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Longspine Cardinalfish
(Zoramia leptacantha) Easy Peaceful 3" 20 gallons 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.022-1.025 Carnivore Indonesia Apogonidae Cardinalfish Reef Compatible The Longspine Cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacanthus) is a shoaling fish species that is found living in large groups of individuals in the wild. In the wild they stay very close to the coral reefs in their native Indonesian waters, where they rely on the reef for both food and protection from larger fish. It is important that hobbyists keep Longspine Cardinalfish in groups of at least 4 or more individuals (10 plus being ideal) in order for them to feel comfortable and do well long term in the aquarium environment. Shoaling species depend on living in groups of individuals in order to feel comfortable and to maintain a social group that they need in order to live natural lives. Hobbyists keeping a single specimen or pair of Longspine Cardinalfish will find that they will be reclusive, reluctant feeders and will do poorly overall. However, when kept in a social group the Longspine Cardinalfish will spend its time out swimming in the open waters and will readily feed on a variety of meaty food items. Once acclimated to aquarium life, groups of Longspine Cardinalfish are considered to be quite hardy and long lived. Longspine Cardinalfish are ideal fish for both reef aquariums and peaceful community aquariums. While not the most colorful fish individually, a group of Longspine Cardinalfish swimming tightly together with flashes of blue and yellow is an impressive site. Despite needing to be housed in groups, Longspine Cardinalfish do not put out a high bio-load which makes them ideal for many reef aquarium environments. They are peaceful in nature and can get along with a wide variety of other peaceful community fish species. Longspine Cardinalfish will not bother corals, sessile invertebrates or crustaceans, but they may prey on extremely small shrimps. Longspine Cardinalfish do best in aquariums with plenty of live rock or reef aquariums with plenty of rock and corals, both of which will give them a place to retreat to when threatened. Proper aquarium decor will give the Longspine Cardinalfish the confidence to swim out in the open knowing that they can retreat to safety if necessary. Longspine Cardinalfish are carnivorous micro predators that feed on small crustaceans in their native coral reef habitats. However, they will quickly adjust to aquarium life and will readily feed on a variety of meaty based commercial foods including: flake, micro pellet, frozen and freeze-dried marine based meaty foods. Larger specimens may prey on extremely small gobies or very small shrimp.
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Pajama Cardinalfish
(Sphaeramia nematoptera) Easy Peaceful 3" 30 gallons 74-82° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025 Carnivore Indo-Pacific, Fiji, Coral Sea Apogonidae Cardinalfish Reef Compatible The Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera) is a schooling species found living near coral reefs throughout the Coral Sea, Fiji and large areas of the western Indo-Pacific. Pajama Cardinalfish or as they are also known as Spotted Cardinalfish, have been a popular fish species with reef and community aquarium hobbyists for a long time. Being a smaller fish species and native schooling species in the wild, it is best to keep this species in social groups of 5 or more individuals. Keeping the Pajama Cardinal in a schooling group will allow them to feel much more secure and comfortable within the aquarium environment; as well as, allowing them to exhibit their natural social hierarchy. A group of will establish a strict hierarchy with a dominant male specimen leading the group. In addition to allowing the Pajama Cardinalfish to live as they would in nature, a group of these fish is an impressive site as they slowing swim about the reef in a tight group, which helps to accentuate their coloration and pattern. Pajama Cardinalfish are best suited for reef aquariums with plenty of live rock and smaller peaceful fish species. However, they will also do well in FOLWR or community aquariums provided that their tank mates have a more peaceful disposition and there is a reasonable amount of live rock or coral decorations to provide them with a suitable habitat. Pajama Cardinalfish should not be housed with larger more aggressive fish species, as they are slow moving and can easily fall prey to or be harassed by larger aggressive species. Tank mates to avoid keeping Pajama Cardinals with include: eels, sharks, groupers, triggers, hamlets, lionfish and other species of similar size and temperament. Despite being nocturnal in the wild, Pajama Cardinalfish adapt well to aquarium life and will be active during daylight or lights on hours. It is highly recommended that hobbyists keep this species in a school of 5 or more individuals in order to allow them their natural social hierarchy, which will greatly increase their chances of thriving in the home aquarium environment. Despite groups of Pajama Cardinalfish following a strict hierarchy, they do not use aggression to establish the dominant member of the group and instead utilize more of an internal election process within the group. This is markedly different from most other schooling species, where the dominant male uses aggression to establish himself within the group. Pajama Cardinalfish are carnivorous micro predators that feed on small crustaceans in their native coral reef habitats. However, they will quickly adjust to aquarium life and will readily feed on a variety of meaty based commercial foods including: flake, micro pellet, frozen and freeze-dried marine based meaty foods. Being a naturally nocturnal species, hobbyists may have to acclimate them to feeding during the day time. This is best achieved by feeding them first thing in the morning before the bright aquarium lights are turned on. Lastly being a slow swimming species, the Pajama Cardinalfish will have a difficult time competing for food with many species of fish that feed aggressively. Hobbyists should keep feeding concerns in mind when choosing suitable tank mates for the Pajama Cardinalfish or when adding this species to an existing aquarium.
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Yellow Striped Cardinalfish
(Apogon cyanosoma) Easy Peaceful 3" 12 gallons 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025 Carnivore Indo-Pacific Apogonidae Cardinalfish Reef Compatible Yellow Striped Cardinalfish are found inhabiting coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific and Fiji regions of the Pacific Ocean. In the wild they are typically found in small shoals that allow the fish to utilize their stripes and color pattern to help provide them safety from possible predators. In a group, their stripes and false eyespot near their tail is used to confuse predators as to which direction they will be moving, thus making it difficult for the predatory to predict their movements when trying to gulp them down. While the Yellow Striped Cardinalfish lives in larger groups in the wild, it is quite at home in smaller groups, pairs or even single specimens within the aquarium environment where safety from predators is not foremost on their minds. This species exhibits very brilliant metallic coloration that will fade a small bit with age, but can be kept bright and vibrant if they are fed a diet of quality meaty marine foodstuffs. The Yellow Striped Cardinalfish is an excellent specimen for smaller reef or community aquariums and Nano Reefs. Their smaller size, active swimming and vibrant colors have made this species a very attractive choice for Nano Reef hobbyists as they add a lot of movement and color to the aquarium without adding a large bio-load to the filtration. Yellow Striped Cardinalfish will appreciate plenty of live rock or corals in which to swim nearby, which will give them a solid sense of protection as they will have a place to retreat to if threatened. This species does well in pairs, groups or as a single specimen. If kept in groups the Yellow Striped Cardinalfish will establish a social hierarchy; however, this is usually done peacefully and with little to now squabbling amongst the group members. Yellow Striped Cardinalfish require a varied diet consisting of high quality meaty marine foods including: carnivore flake and freeze-dried preparations, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, bloodworms and other meaty marine flesh items like chopped fish or mussels.
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Flame Cardinal
(Apogon maculatus) Easy Semi-Aggressive 4" 30 gallons 74-82° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4 Carnivore Western Atlantic Apogonidae Cardinalfish Reef Compatible 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. 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. 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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