Oct 22, 2009

Flashing Tilefish

I finally got my dream fish two weeks ago - a Flashing Tilefish Hoplolatilus chlupatyi I've named Blinky. These fish are notoriously delicate and difficult to keep, but Blinky was in excellent shape when I got him. He's been eating like a pig from day one and has a nice, full belly.

Flashing Tilefish and Seahorse

For the first two weeks, though, he hid under a rock and I had to target feed him. It didn't take him long to recognize me as the mysis dispenser, and he would come out from under his rock a few inches to eat. He's even started coming out of hiding any time I walk up to the tank, hoping to be fed. Today he was comfortable enough to swim further from his hiding place and explored the whole left side of the tank. I'm really happy he's doing so well.

As you can see, tilefish and seahorses make great companions. Above is a picture of Blinky and Juniper, my adult male H. erectus seahorse, sharing a meal together. This blue color with the green dorsal is Blinky's default coloration. When he gets excited or scared, he starts rapidly flashing all different vivid colors - pink, yellow, green purple...it's incredible. My boss had one of these for years and said that after a while, it stopped flashing and just stayed blue all the time. It's still a gorgeous fish even when it gets comfortable enough to stop flashing.

Flashing Tilefish

One reason tilefish are difficult to keep is because they are so shy. They should have the most peaceful tank mates like seahorses and gobies. Flashing Tilefish are especially delicate because they are deepwater fish living in waters over 100 feet deep. This is what causes their higher price tag; deepwater fish are more costly because it's more risky to dive for them. Once they are collected, they have to be slowly acclimatized to lower pressure or they will die. A Flashing Tilefish will set you back about $150 or more. But if you can find a healthy specimen, they are worth it.

Flashing Tilefish must be kept in an aquarium with a tightly closed lid. Any tiny holes in the canopy or top for tubes or cords should be well covered. The number one cause of death for Tilefish after being acclimated is from carpet surfing - jumping out of the aquarium.

December Update: Blinky is doing so great, I just love him. His favorite activity is definitely eating. He nibbles on the end of the feeding syringe or my fingers when I feed. He has no fear now and swims around all the time. He has filled out really nicely and has a fat belly.

Check out these Youtube videos of Flashing Tilefish changing colors:



7 comments:

  1. 10/28/09 UPDATE: Blinky is doing great! He is now comfortable enough to come out and swim all over the tank and is getting along with everyone. He's quite tame now. I put my hand in my tank tonight to move a coral that had fallen, and he was swimming around my hand calmly, but expectantly. I also had two seahorses hitched on my fingers. I was barely able to move the coral for being so crowded by nosy fish!

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  2. That is one insanely cool fish. I am jealous.

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  3. Quick note-

    Blinky needs a mate. These are mated pair fish and the reason he is hiding is because hes ALONE (no mate). I have a pair and they swim in the center of the tank all day long and eat from my hand. When they were first introduced they separated and UNTIL they found each other (125 gallon tank) they hid but that was just one day... You can try another type of tilefish since these are so rare but the fish will live MUCH longer and happier with a tilefish buddy... They prefer a HUGE tank and my 125 is barely big enough...

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  4. Thanks for the tip, mr knowitall. I'll be on the lookout for another tilefish...I've had my eye on the purple tilefish for a while, anyway.

    Blinky is doing so great, I just love him. His favorite activity is definitely eating. He nibbles on the end of the feeding syringe or my fingers when I feed. He has no fear now and swims around all the time. He has filled out really nicely and has a fat belly.

    Good news, I'll be upgrading to a 120 gallon tank. As soon as my friend tears it down, it's coming to my house.

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  5. thats really cool i want one now but the thing is i dont know how much they are. Any way im jealous now

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  6. Sadly, my flashing tilefish jumped out of the tank and died in the summer of 2010. I've had a Blue Jaw Tilefish since April 2010 and he is doing well. After starving, the main cause of death for tilefish is jumping. The tank is now covered with mesh and glass tops.

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