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FAQs about Banggai Cardinalfish Systems

Related Articles: Cardinalfishes

Related FAQs:  Cardinals, Banggai Cardinals, Banggai ID, Banggai Behavior, Banggai Compatibility, Banggai Selection, Banggai Feeding, Banggai Disease, Banggai Reproduction,

Great to include macro-algae for zoo-plankton culture.

I've woken this morning and found my little Emperor Cardinal dead under a rock.   9/28/08 Hi Everyone , I'm calling from England UK , and am desperately needing to find out why my little Emperor <aka Banggai> suddenly died suddenly overnight. I have a 100 litre marine aquarium <A small volume...> which is currently stocked with 2 clown fish, <Their territory> 1 large Emperor cardinal , (the little Emperor who has now perished) , 1 fire shrimp , 6 red legged hermit crabs , 6 blue legged hermit crabs , and 1 coral introduced 1 week ago. <Mmm, what species?> The aquarium is stocked well with live rock , and I have stringently followed all recommendations since starting my hobby some 3 months ago. All the other fish appear well - and this little guy was actually the more active of the two - and he also appeared to feed better too. We couldn't find him this morning - and it took ages to locate him - he didn't appear to be previously unwell - and he and the others don't seem to look any different at all. Nothing appears untoward and they were both purchased from a reputable stockist which quarantines prior to sale and were sharing the same tank at the store. We found him wedged under a rock and I can't understand how he could have got himself there. I conduct weekly 10% water-changes , and add 'Gamma NutraPlus' reef feed 3mls daily as recommended. The fish are fed a varied diet of flake and frozen feed and I have had no other concerns until this morning. He was such a character - and I can't believe he just died like that with no apparent cause - as I say - he looks just as he did when I bought him. The water is tested weekly and has been excellent at last test 7 days ago: salt 1.022; <Too low, esp. for the "coral"> PH 8.17 ; phosphate 0.14 ; KH 11; calcium 480. <Mmm, a bit high> I only started using the reef feed 1 week ago - could this be linked??? <Doubtful> Thank you for your time Grainne .Birmingham. UK <Likely just "stress" from being in such a little world, with agonistic fishes (the Clowns) it couldn't get away from... This is a social species... that lives in small shoals... of spaces about the size of your couch... I would not add any more fish here. Bob Fenner>

Banggai biotope stocking list Banggai Cardinal Biotope!   6/19/08 Hi, Scott Fellman! This is the obsessive cardinal-biotope planner again. (I expect you may get up and run for cover--I did at least warn you <g>). <I'll be sure to wear knee pads so I can hide under the nearest table.. heheh!> I hope your presentation went well last month. Someday I'd like to go to one of those conventions. <Would love to see you at one...Imagine, 1,000 fish geeks from all over the world in one hotel!> Well, you're going to laugh at me, but I ended up going back to a Banggai biotope for my 75G setup. >I'll NEVER laugh at a fellow biotope geek!> I wasn't able to find Pajama Cardinals captive-bred, and from everything I've read Montipora digitata sounded like a more beginner-friendly SPS than Porites. <True!> Anyway, I've finally got the tank up and running, though not cycled yet. I just wanted to check in with you about the setup and my proposed stocking list and see if it sounds biotope-accurate--not to mention compatible--to you. This is going to be very long, so please forgive me. <You are forgiven...LOL> After some research, I decided against a seagrass biotope. I love the way they look and would like to try one someday, but I'm still a rank amateur of 7 months in this hobby and want to stick to stuff I'm reasonably sure of being able to keep alive and healthy. Seagrasses sound a little too challenging at this point. <I can appreciate your hesitancy. In actuality, Seagrasses really aren't that tough to keep. They do require a rather mature sandbed and an understanding of their needs. I think the toughest part of their husbandry is providing nutrients and waiting for them to put down roots and start growing.> But after spending a lot of time on Flickr (which turned out to be a really good resource for diving pictures), I came up with the idea of modeling my tank after some Lembeh Strait habitats that I saw. Apparently Banggais have become naturalized there. I'll just leave out the human-created trash and rubbish that apparently is also found there... :( <Yeah- that's a feature that we can do without!.> For substrate, I've got about 1" (may add more) of Carib-Sea Indo-Pacific Black live sand (fine whitish aragonite sand mixed with black volcanic sand, plus a few bigger chunks of coral rock and even shells), which is close to the color of the sand I've seen in a lot of Indonesian diving pics. <I have used this substrate in my seagrass biotope system and really like it.> I'm not a big fan of the usual wall-o'-rock covered with corals (although they can look spectacular), so instead I just got 3 good-sized pieces of nice aquacultured Indo-Pacific live rock from my LFS, plus a smaller piece and some little bits, just a little bigger than rubble, to scatter on the sandbed. <A nice layout. A smattering of live rock rubble makes an interesting, open aquascape.> They all have good coralline algae growth already and came with some nice little hitchhikers--Stomatellas and Asterina, even some tiny sponges. I have the 2 biggest rocks and the smaller one grouped together (not stacked) at one side of the tank, and the last, more interestingly shaped rock alone on the other side, with open sand between and around them. <Very nice!> In the open area of sand, I've planted a patch of Halimeda discoidea (I think it's discoidea) that has been doing really well in my nano (also figured I would incorporate a little microfauna from an established tank with it). I've seen pictures of this macroalgae in a lot of Indonesian biotopes, including in Sulawesi. (If only the ghost pipefish that live in it were hardy and available captive-bred! So cool!) <Agreed- my favorite fish of all time...Don't know if anyone actually has kept them in captivity, though.> I also found an interesting-looking decoration at my LFS, consisting of a couple of large barnacle shells with smaller ones encrusting it (all dead and empty, of course), and added that up against of one of the rocks. I'm thinking it might make a nice shelter for one of the fish species I'm considering. I have to admit, I really like the way this tank is starting to look. <I'm really happy to hear that! Send pics!> I'm having a canopy made for me (hope to pick it up this week) with PCs, which will come out to about 5 WPG of light (mostly daylight with some actinic). Eventually I plan to add a clip-on metal halide fixture to create those glitter lines that look so pretty in marine tanks. For filtration, I would really like to try the Ecosystem method of a refugium containing mud and macroalgae (Chaeto?). <Chaetomorpha is a much better choice than Caulerpa, IMO.> The tank isn't drilled, so I'd have to use an HOB refugium. Unfortunately the Ecosystem refugiums are expensive, so I'm going to see if the LFS guy who's building my canopy can make me an acrylic HOB refugium as well. Should I supplement this with a skimmer? I also have a power filter (which I'm using on the tank right now, with carbon) that could provide supplemental filtration. <A good place for chemical filtration media.> Finally, for the CUC, I'm planning to order the Live Sand Activator Plus package from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms, and also add some of their hermits, tiny brittle stars, spaghetti worms, pods, and some other tiny invertebrates. <A great company to deal with, and nice products, too.> I'll do this after I have the lights up and running. I was also thinking of maybe adding some Chlorodesmis fastigiata to either the sandbed (interspersed with the Halimeda) or on the rocks. Would this be biotope-appropriate? <It would be fine.> Now for the livestock. One of the reasons I've been so finicky and obsessive about this project is that I'm planning to stock this biotope with all captive-bred or -propagated fishes and corals and even invertebrates (when possible). With the exception of the sand, so far everything in my tank has come out of my existing system or someone else's, instead of the wild, and I'd like to keep it that way. I want this tank to be as sustainable as possible. There are so many crushing pressures on wild reefs, and we hobbyists *do* have a significant impact on those habitats, whether we want to admit to that responsibility or not. I also really admire the good people attempting to reduce that pressure by raising and selling CB fishes and CP corals and think they don't get enough support in this hobby from short-sighted people who want to save a few bucks by buying those same animals wild-caught. *deep breath* OK, off the soapbox, end of PSA--on to the critters! <An excellent attitude/philosophy!> For fish, I'm going to keep CB Banggais (of course); I'll start out with a group of 5 or so juveniles, but in all likelihood I expect to end up with a pair and to have to return the rest once they're sexually mature. Since 2 small fish in a 75 would look a little sparse, I also am thinking of adding one or two CB Meiacanthus grammistes--I've actually seen a picture of these together with Banggais in Sulawesi. The Fangblennies seem to like hiding in tubular structures like sponges and shells, according to pictures I've seen, which is why I added the barnacles (I'm not even going to attempt any sponges that aren't already on my live rock at this point; they sound difficult). I'm really going for an accurate micro-habitat here, so I don't know what other fish I would add, if any. (there's also the challenge of finding biotope-accurate fish that are also available captive-bred) <There actually might be some captive breeding of Meiacanthus species-not 100% sure. If you do end up getting them, I'd quarantine them very carefully. The wild-caught ones I've kept almost always come in with some sort of intestinal parasites.> Corals: I haven't actually seen any pictures of Montipora digitata in the Lembeh Strait/Sulawesi diving pictures I've looked at, but since Montipora is such a common genus I'm assuming they're there! I'll have at least one frag of green digitata, plus maybe one or two more color morphs--maybe pink and/or purple. I don't want it to look like a jumble. I'm also thinking of adding a frag of Xenia (the long-polyped brown kind), which I've seen in pictures of that habitat. <Very nice!> I've also seen Euphyllia in some of the pictures (I think it was glabrescens), which could also kind of visually stand in for an anemone, but I've had bad luck with Euphyllias being aggressive in the past. Maybe I could have it on the opposite side of the tank from the digitata... then again, maybe I should just stick with the SPS to be on the safe side. <I'd stick with one or the other. They ARE very aggressive corals and can cause great harm to stony corals in this sized aquarium.> Alternatively, I might like a Favites or a Fungia (might not have enough room, though) instead, if those would work and not nettle my Montipora. I also was thinking of adding a few polyps--maybe some Zoanthids on the sandbed. Do you know of any species or colors that would be appropriate? <Colors are strictly up to you. I like the bright ones, myself-but some folks even like the drab brown ones! BTW, Fungia look great against the Indo Pacific Black sand!> Finally, for inverts, I would like a few ornamental shrimp. I've read that Banggais may prey on ornamental shrimp when they're full-grown, so I had considered getting a mated pair of Stenopus hispidus on the assumption that they might be feisty enough to fend off marauding cardinals. On the other hand, I'm worried that they might be a little too feisty for the other inverts (and maybe even smaller fish like the Meiacanthus). Should I stick to Lysmata instead? <I'd stick to the Lysmata. The Stenopus can be aggressive, and since the Cardinals aren't exactly fast swimmers, they could be susceptible to attack.> Anyway, thanks for having the stamina to make it through this huge, long message. Any comments, suggestions, and/or advice welcome. :) <I totally think that you're on the right track here! I would highly encourage you to keep the coral diversity down to maybe 3 species, distributed throughout the aquarium. Try to minimize allelopathic competition as much as possible, and stay true to your stocking plan. The results will be healthy fishes and a unique display that you can be proud of! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Nano stocking question ) 3/14/07 Hey all, <Hi there Darby!  Mich here.>      Seems every week or two, I have another question, invariably due to some misadventure....  This time, it goes like this:       I have a NanoCube 24.  Last week, its' residents were a Yellow Tail Damsel, some small hermit crabs, a few snails, 4 different kinds of Button polyps, and two different sizes and colors of Star polyps.  I have also been running a 7 gal. refugium to culture copepods for a friends Mandarin. <What a nice friend!>     Over the weekend, the afore mentioned friend awoke to find his tank cracked and leaking, possibly due to his dogs knocking a chair into it while playing in the night.   <Yikes!> He promptly bagged up his fish (the Psychedelic and a Royal Gramma), and awoke me, handed me the fish, and left.  His parting words were "I won't be mad if they don't survive, they haven't been eating anything lately anyways..." <Uh oh!>     Well, I can assure you that they are eating fine.  Voracious, in fact.   <Oh!  Very good!> I gave them an adjustment time of 4 hours after their slow acclimation to the tank, then fed them live Brine Shrimp.   <Nutritional value is poor.> I swear, the Royal Gramma was trying to take the syringe out of my hand!   <Hee!> The Psychedelic also ate with relish, but only after I had managed to squirt a few shrimpies over his head where he could see them.  Ok, so all is well, and it looks like I may be keeping these guys indefinitely. <OK.>     Now, before this occurred, I had ordered a pair of Banggai Cardinals for my LFS.  They arrive tomorrow.  The question is:  Should I purchase them and bring them home, or will my tank be over-stocked? <I think overstocked.  Too crowed psychologically.>     There are plenty of places for the Cardinals to hide, should they wish to (including 2 good caves), and so far the Royal Gramma and the Damsel are getting along like good buddies and all is peaceful.  I really hope to keep it that way too! <Then don't add the Cardinals.> Thanks a bunch! <Welcome!  -Mich> Darby

Re: Nano stocking question  3/16/07 Thank you for the reply Mich.   <You're very welcome my friend!> I'll give the B. Cardinals a pass.   <Very wise on your part.> I'm sure some other people in the area will be tripping over themselves to get at them!   <Assuredly.> They truly are a striking fish, even if not what most consider "colorful". <Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  -Mich> Darby Cardinal Rules Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. this morning!> I just bought my first fish for my tank!! Yeahhh!! Anyway it was a Banggai cardinal. The tank is a 20 long with 25lbs of live rock. It has two powerheads on it each rated at 145g/h. From reading your Faq's on them it seems they can be some trouble, is this really the case?  <Like any fish, they appreciate high water quality, proper diet, and non-aggressive tankmates, but they are usually great aquarium fish> After acclimating it under just a little ambient lighting from the room, and tank lighting off I turned up the room lights a bit and gave it a little brine shrimp which it took a few pieces (5-10 shrimp). I know it may have been stressed so I was happy with him taking anything. After that I left it go to get used to its new home. Is that much circulation too much for it? Will it be ok to just hovering there during the day with all that current, however there is a few slower moving parts?  <That should be fine, as long as there are quiet areas and nooks and crannies for him to retreat to once in a while> My other question is this: I've read they eat copepods or in other words the critters that crawl about on the live rock. I have two peppermint shrimp, and a fire cleaner, which also share these meaty delights too if I'm correct. Will my 20 gallon tank with 25lbs of live rock be able to supply enough of these critters? Exactly what are these little things, shrimp? They are whitish and have little antennae.  <Sound like amphipods, and they are a nice supplement to the fish's diet. However, it's unlikely that you have a sufficient population of these creatures in your tank for your fish to gain all of his nutrition from. You should continue to feed appropriate foods ( frozen Mysis, "formula" foods, finely chopped seafoods, etc.) to your fish as the bulk of his diet.> And lastly how can I sex the cardinal without being able to compare it to others of its type? <Tough to do- the most reliable indicator seems to be the larger size of the males, which is not much help when you just have one!> Thanks, Mike <Good luck, Mike-and enjoy this great fish!>

Re: Banggai Cardinalfish (update) Anthony (and Bob, etc.), <Cheers!> Thanks for your advice on the Banggai's. Because of your help, I was able to understand that many marine fish don't just dislike others of the same species, but others of similar shape as well. <great to hear> Well, the LFS finally put up some Banggai cardinals once they were acclimated to the store. I went in thinking about everything that I've read and heard so far, but ended up walking out with a male and two females. You were right, they were easy to sex. I knew for a fact that two males would not work, but I thought a 1:2 trio might. The male and one female immediately paired up. Twenty hours later, the lone female joined the group quietly. Twenty four hours after adding them to the quarantine tank, the previously lone female was white and floating in the top near the canister filter return. This is exactly where your web page noted you'd find harassed Banggai's.  <yes... paired cardinals can be aggressive especially in smaller vessels like QT> I managed to put her in an acrylic box in the quarantine tank. She survived until morning and looked spectacular. Instead of tempting fate, I sold her back to the store. <very wise> Later that day, I found the other female in the exact same place! I couldn't believe it. I tried separating her too, but she died, unfortunately. While the male was eating frozen brine shrimp well, this female never ate under my care. It is possible that she was stressed about the move and it had nothing to do with the male.  <yes... very possible> I decided not to push my luck by forcing another cardinal in there, even if it may have worked. I never saw any visible aggression by the male. <it often occurs at night> Your advice was right on track the entire time. Thanks and I'm sure I'll pick your brain soon again. Dave <best regards, Anthony>

Banggai cardinals? I'm interested in setting up a species tank dedicated to Banggai cardinals.  The set up would consist of 125 gal aquarium 100lbs of live rock, fluidized bed, Berlin H.O skimmer and 4 48" fluorescent lights. My question would be if I purchased a large shoal of them say 20-30 would fighting break out or would they live in a school peacefully with the possibility of breeding or would it be a disaster? My last question would be should I add dither fish such as Chromis or something in that nature. Thanks Bob >> A grouping of ten or so would be fine... no fighting... and they would/will breed, little doubt. Yes to dither fish... to add excitement for you as well... And maybe some soft corals... and Xeniids... and.... Bob Fenner

- New Banggai Cardinals - Hi, I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank and just got the go ahead from my local store to purchase my first fish. The water sample was good. I purchased 2 peppermint shrimp on 2/3 and put 2 Banggai Cardinals on hold as they were not ready to leave the store until 2/6. The shrimps did great. On 2/6, we picked up the Cardinals and 2 more peppermint shrimps. The 2 new peppermint shrimps died before the evening was up, the 2 cardinals seemed fine and even ate a bit that night when I fed the two original shrimps.  <You probably need to take more time acclimating your invertebrates - they don't do well when the salinity swings drastically and often the salinity at the store is very different from your own tank. I always ask them what the salinity of their tanks is for the animal I have purchased and then adjust my acclimation time accordingly.>   The next morning, I noticed the larger of the Cardinals near the bottom in a hidden spot and breathing heavily. I called the store to tell them of the shrimp dying and to ask about the Cardinal. I took more water in for testing and it turned out to be fine. I was told to keep the lights off for another day and to wait and see. Well, he comes up very occasionally, but is still breathing hard; the other one appears fine and the other shrimps are still fine.  <Do these fish have anywhere to hide? Generally speaking, cardinal fish are timid and when moved from system to system need to be able to "chill" somewhere that seems safe to them.>  He didn't eat this morning, but the other one did. I don't notice any lesions, sores, bumps or anything to suggest an illness, but am concerned I am going to lose another new occupant. Any ideas?  <Give it some time.>  I acclimated them according to the stores recommendation. I am very new to the hobby and could only find that sometimes fish go to the surface and gulp if stressed; mine is at the bottom; he's not sideways, upside down or anything funny.  <They also do this when stressed - similar to people, two identical fish in identical circumstances will often react two different ways.>  The two were swimming nicely together last night after about six hours in a dark tank; both were in the same tank in the store.  <Give it time... sounds like stress which often takes several days to a week to abate.>  Thanks for any help. <Cheers, J -- >

Banggai Cardinal Deaths...Very New System - 07/27/06 Hi there! <<Hello!>> I have a 72G reef ready Oceanic tank being filtered by 110 pounds of cured live rock and a 20G refugium w/protein skimmer.  I only run the skimmer for about a week in six. <<Mmm...am a firm believer in running skimmers 24/7>> I perform a 15% water change every 10 days.  Water parameters are all spot on.  Ammonia & nitrite at zero.  Nitrate never above 25ppm. <<This is a reef tank?  Nitrate should be below 5ppm.  If this is a FOWLR/FO you should still strive to keep nitrates below 20ppm>> The tank was started on May 6th of this year, as defined by the placing of the rock in the tank. <<Ah, a very "young" tank indeed>> To date, livestock consists of 5 Blue/Green Chromis, 1 Six Line Wrasse, 1 Blood Shrimp, 2 Turbo Snails and about 12 Blue Legged Hermit Crabs.  All of these animals have been doing great since their introduction into the tank.  The problem occurred when 4 Banggai Cardinals were added.  They all started out great.  Eating enthusiastically and swimming vigorously.  After two weeks they started (one by one) losing their appetites, becoming lethargic, demonstrating labored breathing (some had stringy white feces) and dying.  Per fish this process took about 3 days from loss of appetite to death. <<Possibly environmental, compounded with stress from conspecific aggression>> All of the other fish are still doing fine.  Can any one tell me what is happening. <<Banggai Cardinals are generally hardy once acclimated to a "mature" system.  They also can be quite intolerant of conspecifics unless in mated pairs.  The problem you describe may be a combination of a "too new" system (for this species) and aggression related stress>> I have a Purple Firefish in the quarantine tank and I'm afraid to put it in the main tank until I have some clue.  Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated as I'm new at this. I would give this system a couple more months to mature/reach a balance before adding more cardinals...or the firefish for that matter.  Letting your skimmer run continuously will also be of great benefit, in my opinion>> Thanks!! Jan Harrison   <<Happy to assist.  EricR>> Re: Banggai Cardinal Deaths...Very New System - 07/27/06 Dear Eric, <<Hello Jan>> Thanks for the response. <<Is my pleasure>> I'll certainly utilize your advice. <<Ah good, for the best overall really>> Jan
<<Regards, Eric Russell>>



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