Jawfish compatibilty with an established tank?

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Luananeko

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So previously when I planned out my tank stocking I had written off the possibility of a Blue Dot Jawfish because I wasn't planning on having a chiller. Fast forward 3 years and I now have the chiller and the tank is consistently sitting at about 76F. I saw one on Live Aquaria's Divers Den and gave it a shot. First few days, all seemed ok. Jawfish picked out a spot in the front right corner against the glass, was eating, digging his hole, eating well, etc. Then he started looking like the back half of his tail had gotten either bitten or rubbed raw, and died a couple days later. I never saw any sign of any other fish bothering him, and he didn't seem concerned with any of the wrasse club hovering overhead. I have no idea what happened to him.

He was such a cool fish and had so much personality that I'd like to try again but I wanted to run it by everyone here to see what I missed the first time around so I can do right by the little guy. Here's the tank info:

65g display tank
5g HOB refugium & 30g sump/refugium combo
Temp = 76F
4-5" deep sand bed & LOTS of live rock
Been running since October 2018

Current inhabitants:
- Starry Blenny (acts like the grumpy old man ala "get off my lawn" of the tank, but I never saw him bother the jawfish and mostly was on the opposite end of the tank)
- Green Clown Goby
- Blue Mandarin Goby
- Firefish
- Royal Gramma (super passive, hasn't bothered anyone ever)
- Tiger Watchman Goby (was added at the same time as the first Jawfish)
- McCosker's Flasher Wrasse
- Golden Rhomboidalis Fairy Wrasse
- Exquisite Fairy Wrasse
- Splendid Pintail Fairy Wrasse

To be added later after Jawfish is established:
- Saddle Valentini Puffer

Tank gets fed 3x daily - 1x with pod type food (ROE/Tigger Feast/fresh baby brine shrimp/Cylopeeze), 1x with dry food (alternates between Blue Zoo Aquatics mix, BRS Reef Chili, Reef Roids, and New Life Spectrum micro pellets), 1x with frozen food (LRS Fish Frenzy, frozen mysis, etc)
(I'm willing to spot feed the jawfish with frozen food 3x daily if people think it's necessary)

I know Jawfish are tricky to establish when they're not the first fish added in the tank, but I was hoping that the chill inhabitants and and feeding 3x daily would help with that... Should I bury a fish shelter in the sand for him? Maybe something like this?
fishHideyHole.jpg


Anything else you guys can think of or is this a lost cause?
 

Bucs20fan

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Both of your gobies also occupy the same part of the tank as the jawfish, they may have nipped it and stress took over. Sometimes gobies can be territorial to other gobies or bottom dwelling fish that have the same body shape.

As far as the shelter goes, I see you picked a ceramic one but it is definitely painted and ceramic is highly porous coming from an unknown source. My worry would be leaching coming from the ceramic. Not to mention the paint will be eaten off by the salt in the water.
 
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Luananeko

Luananeko

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Both of your gobies also occupy the same part of the tank as the jawfish, they may have nipped it and stress took over. Sometimes gobies can be territorial to other gobies or bottom dwelling fish that have the same body shape.

As far as the shelter goes, I see you picked a ceramic one but it is definitely painted and ceramic is highly porous coming from an unknown source. My worry would be leaching coming from the ceramic. Not to mention the paint will be eaten off by the salt in the water.
The clown goby was a tiny fraction of the jawfish's size and almost never ventures out of the rockwork, so I don't think he'd bother it... The watchman was added at the same time and stayed 100% in the very back of the tank as long as the Jawfish was around. Once the Jawfish died he took over a spot in the front under a rock on the opposite corner of the tank. Now that he's established his burrow there he doesn't seem to venture over to the corner where I'd want to bury a fish shelter. The Mandarin followed the Watchman for a while, but never seemed to nip at him. I saw one occasion where the Mandarin got near the Jawfish, but peeled out immediately when the jawfish spat sand at him.

Is there a better option for a fish shelter you'd recommend? I looked into PVC pipes, but from what I'm reading they don't tend to go for those as much. I saw another thread recommend a Slurpee cover with sand glued on, but I figured something with more holes for him to expand his burrow was better?
 
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Luananeko

Luananeko

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I could be completely wrong, just a guess honestly. Ive seen mandarins be very aggressive at times. And they are primarily nocturnal so you may not have seen it.

If it was me I would buy some PVC and Drill adequate holes in it.
Really, Mandarins get aggressive? This is my first saltwater tank, so I don't have any experience beyond this one. My Mandarin has always been super passive and oblivious to anyone around him. The ONLY time I saw him acknowledge a fish (other than the Blenny, who he's a total snuggle buddy with) was the Watchman, and he just followed him "Pepe Le Pew" style around the tank while the Watchman was like "Dude, personal space???".

Maybe because mine's captive bred and gets fed frequently he's more chill? Or like you said, maybe it happened at night since the Jawfish didn't have a well built burrow to hide in yet... All the more reason to give him a burrow as a head start I guess.
 
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Bucs20fan

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Theyre not typically categorized as an aggressive fish but if you look hard enough you can see plenty of instances where they have harassed other fishes. Its very possible that was not the case, but in newer and less hardy species a little aggression from another fish and some torn fins and stress will take over and thats a wrap. Im spitballing here and could be completely wrong.

Going from your stock, the only other one that can be a bully is the royal gramma. I know theyre the number one recommended reef fish but they can be total buttholes especially to newcomers. Mine is one of those. The aggression wears off in a day or two but that could have been it also.
 
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Luananeko

Luananeko

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Theyre not typically categorized as an aggressive fish but if you look hard enough you can see plenty of instances where they have harassed other fishes. Its very possible that was not the case, but in newer and less hardy species a little aggression from another fish and some torn fins and stress will take over and thats a wrap. Im spitballing here and could be completely wrong.

Going from your stock, the only other one that can be a bully is the royal gramma. I know theyre the number one recommended reef fish but they can be total buttholes especially to newcomers. Mine is one of those. The aggression wears off in a day or two but that could have been it also.
Yeah, I kept close tabs on the Royal Gramma because I had heard that as well. I don't think I ever saw him acknowledge the Jawfish though, and he typically chills either on the opposite end of the tank or the middle of the tank. He never ventures to that corner for some reason.

I have heard a snapping shrimp in the tank somewhere around that corner (hitchhiked in on my live rock from Tampa Bay Saltwater when I first set up the tank), but I wouldn't expect that to bother a full grown Jawfish...
 

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Both of your gobies also occupy the same part of the tank as the jawfish, they may have nipped it and stress took over. Sometimes gobies can be territorial to other gobies or bottom dwelling fish that have the same body shape.

As far as the shelter goes, I see you picked a ceramic one but it is definitely painted and ceramic is highly porous coming from an unknown source. My worry would be leaching coming from the ceramic. Not to mention the paint will be eaten off by the salt in the water.
The only reasons gobies will be aggressive to other species are if their genus/species is known for aggression or if they’re the same species.

I can say the clown goby isn’t aggressive and doesn’t actually occupy the same areas as sand dwellers. I have 4 gobies, a Griessingeri, Yasha, Clown and a Hectori. The only small bit of aggression was when they were newly added but that’s normal from any fish and they just settled into the hierarchy.
 
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