Foxface Is Always Dull Yellow, Never Vivid :(

JumboShrimp

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I have had my Foxface for about 8 months. When I got him, he did seem to breathe a little bit heavier than my other fish, but he was stout, and I figured maybe it’s how a fish like this breathes. During the 8 months he has grown to the size shown in the photo and seems to swim fine (although he is in his cave 85% of the time, observing the other fish), and eats like a pig. My question is, even allowing for early morning, late evening, and cave ‘camouflage’ periods, he is NEVER vivid yellow, but always washed-out whitish, to dull yellow. (Compare the photo of the yellow on my Yellow Tail Damzel and my Banner fish). Do you think the Foxface has been living with some internal disease all this time that— while not fatal— robs him of nutrition / negatively impacts his coloration? It’s not much fun having a blasé colored Foxface, and seeing other people’s tanks where their fish really ‘pops.’ ;Meh I don’t really want to capture him and ‘treat’ him if after 8 months, it-is-what-it-is. All opinions welcomed...
 
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JumboShrimp

JumboShrimp

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Thank you for replying. Each day he gets a variety: A frozen mussel, pellets, frozen mysis and other frozen foods, a tiny bit of flake, and there is nori available on a clip each day (which he does eat, but not in huge quantity). The live rock has algae, which the Foxface and Yellow Eyed Kole Tang keep under control. So I suppose I can rule out a diet problem...
 

ngoodermuth

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Have you ever seen white-stringy poop? That would be an indicator for internal parasites.

Otherwise, maybe try adding some vitamins to his food? I use vita-chem, some people use Zoecon which is formulated for HLLE. Could be a dietary hole if he’s not a big “veggie eater”. Maybe try some different kinds of algae, my fish love red and purple as well as green.

Washed out colors can be a sign of stress. If you’ve never seen any signs or symptoms of parasites, and it’s not dietary, could someone maybe be harassing him?
 
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JumboShrimp

JumboShrimp

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No white stringy poop. Maybe I can try mixing up the type of algae, as you suggest, to see whether he will consume more. Basically right now he (and the bannerfish) are the biggest fish in the tank, but perhaps stress is in fact why he is in his cave so much? (But then I thought I read that a Foxface (i.e. Rabbitfish) can be shy like that.) It’s an interesting situation, for sure. Thanks!
 
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ngoodermuth

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Could the bannerfish be picking on him? I found another similar thread, and someone commented that whenever his foxface would become "bright" the yellow tang in the tank would chase him and the foxface over time became constantly muted. The fact that he hides a lot paired with the dull coloration, leads me to think someone is maybe keeping him submissive. But, it wouldn't hurt to try to address any dietary holes, just in case.
 

mta_morrow

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I have a one spot foxface.

He is fat and gets algae pellets and nori every day.

Dull colored 90% of the time. Swims cave to cave and just watches, just like yours.

If he is hungry and sees me, he come out front and center and brightens up. Happy to see me I guess?

Anyway, after he eats, back to a cave.

He is the largest in the tank and no aggressive fish.

I have asked the same questions and it’s pretty much individual personality.
 
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JumboShrimp

JumboShrimp

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Good insights, @ngoodermuth , thank you. And @mta_morrow , you described it spot-on (no pun), and really made my day. It’s like you feel my pain (lol). Just knowing someone else’s Foxface does the same thing at least let’s me know I’m not completely crazy. Mostly I didn’t know how much longer (beyond 8 months) he could ‘seem’ perfectly healthy but ‘look’ sickly. Even at his size, relative to the other fish, he is certainly not acting as Tank Boss, so perhaps as suggested, the Bannerfish is keeping him color-muted. Many thanks for all the comments!
 

rkpetersen

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They can be different. My one-spot stays nicely colored and is out almost all the time.
But if I get my hands into the tank for maintenance, he runs and hides with faded color.
So stress is definitely the reason with mine.
 

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