Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Golden wonder panchax

Scientific Name(s): Aplocheilus affinis, Aplocheilus lineatus, Aplocheilus lineolatus, Aplocheilus rubropictus, Aplocheilus rubrostigma, Aplocheilus vittatus, Haplochilus lineatus, Haplochilus rubrostigma, Panchax lineatum
Common Name(s): Golden Wonder Killifish, Golden Wonder Killi, Green Panchax Killifish, Green Panchax Killi
Family: Aplocheilidae
Species Type: Killifishes
Maximum Size: 6 inches
Life Span: 3 years
Natural Habitat: Indo-Pacific rivers and streams.
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Tank Region: Top of tank.
Possible Tank Mates: Best suited to species own tank.
Description: The golden wonder killifish is one of the most readily available killifish in the aquarium industry. It is a good candidate for a first killifish because it is relatively hardy.
The golden wonder killifish is yellow and green in color and is one of the bigger killifishes. These fish are best kept in pairs. The golden wonder killifish thrives on plant life, so be sure to include some live plants to keep them happy and healthy.
Temperature Range 68°F - 82°F
Breeding Information: To induce breeding, separate pairs into individual tanks and feed with live foods. Be sure to provide live plants with fine leaves as a spawning location. The male will perform a mating ritual by flaring his fins and dancing for the female. If she finds him a suitable mate, she will begin to lay her eggs. The eggs are quite large and hatch in about 14 days.
Sexing Information: Males tend to be larger than females and may have vertical stripes at maturity.
Diet: Carnivorous - feed meaty frozen or live foods.
Temperment: Peaceful
Common Diseases: None specific to species

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lysmata amboinensis

Scientific name: Lysmata amboinensis
Common names: Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Maximum Lench: 2″
Minimum tank size: 15 gallon
Hardiness: Easy
Reef Safe: Yes
Agressiveness: Low
Water Parameters: 72-78° F, sg 1.023-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4, dKH 8-12
Diet: Omnivorous scavengers. Eat almost anything. See bellow for more information.
Natural location: Indo-Pacific, Sri Lanka
Identification: Distinct pair of bright red stripes that outline the single white stripe running down its back.
Additional information:
The cleaner shrimp is a very interesting creature, since it exhibits a bizarre behavior that gives it its name. The cleaner shrimp will bravely approach large fish and even moray eels in order to clean their skin and gills of small parasites and food matter. Most fish seem to enjoy this service and will allow the shrimp to crawl all over them while they remain stationary. This species is a scavenger and makes a good addition to marine aquariums since it helps to eat parasites and keep the tank clean.

In the wild, these shrimp are common in coral reefs. Their cleaning services are so valued that essentially no fish will attack them and some fish will even actively protect them. It is a common sight to see one of these creatures crawling in the mouth or gills of a large fish, while other fish wait in line for their turn. This symbiotic relationship is one of many found in the ocean.

I have two of these in my 75 gallon tank and I absolutely love them. If you stick your hand in the tank, they will swim right up to it and start cleaning it of dead skin. Also, when you feed the tank, they will swim up to the surface and skate along it upside down, grabbing whatever food it can. My shrimps have cleaned all of my fish on occasion and it should hopefully prevent an outbreak of ich.

The cleaner shrimp is also very easy to breed since it is hermaphroditic. If you get two of these, you are essentially guaranteed a mated pair and they will mate continuously. After fertilization, the shrimp that was impregnated will cover its swimmerets with tiny green eggs that are visible through the exoskeleton. After a few weeks, it will distribute them into the water column, where they hatch, and your tank will be crawling with baby shrimp. Usually, they become food for the fish, but they can be raised in a separate tank.

Lysmata debelius

Scientific name: Lysmata debelius
Common names: Deep Red or Blood Fire Shrimp
Maximum Lench: 2″
Minimum tank size: 30 gallon
Hardiness: Easy
Reef Safe: Yes
Agressiveness: Low
Water Parameters: 72-78° F, sg 1.023-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4, dKH 8-12
Diet: Scavenge for meaty bits along the substrate bottom. It will accept freeze-dried, live or frozen foods and flaked foods. See bellow for more information.
Natural location: Indo-Pacific including Bali and Sri Lanka. Habitat providing it with caves or overhang where the lighting is not too intense.
Identification: Has a blood-red body with white spots and long white antennae. Depending on the region they are from, the white spots may be only on its carapace, or covering its entire body.
Additional information:
One of the most popular shrimp in the aquarium hobby. A little like the Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp it will remove dead tissue and parasites from fish that present themselves. This shrimp is withdrawn in nature and remains hidden behind rocks or in rock caves. Unless your have a large aquarium, you should not keep more than 2 Blood Fire Shrimp at the time.
Warning: Fire Shrimp may kill Cleaner Shrimps, may be aggressive towards Hermit Crabs and may disturb Chili Coral in your marine aquarium causing it to close temporarily. Remember that invertebrates does not tolerate high nitrate levels and copper-based medications.

Odontodactylus scyallarus

Scientific name: Odontodactylus scyallarus
Common names: Peacock Mantis, Painted Mantis, Harlequin Mantis, Mantis Shrimp
Lench: 1-7 inches (3–18 cm)
Minimum tank size: gallon
Reef Safe: No
Agressiveness: Aggressive. Will attack other aquarium inhabitants.
Water Parameters: 72-78° F, sg 1.023-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4, dKH 8-12
Diet: Carnivorous
Natural location: Indo-Pacific from Guam to East Africa

Additional information:
Known to scientists everywhere as Odontodactylus scyallarus, this facinating crustaceans is one of the 500 species of stomatopods recognized today. They are predatory crustaceans native to the Indo-Pacific region where they can be found on sandy, gravelly or shelly bottoms often near reefs at depths of 3–40 m. This voracious predator uses sight when hunting, waiting quietly, for its prey to come within reach, then striking using its powerful, clublike second pair of legs with immense speed.
The mantis shrimp are neither shrimp nor mantids, but receive their name purely from the physical resemblance to both the mantis and the shrimp. They may reach 30 centimetres (12 in) in length, although larger specimens have been recorded. The carapace of mantis shrimp covers only the rear part of the head and the first three segments of the thorax. Mantis shrimp appear in a variety of colours, from shades of browns to bright neon colours.
This species is generally not a welcome addition to the home aquarium. Instead this common shrimp is considered a pest, and it is often introduced inadvertently via new live rock. If these aggressive shrimps are introduced into a reef tank they will quickly go to work killing the other residents of the tank. If you hear strange knocking sounds from at night and/or fish are disappearing from the tank, there is a real chance that a mantis shrimp have been introduced into the tank.
But even though many hobbyists consider them pests, the mantis shrimp does have its fans, and many people have begun to set up separate tanks just for these fascinating creatures. When setting up a tank for the mantis shrimp it is important to put in only one shrimp per tank. These creatures are quite aggressive, and they will fight for territory. It is just as important not to attempt to keep any other fish with the mantis shrimp, as they are carnivorous and quite voracious eaters. In the home aquarium mantis shrimps can be fed a diet of frozen squid, shrimp and crab. With time and training some mantis shrimps will learn to eat commercial prepared food, but it is still best to feed them a quality frozen diet.
In order to be happy and healthy the mantis shrimp will need a sandy bottom and some kind of burrow where it can retreat when molting. This burrow does not have to be fancy – Live Rock and reef rubble will do. If no live rock in the tank a small piece of PVC pipe works very well. In order to keep their shells in good condition hobbyists should avoid harsh lights for their mantis shrimp tanks – bright lights will cause problems with their shells and make the shrimp susceptible to disease.
One final word on these fascinating but sometimes difficult creatures – large mantis shrimps should only be housed in acrylic tanks. The force of the strike of a large specimen approaches that of a 22 caliber bullet. Large specimens have been known to actually break the glass in their tanks, either by digging in the substrate or by running directly at the glass. That is why it is so important to house them only in quality acrylic tanks.

Anampses meleagrides

Species name: Anampses meleagrides
Common names: Spotted wrasse, yellowtail wrasse
Family: Labridae
Subfamily: Corinae
Order: Perciformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Maximum length: 8.66 in
Minimum tank size: 55 gallons
Hardiness: Difficult to keep in an aquarium due to its feeding habits. The members of Anampses genus are rated lowest in terms of survival in aquarium.
Aggressiveness: Peaceful but may harass fish that are too small as compared to its size.
Reef Compatibility: Yes
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to Samoa and the Tuamoto Islands, north to southern Japan.
Diet: Carnivore. It eats very small invertebrates (amphipods) that grow on live rock. Its diet should include live, small feeder shrimps (brine, mysid) and finely chopped marine meats.
Additional information:
Yellowtail wrasse – Anampses meleagrides is native to the Indo-Pacific where it can be found in areas of mixed coral, rubble, consolidated limestone, sand of seaward reefs and in soft coral or sponge habitats at depths of 10 to 200 feet.
The female has a black body while the male has a deep violet body. Males and females are covered with varying sized white or pale yellow dots extending to the dorsal and anal fins.
It requires a 55 gallon or larger aquarium with a 2 inch layer of fine live sand in which to bury itself for sleep and hide from its tank mates. The aquarium may be decorated with coral or rocks. It is a jumper, so a secure lid on the aquarium is required.
Ideally, water temperature should be at 72-78ºF, specific gravity at 1.020-1.025 and pH between 8.1 and 8.4

Halichoeres chrysus

Species name: Halichoeres chrysus
Common names: Golden Coris Wrasse, Golden Rainbow fish, Yellow Wrasse, Yellow Coris, Canary Wrasse
Family: Labridae
Order: Perciformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Maximum length: 4.7 in.
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
Hardiness: Medium
Aggressiveness: Peaceful. Can be kept in groups if introduced all at once.
Reef Compatibility: Yes. The only bad thing about H. chrysus is they may feed on your baby snails and bristleworm population.
Distribution: Eastern Indian Ocean: Christmas Island. Western Pacific: Solomon Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Rowley Shoals and New South Wales. Recently reported from Tonga.
Diet: Carnivore. They will eat meaty foods like finely chopped seafoods and brine. They usually adapt well to frozen and even dried foods.
They will pick at pyramillid snails and bristle worms and will eat fire worms and pyramidellid snails, protecting corals and clams. They may also eat feather dusters, wild shrimp, tubeworms, and flatworms. Juveniles have been report to eat parasites off the tank mates.
Additional information:
The Yellow Wrasse, also known as Golden Coris Wrasse, Golden Rainbow fish, Canary Wrasse or Yellow Coris are native to the Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific where they can be found at the reef edge, in sand and rubble areas.
The name Coris is misleading as they are not a coris species at all. They are wrasse and should be called Yellow wrasse or Canary wrass instead.
This species is bright yellow in color. Juveniles have one or two eye-spot on the soft portion of the dorsal fin and a black dot on the caudal peduncle. Adults have only one white-rimmed black eye-spot on the dorsal fin. The tail fin is sometimes blue.
When first introduced in the aquarium, they may hide in the sand for a few days.
A 30 gallon tank with plenty of live rock to hide and ample room to swim will make a great environment for the Yellow wrasse. They like a lot of light, but there should be shaded areas as well. They prefer tanks with 2-3 inch of sandy bed to burrow and hide. They are jumpers so the tank should have a tight canopy. Ideally, water temperature should be at 72-78° F, specific gravity at 1.020 – 1.025 and pH between 8.1 and 8.4. The water should be well circulated with some calmer areas.

Pseudocheilinus hexataenia

Species name: Pseudocheilinus hexataenia
Common names: Sixline wrasse, Six Stripe Wrasse
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)
Subfamily: Cheilininae
Order: Perciformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Maximum length: 3.93 in.
Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
Hardiness: Sensitive during acclimation and easy once acclimated.
Aggressiveness: It will act aggressively towards slow moving or easily intimidated fish. Keeping this species with other wrasse species is not recommended in tanks smaller than than 100 gallons.
Reef Compatibility: Good but is not 100% reef safe. Not a threat to corals or ornamental invertebrates. However, large individuals may feed on smaller, delicate shrimps (like anemone shrimps)
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea south to Natal, South Africa and east to the Tuamoto Islands, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to Lord Howe and the Austral islands. Distribution includes St. Brandon’s Shoals and Gulf of Tadjoura
Diet: Carnivorous. In its natural environment, the Sixline wrasse feeds mainly on small crustaceans. It is a natural predator of pyramidellid snails, mantis shrimp and commensal flatworms.
Will accept thawed frozen foods, such as brine shrimp and mysis shrimp. They are very active and need to be fed twice a day at least.
Additional information:
Pseudocheilinus hexataenia, also known as Sixline or Six Stripe Wrasse are from the Indo-Pacific where they can be found in seaward reefs among coral branches or in dense coral habitats on shallow reef crest or slopes. This is a shy species that usually occurs in small groups, usually swimming amongst the protection of coral branches. They are diurnal, which means they are active by day and sleep at night.
The body is blue to purple with six horizontal gold/orange stripes racing from head to tail. The cheek is orange with numerous tiny yellow dots. The head and belly may have a purple hue to it, the caudal fin and caudal peduncle are green. There is a small blue-edged “false eye” on the upper caudal peduncle. The eyes have two white horizontal strips through them.
Like all other wrasse they sleep in a mucus cocoon. Fortunately this cocoon does not seem degrade the water quality. It is thought that the cocoon protects them from predators as they sleep by masking their scent.
The Sixline wrasse are known as “poor shippers” and online merchants may not reimburse you if this fish die in transport.
They are easy but should be given at least 3-4 hours for acclimatization before they are released into a tank. Once released in the tank, they might hide for a few days but will spend more time in the open as they feel more secure.
The first thing the wrasse will do is to swim down to the bottom and bury itself.
The ideal aquarium should be well lit and have sand or gravel with plenty of live rock with caves to hide. Suitable hiding place is even more important in a smaller aquarium. They will become very shy and spend almost all of their time hiding if they don’t feel safe.
This species is an excellent jumper and it is necessary to keep the aquarium well covered to prevent you Sixline wrasse from jumping to its death.
Ideally, the water temperature should be between 72-78ºF, specific gravity between 1.020-1.025 and pH between 8.1-8.4

Thalassoma Bifasciatum

Scientific name: Thalassoma Bifasciatum
Common names: Blue head wrasse
Maximum Length: 7 in
Minimum tank size: 70 gallon
Hardiness: Easy to medium
Aggressiveness: Peaceful to semi-aggressive
Reef Compatibility: Generally safe as they don’t eat corals. Will eat small invertebrates.
Diet: Carnivorous. Small crustacea, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, chopped fish, flake food, scallop. Should be feed twice a day.
In the wild, Bluehead Wrasse are found on reefs and non-reef areas of the Caribbean Sea and the tropical Atlantic at depths of 10 to 130 feet. They are very active and goes through extraordinary color changes from juvenile to adult.
They are easy to keep but they are sensitive to poor water conditions so frequent water changes is a must to keep water quality as high as possible. The ideal aquarium will have a good water filtration and plenty of swimming room with rocks where they can hide and sleep. It will also sleep in the sand sometimes so provide some. Temperature should be between 74° and 79° F (23 – 26° C), pH should be from 8.1 to 8.4 and sg at 1.020 to 1.025.
Juveniles and females are peaceful and can be kept in group and with other fish. Adult males become territorial and aggressive. They should be added as one of the last fish and kept with larger and belligerent fishes. They will eat small invertebrates, snails, serpent stars, bristleworms, mantis shrimps and very small fish.


The sea horse is by far one of the most fascinating saltwater fishes, and, they make amazing pets. The seahorse, named for its resemblance to a horse, is far from being related to any equine species. The Seahorse is actually of the family Sygnathida, which also includes leafy sea dragons and piper fish. Seahorses, however, are unlike any other fish.
Unlike most fish, the sea horse’s body does not contain scales. Rather than scales seahorses have a unique set of rectangular boney plates, covered by a thin skin. More unique still, seahorses swim upright, rather than horizontally like most other fish. Not only are seahorses unique amongst the fishes, they are very unique amongst themselves. Each species of sea horse has a unique number of rings. Perhaps even more interesting, however, is the fact that Each individual sea horse has its own identification mark. Just as every human has their own fingerprints, every sea horse has its own coronet located on the animal’s head.
The most fascinating trait of all, perhaps, is the intimate relationships seahorses form with one another. Like humans, seahorses tend to be monogamous, mating for life. The seahorse’s resemblance to us humans, is part of what makes them so endearing to us as pests. Prior to mating, seahorses undergo what is referred to as courtship. Their courtship period typically lasts several days. During this time period, the seahorses are known to change color, dance, and “hold tails”, much the way human lovers hold hands.
Unlike humans, however, the male is the one who becomes “pregnant”. During the “true courtship dance” which lasts approximately 8 hours, the female deposits her eggs into the male’s pouch, where he then fertilizes them, and continues to carry them for two to four weeks depending on the species. During this time, the eggs hatch within the pouch, and the male prepares to give birth. During his pregnancy of her mate, the female visit’s the male daily. During these daily visits, the seahorses are known to dance, change color, and hold tails, much like they did during their courtship.
When it comes time for him to give birth the male seahorse may give birth to as few as one and as many as two thousand baby seahorses, known as fry. The male seahorse typically gives birth at night, by undergoing a series of muscle contractions which expel the fry from his pouch. After that, they are on their own. Once the birth has taken place, neither parent takes responsibility for the offspring.
While these amazing creatures make excellent pets, it is important to purchase a seahorse that has been raised in captivity, rather than one from the wild. seahorses brought in from the wild, tend to refuse food, becoming depressed and sickly. Seahorses who have been raised in captivity, however can live happily in an aquarium, making them excellent pets. Seahorses typically fare the best when kept with other seahorses, or other compatible companions, such as many species of shrimp and other bottom feeders. When kept happy and healthy, seahorses are truly a joy to behold, and wonderful choice for a pet.

Phyllopteryx taeniolatus

Species name: Phyllopteryx taeniolatus
Common names: Common seadragon, Weedy Sea Dragon
Family: Syngnathidae (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Subfamily: Syngnathinae
Order: Syngnathiformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Maximum length: 18.11 in
Minimum tank size: unknown
Hardiness: Difficult. Not many aquariums have weedy sea dragons because they do not survive well in captivity. In fact, only slightly more than half do survive.
Aggressiveness: Peaceful
Reef Compatibility: Excellent
Distribution: Eastern Indian Ocean: southern Australia, from southern Western Australia to New South Wales and Tasmania
Diet: They use their tube shaped snout to such up zooplankton and any other tiny crustaceans they can find including mysids. Feeding is what makes them difficult to keep Weedies in an aquarium. They refuse to feed on anything other than their native food or live mysiid shrimps
Additional information:
Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, also known as the Weedy Sea Dragon is native to the Eastern Indian Ocean where it is found among seaweeds and coral reefs at depths of 0-160 feet. Unfortunately, not many aquariums have weedy sea dragons because they do not survive well in captivity. According to Marine Depot Blog, only about 50 aquariums worldwide have sea dragons. This might explain why it was so difficult to find information about this species.
Phyllopteryx taeniolatus is a close relative of the seahorse. It looks similar to the seahorse, except it has long weed-like structures that stick out from their bodies which makes them really difficult to distinguish in their natural environment. They have a long pipe-like snout with a small terminal mouth. The body is usually brown or reddish with their weed-like structures being greener. They also have yellow spots. The body is long and covered in rings of bone.
It is interesting that the Weedy Sea Dragon is so well camouflaged because scientists are still unsure if these animals actually have predators or not.
Sea dragons, sea horses and pipe fish are the only species where the male carries the eggs but seadragons do not have a pouch for rearing the young. Instead, the male carries the eggs fixed to the underside of his tail from where they eventually hatch.
I have found close to nothing about how to keep the Weedy Sea Dragon in aquarium.

Siganus vulpinus

Species name: Siganus vulpinus
Common names: Foxface Rabbitfish, Foxface Lo
Family: Siganidae (Rabbitfishes)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 9.8 in.
Minimum tank size: 75 gallons
Hardiness: Easy
Aggressiveness: Peaceful but should be housed individually when older as it will fight with other related species. Will flair dorsal and anal fins when spooked.
Reef Compatibility: With caution. Reef-safe if well fed. If not, they may nip at some LPS and soft corals (usually zooanthids and button polyps).
Distribution: Western Pacific: western Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Kiribati. Recently recorded from Tonga.
Diet: Omnivore. Diet should consists of a variety of meaty seafood and plant matter. Will readily accept high quality flake food, as well as almost all meaty items. Will eradicate most algae in the tank, including cyanobacteria, diatoms, hair algae.
Additional information:
The Foxface Rabbitfish is an attractive and hardy fish making it popular to beginners and experienced aquarists. It occurs in coral-rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs where it is usually found singly or in pairs among Acropora where they feed on algae.
It has an elongated snout-like mouth that is used for feeding on algae and other vegetation, and a striking bright yellow body. The head and front portion of its body is striped dark brown (or black) and white. It may or may not carry a black spot on each side of its body.
The Foxface Rabbitfish have venomous spines on the dorsal and anal fins. Caution must be used when handling. While the venom is not as potent as that of a lionfish, it can inflict a nasty, painful sting. Its predators will tend to leave it alone because of its venomous dorsal spines.
It has the ability to change into a dark brown color and it is normal for it to be discolored when acclimating or any time it is stressed. This ability is most likely used as a camouflage against predators. When no longer stressed, their bright colors quickly return. The following video is a great example:
The ideal aquarium should have a temperature of 72 – 78F with a specific gravity of 1.020 – 1.025 and a pH between 8.1 and 8.4. Plenty of hiding spaces and swimming room should be provided as they are active swimmers and primarily eat by grazing.

Diodon holocanthus

Species name: Diodon holocanthus
Common names: Balloon porcupinefish, blotched porcupine fish, blotched porcupine, brown porcupine fish, fine-spotted porcupinefish, freckled porcupinefish, freckled porcupinefish, hedgehog fish, long-spine porcupinefish, porcupine, porcupinefish, spiny balloonfish, and spiny puffer
Family: Diodontidae
Order: Tetraodontiformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Maximum length: 19.7 in.
Minimum tank size: 100 gallons
Hardiness: Easy to medium
Aggressiveness: Aggressive against members of its own species as well as other species. May nip the fins of tank mates and leaving a circular hole as its mark.
Reef Compatibility: Not recommended as it would eat many of the invertebrates.
Distribution: The Long-spine porcupinefish is circumtropical in distribution, being found in the tropical zones of major seas and oceans. Western Atlantic: Canada, Florida, USA and the Bahamas to Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: 30°N to 23°S, and in South Africa. Western Indian Ocean: southern Red Sea to Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius. Pacific Ocean: southern Japan south to Lord Howe Island and east to the Hawaiian and Easter islands. Also from southern California, USA to Colombia and the Galapagos Islands.
Diet: Omnivore. Feed mostly on mollusks, sea urchins, hermit crabs, and crabs at night. Should be fed meaty meals: fish, squid, shrimp, mussels or krill and cockles to help wear down their ever growing teeth. It is also a good idea to occasionally supplement with some type of herbivore diet.
Additional information:
The long-spine porcupinefish is the most well-known puffer in the world. In the wild, they inhabit shallow reefs to open soft bottoms, down to 50 feet. They are nocturnal predators, generally hiding in crevices in the reef during the day.
The body of the long-spine porcupinefish is olive brown in colour with white under belly. Juveniles have spots on the ventral side, adults have dark blotches with spots on the dorsal side and a large brown bar is found above and below each eye. The spots become fewer in number with age. Adults may reach 19.7 inches in length. All members of the Family Diodontidae are capable of inflation, and may also change in color when frightened or distressed. They can inflate over two times their original size. You should not provoke inflating since it may take air which is extremely difficult to be removed and may cause illness or even death. As the name suggests, the body of the long-spine porcupinefish is covered with spines. The spines are usually lowered, but may become erect without inflating the body. Netting should be avoid as it may inflate in the net which makes removing it very difficult.
The long-spine porcupinefish are well-known for shooting water out of the tank. So, careful attention should be given to the objects surrounding the aquarium.
The ideal aquarium should have plenty of live rock to hide and ample room to swim. The long-spine porcupinefish prefers a tank of 100 gallon or larger. Ideally, water temperature shoud be at 72-78°F, specific gravity at 1.020-1.025 and pH between 8.1 and 8.4.

Corythoichthys haematopterus/intestinalis

Scientific name: Corythoichthys haematopterus/intestinalispipefish
Maximum Lench: 6.7 in.
Minimum tank size: 20 Gallon
Hardiness: Medium. Difficult to feed
Dragonface pipefish are members of the family Syngnathidae. This family is comprised of over 50 individual species. It includes all pipefish and their very close relatives the seahorse. There are two different species called dragonface pipefish. Corythoichthys haematopterus is more commonly referred to as South Pacific or Tongan Dragonface Pipefish. Corythoichthys intestinalis is known as the West Pacific or Indonesian dragonface. These two species have slight variations in their body markings but look similar enough to one another to be indistinguishable to anyone save maybe an ichthyologist. The fact that each dragonface's patterning is distinctive unto itself (just like seahorses) further complicates a layman's efforts. There are over 12 subspecies based on regional differentiation of these two species.

A close look at a pipefish will reveal that these are indeed closely related to seahorses. They look very much like a small snake with the head of a seahorse. It is probably fair to say that these are seahorses that failed to achieve vertical orientation. While patterning does vary considerably from one individual to another, the base color of their bodies is generally cream. Patterning may be black, various shades of grey, pink, yellow or brown. Like seahorses, the pigmentation in these creatures is not fixed. They have the ability to morph their color patterning to blend in with their immediate surroundings. This form of camouflage is extremely effective against predation. Dragonfaces are also marketed by the aquarium industry under the pseudonyms network pipefish, reeftop pipefish, messmate pipefish and banded messmate pipefish. The latter reference is not to be confused with a banded pipefish. This is an entirely different species.

Dragonsfaces are relatively small creatures. They will reach a maximum adult length of 7 inches. They have long cylindrical shaped bodies that taper into a tail section. Like seahorses, they have a highly modified skeletal system that forms into a type of armored plating. This external skeleton is a means of self defense and should not be confused with their internal skeletal system. They are vertebrates and have spines. This dermal skeletal system is composed of a series of longitudinal ridges. All pipefish have dorsal fins. None have ventral fins. In some species the dorsal fin is the primary means of locomotion. Dragonfaces, however, move through the water much more like an eel would. They slither over substrate and rock formations using snake-like motions. Many species have developed caudal fins as an aid to swimming. These are stronger swimmers than those who lack tail fins. Dragonfaces lack this adaptation. They are quite poor swimmers, especially when up against strong currents. They have, however, developed prehensile tails much like seahorses. This gives them the ability to anchor themselves to stationary objects to avoid being swept away.

Like seahorses, these are exceptionally social creatures. A group of dragonfaces is much more likely to successfully adapt to life in captivity than a solitary specimen. These are very docile creatures and should not be mixed with larger or more aggressive species. Nor should they be housed with fast swimmers as they can easily be out competed for food. Gobies, dragnets, firefish and seahorses make for ideal tank mates. Dragons may, however, out compete seahorses for food. A group of several in a multi-species environment will require a minimum tanks size of 50 gallons. As to whether or not they are suitable for marine reef aquariums, this depends on the aquarium's population. They should not be housed with anemones or corals with stinging tentacles. Since they are inclined to seek refuge in fauna, you should not house them with corals large enough to consume them. Although not officially not officially classified as a bottom dweller, pipe fish spend an inordinate amount of time near the bottom of an aquarium. Crustaceans with pinchers can and most likely will inflict damage upon them.

Pipefish carry an expert aquarist care level for the same reason seahorses do. This is primarily due to their dietary habits in nature. Pipe fish are carnivorous. Their diet is comprised almost exclusively of live copepods found in reef formations and on live rock. An abundance of live rock is mandatory for these creatures' survival. When they are first introduced to an aquarium, dragons can be fed Nutramar Tigrio Live Copepods and vitamin enriched brine shrimp. In time, they may become accustomed to eating non-living food offerings. If you are keeping your pipefish in a reef aquarium, they will prove a beneficial resource. Once they are feeding they will rid your Acropora coral of red bugs; a micro-amphipod that commonly infests these coral.

Dragons have been known to breed in captivity, but not with the frequency found in their prolific cousins the seahorse. Like seahorses, the male will carry the eggs in a brood pouch through the maturation process.

Paracirrhites arcatus

Species name: Paracirrhites arcatus
Common names: Arc-eye hawkfish, Arc-Eyed Hawkfish
Family: Cirrhitidae (Hawkfishes)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 7.8 in.
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
Hardiness: Easy
Aggressiveness: Aggressive. Known to become territorial, and may bother other docile fish. It becomes very territorial and should be the last fish introduced into the tank community. Do not keep it with fish equal to, or smaller than its own length because it will swallow them.
Reef Compatibility: Add with caution. Does not bother coral but may pick at anemones, eat ornamental shrimps, crabs and small fish.
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Hawaiian, Line and Mangaréva islands, north to southern Japan, south to Australia and Rapa.
Diet: Carnivore. Diet should consist of frozen mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, feeder shrimps, small fish and other meaty items. May take high quality flake food or pellets. Feed daily.
Additional information:
Occur in lagoon and seaward reefs from 3 to at least 100 feet, on heads of small branching corals, e.g. Stylophora, Pocillopora, Acropora (Ref. 9710). It feeds mainly on shrimps, small fish, crabs, and other crustaceans. When a prey ventures close enough, the Arc-eye Hawkfish will make a quick dash and seize it.
This species come in a wide range of color variants, but all specimens have a distinctive ring that consists of three thin lines extending around and behind the eye. Some of the most commonly occurring color variants are light brown, deep red and orange. A white to pink stripe is often present along the lateral line on the rear of the fish. Each dorsal fin spine is tipped with a cirrus. Lacking a swim bladder, they spend most of their time perched on corals, watching for prey.
A 30 gallon or larger aquarium provides a good environment. Provide lots of rock work and branching coral to perch on and as territory. The Arc Eye Hawkfish should ideally be kept in temperatures between 72F and 78F. A pH value of 8.1 to 8.4, and a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 should be maintained.

Paracirrhites forsteri

Species name: Paracirrhites forsteri
Common names: Forster’s Hawkfish, Blackside hawkfish, Freckle Faced Hawkfish,
Family: Cirrhitidae (Hawkfishes)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 8.7 in.
Minimum tank size: 80 gallons
Hardiness: Easy
Aggressiveness: Aggressive and territorial. Few aquariums provide enough space for an optimal territory, so it usually just claims the whole tank. Do not keep it with fish equal to, or smaller than its own length. It should be the last fish introduced.
Reef Compatibility: Yes, with Caution. Safe with all corals and clams but will eat ornamental crustaceans and small fish.
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian, Line, Marquesan and Ducie islands, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia and the Austral Islands.
Diet: Carnivore. Feeds mainly on small fishes crustaceans and shrimps. This fish is very eager to feed.
Additional information:
The Freckled faced Hawkfish, also known as Forster’s Hawkfish or Blackside Hawkfish is from the Indo-Pacific region where it is mostly found in clear lagoon or seaward reefs at depth of 5 to 100. Like most hawkfish, it is usually seen resting on coral heads, waiting for it’s preys.
Its color will change several times during its lifetime. In Oceania, juveniles are a yellowish and white ventrally while specimens from continental areas may be red dorsally. Adult may be pink, brown, or olive. The small dark reddish spots on the face are constant throughout its lifetime.
The ideal aquarium should have a temperature of 72F to 78F, a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 and a pH between 8.1 and 8.4. Tank should be at least 80 gallon. It also require has a few rocks or corals to sit plenty of room to swim and establish its territory.

Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus

Species name: Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus
Common names: Coral hawkfish, Pixy Hawkfish. Should not be confused with Cirrhitichthys aprinus, also called the Spotted Hawkfish.
Family: Cirrhitidae (Hawkfishes)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 3.9 in.
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
Hardiness: Easy
Reef Compatibility: With caution. It will eat small fish and crustaceans. It should not be kept with smaller, less aggressive species.
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea south to East London, South Africa and east to the Marquesan Islands, north to the Mariana Islands, south to New Caledonia. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Colombia and the Galapagos Islands
Diet: Carnivore. Feed chopped shrimp, enriched mysid, live feeder shrimp and other meaty foods daily. Bottom-dwelling invertebrates and zooplankton are also its favorite food.
Additional information:
The Coral Hawkfish inhabit the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific where it can be found in areas of rich coral growth and clear water (lagoons, channels or seaward reefs) at depth of 10 to 130 feet.
This is a nice little fish with a whitish-blue body and large red spots that spend most of its time perched on the sand bed waiting for its prey. It dart with amazing speed to grab food items that catch its ever-alert eye.
The ideal aquarium should have a temperature of 72-78ºF with a specific gravity of 1.020-1.025 and a pH between 8.1 and 8.4. Structures to perch on and crannies to hide in are essential for the Spotted Hawkfish.

Oxycirrhites typus

Species name: Oxycirrhites typus
Common names: Longnose hawkfish, Longsnout Hawkfish
Family: Cirrhitidae
Order: Perciformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Maximum length: 5.1 in
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
Hardiness: Easy. The longnose hawk is quite hardy and disease-resistant. They are among the hardiest of all marine fish.
Aggressiveness: Semi-aggressive. This is one of the least aggressive of the family. However, their territorial nature can make them aggressive. They are best added last to a tank. Do not keep with other hawkfish and especially not other longnose hawkfish unless they are mated pair.
Reef Compatibility: With caution. It will eat small fish and crustaceans. It should not be kept with smaller, less aggressive species.
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and South Africa to the Hawaiian Islands, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to northern Colombia and the Galapagos Islands
Diet: Carnivorous. They can easily adapt to a wide range of aquarium foods. Will accept any meaty offering such as chopped shrimp, enriched mysid, live feeder shrimp, smaller fish, crabs, snails, etc. Planktonic crustaceans are also its favorite food.
Additional information:
The Longnose Hawkfish, also known as Longsnout Hawkfish is one of the two most popular hawkfish species (along with the flame hawkfish), and is in high demand by aquarists.
The Longnose Hawkfish is from the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific where it can be found on outer reef slopes exposed to strong currents at depths of 30 to 330 feet. It is often observed perched on gorgonians (sea fans) or black coral, waiting for its prey.
The Longnose Hawkfish are white with horizontal and vertical red lines. The body is elongated and comes between 4.4 inches and 5.1 inches generally. They have a very long needle nosed snout and a tuft of cirri near the tip of each dorsal fin spine.
It is white with a “grid pattern” of horizontal and near-vertical red lines. They have large pectoral fins which they use to perch on rocks, corals, and substrate.
Adult males are usually larger and have black fringing on their pelvic and caudal fins. All Longnose Hawkfishes begin life as females and become males later on.
The Longnose Hawkfish should be housed in a tank with rocks and/or corals to perch on and places to hide. Space and clean water is a necessity for this species’ survival. Ideally, water temperature should be at 72-78° F, specific gravity at 1.020-1.025 and pH at 8.1-8.4. The tank should be completely covered, to prevent the Long-Nose from jumping out.

Cichlasoma festae

Species name: Cichlasoma festae

Synonym: Amphilophus festae; Herichthys festae; Heros festae; Nandopsis festae

Common name: Guayas Cichlid; Harlequin Cichlid; Red Terror

Family: Cichlidae

Order: Perciformes

Class: Actinopterygii

Maximum size: 40 cm / 16 inches

Environment: freshwater

Origin: Primarily Ecuador and Colombia

Temperament: Aggressive

Company: Cichlasoma festae (Guayas Cichlid) is best kept with toher large cichlids with the same temperament and requirements.

Water parameters: Temperature 25-28°C 76-82°F; pH 7.0 – 7.8

Aquarium setup: Cichlasoma festae (Guayas Cichlid) should be ekpt in a large aquarium decorated with large roots and rocks. Some Cichlasoma festae (Guayas Cichlid) but not all leave plants unharmed.

Feeding: Cichlasoma festae (Guayas Cichlid) accepts all kind of foods.

Breeding: Breeding Cichlasoma festae (Guayas Cichlid) is easily breed if a pair is formed. They can bee breed with other fishes in the aquarium if your aquarium is at least 540 L / 120 gallon. In a smaller its recommended to remove all other fishes from the breeding aquarium unless you risk having them killed by the breeding pair. The eggs are laid on a flat surface, usually a rock or a root. The female guards the eggs and the male a territory around the spawning area.

Males can become very aggressive towards females if they aren’t ready to spawn when the male is ready, and the male can kill the female unless she is provided with enough hiding places. You may even have to separate the pair and condition the female, before you let them back togheter.

Gramma melacara

Species name: Gramma melacara
Common names: Blackcap Basslet or Grammas!
Family: Grammatidae (Basslets)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 4 in.
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
Hardiness: Easy
Aggressiveness: Semi-aggressive. May become territorial once established. Large specimens will defend their cave with great fervor. Should not be kept with other basslets usless you have a five or six foot plus wide system. Should be one of the last fish added to tank.
Reef Compatibility: Yes
Distribution: Western Central Atlantic: West Indies including the Bahamas and Central America.
Diet: Carnivore. Diet should include meaty foods including fish, crustacean, mysid shrimp, brine shrimp, and frozen preparations. Will also accept flake and dried foods.
Additional information:
The Blackcap Grammas or Blackcap Basslet is a solitary species from the Western Central Atlantic found on nearly vertical cliffs and drop-offs beyond outer reefs. It is a deep water fish found at about 40 to 200 feet (usually at depths greater than 160 feet).
The Blackcap Grammas has a brilliant magenta to purple body, a black diagonal cap running from its lip to foredorsal fin and frosty-white forked tail. It is an hardy and durable fish that stay small and do not bother invertebrate. It is a great additions for the reef aquarium.
One of the first thing people notice is it’s interesting swimming behavior; upside down, right side up or at all angles. Looks like it makes no difference for the grammas.
It should spend most of its time in the open during the day and only retreat into its hole when frightened. Grammas don’t live in their hidey-holes. Eventually, it will get pretty confident, providing there are no aggressive fish harrassing them.
The ideal aquarium should have a temperature of 72 to 78F with a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 and a pH of 8.1 to 8.4.
It will thrives in tanks with plenty of live rock, places to hide and room to swim. Because it is a deep-water fish, it will do better in an aquarium with low illumination. They are good jumpers so keep the aquarium tops completely covered.

Gramma loreto

Species name: Gramma loreto
Common names: Royal Gramma, Fairy Basslet
Family: Grammatidae (Basslets)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 3.2 in.
Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
Hardiness: Easy
Aggressiveness: Semi-aggressive. Do not keep this fish with any other pseudocromid, dottyback or basslet. Keep only one of this species per tank, unless you have 80 gallons or more aquarium with plenty of hiding places.
Reef Compatibility: Excellent. Will never bother corals or inverts.
Distribution: Western Central Atlantic: Bermuda, Bahamas, and Central America to northern South America
Diet: Feed meaty foods such as Brine Shrimp, Plankton, Mysids, Krill, and chopped shell fish such as clams, scallops, high quality pellets, vitamin enriched flake foods, and shrimp. Improper nutrition often causes its colors to fade.
Additional information:
In the wild, the Royal Gramma is from the Western Central Atlantic region where it is found at depth of 10 to 196 feet. It is a deep-water dweller that do not like bright light and may hide in caves and under ledges during the day. They are shy fish and like to stay near hiding places. They come out into the open to feed, but tend to dart back into the rockwork when startled. However, they can be quite active and are great to watch if given the proper tank environment. It is a hardy fish, ideal for beginners.
It is one of the most eye catching of the basslets making it popular in the aquarium hobby. It is a colorful fish that will add beauty to any aquarium. The front half of its body and head are a bright purple to violet, while the back half is a striking and vibrant yellow. Males and females look similar except that the female has much shorter pelvic fins and are smaller than the males.
The ideal aquarium should have a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025, a pH of 8.1 to 8.4 and a temperature between 72 – 78° F. Provide plenty of live rock to make them feel safe and to prevent them from fighting over hiding places. They do best in aquarium with low to medium lightning.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Synchiropus Splendidus

Species name: Synchiropus Splendidus
Common names: Green Mandarinfish
Family: Callionymidae (Dragonets)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 2.5 in.
Minimum tank size: 75 gallons
Hardiness: Medium to difficult
Aggressiveness: Peaceful, but can be territorial toward similar species. Their poisonous mucus allows for them to be kept with larger fish who won’t eat them. Two males will fight, so they should only be kept singly or in male/female pairs.
Reef Compatibility: Excellent
Diet: Carnivore. The biggest problem with mandarinfish is to provide adequate food. They will hunt constantly looking for copepods, amphipods and other small prey on live rock and live sand. Due to the relatively small size of their mouth they must be fed only small food items. Can be fed live brine shrimp, live black worms. Many will refuse to take anything but live foods.
Additional information:
The mandarinfish is from the Western Pacific ranging approximately from the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia where it spend its life in sheltered lagoons and inshore reef flat at depths of 3 to 60 feet. It is a beautiful fish that inhabits the lower regions of the tank, often burrowing into the substrate. They are very active and enjoyable to watch.
It has orange wavy lines with some orange, green, purple and yellow on a blue body. Males tends to be larger and can be identify by the long dorsal spine that rises up on the back. Female has no such spike.
Mandarin fish lack scales and instead have a thick, mucus coating on their bodies whish protect them from parasitic diseases such as Ick.
The ideal aquarium will well-established, have a temperature of 72 to 84° F, specific gravity between 1.023-1.026. A good pound of live rock per gallon combined with numbers of microorganisms to feed is a must to keep this fish. They are very hardy under the right conditions when starting with a healthy specimen which is feeding.
Finally, when purchasing new mandarinfish pay careful attention to their bellies. Sunken bellies is an indication that they have not been feeding for some time. If possible, chose a one that eat frozen brine shrimp.