot blennies are bottom-dwelling fish and should not be housed with other bottom-dwellers or single blennies unless you plan to keep the blennies in a male-female pair. Although they are not aggressive, they can be territorial with others of their kind or other species who have a similar appearance.
If you want to house more than one blenny, do so in a large tank (50+ gallon) for the best chance of success. Be sure to monitor your blennies for signs of unrest. It’s also best to avoid housing your blenny with larger, more aggressive fish, as the blenny is easily intimidated and may stop eating if he or she is scared.
The aquarium itself should be at least 20 gallons, but of course, the bigger the better- especially if your blenny will have tank mates. The tank should have a fitted lid, as this species has been known to jump out of their tanks. The tank’s temperature should sit at 73-81 degrees Fahrenheit.
The bottom of the tank should ideally be covered with a sand substrate in addition to a scattering of live rock for hiding, grazing, and resting. In the wild, tailspot blennies can be found in small crevices, so don’t be afraid to create tight-fitting spaces with your live rock.
Although the tailspot blenny doesn’t need certain lighting conditions or water filtration systems, it does prefer calm water, so the use of a low-flow filtration system that leaves the water virtually undisturbed is recommended.
Ensure you have a fitted lid with these fish as they are expert jumpers and have been known to jump straight out of your tank and onto the floor. Many fishkeepers have found their beautiful blenny laying dead on the floor. Many saltwater aquariums don’t have lids so it might be advisable in the first week to place a sheet of clear acrylic or plastic over the top until he is comfortable in his or her new surroundings.
There have been a number of cases of tailspot blennies mating in captivity. When this happens, the male will usher the female towards a small, pre-selected cave of his choosing. The female deposits her demersal eggs on the walls and ceiling of the cave, and once she is done, the male goes inside of the cave to quickly fertilize the eggs.
Over a period of 4 or 5 days, the female might deposit several batches of eggs, all of which the male must fertilize. Until they hatch, he will guard them. The eggs hatch within 24-72 hours and once they do, keeping them alive can be a challenge.
The eggs often need to be moved into a separate tank that has been set up specifically for rearing and has matching water parameters. Once the yolk sacs have been fully absorbed, the tiny fish will need a constant supply of food such as rotifers to help them grow and keep them healthy.
They are, however, very difficult to breed and very few are done in captivity.
Can a tailspot blenny solve my algae problem?
No. Tailspot blennies are small creatures and in a large tank, the amount of algae that they eat won’t make a difference if you have an abundance of it. In smaller tanks, however, they may make a slight difference, but should not be relied upon.
Can I keep different types of blennies together?
Blennies are known to harass fish that look similar to them, so it’s best not to house different types of blennies together, as they all tend to have a similar shape and size. This is especially true when tailspot blennies are involved because they are a very timid species and are easily spooked.
What fish can I house my blenny with?
Blennies are relatively peaceful fish so they can be successfully kept with most species of non-aggressive fish. This includes gobies, yellow tangs and basslet fish to name a few.
Tailspot blennies are wonderful fish for any saltwater aquarium. They are beautiful to look at and seem to have their own personalities. In addition, they are easy to care for and get along well with a variety of other fish. Blennies should be fed a strict vegetable-heavy diet and should be given plenty of places to hide and perch, as well as ample space to graze.
What’s the difference between a Bleeny & Goby?
Gobies generally have fused pectoral fins that form a cup that they use to prop themselves up on and to grasp vertical walls. Blennies generally have a continuous, long dorsal fin that runs the length of the body to the tail. Blennies also have projections called cirri, on their head, that the gobies lack.
Blennies are believed to be among the most intelligent of fishes, they are relatively fearless, constantly active, and their large, upturned mouths mimic what some would describe as a “cheerful” smile.
Price and Availability
These amazing fish are available from most aquarium stores and are priced around $25 US Dollars or £30 in the UK. You can find them for sale on websites like LiveAquaria.com
The tailspot blenny gets its name from a dark spot at the base of its tail. A black and yellow band runs below each eye, aiding them in blending into their surroundings.
We just love the character that comes out of these fish once they have settled into their new home. The soon become a pleasure to watch and dart around the tank having fun. They never stray too far from their home and dart back at the first sign of danger.
Please lets us know if you own one of these lovely saltwater fish or if you’re planning on buying one.
Another great saltwater fish to consider is the Firefish Goby.