Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 5″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow
The tank-bred forktail blenny, with its namesake forked tail, is a strikingly beautiful tropical saltwater fish that will be a welcome addition to most community reef or fish-only systems 30 gallons or larger. Sometimes called the yellowtail poison fang blenny or the cat-eye blenny, the adults of this species possess long filaments on the caudal fin tips, making them particularly showy specimens. Relatively small (to 4.3 in/11 cm), the forktail blenny, will only use its fangs in defense against larger, more aggressive fishes.
Hailing from the West Pacific, there are many regional variants within the species. The forktail blenny is replaced by the closely related canary blenny (Meiacanthus oualanensis) in Fiji and the Tongan green blenny (Meiacanthus tongaensis) in Tonga. The forktail blenny may also appear similar to the disco blenny (Meiacanthus smithi), especially given the “cat’s eye”markings. Both the forktail blenny mimic (Plagiotremus landandus) and the Townsend’s blenny (P. townsendi) mimic the forktail blenny in the wild. The forktail blenny is commonly found in protected lagoons and seaward reefs, and adults may gather in small groups. Nonetheless, it is advisable for most aquarists to only keep one member of this species in a tank unless the tank is very large or the aquarist is experienced enough to provide the appropriate husbandry. Like all blennies from the genus Meiacanthus, this blenny is a planktivore and benefits from a varied diet with plenty of meaty options offered two or three times per day. While a mature aquarium with plenty of live rock will provide natural feeding opportunities, all Sustainable Aquatics tank-bred fishes are weaned onto captive dry foods such as the Sustainable Aquatics Dry Hatchery Diet.