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Ecsenius pictus, White-lined Comb-tooth. Scott W. Michael

Family: Blenniidae

Species in Genus Ecsenius:

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM


Among the most colorful of their family, the so-called comical blennies are not regularly collected and are a bit of a rare find for the aquarist alert for incoming “oddball” fishes.

They are often kept in reef aquariums, where most of them will spend the majority of their time in repose on the substrate or rasping algae off hard surfaces. Because of their small sizes, they can be kept in smaller aquariums. Be aware that some of these fishes will nip at corals and clam mantles. A rare individual may eat small-polyped stony corals or rasp slime off large-polyped stony corals. This can cause the polyps to retract.

They can be somewhat aggressive, especially toward other blennies and fishes that may invade their favorite hiding places, but they rarely cause real problems in the aquarium. On occasion, they may nip at and wound a fish tankmate. Keep only one per tank, unless the aquarium is large.

It is important to feed them vegetable matter, like frozen foods that contain the blue-green algae Spirulina. They will also do better if some microalgae is present in the aquarium.