Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Midas Blenny

The midas blenny (Ecsenius midas) is a colorful and interesting little marine fish from the family Blenniidae. This fish is an excellent candidate for a reef tank. It is a beautiful, deep golden-yellow with a shadow of blue under the chin and bright, blue-rimmed eyes. When swimming, the motion they use is very eel-like. All members of this family have small antenna-like projections protruding from their heads called cirri. This is how the blennies can easily be distinguished from the Gobies (another group of small, bottom-dwelling fish). The seldom available Midas Blenny from Africa is larger, nicer and brighter in color than its Pacific counterpart. This fish is usually orange or yellowish orange with a blue eye. Unlike most of its close relatives, it feeds more on zooplankton than algae, swimming in the water column when it feeds. Keep only one per tank, unless your aquarium is large. In nature, it often enters shoals of Orange Lyretail Antias as they feed in the water column.

Midas blennies spend a lot of their time hiding in crevices and small caves or holes as shown in the photo of a blenny hiding inside of a barnacle. Resting inside of small holes with only their head showing is common behavior for them. If you provide rockwork with lots of small holes in it your midas blenny will also spend a lot of time swimming in and out of them.

Midas blennies are small fish, reaching only about 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm) in length. They are generally peaceful, but have been known to fight with other bottom-dwelling fish. If you keep other bottom-dwellers in the tank with your midas blenny make sure you have a large tank and that there are plenty of hiding spots for everyone. Providing them with lots of room will minimize fighting.

Likewise don't keep them with large aggressive fish either.

Although it is difficult to tell from the photo on this page, midas blennies usually have yellow to orange bodies. They often have blue markings and their eyes are usually rimmed in blue. There is some color variation.

Midas blennies are omnivores and so they need both meat and plant based marine foods. You can feed them zooplankton, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and marine preparations for omnivores, as well as marine algae. They can also eat finely chopped seafood. Also, provide them with plenty of live rock for hiding spots and for grazing.

This blenny will appreciate a minimum tank of 30 gallons or larger with numerous rocks on which to perch. Sometimes, the Midas Blenny will vex small planktivores and has been known to nip at firefish and gobies. Larger tanks are advantageous as many of the Midas Blenny's aggressive behavior traits seem to relate to a confining tank situation.

Unlike most blennies, the Midas Blenny requires a meaty diet including finely chopped crustacean flesh, mysis and vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, along with frozen herbivorous preparations, micro and blue-green algae.