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Flame Cardinal

(Apogon maculatus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 4"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 74-82° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Western Atlantic
• Family: Apogonidae   • Species: Cardinalfish   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Flame Cardinal native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Flame Cardinal is a very hardy fish species that is popular among all levels of marine aquarium hobbyists. Flame Cardinals are collected from the tropical eastern Atlantic where they are found in holes and crevices in the reef, where they stake out small territories. While they can be aggressive at protecting their territory and can be aggressive towards smaller or similar sized fish species, they are suitable for fish-only and some reef aquarium environments. In order to keep their color vibrant it is important to feed them a varied diet of meaty foods that are vitamin enriched and contain color enhancers.

The Flame Cardinalfish has a slender tapering body that typically reaches around 4 inches in length. The main portion of its body ranges in color from red and purple to pink and its fins are generally either red or red/purple in color. It has large eyes and a somewhat large mouth for its overall size.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Flame Cardinal in the home aquarium.

Flame Cardinalfish do well in aquariums 30 gallons or larger with plenty of caves and crevices to provide them both territory and a place to retreat to when threatened. The Flame Cardinalfish is good with most fish species, but should not be kept with other Cardinalfish (unless a mated pair) as it is very territorial and will become aggressive towards other Cardinalfish. This species is nocturnal in the wild and will spend a lot of its time peering out from caves or crevices in the reef while the aquarium is brightly lit.

It is possible to keep more than one cardinalfish in an aquarium if it is a large aquarium with a lot of live rock to provide enough territory for each specimen. Flame Cardinalfish will often eat ornamental shrimp, thus are not suitable for all aquarium environments and should only be kept in suitable reef aquariums. Overall this species is a very hardy fish species that adapts well to the aquarium environment.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Flame Cardinal.

The Flame Cardinal is a carnivore and requires a varied diet of meaty foods including marine fish flesh, crustacean flesh, mysid shrimp, and quality frozen and flake preparations. In order to keep the coloration strong, it is important to feed the Flame Cardinal vitamin enriched and color enhancing frozen and flake foods along with meaty foods and live foods.

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