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Purple Tilefish
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.10.05(Sun)15:41    Post subject: Purple Tilefish Reply with quote

For the past 3 or 4 months that I've been going to my lfs, there has been a Purple Tilefish. After watching it eat like a pig yesterday and seeing that it did not have visible decompression issues (not swimming with its tail above its head), I decided to take it home. Let me say that the Purple Tilefish is one difficult fish to acclimate. This fish was jumping completely out of the water in the bag when I moved the bag even the slightest. Anyways I adjusted him to my tank conditions and put him into my tank. He has been hiding ever since. I tried feeding him frozen brine (what it was fed at the store) and frozen mysis. It didn't show any interest in the frozen brine last night but it peeped out of its hole at the sign of the frozen mysis. Unfortunately my Leopard Wrasse scares the tilefish a bit and so every time he's about to come out of hiding, the wrasse gets too close. I know tilefish are known to hide like this and that feeding is often a big issue for them. Does anyone have any tips on getting the tilefish to actually come out, meaning more than showing its head before darting back into the rockwork?
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2008.10.05(Sun)16:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a beautiful species.
Usually does best in pairs, in spacious systems (hundreds of gallons) with sand beds they like to dive into for cover.

Mike, I'm thinking maybe you're better off if he stays hidden for a while, let him settle in. A lot of times these end up "freaking out," actually jumping out of the tank or injuring themselves by smashing into the glass tops. Even the smallest of openings will be tested for escape. I wish you the best of success, they can be tricky.

I know you have probably already read these articles, but will link here for other readers...
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tilefishes.htm
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/9/fish/document_view
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.10.05(Sun)17:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

A beautiful species indeed.

Alright I'll leave him alone in the mean time. At least he's poking his head out. I'm sure that's more than other people's tilefish do.

I read those links prior to this post but thanks for your recommendations and concerns FloridaBoy. I also read up on the tilefish in Scott Michael's Basslets and Dottybacks book (part of the Reef Fishes series) and on other sites. Too bad the fish isn't common. It makes finding information so hard to find.

My next question is what should I do in terms of feeding it? It shows interest but it's still too afraid to completely reveal itself. Should I try sprinkling some food around its cave or do you think that I might freak it out that way? It's such a beautiful specimen and it was doing so well at the lfs all this time. I'd hate to see it waste away. Of course I'd also hate to see it jump around like it was in the bag yesterday.
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.10.05(Sun)20:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright the Leopard Wrasse went to sleep early tonight. I was watching the tank and the tilefish came completely out of hiding twice in an hour. Might not be much but it's better than nothing. He seems to really like my cardinals and clowns, probably because they're dither fish. Whenever the Leopard Wrasse approached the Tilefish, the tilefish would go into hiding, even though the wrasse was just looking for pods to pick at. The clowns and cardinals can go right into the tilefish's face and he still doesn't flee. He didn't eat tonight. Hopefully he will tomorrow.
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2008.10.06(Mon)13:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand your concerns, I have spent many hours watching delicate species hoping for the best. Malacanthidae have always been a challenge even for veterans.

I bought a little grouper years ago, fish was eating like a pig and doing great so I brought it home. Well, surprise--it wouldn't eat a thing! I tried day after day, everything I could think of, but it wouldn't eat. Finally, faced with the terrible choice of letting it starve, I took it back to the LFS...
and it started eating immediately! Laughing Laughing Laughing

Mike, I think your expert care will help here... it sounds like you are already seeing improvement.
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: 2008.10.06(Mon)16:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today he came out completely! Last night he came out twice after my wrasse went into hiding for the night. Today I put some food in for him and he didn't eat but he did show interest. I'll try feeding him a little more later tonight. Hopefully he'll start eating again.
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.10.06(Mon)19:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

He came out to eat tonight. I fed him formula two tonight. He only took a couple of small pieces, but that's still enough for the moment to ensure me that he will start eating again if given enough time.
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.10.07(Tue)17:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Purple Tilefish came out and ate frozen mysis today like a pig! I never thought I'd see him eat like that again. He doesn't seem to mind the wrasse too much anymore either.

Thanks for all your help FloridaBoy.
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2008.10.07(Tue)18:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh, great news, I can sense your relief...
now, if you just keep it from jumping out. Laughing
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Mike612
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PostPosted: 2008.10.07(Tue)18:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha don't go there. Since I got him, I'm always looking for him around the tank before I look for him in the tank. The way he was jumping out of the water in the bag was seriously ridiculous. I covered the tank up well though. I read that keeping the moonlights on at night will keep them from jumping so I keep them on. So far so good.

I'll keep you posted.
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