based foods. If this species interests you and
you decide to go with it, be sure to provide
several suitably sized caves or overhangs for
the specimen to take refuge in, and be mindful
of those venomous spines! Of course, avoid
housing it with any fish or invertebrate small
enough for it to swallow. Assume anything
smaller than half the lionfish’s size could end
up being eaten.
Mysid or Mysis?
Which name is more correct,
mysid shrimp or mysis shrimp?
The product I usually buy
is labeled as mysis shrimp, but the two
names seem to be used interchangeably in
Actually, both names can be
considered correct for our
purposes. The tiny shrimp-like
crustaceans we feed to our fish
belong to the family Mysidae, and members
of this family can correctly be called mysids
(just as members of the family Cichlidae are
referred to as cichlids). Now, contained within
the family Mysidae is the genus Mysis, and it
would be correct to refer to members of this
genus—e.g., Mysis relicta—as Mysis shrimp.
While other genera are contained within
Mysidae, the mysids routinely sold as fish
food in the aquarium market all belong to the
genus Mysis. Hence, you really can’t go wrong
using either name.
How much skimmate should
a protein skimmer produce
every day? I keep hearing that I should be
emptying at least a cup of skimmate from
my skimmer’s collection cup every day.
However, I don’t get anywhere near that
much—maybe half a cup. Do I have my
skimmer adjusted incorrectly?
I’ve heard that cup-a-day claim
about skimmate many times
myself, and I have to say that
I don’t get it. As I see it, the
volume of skimmate produced by a protein
skimmer (assuming it’s sized appropriately
for the aquarium and well maintained) would
necessarily depend on the bioload of the
system. In other words, a protein skimmer
used in a minimally stocked and carefully
fed system would produce less skimmate than
one used in a heavily stocked, overfed system
and vice versa. I would worry less about the
quantity of your skimmate and focus instead
on its quality. If your skimmer produces a
thick, dry foam that collapses into a dark-brown liquid—even if you are emptying only
a half cup each day—then I’d say you’ve got
it dialed in correctly.
What is the key to keeping
the palette surgeonfish alive?
I have been keeping saltwater fishes for
over 10 years now, and every time I try to
keep this species in my 40-gallon fish-only
aquarium, it does fine for several months
to a year, but then it dies. I’d really like to