The Cardinalfishes are members of the family Apogonidae, one of the largest family of fishes, with over 25 genera and around 250 species. Sadly, hobbyists are generally only offered a dozen species at best from this fascinating group of fishes.
With a few popular and notable exceptions, Cardinalfishes suffer from the reputation of being a bit touchy. This is largely because their basic needs are not met all along the chain of custody from reef to home aquarium. Quite simply, they generally fare better in small groups, prefer abundant hiding places to retreat to when they feel threatened, and need to be fed frequently. These fishes do best in aquariums without aggressive fishes that will harass them constantly, causing undue stress.
Although they might be a threat to some smaller ornamental shrimp and smaller fishes, Cardinalfishes are generally peaceful, and make great additions to the home aquarium. We’re proud to offer some species that have rarely found their way into the trade before. All of the specimens that we offer have either been sustainably net caught or captive propagated, so you can feel good about purchasing them.
It is not uncommon for Cardinalfishes to reproduce in the aquarium, and they will do so regularly if the conditions are acceptable to them. Cardinalfishes in general make excellent candidates for captive breeding projects. A number of Cardinalfish species are paternal mouthbrooders, with the mail holding the eggs and subsequent larvae in his mouth for several weeks.
Most Cardinalfishes will feed well on foods like frozen mysis, enriched brine shrimp, and other prepared marine foods. If acclimated carefully, quarantined, and maintained in a stable aquarium, Cardinalfishes can be a subtle, yet engaging part of your aquarium community.
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