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Five-lined Clown Goby literally /only/ eating BBS. Dither fish/teacher? Sacrificial SPS?


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I got a clown goby via LA's Diver's Den. You know, the place that says they'll send you healthy fish that are eating? I got an underweight clown goby, not eating, with a bacterial infection disguised as ich. I got him eating BBS in the quarantine tank, got him starting to put weight on, and then put him in my tank full of copepods. Figured he'd fatten up on copepods. 


He did not.


I've been feeding him BBS for a month and a half, and I've been trying to get him to eat anything else. I've tried mysis, freeze-dried cyclops, frozen cyclops, frozen BBS, frozen adult brine shrimp, and teeny chunks of krill type plankton. Yesterday, he finally ate a single frozen adult BBS, showed interest in another, and then ignored everything else. 


I've just given him a bunch of BBS, and watched him eat. He's very enthusiastic about the BBS, but I've figured out why he didn't get fat on copepods. He's not eating copepods. There's a swarm of 'em in the corner he's hiding in, and he was ignoring those in favor of the BBS. They're very slightly bigger than the shrimp he's eating, and they move a bit differently, but otherwise they're pretty much the same thing. So I have no idea why he seems to be ignoring them entirely. 


He's not in good body condition. His lateral line is sticking out, his stomach is sunken, his face is angular when seen from the front. I'm giving him BBS daily, from a slow feeder thing so he can hunt them for a few hours straight, and it's just not doing the trick. I don't know if they're too small, or what, but this isn't keeping him healthy. I want to get him to eat something heartier, like mysis chunks, so I can fatten him up properly. Also so I can get him onto an auto-feeder rather than having to feed him several times a day myself. 


Is there any point in getting a similar, compatible fish to demonstrate for him? I know some fish species, particularly in freshwater, can learn to eat prepared foods by seeing other fish eat prepared foods. Any merit in adding a trimma goby, so he can see that one eat, maybe learn from it? I'm assuming adding another clown goby (green, maybe) would go poorly; I know different species of clown gobies can be combined in larger tanks, but this is a pico. 


If I get some sort of cheap branching SPS from my LFS (maybe a monti or something else that should do OK), is he reasonably likely to nibble on it? I've read that they'll annoy branching SPS and eat the slime that results, and I'm willing to sacrifice a couple frags in the name of getting him fattened back up. 


Do I catch him back out and put him in a mostly-bare QT tank? I got him fattened up in there, with BBS constantly in the tank. Trouble is, that's stressful, and I don't know if I'd ever get him eating prepared foods in a stressful tank. 


I'm really not sure what to do about a clown goby who I'm pretty sure isn't eating copepods. I'm also really hoping that it's not going to turn out that he's about 6 months from dying of old age anyway, since these lil guys don't live long. I've never put so much trouble into a fish in my life. 


Don't suppose anyone has a tank they keep stuffed full of BBS at all times that they'd like to add a clown goby to. Fry-raising tank, dwarf seahorse tank, that sort of thing. He's cute! He just doesn't know how to eat foods. Sir, how did you survive in the wild. 

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Do any of those mesh breeder boxes have mesh fine enough to keep BBS in? I might put him in one of those, if I can find one the food wouldn't immediately escape from. 

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Is panty hose small enough? Maybe wrap it? 



Live aquaria sold again and now some wholesaler I never heard of owns them. 

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Yeah, I think the plan at the moment is to wrap the frame of a breeder box in pantyhose material. I'm hoping for something that lets enough flow in for me to put my Dragon Soul favia in there, as the goby likes to sit on it and I hate to take his chair away. He gets a week, and if he's not eating prepared foods by then, it's into the box so I can actually have the tank pumps on during the day without washing all his food away. 


I'm really wishing I'd ordered a clown goby from Dr Reefs. He's got 'em quarantined and everything. Then again, I guess if I hadn't bought this little guy, he might have wound up dying somehow. I hope the other one LA had for sale was in better shape. 

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I probably should give that a try, yeah. Still don't get why garlic is an interesting smell for fish, but it does seem to work well. I'll try and pick some up today or tomorrow. 

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14 hours ago, Tired said:

I probably should give that a try, yeah. Still don't get why garlic is an interesting smell for fish, but it does seem to work well. I'll try and pick some up today or tomorrow. 

It also boosts their immune system, I believe. Most of my fish were quite enticed by garlic-soaked food while in QT. 

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No luck on the garlic, except stinking up my room and making my nose burn. I've decided to put him in a nice breeder box for a few months. He's staying in here until he's both fat and reliably eating some sort of prepared food. It's a pretty nice box, I don't think he'll mind. 



I got this berry box, with included strainer, at Container Store. It's six inches square by four inches tall, so not a bad size for a lil fella. I also got a two-part golf ball display case; those two U-shaped halves slide together to make a cube. The display case is to use as a support, with the box resting on it. 



My brother has this really simple soldering iron. Nothing but a wall plug, a piece of metal that gets hot from being plugged in, and a handle for it. You can melt holes in things with it, and, with considerable patience (this took a good 30 minutes just to cut those little pieces out), you can use it as a sort of terrible knife to cut/melt plastics. Best done outdoors, or, if you're in Texas in August and it's 102F outside, in your well-ventilated garage. 

(Though this plastic is the same stuff they use in water bottles, so it's not too nasty anyway.)



I got some pantyhose to use for this, but it had a really strong floral scent when I took it out of the package, so as a backup I used this mosquito mesh. It's folded double, so it should contain BBS. I tied it in place with fishing line, which was a pain in the neck due to fishing line being wildly uncooperative, then cut small plastic frames out of a couple of takeout container lids and secured those in place with more fishing line to trap the fabric tight against the container. Didn't want him to wiggle between the fabric and container and get stuck. 



There he is! He gets his favia that he likes to sit on, a cave to hide under, and a not-quite-cave with an open top in case he wants a hiding place he can see out of. Also some chaeto. If I see him seeming to need more hiding places, I'll try to add more things, but I was trying to have as few places as possible where BBS could get caught or otherwise vanish. I expect to need to add another couple of hidey-holes. 

The box is resting on top of the acrylic supports, and then you can see there's a couple bits of hard-to-bend wire (think it's aluminum?) acting sorta like clamps to keep it from wandering out of the corner. Not pictured is the terribly ugly lid I made with a muffin container lid, to make sure he stays in there. 

There's tolerably good water flow in there. Hopefully enough to keep the favia happy- it might need to be put directly in front of one of the windows. So far, the BBS collect in that bottom left corner for some reason, which is convenient. This was taken before I dumped the BBS in. I've got a hatchery dish that uses a simple plastic maze to keep the eggshells out, while allowing the BBS into a strainer that they're drawn to by light. I plan to just keep a load of BBS in here at all times, so he can't help but get fat. 

One bristleworm and one micro brittle made their way into this box, hiding under the favia plug. I'll probably pop a dwarf cerith or two in there once it starts growing a bunch of algae. Other than that, he's the only mobile critter in there, so there's no competition for the food. Don't think the favia will care about the brine shrimp. But this does mean I can try and fatten the favia up on meaty foods without 6 bristleworms immediately swiping whatever I give it! 


I hate catching fish. I felt so bad; he went from kinda uneasy, avoiding the net and the plastic spoon I was trying to herd him with, to moving in increasingly stressed, jerky ways and darting for cover every chance he got. Had to move things all over the place, bonked some corals with rocks trying to quickly uncover and catch him, and terrified the poor thing. He's scared of me again. I wish I had some way to tell him what I was doing- I'm sure he'd be all for this plan of putting him in a place with food that won't vanish. 

He did start eating as soon as I put the BBS in, though, so I don't think he's too stressed. Last I checked, he had his face in the shrimp corner and was gobbling them down.


Upside, I found the pom-pom crab that I thought was dead! Turned out that was just a molt that, for some reason, didn't have the carapace easily hinging up off the top like crab molts usually do. It's found a crevice underneath a rock, and I found it when I flipped the rock trying to catch the poor goby. I have a little video clip now of it smacking my tongs with one of its anemones. Funny lil critter. I'll need to make sure it gets food under there, though it does eat bristleworms sometimes. 

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There's a shrimp leak in the box, I think, but it's a pretty slow leak. 



Still worryingly underweight, but at least he's got a full belly! 



Y'all think that's enough shrimp? 

(I dumped too many cysts into the hatching dish, and as a result I seem to have a surplus. He keeps going over to that corner to eat, then seemingly getting overwhelmed and fleeing, then going back a couple minutes later to stuff himself again.)

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I swear he's actually gained weight over the last few days. That's pretty impressive. I guess a tiny fish that can lose weight fast would reasonably gain it back fast. 


I'm hatching BBS in this big hatching dish, with a lid on top. They go through a simple maze into a strainer, attracted to the light, so I can scoop them up and easily dump them into the tank. I opened it up to clean it, and I found an adult in there. 


Shrimp, it's been a week, how are you an adult? And why didn't you go to the light like the rest of 'em? 


This happened with a small batch that I set aside awhile ago to grow out for curiosity's sake. Most of them took awhile to get any size, but one was huge within a few days. No idea what's causing that. I'd say they were a different species, except I think there's only one species of brine shrimp? So maybe they just have some sort of pituitary mutation. Or a mutation of whatever passes for the pituitary gland in brine shrimp, if they don't have one. 

Whatever the case, I put this one in my opae ula tank. It should be happy in there. I didn't want to just feed it off, since it's somehow lasted a week in a container designed entirely to lure brine shrimp for easy removal.

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  • 1 month later...

Did you do any prophylactic treatment on him prior to adding him to the tank? I suspect he could have worms/internal parasites preventing him from putting on much weight. A treatment of prazi or fenbendazole may be worthwhile

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I didn't, because I had been able to observe him in QT and see that his poop didn't show any signs of intestinal parasites. 


I forgot I hadn't updated this. He somehow managed to get up between the lid of the isolation box and the lid of the tank, and I didn't find him until he was long past dead. I feel terrible; maybe if I'd looked over there earlier, I might have noticed in time to save him. Not the ending to this I was hoping for, obviously. 


Never underestimate the ability of a small fish to find gaps in a lid, and don't listen to anyone who tells you gobies don't jump. 

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