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Scissortail Dartfish

(Ptereleotris evides)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 5"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Ptereleotridae   • Species: Dartfish   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Scissortail Dartfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Scissortail Dartfish are a peaceful, social species that are quite popular in community reef aquariums; they tend to prefer living in small groups as juveniles and are usually found as pairs once they reach adulthood. Scissortail Dartfish make excellent, peaceful additions to any aquarium in need of more activity as well as personality. Scissortail Dartfish are native to reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific and they can often be observed while feeding on plankton within the water column as well as hunting among the live rock and substrate. Scissortail Dartfish are a peaceful species that prefer to cruise around in open water, but also enjoy burrowing in sandy substrate (usually under rocks as well).

Scissortail Dartfish get their name from the coloration of their caudal fin which is very dark on the top and bottom sides while it remains transparent in the middle section, giving it the appearance of a pair of "scissors". They get along well with heterospecifics that aren't aggressive towards them and will do fine with their own kind, but conspecifics should be added simultaneously. Scissortail Dartfish are reef safe and will not harm coral, ornamental shrimp, or crab species. Scissortail Dartfish are great for beginners as well as the more advanced hobbyist as they are an attractive and hardy species that are very easy to care for and are readily available locally and through online vendors.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Scissortail Dartfish in the home aquarium.

Scissortail Dartfish require an aquarium of at least 30 gallons in addition to a sand (roughly 3" of preferably "live") substrate, plenty of live rock, and open swimming space. They should be provided with a tightly sealed aquarium to prevent them from jumping out as they are known to be easily startled. Although not required, they would greatly appreciate and benefit from some sort of refugium setup that can supply them with a live planktonic food source of amphipods and copepods as well as additional water volume, biological filtration via rock rubble, and a possible protein skimmer addition. They are a very peaceful and active species that can usually be seen swimming around in the open; unlike most of their relatives, they do not usually stay close to their favorite spot and will most likely just swim away if threatened. They will also burrow into the sand and may dislodge live rock if it’s not secure. They coexist well with their own and other species as long as they are not kept with aggressive bullies; multiple specimens should be added at the same time.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Scissortail Dartfish.

Scissortail Dartfish are carnivores that can be found patrolling the water column and reefs of their natural habitat for planktonic life such as amphipods, copepods, tiny crustaceans, various larvae, and other zooplankton. In the aquarium they should be supplied with a variety of live, frozen, or freeze-dried, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, bloodworms, finely chopped krill, and other meaty food items. They will also accept quality flake foods (additional variety and nutrients). Feed once or twice a day.

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