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Are Lookdowns From Hell?

  • March 27, 2008
  • |
  • Posted By Justin @ 6:45 PM

Lookdowns (Selene vomer), are members of the Carangidae family. The word Selene, being derived from a lunar deity in Greek mythology, gives these fish their common name "Moonfish". Like most members of this family, they are found in large schools. This particular fish is found throughout the tropical Atlantic.

This animal is not my first fish of choice for my clients. These Silver Surfers come with a multitude of issues and I do not recommend keeping this fish if you are not an advanced aquarist. I have about 20 years experience with this species, and as a general rule I stay away from purchasing these animals. I have tried them in some large tanks with better success. We did a large school of Lookdowns at the Ship Wreck Tavern here in New York, and they needed constant attention.

Most hobbyists or people do not understand how to collect or handle scaleless fish. You must not touch a net to these animals. Net collection or mishandling of these fishes often leads to death. I have many dealers and collectors for this Jack, most of them are out of the Florida Keys. These Jacks are line caught most often and given special care when transported.
Lookdowns do not ship well and a long acclimation period is suggested. When we receive these fish they have to go into quarantine. Scaleless fish are sensitive to most medications. Quinine, one of the best medications used to treat copper resistant saltwater ick, will kill these animals. Like most scaleless fish, Lookdowns tend to be ick magnets so keep a close eye out for this parasite. Another disease this fish seems to attract is Brookynella. The skin turns white and comes right off their bodies. A nasty looking disease, but treatable.

These fish are also very nervous creatures. Sudden movements, sounds or vibrations can send them racing into the sides of the tank. I do recommend cylinders for these fish or if you place them in rectangular tanks, bull nosed ends is the best option. If they are going into a small home aquarium I would suggest placing only a few small individuals in the tank.
You will not have any problems feeding these animals, they love to eat. We feed them mainly silversides. They often need to be fed live feeders to trigger their feeding responses initially.

There are several members of the Carangidae family better suited for the aquarium. Trevallys Blue Runners, and other Jacks we have had better success with. Lookdowns still are the best looking and most silvery in my opinion, but you are better off schooling a fish like the Blue Runner.




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