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Matted Filefish

(Acreichthys tomentosus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 4"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Indo-West Pacific
• Family: Monacanthidae   • Species: Filefish   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Matted Filefish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Matted Filefish, often referred to as the Bristletail Filefish, is an attractive species that is well known for its ability to eliminate Aiptasia and Majano anemones. Matted Filefish also have the ability to camouflage themselves by shifting their mottled coloration, effectively blending into the rock rubble, seagrass, and shallow coral reefs throughout their Indo-West Pacific habitat.

Matted Filefish are a gentle and peaceful species that generally prefers to investigate their aquarium while always on the lookout for snacks. Matted Filefish are quite popular in the hobby and are commonly available through online retailers; local vendors should be able to place a special order if they aren't in stock.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Matted Filefish in the home aquarium.

Matted Filefish require an aquarium of at least 30 gallons and require a sand to crushed-coral substrate in addition to plenty of live rock for grazing and shelter. Although they have proven to be a hardy species, they appreciate an established aquarium with stable water conditions as well as high quality, biological and mechanical filtration (including a protein skimmer). They will coexist peacefully with many other tank mates, but should not be housed with aggressive fish that may harass them or pick at the bristle-like spinules of maturing males.

Although Matted Filefish will decimate and likely eradicate infestations of nuisance anemones, they have been known to nip at some coral polyps (e.g.; zoanthids and palythoas) and sessile invertebrates; they are also known to consume small crustaceans (including ornamental shrimp), bivalve mollusks, and polychaetes. They aren't considered to be reef friendly and would ideally be housed in a peaceful, community FOWLR system.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Matted Filefish.

Matted Filefish are omnivores that mainly feed upon amphipods, bivalve mollusks, copepods, isopods, polychaetes, and various marine algae within their natural habitat. In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a variety of meaty food items such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, prepared, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, squid, crab meat, clams, scallops, and marine algae. Feed multiple small meals (at least thrice) per day.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Matted Filefish in the aquarium environment.

Matted Filefish are dimorphic egg-layers that have been reported to readily breed in an aquarium environment. A pair can generally be formed by simply introducing a male and female to an aquarium at the same time (the male can be identified by the presence bristle-like spinules); mature males will display retrorse spinules at roughly 2-3" and females will have developed eggs at 3".

The Female will eventually lay around 300 adhesive eggs in a sheltered location on the substrate, which she will defend until they hatch a few day later. New fry can be fed a diet of Artemia nauplii and euryhaline rotifers for the first two weeks, after which they can be moved to mature Artemia Salina and juvenile-sized foods.

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