written by Dave Burr
Behavior: The Virgate Rabbitfish is a very hardy fish and thus a good choice for a newly established aquarium. Best kept singly, although pairs or small groups may be kept in aquariums of 120 gallons or more. This peaceful fish can thrive in either peaceful community tanks or aggressive predator tanks. It has venomous spines, which it can raise to ward off aggressive tank-mates.
Virgate Rabbitfish will eat a wide range of desirable and undesirable algae, and should not bother corals, provided they are well fed. They are not a threat to invertebrates or clams. If underfed they may pick on soft and LPS corals.
CAUTION! All Foxface have venomous spines and should be handled with caution. Use a scoop or specimen container instead of a net since their spines may get stuck in the net.
Feeding: The Virgate Rabbitfish will graze over the live rock in the aquarium eating algae. You can supplement its diet with live macro algae, such as Macro Feast, and dry seaweed 2-3 times per week. Try using a rubber-band to attach the algae to a small rock or pvc pipe and place it in the sand bed.
Hint: Ruber-banding algae to bit of tonga branch rock looks the most natural and will stay in place the best.
Soaking all fish food (even algae) with vitamins will help keep your fish healthier and make them less susceptible to disease. We recommend soaking food in garlic as well when adding new fish and whenever your notice ich or other disease in the aquarium. Garlic will help repel external parasites and will boost the fishes immunity.
Feeding Tips: Remember to feed slowly. Leftover food will cause nitrates and phosphates to rise. If you see food falling to the sand bed and into the rocks, you should feed slower and give the fish a chance to eat before adding a little more. Using a turkey baster allows you to target food to different fish. For example you can feed the aggressive fish on one side of the tank and then squirt a little bit on the other side for the less aggressive fish. This way all the fish get a chance to eat enough.
Maximum Length: 11"
Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatibility: Add with caution
Minimum Aquarium Size: 90 gal.
Range: Fiji, Indo Pacific
Water Conditions: 75-80° F; sg 1.024-1.026 (1.025 is ideal); pH 8.1-8.4 Ca 420-440 ppm, Alk 8-9.5 dKH, Mg 1260-1350, Nitrates <10ppm, Phosphates, < .10ppm
Water Chemistry: Maintaining Ammonia at 0 ppm, Nitrites at 0 ppm, and Nitrates below 10ppm will help to keep your Virgate Rabbitfish happy and healthy. We recommend doing a water change soon after Nitrates rise above 10 ppm. Maintaining proper calcium (420-440 ppm), alkalinity (8-9.5 dkh - run it 7-8 if you are carbon dosing), and magnesium levels (1260-1350 ppm) will help to keep pH stable in the 8.1-8.4 range. We recommend a specific gravity of 1.024-1.026 with 1.025 being ideal for fish. Temperature should remain stable as well and should stay within a 2 degree range.