Quick Care Facts
• Care Level: Moderate • Temperament: Peaceful • Maximum Size: 5"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 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: Malacanthidae • Species: Dartfish • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible
Native Habitat and Species Information
Skunk Tilefish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
The Skunk Tilefish, also commonly known as the Red Stripe Tilefish, is a beautiful, social fish that prefers living in small groups among the reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. Skunk Tilefish prefer to stay near the base of coral reef structures where they are commonly observed hunting among rock rubble and substrate in search of zooplankton. Skunk Tilefish are white with a bright orange to red, lateral stripe that runs from end to end; the stripe will generally begin at the face as orange and then quickly shifts to bright red once past the eye, while ending as a dark red coloration at the end of the caudal fin.
Skunk Tilefish are a peaceful species that enjoy burrowing in substrate as well as hiding among crevices and their favorite caves; once fully acclimated and established in the aquarium, they tend to come out more and will readily swim around in the water column. Skunk Tilefish are a good choice for beginners as well as the more advanced hobbyist as they are very active (once established), attractive, and are a good species for learning to care for fish with a few special needs. Skunk Tilefish are quite popular within the hobby and may sometimes be hard to acquire; they can usually be special ordered from local vendors and often found through online retailers.
How to successfully keep Skunk Tilefish in the home aquarium.
Skunk Tilefish should be kept in an aquarium that is no less than 55 gallons and must be provided with a sand substrate (live if possible) of at least 3" in depth, plenty of live rock (with multiple hiding places), and unobstructed swimming space throughout the water column. They like to burrow in the substrate and could dislodge live rock if it’s not secure by "twisting" it into place during aquascaping. They are known to jump when startled and their aquarium should be provided with a sealed hood or tight-fitting top. In addition to quality biological and mechanical filtration used in conjunction with a protein skimmer, the Skunk Tilefish would greatly benefit with the addition of a refugium, hosting a live amphipod and/or copepod population as well as adding to overall water volume and filtration.
They are active and peaceful fish that are usually observed swimming around the water column in search of zooplankton when not hiding at the slightest sign of danger. They can coexist peacefully with conspecifics (they prefer to be in pairs) and heterospecifics as long as they are not kept with overly aggressive fish that may harass them; multiple Skunk Tilefish should be introduced to an aquarium at the same time. They are completely reef compatible and will not harm coral species, ornamental shrimp, or the cleaning crew (although they may sometimes eat very tiny invertebrates).
Feeding & Nutrition
How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Skunk Tilefish.
Skunk Tilefish are carnivores that consume amphipods, copepods, tiny crustaceans, various larvae, and other zooplankton within their natural habitat. In the aquarium they should be provided 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 may also accept quality flake, pellet, and other prepared food items for carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores. Feed multiple (3-4) small meals a day in the absence of a zooplankton population. Otherwise feed once or twice a day to supplement their natural diet, using what would only be eaten within a few minutes.
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