The tailspot blenny is a wonderful aquarium resident that can be housed in a nano-reef. This individual was photographed in West Papua, where it is quite common.
Here is a wonderful little fish that has only been making its way into the aquarium trade for approximately 5 years. It is the tailspot blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura) (a.k.a. tailspot comical blenny). If you do not own one of these fish, shame on you! It is a fascinating fish to watch, is attractive, and tends to get along with its tankmates.
The tailspot blenny is easily recognized by the black spot at the base of the caudal fin, that is trimmed in white. There is also a black patch on the mid-belly and an orange rim around the eye and a blue line under the eye. This diminutive little fish (it reaches around 5 cm in total length) is a resident of West Papua, the Moluccas and the Philippines (the individuals in the aquarium trade come from Cebu). It is found on reef faces and fore-reef slopes at depths of 2 to 30 m. It is typically a solitary species, although it is sometimes found in small groups.
The tailspot blenny is a wonderful fish! It exhibits and interesting color pattern, including orange and blue eye liners, and spends more time in the water swimming about than many other blennies. It can be housed in a nano-reef as small as 15 gallons. Provide plenty of hiding places, preferably small holes that it can back into, in the live rock. You can use a ¼ to ½ inch drill bit to create some of these in the rock. Feed meaty and herbivore foods at least twice a day.
Ecsenius stigmatura is very neighborly. It rarely bothers fish tankmates, including other smaller blennies. If it has been in a tank for a while, it will assert its dominance over newly introduced members of the same genus (especially in a smaller tank). It is more likely to be picked on by dottybacks, more aggressive damsels, and hawkfishes. You can keep more than one in a tank of 75 gallons or larger (a known heterosexual pair can even be housed in a smaller tank, but sexing them is difficult). It rarely bothers clams or corals.
The tailspot blenny spends almost an equal amount of time resting in its favorite hiding hole and swimming about the aquarium looking for food. It does not appear to be a big algae eater, like some others in the family. It may leap out of an open aquarium.
©2008 Scott W. Michael