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Bicolor Blenny
(Ecsenius bicolor)


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The bicolor blenny or Ecsenius bicolor belongs to the family Blenniidae. A common trait shared by all the members of this family are the tiny appendages on the tops of their heads called cirri. Bennies are endemic to the Indian Ocean and western and central regions of the Pacific Ocean.

Bicolor bennies have a slender, elongated body with a dark purple anterior and a yellow or orange posterior. They also have a rather rounded head with a flat forehead and bulbous eyes. The blenny is commonly confused with the goby family. Both are slender bodied smaller fish with a bright color palette. Blennies have a single continuous dorsal fin that runs the entire length of their body. Where as gobies have a dorsal and a pelvic fin running parallel to their spinal column.

In nature, blennies often inhabit tidal pools where the water is warm and shallow. They are incredibly good jumpers. They will jump from one tidal pool to another in search of food. This activity has earned them the name Rock Skipper in the Indian language.

These even tempered creatures make for suitable community tank fish. Avoid mixing them with more aggressive species. Blennies are shallow water bottom dwellers. They do not take kindly to the presence of other bottom dwellers and tend to become territorial. Decide what your preferred species in bottom dwellers is. If the answer is a blenny then do not buy other bottom dwellers for your tank. A male and a female may successfully be kept together. You will want to provide them plenty of hiding spots. Blennies like to play peak-a-boo. They will spend a lot of their day with their bodies sheltered in hiding places and their heads sticking out from their sanctuary. Blennies are specifically good for reef aquariums. The will graze on algae helping to eliminate cleaning and maintenance problems. They have blunt heads and combed teeth which is the perfect combination for scraping algae of the surface of rocks.

Blennies are strictly herbivores. They will eat dried and frozen fish food formulated for marine herbivores. It should be noted: Live algae are an essential part of their diet. If you do not have algae growing in your tank they may very well die. This algae growth does not have to be prominent enough to be seen by the naked eye. It can be microscopic in its presence. Generally there are microscopic amounts of algae growth in water anyway. But I though it important to mention because of the importance it plays in the blenny’s nutritional requirements.

The bicolored blenny grows to approximately 5 inches and can live up to 10 years in captivity.

This species is of no importance to the consumable fish industry but they are regularly caught for the aquarium trade.

It is not easy to distinguish a male from a female blenny. Males are typically a little larger. They also tend to be just a little more colorful. The color becomes more intense when they are in their spawning cycle. Unfortunately Blennies rarely breed in captivity.

Environmental Parameters


pH Level Specific Gravity
72-78  °F 8.1-8-4 1.021-1.023

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