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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. 1

Part 2,

By Bob Fenner

Pterapogon kauderni

It's a shame that Cardinalfishes are so often passed over as marine aquarium specimens. It's my guess that their odd-shapes, retiring conduct, and large, all-seeing eyes must lead aquarists to consider this group as being too 'touchy' for captive use. Admittedly, the success rate in keeping these fishes is dismal; but for explainable, correctable reasons.

Cardinalfishes occupy some of the same niches on the reef and in aquariums as the damsels (family Pomacentridae); biologically, they're principal forage fishes for piscivores; commercially they're plentiful, easily captured, and transport well; resulting in their being relatively inexpensive to acquire.

Securing decent specimens, maintaining them in a small school, and granting them a few provisions will reward you with hardy, interesting and long-term specimens.

Systematics:

Cardinalfishes, family Apogonidae ("Ap-oh-gahn-id-ee") are members of the largest Order of fishes, the Perciformes. They are one of the largest families of fishes with about 27 genera and 250 species. The Cardinals are further subdivided into two families (the deepwater Epigonidae) and sub-families depending on whose taxonomic scheme you favor. Hobbyists are generally offered a half dozen members of the largest genus Apogon and the Pajama (S. orbicularis) and Blackbelt Cardinals of the genus Sphaeramia.

Many Cardinalfishes are reddish in color (hence their common name) mixed with silver and white, though most species are yellow, silvery and black. All have large eyes, and are nocturnal; hiding in crevices or beneath ledges by day (typically with Squirrelfishes, Bigeyes and sweepers). These are mostly shallow water fishes, found from the surface to about 100 meters.

Species of Interest/Use to Aquarists:

Genus Apogon:

Apogon atrodorsatus Heller & Snodgrass 1903, the Blacktip Cardinalfish. To three and a half inches. Southeast Pacific; Cocos, Malpelo and Galapagos islands. Like most apogonids, hides near ledges, overhangs by day, feeds at night. Galapagos pic.

Apogon aureus (Lacepede 1802), the Ring-Tail Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, east Africa to New Caledonia. To nearly five inches in length. One off of Gili Air, Lombok, and a pair in N. Sulawesi. 

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.
 
Apogon binotatus (Poey 1867), the Barred Cardinalfish. West-Central Atlantic; Florida to Venezuela. To four inches in length. Bonaire pic.

Apogon bandanensis Bleeker 1854, the Bigeye Cardinalfish. West-Pacific in distribution (this one in Fiji). To four inches in length. 

Apogon cavitensis (Jordan & Seale 1907), The White-Lined Cardinalfish. To 6.5 cm. West Central Pacific; below in Raja Ampat.
Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
Apogon compressus (Smith & Radcliffe 1913), the Ochre-Striped Cardinalfish. Western Pacific; Malaysia to Micronesia down to the GBR. To nearly five inches in length. Often found as here, amongst branches of Porites (cylindrica and nigrescens principally). Pulau Redang, Malaysia and N. Sulawesi pix.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
Apogon cookii (formerly robustus) Maccleay 1881, Cook's Cardinalfish. Indo-West Pacific including the Red Sea where the first image was made at night, the other an aquarium shot.
Apogon cyanosoma Bleeker 1853, the Yellow-Striped Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific including the Red Sea. To three inches in length. One off Australia's Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, and a group in shallow water 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.

Apogon doederleini Jordan & Snyder 1901, Doederlein's or Four-Stripe Cardinalfish. Western Pacific in shallow waters. To five inches in length. This two incher in Australia.

Apogon fraenatus Valenciennes 1832, the Bridled Cardinalfish. To four inches in length. Indo-Pacific; from Durban, South Africa to Tuamotus. Images from Fiji at night. 

Apogon hartzfeldii Hatzfeld's Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific; Malaysia, PNG, GBR. To four inches in length. Mabul, Sabah, Malaysia and N. Sulawesi (Lembeh Strait) pix. 

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
Apogon hoevenii Bleeker 1854. Frostfin Cardinalfish. Indo-West Pacific. (Lembeh Strait) pix. To 6 cm.. Typically associated with Diadema urchins. KBR at night  http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=8588&genusname=Apogon&speciesname=hoevenii

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available
Apogon kallopterus Bleeker 1856, the Iridescent Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea (where this one was photographed at night while foraging). To six inches in length. A larger specimen out during the day in the Maldives also shown.

Apogon leptacanthus Bleeker 1856-57, Threadfin Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific including the Red Sea. To a little over two inches in length. Found in dense school in the wild. This group in a friends aquarium.

Apogon maculatus (Poey 1860), Flamefish. Western Atlantic, Massachusetts to Brazil. To four or so inches in length. Here are images of the species in the Bahamas during the day and night. 2-60 feet. 

Apogon maculiferus Garrett 1864, Spotted Cardinalfish. To 14 cm. Eastern Central Pacific; Hawaiian endemic. Big Island pic.  http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/species Summary.php?ID=7788&genusname= Apogon&speciesname=maculiferus

Apogon margaritophorus Bleeker 1854, the Red-Striped Cardinal. To. 6.5 cm. Western Central Pacific: Indo-Malay Archipelago to Solomon Islands. Aq. Pic. http://fishbase.org/Summary/species Summary.php?ID=58156&genusname=
Apogon&speciesname=margaritophorus

Apogon menesemus Jenkins 1903, Bandfin Cardinalfish. May be same species (A. taeniopterus) as found elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific (according to fishbase.org). Distinguished by bar on caudal according to Randall. Big Island pic at night.

Apogon (Ostorhinchus) nanus (Allen, Kuiter & Randall 1994). W. Central Pacific. Here in S. Leyte, P.I. 2013 amongst Diadema setosum spines.

Apogon neonotes Allen, Kuiter, Randall 1994. Mini Cardinalfish. To 2.7 cm. Western Central Pacific: Maumere Bay (Indonesia), Palau and Madang, Papua New Guinea. Aq. Pic. http://fishbase.org/Summary/species Summary.php?ID=25049&genusname=
Apogon&speciesname=neotes

Apogon nigrofasciatus Lachner 1953, the Blackstriped Cardinalfish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to the Tuamotus. This one in Fiji at night. 

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

Apogon pacifici Herre 1935, the Pink Cardinalfish. Sea of Cortez to Peru. Rock and coral reefs. To 10 cm. in length. Costa Rica (Pacific side) 2011

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

Apogon quadrisquamatus Longley 1934, Sawcheek Cardinalfish. Western Pacific; Florida to Venezuela. To 7 cm. in length. Bonaire pic at night.

Apogon sealei (Fowler 1918), Seale's Cardinalfish. Western Pacific; Malaysia to Micronesia. To three inches in length. One in Redang, Malaysia and a pair in N. Sulawesi. 

Bigger PIX: The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Apogon townsendi (Breder 1927), the Barred Cardinalfish. West-Central Atlantic; Florida to Venezuela. To 6.5 cm. in length. Bonaire pic.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
An unidentified Cardinalfish species in captivity in aquarium in Sacramento, CA.

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