Moorish Idol

Bruce

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Hello
I was wondering what everyone''s thoughts and experience with the moorish idol? I was just watching a video where the person was suggesting that you would have greater success if you had multiple idols and not just one. I was curious what people thought about this?

Bruce
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
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Navarre, FL
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They will oftentimes school if you QT them together and put them in the DT at the same time. The two most important things to remember about these fish are A) They have very high metabolisms and thus require a ridiculous amount of food to stay healthy. Feed multiple times per day and also supply ample nori. B) They do not handle aggression from other fish well. This will sometimes make them “pout” in a corner and stop eating.
 

Bruce

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They will oftentimes school if you QT them together and put them in the DT at the same time. The two most important things to remember about these fish are A) They have very high metabolisms and thus require a ridiculous amount of food to stay healthy. Feed multiple times per day and also supply ample nori. B) They do not handle aggression from other fish well. This will sometimes make them “pout” in a corner and stop eating.
Thank you very much for the response. Would they be ok with tangs and a couple scribbled Angels? I would put them in before the bigger fish and roughly around the same time as the anthias. Is it true that having multiple moorish idols is easier then just one because they love to be be in schools?

Bruce
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
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Navarre, FL
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Thank you very much for the response. Would they be ok with tangs and a couple scribbled Angels? I would put them in before the bigger fish and roughly around the same time as the anthias. Is it true that having multiple moorish idols is easier then just one because they love to be be in schools?
They should be fine with angels & tangs, provided the Idols are established in the tank FIRST. I’ve never kept them in schools, only single specimens, so I cannot say if they do better in schools. The longest I’ve ever kept a MI in captivity is 5-6 years.
 

clsanchez77

20 Year Noob
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Metairie, LA
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I have never kept them personally, but I suspect a large part of why they struggle in aquariums has to do with their feeding habits in the wild vs how we feed our tanks at home.

Feed on small encrusting animals
I suspect if housed in a tank with aquacultured live rock, they would do much better and give you time to transition their feeding habits.
 

Reefhog

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Chicago, IL
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I’m no expert by any means but I’ve had mine in a 220 DT for four months now. Two months in QT and observation prior to that. Him and the Sailfin tang are the most aggressive eaters in the tank. I removed the tang for two months when I introduced the MI. I feed three times a day and an algae sheet a couple times a week. I mix up LRS, Mysis, clam, live black worms and pellets. I also just added Mid-Jersey sea worm and sponge frozen food to the mix. The MI eats everything. I have a CBB that’s more selective. Time will tell if I’m successful. I don’t think I would buy one unless I saw him eat at lfs. Him and the CBB are best buddies. They were QTd together and have hung out ever since. He even twitches at me when he sees me and wants food. Picked that up from the CBB (which they’re known for) in QT.
 

Bruce

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They should be fine with angels & tangs, provided the Idols are established in the tank FIRST. I’ve never kept them in schools, only single specimens, so I cannot say if they do better in schools. The longest I’ve ever kept a MI in captivity is 5-6 years.
[/QUOTE
Do you find that 5-6 years for a MI a great success? I'm not sure how long that they live in captivity.
 

Bruce

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I’m no expert by any means but I’ve had mine in a 220 DT for four months now. Two months in QT and observation prior to that. Him and the Sailfin tang are the most aggressive eaters in the tank. I removed the tang for two months when I introduced the MI. I feed three times a day and an algae sheet a couple times a week. I mix up LRS, Mysis, clam, live black worms and pellets. I also just added Mid-Jersey sea worm and sponge frozen food to the mix. The MI eats everything. I have a CBB that’s more selective. Time will tell if I’m successful. I don’t think I would buy one unless I saw him eat at lfs. Him and the CBB are best buddies. They were QTd together and have hung out ever since. He even twitches at me when he sees me and wants food. Picked that up from the CBB (which they’re known for) in QT.
Any recommendations or suggestions? Do you have a lot of water movement in your tank?
 

Reefhog

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Chicago, IL
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Any recommendations or suggestions? Do you have a lot of water movement in your tank?
I would not buy a MI (or any known difficult fish) for my DT that I did not witness eating personally. When I bought mine, I witnessed him eat at the LFS. I then put a hold on him for a few days which allowed me the time to get the QT to the same temp and salinity as the LFS tank. I also got the meds and food ready. I made sure he was still eating when I went back to pick him up. I started out feeding what he was eating at the LFS, which he ate right away. I then mixed in what he SHOULD be eating. After two days with him eating just fine, I started treatment with Chloroquine Phosphate for 14 days. I prefer this to copper as it covers more diseases and is easier on fish. I should mention that I always prefer to QT with a minimum of two fish as I find fish to be less skittish when there are two. They seem to take to food better as well. After the 14 days I put him in a 29 gallon with two black mollies for 30 days. He did go on a few hunger strikes during the six weeks but never more than a day or two. This is where a good variety of foods on hand come in handy. Live black worms are a big help. Because I was QTing a CBB at the same time, I was feeding clam slices with plastic tweezers. CBBs seem to prefer to "pick" at their food rather than pluck it from the water column. At least at first. So the MI started feeding from tweezers as well.

I do have a decent amount of flow. Two Neptune wav pumps, one wave-puck and the return pump via a 1" sea swirl. The flow doesn't seem to bother him at all. I really don't have any aggressive fish. The only two that are sometimes considered aggressive would be my sailfin tang and a flame angel. Neither bother the MI. I feed three times a day as it's my understanding that MI have a very high metabolism. I have 10 fish in my 220 and feed aprox five cubes split up over the three feedings. I carbon dose which helps keep nutrients down.
 

Bruce

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I would not buy a MI (or any known difficult fish) for my DT that I did not witness eating personally. When I bought mine, I witnessed him eat at the LFS. I then put a hold on him for a few days which allowed me the time to get the QT to the same temp and salinity as the LFS tank. I also got the meds and food ready. I made sure he was still eating when I went back to pick him up. I started out feeding what he was eating at the LFS, which he ate right away. I then mixed in what he SHOULD be eating. After two days with him eating just fine, I started treatment with Chloroquine Phosphate for 14 days. I prefer this to copper as it covers more diseases and is easier on fish. I should mention that I always prefer to QT with a minimum of two fish as I find fish to be less skittish when there are two. They seem to take to food better as well. After the 14 days I put him in a 29 gallon with two black mollies for 30 days. He did go on a few hunger strikes during the six weeks but never more than a day or two. This is where a good variety of foods on hand come in handy. Live black worms are a big help. Because I was QTing a CBB at the same time, I was feeding clam slices with plastic tweezers. CBBs seem to prefer to "pick" at their food rather than pluck it from the water column. At least at first. So the MI started feeding from tweezers as well.

I do have a decent amount of flow. Two Neptune wav pumps, one wave-puck and the return pump via a 1" sea swirl. The flow doesn't seem to bother him at all. I really don't have any aggressive fish. The only two that are sometimes considered aggressive would be my sailfin tang and a flame angel. Neither bother the MI. I feed three times a day as it's my understanding that MI have a very high metabolism. I have 10 fish in my 220 and feed aprox five cubes split up over the three feedings. I carbon dose which helps keep nutrients down.
Thank you very much for the great info. I truly appreciate it
 

Reefhog

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Location
Chicago, IL
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Ok thank you very much. Would you recommend that I just get one or multiple?
This is my first one so I have no long term experience with either way. I've had my solo MI since February with absolutely no issues. He does swim a lot so I would think you'd need a huge tank for a school. I snorkel in Cabo San Lucas a lot and see them singly, in pairs and in groups all the time.
 

Bruce

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This is my first one so I have no long term experience with either way. I've had my solo MI since February with absolutely no issues. He does swim a lot so I would think you'd need a huge tank for a school. I snorkel in Cabo San Lucas a lot and see them singly, in pairs and in groups all the time.
I've been to Cabo however never dove there though Great reason to go back there besides to see the whales and the warm weather lol I have a 205 gallon, 5 foot long tank. I'm trying to figure out my fish list list From there., I want to make sure that I have the proper filtration and water movement for the specific fish that I want
 

Paul B

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Long Island NY
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Moorish Idols are one of the most common fish in the South Pacific and you see them on every dive. In Hawaii they are one of the few fish still there as those waters unfortunately are quite dead compared to what they were 50 years ago.
Idols live there because Hawaii is not a coral island but a volcanic one and the water is murky due to volcanic activity and the tourists dumping those Chi Chi drinks, which we know as Pina Colada's into the sea. 🤪



I spent quite a few hours with them underwater until I realized I had my cell phone in my Speedo. But in Hawaii I found them to eat "mulm" or dying seaweed that is all over the rocks there and not much lives there except urchins as you can see here.


They pick at that stuff constantly but I never saw any other fish eat it.

In Tahiti they seem to prefer a lime green sponge that they would search for allover large reefs. But the water is much cleaner there.


The male (?) would find the sponge, and a minute later the female (?) would arrive and start eating while the male went off to find more.

I also kept my last one for 5 years which is a dismal failure for that fish. As Humble said, they need to eat constantly and I solved that by placing a shallow dish on my gravel. The dish had a tube going up to the surface with a funnel on top. Most of my devices seem to look lie that.
Over the funnel I had an automatic feeder that would dispense fish oil soaked pellets 3 or 4 times a day. My Idol would stare at the dish waiting for the pellets.

I also fed it live worms and a sponge I collect here in New York on floating wooden docks and I freeze it. Idols almost jump out of the water for it and it is disquesting stuff.


I don't recall anyone keeping them in a "home" tank much longer than 5 or 6 years. Public aquariums can though.
I don't know why, but they seem very healthy and eat most foods, then all of a sudden, stop eating and croak. That seems to be what happens to all of them but the vast majority only live a year or so in captivity. If you have a newish tank or a very clean tank, I would not get one as that fish needs to pick and find some food on it's own.

If I find one now I will get another one because my tank is nothing but sponge and I would like to trim it. But a moorish Idol probably won't eat it and just laugh at me. Laugh then croak. ☹



They are a peaceful fish with a soft mouth and have no defenses. Other fish pick on their dorsal spine which in the sea can grow much longer than the fish. The length of that fin seems to determine how healthy it is as it grows very fast with health but stays stunted if the fish is in decline.

 

Reefhog

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Location
Chicago, IL
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The length of that fin seems to determine how healthy it is as it grows very fast with health but stays stunted if the fish is in decline.
That’s interesting. The streamer on mine is easily as long as the rest of him. Maybe I got lucky and got one that lasts five years before he crokes. In Cabo, I see them all the time with puffers in the big marina cruising the rocky banks just under the oil slick surface. The puffers (blue spotted and porcupine) are eating crabs from the rocks. I’m guessing the MIs are eating the algae off the rocks. The fuel-oil mixture must make it taste better.
 

Bruce

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Moorish Idols are one of the most common fish in the South Pacific and you see them on every dive. In Hawaii they are one of the few fish still there as those waters unfortunately are quite dead compared to what they were 50 years ago.
Idols live there because Hawaii is not a coral island but a volcanic one and the water is murky due to volcanic activity and the tourists dumping those Chi Chi drinks, which we know as Pina Colada's into the sea. 🤪



I spent quite a few hours with them underwater until I realized I had my cell phone in my Speedo. But in Hawaii I found them to eat "mulm" or dying seaweed that is all over the rocks there and not much lives there except urchins as you can see here.


They pick at that stuff constantly but I never saw any other fish eat it.

In Tahiti they seem to prefer a lime green sponge that they would search for allover large reefs. But the water is much cleaner there.


The male (?) would find the sponge, and a minute later the female (?) would arrive and start eating while the male went off to find more.

I also kept my last one for 5 years which is a dismal failure for that fish. As Humble said, they need to eat constantly and I solved that by placing a shallow dish on my gravel. The dish had a tube going up to the surface with a funnel on top. Most of my devices seem to look lie that.
Over the funnel I had an automatic feeder that would dispense fish oil soaked pellets 3 or 4 times a day. My Idol would stare at the dish waiting for the pellets.

I also fed it live worms and a sponge I collect here in New York on floating wooden docks and I freeze it. Idols almost jump out of the water for it and it is disquesting stuff.


I don't recall anyone keeping them in a "home" tank much longer than 5 or 6 years. Public aquariums can though.
I don't know why, but they seem very healthy and eat most foods, then all of a sudden, stop eating and croak. That seems to be what happens to all of them but the vast majority only live a year or so in captivity. If you have a newish tank or a very clean tank, I would not get one as that fish needs to pick and find some food on it's own.

If I find one now I will get another one because my tank is nothing but sponge and I would like to trim it. But a moorish Idol probably won't eat it and just laugh at me. Laugh then croak. ☹



They are a peaceful fish with a soft mouth and have no defenses. Other fish pick on their dorsal spine which in the sea can grow much longer than the fish. The length of that fin seems to determine how healthy it is as it grows very fast with health but stays stunted if the fish is in decline.

Thank you very much for that great info and insight into the MI habitat in the wild
 
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