Logo

Wet Web Media is a Reference site and best used with the following tools
Step 1: Search us with Google
Step 2: Enter terms of interest to highlight
Home
Information Pages:
Marine
Aquariums
Freshwater
Aquariums
Planted
Aquariums
Brackish
Systems
Ponds, lakes
& fountains
Turtles &
Amphibians
Aquatic
Business
Aquatic
Science
Features:
Daily FAQs
FW Daily FAQs
SW Pix of the Day
FW Pix of the Day
New On WWM
Helpful Links
Hobbyist Forum
Ask the WWM Crew a Question
Calendars
Search Feature
Admin Index
Cover Images


Related FAQs: Cardinals 1, Cardinals 2, & FAQs on: Cardinal ID, Cardinal Behavior, Cardinal Compatibility, Cardinal Selection, Cardinal Systems, Cardinal Feeding, Cardinal Disease, Cardinal Reproduction,   Banggai Cardinals, Banggai ID, Banggai Behavior, Banggai Compatibility, Banggai Selection, Banggai Systems, Banggai Feeding, Banggai Disease, Banggai Reproduction,

Related Articles:  Cardinalfishes of Indonesia,

/A Diversity of Aquatic Life

Cardinalfishes, Family Apogonidae, Pt. 2

Part 1,

By Bob Fenner

Pterapogon kauderni

Genus Archamia:

Archamia zosterophora (Bleeker 1856) Blackbelted or Girdled Cardinalfish. West Pacific. To 3 in. Here in Raja Ampat. http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=5777&genusname=Archamia&speciesname=zosterophora

Genus Cheilodipterus:

Cheilodipterus alleni Gon 1993, Southwestern Pacific; New Guinea, Indonesia. To four inches for males, about 2.5" for females. This one in the area of Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia. 

Cheilodipterus artus Smith 1961. The Wolf Cardinalfish. To seven inches in length. Indo-Pacific; East Africa to GBR, Japan. Feeds on small fishes. Raja Ampat pic.

Cheilodipterus isostigmus (Schultz 1940), the Dog-Toothed Cardinalfish. West-central Pacific. To nearly four inches in length. This three inch one in Fiji.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Cheilodipterus macrodon (Lacepede 1802), the Largetoothed Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific; East Africa to the Marshall Islands. To nearly ten inches in length. A six inch specimen in Manado/Sulawesi/Indonesia,and a male of about the same size in the Red Sea "with a mouthful" of young.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
 
Cheilodipterus quinquelineatus Cuvier 1828, the Fivelined Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific including the Red Sea. To five inches in length. Here is pictured an adult and young near a Sea Urchin in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
 

Genus Nectamia:

Nectamia bandanensis (Bleeker 1854). The Big-Eye Cardinal. Indo-West Pacific. To four inches in length. Aq. pic. http://fishbase.org/summary/Species Summary.php?id=5763

Genus Pseudamia

Pseudamia amblyuroptera (Bleeker 1856). Indo-West Pacific. To six inches in length. Not a great beauty, but one of the more common Cardinalfishes offered in the hobby.

Genus Pterapogon

Pterapogon kauderni Koumans 1933, the Banggai Cardinalfish. Restricted in distribution to Banggai Island, Indonesia, though commercially produced in good numbers in Indonesia and elsewhere. To three inches in length. A darling of the ornamental aquatics industry and hobby. Readily reproduced in captivity. Young cluster about large/symbiotic anemones tentacles or the spines of the Urchin Diadema setosum when threatened.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available
Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
  

Genus Sphaeremia: Pajamafishes.

Sphaeramia nematoptera (Bleeker 1856), the Pajama Cardinalfish. West Pacific. To three inches in length. A long-standing favorite in the aquarium trade. Second perhaps only to the Banggai in use.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
Bigger PIX: The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

 

Sphaeramia orbicularis (Cuvier 1828), the Orbiculate Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific. To four inches in length. An uglier version of the Pajamafish, but hardy just the same.

Geographical Range

Tropical marine, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific reefs; some estuarine and freshwater members (Papua New Guinea, see Allen).

Size: 

Most to a few inches, some species to six-eight inches or more in the wild.

Selection:

Cardinals display little middle-ground in their quality on-arrival; they are either hardy and sure to "make it", or thrashed and "doomed" to break down and die. For reference, they share many of the same selection criteria as damselfishes.

1) Behaviorally; look closely at the group on display. They should be clustered somewhat, with none having "private parties" off in the corners of the system. Are they aware of your presence? Good.

2) Reddening: Examine the bodies of each specimen carefully, especially the insertions of unpaired fins. Do you see evidence of infection on any individual? If so, pass them by.

Collecting Your Own

Gathering cardinals compared to other marines is a breeze. Apogonids are easily spooked out of hiding into a carefully placed hand net. Care must be taken in not snagging their dorsal fins' spines (6-8 in the first dorsal fin, one with 8-14 soft rays in second) and anal fin (two) spines.

Environmental: Conditions

Habitat

Cardinals hide in the netherworld of ledges and corals by day; searching the bottom for food, by night.

Chemical/Physical 

Apogonids are about as tolerant as damselfishes; they are not demanding. Some temperate species prefer lower temperatures, but 72-78 degrees F. is fine for the group as a whole. Elevated temperatures may bring on a feeding strike and odd behavior. Higher, steady specific gravity is appreciated, closer to 1.025; maybe due to their close association with invertebrates?

Cardinals will tolerate a few tens of ppm of nitrate, but little or no ammonia, nitrite.

Biology/Other 

I'd like to mention that apogonids are an under-rated portion of the living reef's populations. Several of the hundreds of species are of large number in the wild, just not commonly encountered due to their largely nocturnal habits. Many form close associations with invertebrates, living within the spiny shelter of urchins, sea stars and more.

Filtration

I'd shy on making it brisk. These fishes are found in areas where the water really whips at times.

Display

For a really outstanding arrangement, provide a large dark shelter-space with one opening and a group of these fishes and others they are found with in the wild. The under ledge and cover sub-habitat is a rich biotope in the reef world.

Behavior:

Territoriality

Generally not. In the wild most live in aggregations as young and adults. In captivity they only fare well in groups.

Introduction/Acclimation 

Best put in established systems, keeping some low illumination on but subdued for a couple of days.

Predator/Prey Relations

Most cardinalfishes as individuals get along with their own kind, other species of apogonids and other peaceful tankmates. Large predatory fishes will inhale them like so much aqua-popcorn if they're small enough.

The smaller species (some get to six inches) are strongly promoted for use in fish-only and reef-tank set-ups. They are supreme choices, being hardy and interesting; their only shortcomings being that they're shy and reclusive. Apogonids as a rule do not "sample" more than mouth-size invertebrates.

Reproduction, Sexual Differentiation/Growing Your Own:

Several species spawning habits are known. The sexes are not much differentiated but may be distinguished by the males slightly larger size and the girth of gravid females. They are some of the few marine mouthbrooders with the males generally doing the incubating. Young are released after about a week, and develop as plankton for a couple of months in the upper water column.


Become a Sponsor
Featured Sponsors: