Thursday, January 28, 2010

Banggai cardinal fish

The Banggai Cardinal Fish, sometimes referred to as Kaudern's Cardinal Fish is a remarkable looking specimen having a silver body with vertical black stripes. The Banggai cardinal is a truly wonderful fish for the marine aquarium; so much so that it has been overfished to the point of possible extinction in the wild. It's body is covered in small white spots that are more easily seen on the dorsal, pelvic, anal and caudal fins. It is interesting to note that these Cardinal Fish are only found in a rather small area around Banggai Island off Sulawesi. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest marine fish to get to spawn, and raising the babies is a fairly easy task. This fish is very close to being placed on the endangered species list because of over collection. Before you purchase this fish, ask the retailer where they come from. If they say that is was wild caught, please don't buy them. Only buy captive raised or aquacultured specimens. The babies are brooded in the mouth of the male for a month or so, and when released they are perfect little miniatures of the parents, able to take enriched live brine shrimp from the moment they are released. In the wild the babies are released into, and hide among the spines of the long-spined sea urchin. Giving them the same cover in the aquarium greatly increases their chance of survival. Doing so will help those wanting and willing to aqua culture this species and we definitely want to reward these breeders. Another benefit from getting captive raised Banggai Cardinals is that they usually acclimate much easier than wild caught fish.
The good news is that these little guys are one of the easier saltwater species to breed. The males are mouth brooders which should increase the chances of successfully raising the young. The difficult part is figuring out if you have a pair. You may only be able to accurately tell once they've paired off. If you're really interested in breeding this fish and you have the appropriate equipment and tank setups you can buy a group of 3 and see if 2 of the 3 start to pair off. If they do, you may also notice them going after the third cardinal fish. If this happens and they are in a smaller tank, you will need to remove the third before it is hassled to death.

If they end up breeding you may notice that the mouth on the male will be bulging at the jawline and they aren't eating anything. They won't even go after their favorite foods! The male will mouth brood the fish and then release them after 20 days or slightly longer.

Take your time when acclimating these cardinal fish to your tank water. Once introduced they may hide out for a day or two but should come out once food hits the water. Give them lots of security by providing hiding places (think live rock) and they may be out in the open more.
Feeding them can be challenging when first introduced to your tank. They can be quite finicky and will probably not go after flakes or pellet foods. You may need to start with frozen or live fish food and then try to get them onto vitamin enriched flake foods. Aqua cultured specimens should be a little easier to feed.

You may be able to keep multiples in the same tank if it is sufficiently large enough. If you cramp multiples into a smaller tank you will probably see aggression among them, especially once a pair has formed.

Banggai cardinal fish seem to be fairly disease resistant but you still need to take proper pre-cautions and use a quarantine tank before introducing them into your main tank. Keeping them in quarantine can also give you a chance to get them eating without any competition from others.

The Banggai cardinal is a very peaceful fish, and needs to be kept with other nonaggressive fish. Doing just fine in a reef tank, this fish will not bother any invertebrates or corals. The fish can be kept in groups if the tank is large enough. Normally a pair will form and break off from the group. However, the pair may also make life miserable for their brethren, especially once they spawn and the male is carrying eggs. Feeding the Banggai is easy, as it will take any kind of meaty food as it drops through the water column. Make sure the fish gets enough to eat. Males carrying babies do not eat for the entire incubation period, and it is a good idea to isolate brooding males.

Species Name: Pterapogon kauderni

Synonym: Pterapogon kauderni

Common Names: Banggai cardinal fish

Family: Apogonidae (Cardinalfishes)

Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)

Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned Fishes)

Max. Size: 8.0 cm / 3.1 inches

Environment: Marine reef

Origin: Western Central Pacific

Temperament: Harmless

Company: Pterapogon kauderni (Banggai cardinal fish) is suitable in a reef tank.

Aquarium Setup: Pterapogon kauderni (Banggai cardinal fish) must be given a dark shelter to hide under during the day. They are nocturnal bottomfeeders by nature. Banggai cardinal fish appricieates low temperatures, but 72-78 degrees F. is not a problem. Keep levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate as close to zero as possible, even though Banggai cardinal fish usually can edure a few tens of ppm of nitrate. Brisk filtration is usually necessary.

Food: Pterapogon kauderni (Banggai cardinal fish) eats benth crustaceans, zoobenthos, small fish and mobile invertebrates. In aquariums, they will happily eat shrimp, small fishes and other fresh and frozen meaty foods. You can also train your Banggai cardinal fish to eat frozen processed foods. Dry prepared foods, such as pellets and flakes, will not be able to sustain a Pterapogon kauderni (Banggai cardinal fish).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Midas Blenny

The midas blenny (Ecsenius midas) is a colorful and interesting little marine fish from the family Blenniidae. This fish is an excellent candidate for a reef tank. It is a beautiful, deep golden-yellow with a shadow of blue under the chin and bright, blue-rimmed eyes. When swimming, the motion they use is very eel-like. All members of this family have small antenna-like projections protruding from their heads called cirri. This is how the blennies can easily be distinguished from the Gobies (another group of small, bottom-dwelling fish). The seldom available Midas Blenny from Africa is larger, nicer and brighter in color than its Pacific counterpart. This fish is usually orange or yellowish orange with a blue eye. Unlike most of its close relatives, it feeds more on zooplankton than algae, swimming in the water column when it feeds. Keep only one per tank, unless your aquarium is large. In nature, it often enters shoals of Orange Lyretail Antias as they feed in the water column.

Midas blennies spend a lot of their time hiding in crevices and small caves or holes as shown in the photo of a blenny hiding inside of a barnacle. Resting inside of small holes with only their head showing is common behavior for them. If you provide rockwork with lots of small holes in it your midas blenny will also spend a lot of time swimming in and out of them.

Midas blennies are small fish, reaching only about 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm) in length. They are generally peaceful, but have been known to fight with other bottom-dwelling fish. If you keep other bottom-dwellers in the tank with your midas blenny make sure you have a large tank and that there are plenty of hiding spots for everyone. Providing them with lots of room will minimize fighting.

Likewise don't keep them with large aggressive fish either.

Although it is difficult to tell from the photo on this page, midas blennies usually have yellow to orange bodies. They often have blue markings and their eyes are usually rimmed in blue. There is some color variation.

Midas blennies are omnivores and so they need both meat and plant based marine foods. You can feed them zooplankton, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and marine preparations for omnivores, as well as marine algae. They can also eat finely chopped seafood. Also, provide them with plenty of live rock for hiding spots and for grazing.

This blenny will appreciate a minimum tank of 30 gallons or larger with numerous rocks on which to perch. Sometimes, the Midas Blenny will vex small planktivores and has been known to nip at firefish and gobies. Larger tanks are advantageous as many of the Midas Blenny's aggressive behavior traits seem to relate to a confining tank situation.

Unlike most blennies, the Midas Blenny requires a meaty diet including finely chopped crustacean flesh, mysis and vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, along with frozen herbivorous preparations, micro and blue-green algae.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yellowtail Damselfish

The Yellowtail Damselfish is extremely hardy and gorgeously colored. In fact, Chrysiptera parasema is considered by many aquarists, both beginning and advanced, to be the ultimate damselfish. This is partly because its jewel-blue body is contrasted by an energizing yellow tail. This color combination looks stunning against any backdrop of corals and live rock. But what pleases aquarists most is that the Yellowtail Damsel is less aggressive and does not need as large of an aquarium as other Damsels. It can be housed with a variety of tank mates but because damsels become more aggressive as they mature, smaller or very weak fish are not recommended. Fish types that could be at risk include small juveniles of butterflyfish and Centropyge angelfish, cardinalfish, etc. A group of several individuals of this species can be kept together but only if there are many hiding places, otherwise they may very well fight to death. Some good tank mates include other non-aggressive damselfish, (but not of this genera), larger butterflyfish, and wrasses. Very territorial dottybacks, and such fish as sea basses that will eat anything, are not recommended if the tank is not large enough. In addition The Yellow Tail Damsel is a very hardy fish and quite territorial. Many people will use this fish to cycle a new tank, although does not endorse this practice. Not only does this place undue stress on the fish, but it also sets up a precarious situation for any new inhabitants of the tank. Damsels are so aggressive that once they have their territory staked out, they will likely kill any new additions to the tank.

After establishing a territory, a male damselfish cleans a rocky ledge or coral surface to prepare it for spawning. Using color changes, excited swimming movements, and, in certain species, clicking sounds, the male fish encourages a mature female to approach the spawning site and lay her eggs, which he quickly fertilizes. Courtship and mating take about 10 to 20 minutes. Some males may mate with several females. Each female fish lays up to 20,000 tiny oval eggs, which the male tirelessly guards and tends. He fans water across the eggs with his fins, sometimes picking out dead eggs that could threaten the whole batch. Male damselfish defend their eggs against fish much larger than themselves with little regard for their own safety. The eggs hatch after three to seven days, and the larvae spend weeks drifting and feeding on animal and plant plankton. Some species of damselfish mature at two or three years of age while others take much longer. During courtship rituals vibrant colors distinguish the sexes more clearly.

Native to the reefs of the Indo-Pacific, this member of the Pomacentridae family prefers multiple hiding places and peaceful tankmates. Though most Yellowtail Damselfish will ignore other fish, invertebrates, or corals, some may be territorial towards its own kind or similar-sized fish. The Yellowtail Damsel is best kept in small groups of odd numbered fish in suitably sized systems.

Yellowtail Blue Damselfish or Yellowtail Demoiselle, and sometimes confused with the Azure Damselfish, C. parasema feeds on zooplankton and algae in the aquarium. For best care, it should also be fed a varied diet of meaty foods, such as mysis and vitamin-enriched shrimp. It is best to feed several small meals throughout the day.

Yellowtail Damsels have been bred in captivity. Though difficult to sex, males are usually larger and more slender and become aggressive towards females when ready to mate. However, the male Yellowtail Damsel is ultimately responsible for the care and guardianship of the eggs and will become very territorial while watching over his brood. But it is difficult to identify the sex organ of this fish.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The Auriga Butterflyfish, also known as the Threadfin Butterflyfish, is one of the more popular and readily available butterflyfish. Generally a hardy species, in the wild it is found on inner and outer reef slopes. As with many fish, the Threadfin Butterfly's color and markings can vary with the region of origin. Extends from Hawaii southward to central Polynesia and Australia and westward through Micronesia, Melanesia, the East Indies, and across the Indian Ocean to the coast of Africa and the Red Sea.

The Auriga Butterflyfish's diet should primarily consist of plankton frozen, freeze-dried, fresh or flake food is readily accepted. Also provide regular vegetable food source and vitamin-boosting supplements.

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2" to 2-1/2"; Medium: 2-1/2" to 4"; Large: 4" to 6"

The Auriga Butterflyfish is quite shy and should be provided multiple hiding places. It is safe to keep it in a live rock-only tank, although it will pick at the rock , but is one of the more aggressive species that is best kept singly or as a mated pair. It will often chase related species and other non-related fishes that have similar color patterns.As with many fish, the Threadfin Butterfly's color and markings can vary with the region of origin. Red Sea specimens tend to lose the eyespot (false eye to confuse predators) on the dorsal fin.

If you will try to raise it you need to have 75 galoons tanks or up and Provide with lots of shelter and room to move around. A fish that is sensitive to even the lowest levels of ammonia, as well as touchy to other changes in its environment relating to poor water quality issues. Not suitable. Will eat a wide variety of soft and stony corals and desirable invertebrates.

These vividly colored fish can add a stunning splash of color to an aquarium. Their oval shaped bodies are compressed and are white, black and bright yellow.
The Auriga’s have a black band that runs from the top of their heads and ends at the jaw, covering the eye. The back of their bodies are vivid yellow with an eye spot at the top of the dorsal fin.
They have perpendicular bands that run up and down on snow white front bodies. These bands may or may not be lined with black. And, they have an elongated nose that they use to dig in corals and substrate for foods.

Breeding may do so, Auriga Butterflyfish are very monogamous, they will choose a mate and remain with the same partner for years. Breeding in captivity is quite difficult, the fry go through a metamorphosis that increases mortality rate.
They can breed all year long and will spawn frequently. Eggs are released into water columns and externally fertilized. The eggs float in the water columns for around 30 days before morphing into plankton and spending another 40 days floating in the column.
Hundreds of thousands of eggs can be released during each spawning. There’s very little information known about their breeding and parenting habits since they are so difficult to breed. But, it’s suspected that once the eggs are released there’s no further parenting or protection from the parents.

When first introduced to the tank, the Auriga Butterflyfish may refuse to eat. If this continues or three days or more, try offering them live foods. If they still refuse to eat, soaking their food in garlic can sometimes coax them into eating it!
Butterflyfish have very small mouths and their teeth are flexible! As they age a long, trailing filament will begin to grow from their dorsal fin that can grow up to 8 inches long.

Common Names: Auriga Butterflyfish, Threadfin Butterflyfish, Cross-Stripe Butterflyfish
Scientific Name: Chaetodon auriga
Family: Chaetodontidae
Maximum Size: 9 inches
Life expectancy: 5 years
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Temperature Range: 72-78 °F
pH Range: 8.2 – 8.4
SG: 1.021 – 1.023
Water hardness: 8 – 12
Temperament: Peaceful
Origin: Fiji, Hawaii, Indo-Pacific, Maldives, Tonga

Friday, January 22, 2010


Lionfish’. ‘Scorpion Volitans’. ‘Firefish', its name reveals the fiery character of the Indo-Pacific red lionfish, scientifically know as Pterois volitans/miles. With bold maroon and white zebra stripes, and a plume of feathery spines, the lionfish is a stunning specimen. Elegant. Graceful. Deadly to its prey. The red lionfish’s profuse dorsal, anal and pelvic spines deliver a venomous sting that is fatal to potential predators; painful and dangerous to humans. Native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region, red lionfish have been introduced to the Atlantic Ocean within the past several years, and gained a foothold in the coral and rocky reefs along the Gulf Stream.

Lionfish are quite eye catching with their long showy fins and intricate red and white stripe patterns. But as beautiful and delicate as those fins may appear, be warned that they are covered with venomous spines that can deliver a painful sting!
Although usually not deadly some people have had quite an adverse reaction to their poison and require emergency medical attention. However, don’t let this scare you off – Lionfish make excellent subjects for the marine aquarium. These predatory fish come from reef areas in warmer waters throughout the world. With their large mouths they quickly swallow up other fish and small crustaceans.
The smaller species of Lionfish reach a length of 6 inches while the largest can grow to 18 inches.
Lionfish are hardy adaptable creatures that get along well with each other and with other fishes, as long as they are too big to swallow. They need a large tank that is decorated with lots of rockwork with caves for shelter.
Lionfish aquariums also require an efficient filtration system along with frequent water changes to deal with the large amounts of food consumed and waste produced. Although many people love to feed them live feeder goldfish for “entertainment”, this is really not very nutritional. Lionfish should be fed a variety of fresh and prepared meaty foods including marine fish, shrimp, krill, clams, etc. Remember to be careful whenever doing any work in your tank – you don’t want to get an accidental “poke” from your pet.
It is difficult to differentiate between male and female Lionfish and efforts to breed them in captivity have been unsuccessful.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Humu-Humu, Aculeate, Lagoon, Pig-Nosed, and Blackbar Triggerfish are only some of the common name of Rhinecanthus aculeatus is the true Picasso Triggerfish, not to be mistaken for the Rhinecanthus regtangulus species which is "tagged" with this same common name. In hawaii this fish is called Hu-mu hu-mu nu-ku nu-ku a pu-a-'a. Both the Rhinecantus aculeatus and rectangulus bear this famous long Hawaiian name. Roughly translated this name means "fish with a pig-nosed face". In short, this and most all other Triggerfishes worldwide are referred to commonly as Humu-Humu's, and sometimes incorrectly as Huma-Huma's, but these names do not actually identify an individual species one may have.

The Picasso Trigger is a magnificent and very popular aquarium species that is easily recognized by its creamy grayish-tan and white colored body splashed with many distinctive bright blue and yellow fine-line, and golden, black and white wide-band type markings.

This species can be found in the island of Hawaii and the Marquesas Islands westward through central Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanasia, and the Philippines in bankerohan river to be exact and around samal island to the coast of China, through the East Indies, and across the Indian Ocean to the coast of Africa and the Red Sea.

The Average size of an adult triggerfish is almost 9 to 10 inches. If you are planning to make this as a pet then you need to have 75 gallon tank and above to have more space. To maintain a peaceful tank that houses triggerfish, be sure to provide lots of room and a cave or rocks for a retreat area. Also house appropriate fish together that have similar needs and can hold their own. In this case larger protein eaters such as groupers, surgeonfishes, and basses, Some eels and puffers can be appropriate too.The Picasso Triggerfish or Huma Huma Trigger are known to have a pretty good disposition for a trigger and are generally a peaceful fish.This fish enjoys the shallower waters inside and outside the reef where lots of rocks and creviced structures are present to hide in and search for food from. To help to reduce aggression towards other tankmates, provide ample room and shelter to allow this fish to establish an adequate sized territory of its own.Not recommended. This fish eats a wide variety of crustaceans and other invertebrates, with the exception of stinging anemones such as the Stichodactyla or Carpet species for example.
Characteristics & Compatibility:

The characteristics and compatibility of Picasso species behaves in the typical aggressive Triggerfish manor. However, it may be housed with members of the same genus, if they are all added at the same time and ample space and housing is provided. Same species juveniles can be kept together, but as they mature fights are likely to occur between them. The Picasso Trigger is best kept in an aquarium with other similarly aggressive species of the same size or larger, as it may opportunistically eat smaller fish.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

3- Striped Damselfish

The 3- Striped Damselfish is also known as the White-tailed Damselfish, or Humbug Dascyllus. Three striped damselfish is a popular fish. The three bold black bands are separated by two white bands with a smaller bar of white to offset the tail.
This fish can be a great source of joy and can make you out of stress, but be sure that as they grow each one has it’s own rock cave or a coral. This is because young species of Dascyllus in the ocean will often live in a comensal relationship with anemones. As they mature, however, they will abandon the anemone and move to corals.

A 30 gallon is good for beginning but as time goes you can transfer them to much bigger tank and suitable with plenty of hiding places for the 3-striped Damselfish to survive. Due to its aggressive behavior as an adult, it will do well with other moderately aggressive fish in a community tank. It will not harm invertebrates or disturb the tank setting.

The 3-Striped Damselfish need a diet of meaty items, herbivore preparations, and flaked foods. You can also buy a fish food from your nearist fish shop. This fish will readily eat all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods and algae a very good example of this is prawn live or frozen one. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day. In a reef situation they don’t really need to be fed very often at all.

Most of this fish stay in small shoals in the wild when young, breaking away from the group as they grow, and eventually become solitary as adults. When exposed with several Damsels in one aquarium, plenty of rockwork and hiding places are necessary in order minimize quarrels among them.

The 3-Striped Damselfish can be found at depths up to 12 meters and can grow upto 6.5cm. It associates itself with branching corals on inshore and lagoon reefs. Like all damselfish, the 3-Striped Damselfish can be territorial and aggressive, especially as they get older. These can be kept with other larger fish but watch them closely to be sure their aggression doesn’t become destructive The 3-Stripe Damselfish, Humbug Dascyllus, or White-tailed Damselfish are found all over the Indo-West Pacific from eastern Africa and the Red Sea to the central and western Pacific as far north as southern Japan and south to Tuamotu islands and also you can find it near bankerohan river.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moorish Idol

The Moorish Idol is not an Angelfish, nor a Butterflyfish, but rather a close relative of the Acanthruidae or Surgeonfish family. A one-of-a-kind Zanclidae family member, this fish is also often misidentified as a Pennant or Bannerfish, which are actually species of the Heniochus genus that are commonly referred to as the "False" or "Poor Man's" Moorish Idol.

It can be found in the place of Hawai'i to Australia ocean, and from the west coast of Central America westward to the coast of Africa and the Red Sea.

You should provided with plenty of unobstructed swimming space, as well as ample hiding places to take refuge when feeling threatened. And if you put it in an aquarium you need to have a minimum of 100 galoon tank.

Typically the Moorish Idol is a moderately-peaceful fish best kept with other non-aggressive species. In regards to keeping multiple numbers of these fish together, there are many opinions. Some aquarists recommend only keeping this fish singly or in mated pairs.

From experience we know that large mature adults have a low tolerance for one other, and therefore keeping a single specimen or a mated pair is recommended. As far as juveniles, although this fish does seem to commune fairly well as a group, nonetheless their behavior towards one another can be "unpredictable". Sometimes a group of smaller Moorish Idols will get along just fine, while other times there may be one renegade in the group that becomes dominant, and decides to pick on all the others.

This is typically difficult fish to keep, larger specimens usually do not adjust well to aquarium life. With the tendency to ignore foods offered, most often their health will decline due to slow starvation. Smaller juvenile or sub-adult specimens may more readily adapt to their surroundings, but just the same, these fish are unpredictable in their feeding behavior. For fish that refuse to eat, to survive in captivity live rock that is rich with coralline algae and sponge growth may be needed to stimulate their desire to do so. Offer finely chopped fresh or frozen shrimp, clams, squid, and other meaty fares suitable for carnivores, live mysid and brine shrimp, some vegetable matter as well as supplemental vitamin-enriched prepared foods that contain marine algae and Spirulina. Feed 2 to 3 times a day.

Moorish Idols will often pick at LPS corals, and certain soft coral polyps. Although this fish primarily eats coraline algae and sponge in nature, this doesn't mean that it might not pick at other types of sessile invertebrates, or maybe even motile crustaceans. Because these fish are typically difficult to care for in captivity, a key factor in the success of keeping a Moorish Idol is buying one that is in the best of health to start with. Here are some important things to observe and find out about this fish, before you decide to buy one.

The colors should be dark, and bright, not faded or washed out. Generally it is about 7 inches, but some adults may attain 8 or 9 inches long.

The fish's body should appear somewhat full and rounded out at the sides, the stomach area should not appear concave or sunken, and the skeletal structure of the fish should not be noticeable underneath the skin. Ask someone to feed the fish while you are at the pet store. If they will not, because they may have set feeding times, find out when this is, and then ask to be present so you can see for yourself that the fish is eating well. Find out what the pet store is feeding the fish, and match that diet.
If the fins and the tail appear to be frayed or ragged looking, or are partially burnt off around the edges, and the fish's eyes are cloudy, this is most often a sign of exposure to ammonia burns, which usually stems from bad collecting and shipping practices, but can also result from poor aquarium water quality conditions and care. One of the best gauges for judging how this fish has been handled is to look at its long white streamer or pennant. If it is partially missing, or burnt off altogether, it's a sign the fish was at one time, or may be exposed to unfavorable conditions. However, if the streamer is missing, but you can see a new, small white filamentous-like growth starting to grow out of where the pennant used to be, its an excellent sign that the fish is getting the proper care, recovering and regaining a state of good health. Now if the pennant is missing, but no new growth is yet apparent, its a good idea to wait a week or two to see how the fish's condition progresses. It is not unusual for the symptoms of exposure to ammonia burn to be delayed, therefore a particular fish's condition can possibily decline as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What are porcupine fish?

The body of the porcupine fish is round; much like that of the puffers, but how they inflate the body is distinctly different.

Named for its spine-covered skin, the porcupine fish can be found in oceans throughout the world. This interesting little fish is a member of the Diodontidae family and is most often found swimming among or near coral reef areas. The porcupine fish range in size from around three inches with some of the larger species reaching up to nineteen inches or more. In the larger of these fish the spines are set into the skin, much like the puffers, erecting only when the fish is threatened and has inflated its body. But the smaller of the species have spines that are permanently erected whether the fish is aggravated or not. With around fifteen species of this fish, some are very popular as aquarium specimens while others are blown up, dried and sold as souvenirs. Most species of porcupine fish are nocturnal, choosing to feed at night when their favorite food is active. As a member of the Tetradontiformes order, the porcupine fish is believed to have evolved over the centuries from the Perciformes order. Although the porcupine fish, like many of the Tetradontiformes, are poor swimmers they have often been seen swimming with amazingly agile motions in and out of the coral reef as they search for prey.

The body of the porcupine fish is round; much like that of the puffers, but how they inflate the body is distinctly different. Unlike the puffers, the porcupine fishes do not have a special sac in the intestinal area to fill with water or air when inflating their bodies. Instead, these amazing fish take tiny gulps of water into their stomach until the body is fully extended. With the smaller of the species that have their spines always present this action gives them the appearance of an angry porcupine within seconds. In the larger species the spines lay along the body becoming prominent as the body inflates. Another of the distinct characteristics that differentiates the porcupine fish from the puffers is their incredible hunting habit. As night falls, some species of these interesting fish begin to appear from cracks and crevices within the coral reef. The move stealthily along the bottoms searching for their favorite food which is the mollusk. Just when it appears that no prey is present, the porcupine fish will move its body over a small area of sand and spurt tiny jets of water to uncover its prey. These tiny fish have a voracious appetite and when kept in an aquarium will swim to the top to await their food. In fact, some porcupine fish have even been known to spray a small stream of water at anything that moves when they are hungry.

Much like the puffers, the porcupine fish have large teeth that take on a beak-like appearance. Although the mollusk appears to be the favorite food of this fish, they are also known to eat clams, oysters and other invertebrates that dig into the bottoms of their habitat. Interestingly, claims that the spines of the porcupine fish are known to inflict a venomous sting have been made but to date no proof of these claims have been found. Since most data concerning the smaller species of this fish shows that they have been used more as shelf trinkets and to spice up the fish life of aquariums, it is highly likely that few or none have been ingested by humans. Another interesting aspect of this rather small, brown spotted fish, is that even though they are often observed in aquariums, very little is known about their mating habits or the juveniles of these species.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cubicus Boxfish

The Cubicus Boxfish is also referred to as the Yellow Boxfish, Polka Dot Boxfish, or Cube Boxfish. The juvenile form is easily identifiable as having a yellow box-shaped body with brown spots. As an adult, the yellow will fade and become brown. The Cubicus Boxfish is sometimes confused with the Longhorn Cowfish, Lactoria cornuta which is occasionally also called the Yellow Boxfish.
This is a very difficult fish to keep in the aquarium setting by any other than the most experienced aquarist. It should have a minimum of a 125 gallon tank. Use caution if placing the Spotted Boxfish in a reef tank as they will often nibble at tubeworms. If stressed, the Cubicus Boxfish releases a poisonous substance, called ostracitoxin, from its mucous glands which will kill other fish in the tank very quickly.

Very little success has been achieved in breeding these fish in an aquarium.

When first introduced, the Cubicus Boxfish prefers a diet of live brine shrimp or bloodworms. Once acclimated, the diet should include chopped squid, clams, mussels, and herbivore preparations.

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3; Large: 3" to 5"

Caution: This species secretes or releases toxins when stressed or injured that may kill fish in the aquarium.