Logo
Please visit our Sponsors

Related  FAQs: Squirrelfishes 1, Squirrelfishes 2, & FAQs on: Holocentrid Identification, Holocentrid Behavior, Holocentrid Compatibility, Holocentrid Selection, Holocentrid Systems, Holocentrid Feeding, Holocentrid Disease, Holocentrid Reproduction, Pineconefishes,

Related Articles: 

/The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

Squirrel- & Soldierfishes, Family Holocentridae, Part 4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3,

Genus Sargocentron

Sargocentron caudimaculatum (Ruppell 1838), the White-tail Squirrelfish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to Polynesia. To ten inches in length. Live in and about caves, crannies in groups by day, turning all red and spreading over the reef to feed by night. 

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.
Sargocentron diadema Lacepede 1802, the Crown Squirrelfish. Indo-Pacific, Red Sea to Hawai'i. To nine inches in length. The most common Pacific offering in the family. Very similar to Sargocentron xantheryhthrum, but diadema has a very dark dorsal fine with a white stripe in its lower area, xantherythrum with a red dorsal with white spine tips. 

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.
  
Sargocentron melanospilos (Bleeker 1858), the Blackspot Squirrelfish. To 25 cm. Fiji 2017

Sargocentron microstoma, the Smallmouth Squirrelfish (Gunther 1859). Indo-Pacfic; Seychelles to Tuamotus. Hawaii. French Polynesia 2018.

Sargocentron rubrum (Forsskal 1775), the Redcoat. Indo-West Pacific, including the Red Sea. To eleven inches in length. These ones off of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Sargocentron spiniferum (Forsskal 1775), the Sabre Squirrelfish. A beauty, but often lost to trauma in capture and shipping and too large for most systems (to eighteen inches in length). The first image made in the Maldives, the second 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.

Sargocentron suborbitalis (Gill 1864), the Tinsel Squirrelfish. Sea of Cortez to Ecuador. To 25 cm.

Sargocentron violaceum (Bleeker 1853), the Violet  Indo-Pacific; Aldabra to S. Japan, GBR, Micronesia. To 45 cm. in length. Live in and about caves, singly by day, Feed by night on crustaceans and polychaetes. Sulawesi pic.  http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Country/CountrySpeciesSummary.cfm?Country=Indonesia&Genus=Sargocentron&Species=violaceum

 

Selecting Healthy Specimens

In terms of picking out a healthy specimen, be wary of any squirrelfish in a group with others that display: 1) reddening in patches, especially around fins and under the body. This is often a sign of rough handling and bacterial (Aeromonas, Vibrio) infection; usually fatal. 2) Torn fins, cheekspines, scales, see 1), and/or 3) evidence of external parasite/removal damage.

Collecting Your Own  

Compared to other marines is a breeze. Squirrelfishes are easily spooked out of hiding into a carefully placed barrier or mist net and hand netted from there. Care must be taken to not damage the catch by tangling and pulling on it in the netting; or the captor by getting poked but good by the squirrelfish's spines and sharp scales. compared to other marines is a breeze. Squirrelfishes are easily spooked out of hiding into a carefully placed barrier or mist net and hand netted from there. Care must be taken to not damage the catch by tangling and pulling on it in the netting; or the captor by getting poked but good by the squirrelfish's spines and sharp scales.

Environmental: Conditions

Habitat

 Can you replicate the hiding netherworld of ledges and coves by day, the bottom, food searching, nocturnal swimming space by night? 

Chemical/Physical  

Not demanding; lower temperatures are preferred, 72-78 degrees F.. Higher temperatures may bring on a feeding strike and odd behavior. Higher, steady specific gravity are appreciated, closer to 1.025; maybe due to their close association with invertebrates? 

Biology/Other

 I'd like to mention that holocentrids produce audible sound, above and below water. They grind their pharyngeal teeth and stretch muscles against their long gas bladders; much like rubbing your fingers along a balloon. I

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 cave-space with two openings 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. Squirrelfishes live comfortably alone as adults. In the wild most live in aggregations as young. 

Introduction/Acclimation  

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

Predator/Prey Relations 

Most Squirrelfishes as individuals get along with their own kind, other species of Squirrelfishes and other tankmates. Most would-be predators give them wide berth after looking over their overall spininess.

Think twice size-wise about using squirrels as reef-tank organisms. They are supreme choices as being hardy and interesting, but will greedily swallow any and all crustaceans that can fit into their expansive mouths. If you lack and do not intend to have shrimp(s) or crab(s), and would like to minimize bristle and other worm activity, consider a squirrelfish.

Reproduction, Sexual Differentiation/Growing Your Own:

See citations below for chance spawning reports of the related family of monocentrids. Squirrelfishes are indistinguishable externally as male, female.

Feeding/Foods/Nutrition: Types, Frequency, Amount, Wastes

They are predators on small very small fishes and mobile invertebrates, principally crustaceans in the wild. Livebearers, shrimp and other fresh and frozen meaty foods are acceptable; avoid pellets, flake and other dry prepared foods; these will not sustain them.

If your specimens are new, refusing food, or go on a feeding strike, execute a large water change and try a live shrimp with the lights off on the system. Generally Squirrelfishes can be trained to take 'wiggled' krill or other shrimp.

Disease: Infectious, Parasitic, Nutritional, Genetic, Social

These fishes are generally received free of external parasites, and clean up easily with routine freshwater dips and quarantine. The usual protozoan scourges of tropical marine fishes can be handily defeated if detected early enough with standard copper remedies.

Summary:

To Spanish-speaking countries they're saldados or matajuelo; to the French: malais, in Hawaii: alaihi. To you and I they are the aptly named Squirrelfishes and Soldierfishes, the Holocentridae. Good aquaria specimens, whose only demands are meaty foods and a place to hide.

Bibliography/Further Reading:

Burgess, Warren E., 1975. Salts from the seven seas (about Pineconefishes). TFH 6/75.

Chlupaty, Peter, 1982. Keeping Australian pinecone fish. TFH 4/82.

DeGiorgis, Joseph A. 1987. The longspine squirrelfish, Holocentrus rufus, FAMA 2/87.

Hemdal, Jay, 1986. The Flashlight Fish, FAMA 11/86.

Howe, Jeffrey C. 1994. Original descriptions, Sargocentron marisrubri Randall et al. 1989, Beryciformes, Holocentridae, FAMA 6/94.

Nelson, Joseph S. Fishes of the World, 3rd Ed., 1994. Wiley & Sons.

 

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3,

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: