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Old 06/07/2005, 11:35 AM   #1
zfunk007
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The Moorish Idol Thread

Hey everyone. I saw the "Regal Angel" thread so I figured i'd start one for Moorish Idols so we could share our experience in keeping them. Since this is considered a very difficult fish to keep any advice here will be greatly appreciated.

I personally have kept 3 of them with great success. However these were all fish I kept at an LFS where I used to work. I personally cared for them for over a year until the hurricanes hit and they all perished . Since then I have never attempted to keep another one, until now.

I work at another LFS now and we rarely get in Moorish Idols unless they are requested by a specific person. However, yesterday my boss arrived with a shipment from Miami and low and behold there was a beautiful Moorish Idol about 2" long. So I had to take him home and give it a try.

So back to the purpose of this thread. Please, share your experiences here if you've had them. Good or bad. I'm going to do my best to get this guy eating. I have a 210 gallon tank, so he has plenty of room to swim. I'm going to the store today and im going to pick up some frozen mysis, brine shrimp plus, Spectrum Finiky Fish formula and probably some Sea Weed Selects as well. Hopefully this will do the trick.

Before I was able to get them to eat Spectrum Pellets but first I would feed them formula 2 and Algae strips and they would eventually switch to pellets. I know that if you get them eating pellets they have a very good chance of surviving in the aquarium. Here are some pics of my new Idol. Enjoy. And please post your experiences!






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Old 06/07/2005, 03:19 PM   #2
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Those are great pics. I wish you the best of luck. Ya know people used to flame my wife and I all the time about keeping goniopora. You know what I would say to them? "Goniopora to me are like Moorish Idols, they can be kept, they just need alot more special care and attention."
Sorry I dont have one.


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Old 06/07/2005, 04:38 PM   #3
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**Update**

I watched him for a while this morning. And hes picking ALL over the rocks, everywhere. He's even nipping at a few of my corals from time to time. I knew the risks when I put him in so it doesn't really bother me that much. He hasn't messed with my stonies and those are the only ones i'm really concerned about. He nipped my trumpet a few times and some local Atlantic polyps that I got around here. No biggie.

I tried my mix of food. Brine Shrimp Plus, Frozen Mysis Shrimp, Formula Two, Chopped up Frozen Prawn and Spectrum Finicky Fish Pellets. I mixed them all together and added some Selcon also. He sampled just about all of it. But by sampled I mean "picked at" or chewed up and spit out, over and over again. So i'm taking the fact that hes sampling things and picking all over the rocks to be a good thing. And hopefully in the next few days i'll get him to eat normally. We will see. I'll keep everyone updated.


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Old 06/07/2005, 04:53 PM   #4
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Hang some Nori/Seaweed and try the Frozen Angel Formula it has sponge in it or buy a sponge from your LFS for them to pick at.

Kaye


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Old 06/07/2005, 05:14 PM   #5
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Since this is a Moorish Idol thread here is some pictures I took of them in Bora Bora.
I, of course also keep them in a tank.
Have fun with your thread.
Paul




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Old 06/07/2005, 05:58 PM   #6
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Great Pics Paul B!! You have any from your aquarium?


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Old 06/07/2005, 07:27 PM   #7
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Good Luck zfunk007!

I had one, it lasted 6 months it was eating great but my koran anglefish kept picking at it and it got ick and died


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Old 06/08/2005, 04:28 AM   #8
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Yes I do.



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Old 06/08/2005, 01:07 PM   #9
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What a beautiful Idol you have Paul! Any tips on how you got him eating and so beautiful in your aquarium?


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Old 06/08/2005, 01:54 PM   #10
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Zfunk, I went on a diving trip to Tahiti mainly to watch these beautiful fish. Unfortunately they seem to eat what all other reef fish eat, a little bit of everything including this wierd lime green sponge looking stuff that I have not been able to identify.
Mine always ate pellets so I feed him every day with "Soft and Moist" pellets that I first soak in "Selcon". As you can see from the above picture I feed him the pellets in a dish. The dish has a tube connected to it up to the surface where it is connected to a funnel. I put in the pellets every day with the Selcon and they go into the dish, the Idol hangs around the dish and eats them as they enter the dish. I do this to make sure he eats enough. There is a lot of competition in my tank but the Idol monopolizes the dish. I also feed the rest of the tank (and the Idol) other things like plankton, seaweed, small fish that I get in an Asian food store and other things but I think the main thing is the Selcon. I have had quite a few Idols but this is the first that I feed this way. I have had him almost a year. If I can't keep him ten years then the experiment failed.
In the sea they live in mated pairs and swim in large 100 yard circles around the reef with one following the other as in the picture.
Good luck.
Paul



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Old 06/08/2005, 03:20 PM   #11
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Wow, talk about dedication. That is great Paul. I was wondering what that dish was doing there. Yeah I know one of the problems with keeping them in captivity is that they are pretty much constantly eating. And if you don't feed them enough they starve.

**Update**

Mine is continuing to peck around at the rocks in my tank almost non-stop. Luckily there is some hair algae here and there that he has been grazing on. I'm hoping that will help him get adjusted to the tank.

I just fed my fish the same mix I fed them yesterday and he is eating "cautiously." I have been soaking his food with selcon also and I may try garlic to see if it stimulates his feeding more.

As of right now he is still "sampling" the food I am putting in. He doesn't seem to like the brine plus, he chews it up and then spits it out. The mysis however he seems to go for a little more. I have seen him actually eat some mysis without spitting it back out. So at least I got him eating something.

He hasn't gone for the pellets or the algae strip I hung on the glass yet. If I can get him to continually eat the mysis and maybe the brine plus i'll work on getting him to eat pellets next.

Out of curiosity, what kind of pellets are you feeding yours Paul? Also does yours have a particular spot in the tank he likes to hang out? Or is he continually moving around everywhere? Mine seems to like the right hand side of my tank. He'll circle around and around it and rarely goto the left. Although he does sometimes. More updates tommorow.


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Old 06/08/2005, 03:31 PM   #12
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zfunk007,
Good luck with him and keep us posted on your efforts. I know there are a few others on here who keep them and hope they will chim in. There has been a few other threads about the idol here on RC. Paul B is a great person to learn from. He's been doing this for a while.

I don't have one yet but my goal is when I get my 190 up and established, I want to try one. So I'll be intently watching this thread.

The common factor that I've read in various threads is mulitpule feedings a day and a varied diet. Again good luck.


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Old 06/08/2005, 03:39 PM   #13
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I feed him "Soft and Moist" pellets, thats the name. His favorite food is vegie flakes which I also soak in Selcon. I discovered by watching them in the sea that they live in pairs and one seems to be dominent and the other passive. One (the male?) leads to the food and the other just follows. I am thinking that maybe the passive one (female?) is the ones that eat "cautiousely like yours. Maybe thats why there is so much diversity in these fish. Why some eat anything while others are very picky.
I guess I have another excuse to go back to Tahiti.
Someone has to do it.
Take care,
Paul
Hello there Chevy


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Old 06/08/2005, 03:51 PM   #14
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Wow... thats interesting.. I'm learning alot from you Paul. Perhaps I do have a female Idol. If only there was a way to tell the sexes apart!

I appreciate all the tips and advice. I've never heard of "Soft and Moist" pellets before. I'm thinking maybe i'll just soak mine before I give them to him/her. I should get some veggie flakes though and try that as well. I think we have some of those at the LFS I work at.

Another thing I find strange is that he/she isn't going for the Algae strip I put in. Out of the 4 Idol's I have cared for in the past they all jumped on the Algae strips. Perhaps I should put it closer to the bottom of the tank. I have it near the top right now and the Idol seems to spend more time near the bottom or in the middle picking on the rocks.

Also, as my profile says, I live in South Florida. Me and my bro are going diving tommorow and I was thinking I could get the Idol some live sponge. We have tons of it around here and perhaps he would benefit from it. What do you think? Would it be bad to give a fish from the Pacific, Atlantic Sponge? Or does it not make any difference?


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Old 06/08/2005, 03:58 PM   #15
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Hi Paul. Hope all is going well for you.


zfunk, here's some reading for you.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...hreadid=565566

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...hreadid=512489

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...hreadid=421401


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Current Tank Info: Tankless for a while. RIP my 8+ yr old pair of Naso tangs, 4 + yr old Moorish Idol
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Old 06/08/2005, 04:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Wow... thats interesting.. I'm learning alot from you Paul. Perhaps I do have a female Idol. If only there was a way to tell the sexes apart
Zfunk, don't forget this is just an assumption, I could be way off on this. Maybe they are all transexuals I really don't know. It is just a theory of mine. I just find it interesting that about half of them eat anything and the rest eat just about nothing. I also did not see any juviniles like the ones we have. All of the ones I saw were about 7" long. I am sure they are stunted in a tank because mine is only about 4 or 5" long and I had him almost a year, more than enough time for a fish to grow to maximum size.
By the way, mine also does not eat algae, not even Nori which most of them eat but he will eat cardboard. They are not that bright.
Take care,
Paul


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Old 06/08/2005, 04:10 PM   #17
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I forgot about the sponge, I think you should try it. The next time I dive here I will also collect some.
Paul


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Old 06/08/2005, 04:49 PM   #18
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Well I got him eating the algae strips by ripping one up and letting it disperse throughout the water. He went after it and was eating it then. He still won't go near the strip attached to the wall though for some reason.


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Old 06/08/2005, 06:35 PM   #19
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You can tell a male from a female when they are more mature, around the eye where that slight lump is, the males lump is more perdominate.

Kaye


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Old 06/08/2005, 07:38 PM   #20
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Thanks for the info about sexing SpecialK. Did you know that Paul? That would be a great thing to know if it is true.

I decided to add some Kent Marine Garlic Extract to the frozen mysis tonight. And it worked like a charm. He was eating it like a pig. Not spitting anything out. This is a good sign. Tommorow i'll try treating some of the Finicky Fish Pellets with the Garlic and see if that gets him to eat the pellets.


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Old 06/08/2005, 07:47 PM   #21
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I had a MI and sold it but I did compare my Female to a Large male & I could easily tell the difference. There is a web page out there that explains the difference but I no longer have it book marked.

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Old 06/09/2005, 12:08 PM   #22
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**Update**

He is officially eating like a pig. It appears that soaking the food in the Garlic Extract has worked beautifly. He's also swimming all over the tank and even comming up to the glass when I come over to look at him. He's quite a curious fish. I'm very happy about all this, although success can be measured in many degrees.

I think what I am going to do is keep updating this thread so that we can have an accurate account of a Moorish Idol in captivity. I looked at the threads blown63chevy sent to me and one in particular had ALOT of negative comments about keeping these fish. I coulden't disagree more.

My father kept salt water fish tanks back when he was a kid in the 50's and 60's. Back then about all they had was air stones and possibly undergravel filters (not even sure if they had those in the 50's). And yes its sad that many organisms had to die for us to figure out how to keep them propery but without these trials how would we ever have come to what we have today?

In my opinion its silly to bash ALL people who try to keep Moorish Idol's or any other hard to keep fish for that matter. What you should do is try and educate people on the progress that is being made in keeping hard to keep corals and fish instead of bashing them.

Be sure and tell people that as of right now, a Moorish Idol is NOT for the beginning or even intermediate aquarist. But hopefully as progress is made they will be able to be kept so many more people can enjoy this wondeful fish. Think about the progress we've made in the industry of fish and coral keeping. This website woulden't be in existence if it weren't for PROGRESS and experimentation. Lets not forget that.

As for my Moorish Idol, I plan on doing EVERYTHING in my power to make sure he has the best home he can possibly have in my aquarium. I will give him a varied diet, clean water conditions, many places to hide, food 3 times a day and most of all I will take the advice of people like Paul B and blown63chevy who are open minded and think "outside the box." Thanks guys. I'll keep you updated.


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Old 06/09/2005, 12:29 PM   #23
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Zfunk, don't get a false sence of security about your moorish Idol. I have never had one that did not eat, I do not think food is their only problem. These fish can eat for a year and look great then drop dead for no apparent reason. I have seen it too many times. It may be that they need to live in mated pairs as I have never seen them alone. They may not be able to adjust to captivity after a certain age, they may have to mate every so often. Most fish will live over ten years with no problem but not an Idol. At least I have never heard of one in a tank of 100 gallons or so reaching ten years, if one or two do they are in the vast minority, I would say most live a year or two which stinks.
I am experimenting with Selcon and different foods and I even went to Tahiti to study them. Today I collected some local sponge to see if he will eat it. The sponge will not live in my tank for long so I have to remove it in a day or two.
Take care,
Paul


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Old 06/09/2005, 12:46 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by zfunk007

In my opinion its silly to bash ALL people who try to keep Moorish Idol's or any other hard to keep fish for that matter. What you should do is try and educate people on the progress that is being made in keeping hard to keep corals and fish instead of bashing them.
I agree with you on that point. However its hard not to, when you see the kinds of people at the LFS you have to assume everyone is an idiot. From what I have seen most of the difficult fish to keep you are usually out of the woods after 4-6 months with the Idols its closer to 2 years!

I'm glad you started this thread, we really needed one to tackle the unknowns of this fish. I would also caution everyone who reads this not to go out and buy a Idol until thier are a few more documented TRUE sucsess stories. I'll be following this thread as I wish to keep a pair of Idols in the future.

Maybe someone can chime in on the required or recommened tank size for one Idol and does it increase when keeping in pairs? Thanks
-Nathan


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Old 06/09/2005, 02:01 PM   #25
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Zfunk, they had UG filters in the fiftees, I always had one. I also had fish in the fortees but being a baby I probably did not know it.
As for bashing people for keeping Idols or any other kind of fish, the last time I looked, this was a free country and you can keep any kind of fish in any size tank in any kind of conditions. We may not think it is ethical, moral, or envirnmentally sound but I keep my opinions to myself when talking to an American. I have my own opinions about it. I also eat fish almost every day and I know that for every fish I eat there are hundreds of pounds of "trash" fish that get discarded. I still eat fish. If you do any traveling to the Caribbean or any Polynesian islands when you get away from the tourest areas you will see people with nets catching Idols, lookdowns, tangs, morays and any other kind of fish that they can to eat or sell. The majority of them just die in the sand to be eaten by crabs. I have seen this many times, it's life and I think many more fish are killed that way than you think.
Anyway, this is a moorish Idol thread so I don't know why I got off on this, sorry.
Have a great day.
Paul


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