Blue-Lined Rabbitfish,
Siganis doliatus

Photos courtesy of Dr. Jared Nabeta, melev, and Bradleyj

Common Name: Blue-lined Rabbitfish, Coral Rabbitfish, Scribbled Rabbitfish
Scientific Name: Siganus doliatus
Size: Grows to 10 inches in the wild, smaller in captivity
Distinguishing Features: Distinguished by several blue-lines on a yellow body. This pattern resembles a circuit board in appearance. Sometimes called a scribbled rabbitfish for this reason.
Origin: Range from West Pacific to Eastern Australia
Natural Habitat: Found in coastal reefs, usually travel in pairs
Feeding Requirements: These fish are relatively easy to feed. They require a diet rich in plant matter, but will also accept meaty foods. They will accept flakes, frozen or freeze dried foods and will also graze nuisance algae from the aquarium décor.
Difficulty Rating:
(1 = easy - 5 = hard)
When compared to other marine species these fish rate a 2.
Aggressiveness Rating:
(1 = shy - 5 = nasty)
These fish are relatively non-aggressive. They will display mild aggression towards a new addition, but will rarely engage in violent behaviour. I rate them a 2.
Captive Requirements: These fish do best in established reef tanks. Large amounts of live rock for grazing are preferred. Standard reef tank parameters are optimal. A tank of at least 120 gallons is necessary to prepare for the potentially large adult size. Once acclimated, they are very hardy, and will live many years in captivity. Care must be taken when handling these fish. A stab from their spines can cause severe pain.
Optional Requirements: These fish will readily accept supplemental feedings of macro algae from a refugium.
Reef Tank Compatibility: Blue-lined rabbitfish are best kept in an established reef tank. They are safe when kept with corals and will ignore ornamental crustaceans and invertebrates. While there have been reports of individuals consuming corals, the vast majority will ignore these creatures in favour of the competing algae. Furthermore supplementation of prepared foods will make the fish less prone to pick at the reef. Attention must be paid to the potential large size this fish can attain, the accompanying increase in bio-load and the potential side affects this can have on the invertebrates in a reef display.
Reproduction: Rabbitfish become sexually mature after one year. They produce up to five hundred thousand eggs each season. There larval stage is three to four weeks, and will require both phytoplankton and zooplankton to feed. These fish hold potential for future marine aquaculture.
Notes: There are bout 30 species of Rabbitfish in total, many of which look very similar. They have an abnormally high number of spines on their fins, all of which are venomous. Care must be taken when handling this fish to avoid a pain-full stab. In the wild they usually travel in pairs, but are known to school on occasion. Juveniles and adults are harversted in great numbers for the food trade. They are considered an important food source in many countries.

This is one of my favorite fishes. In the past five years I’ve raised him/her from a 1 inch juvenile to an 8 inch adult. He/She greets me at the tank every day and always gets excited at the first sign of feeding. He/She is always front and center of the tank, and readily poses for pictures. The “microchip” like pattern is always noticed and admired by company in my home. This fish is a pleasure to own, and I certainly would never consider him/her as anything other than a great pet. No matter how hungry I get!
Further Reading: You Silly Rabbit: The Genus Siganus

Note: All of the above information has been compiled from various sources and should be used as a guideline, not a hardfast rule. Use caution when selecting animals for your own tank and research as much as possible before purchasing any animals. Remember that certain corals and fish are very hard to keep if their special requirements are not met. The information contained here is to help you make an informed decision. The author assumes no responsibility for any consequences that may arise from the use of this information.

Fish Profile: Blue-Lined Rabbitfish, Siganis doliatus by Dr. Jared Nabeta -