Bigeyes should be fed often, usually
three to four times weekly. Smaller
individuals need to feed more often than
that, and many hobbyists report that
almost daily feedings are needed to keep
them in good health.
Bigeyes may be very shy feeders at first,
and the food may need to be offered while
the tank’s lights are either dimmed or
turned off for the fish to feed comfortably.
This can be problematic if you are offering
foods that, when allowed to remain in the
aquarium uneaten, will cause pollution
and water quality issues. Because of this,
it is of utmost importance to ensure that
any foods offered in times of darkness
are either consumed or removed within
a few hours at most. Once the bigeye
is feeding normally, a more regimented
feeding schedule can be constructed.
One area of concern for many hobbyists
wishing to maintain bigeyes is whether
or not these fishes may be housed with
tankmates. The answer is yes, as there are
many types of fishes that can be maintained
in a community setting with all types of
bigeyes. Bigeyes are generally social fish,
but they do not need conspecifics in order
to be successfully maintained.
The major factor to keep in mind when
keeping bigeyes is not so much what will
harm your bigeye, but what it won’t eat!
Not only do bigeyes have, well, big eyes,
but they also have big mouths. Small fishes
such as damsels, clownfishes, smaller
wrasses, gobies, basslets, anthias, chromis,
and other smaller schooling fishes will be
food for any species in the bigeye group.
On the other hand, large angelfishes,
surgeonfishes (tangs), larger wrasses,
snappers, groupers, and the like are
usually suitable candidates for bigeye
tankmates. Of course, it goes without
saying that each relationship between
individual fishes should be considered
strictly on a case-by-case basis, and
nobody can say with absolute certainty
what will or will not work. A good dose
of common sense is usually all that is
needed to construct a short list of suitable
tankmates for any given species of fish.
Pristigenys sp.; while all bigeyes have a slight bulge to their eyes, one should avoid specimens
with a large eye bulge that may be caused by disease.
In the aquarium, bigeyes spend much of their time near or under rockwork, caves, or other
structure, helping them to feel more secure.
One thing about bigeyes that really
requires attention is the fact that they
love cover, as they are a structure-oriented
group of fishes. There are a few species
that will spend some time as a school
in open sandy areas, but in an aquarium
the behavior you’re likely to witness will
involve them being intimately close to
some form of rockwork or cave.
Areas of rockwork that are connected
with live rock shelves or other types of
rocks that form a bridge or overhang
will be used often by bigeyes. Some
hobbyists who specialize in keeping
rare and unusual cave-dwelling species
will use terracotta clay flower pots that
have several holes cut out of the sides,
like those used for planting strawberry
bushes, with good success. These pots