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The story goes that when God was done creating the world, the Angels he had commanded to add color to it discovered they had quite a bit of "paint" left over. This being a time way ahead of OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency, they tipped the excess over into the nearest water; the Red Sea. No, this part of the Indian Ocean is not colored red; that word is actually refers to the "reeds" that were observed along its banks by early explorers. However, the sea life found here does abound with vibrant color. Even the same species found further south out of the Red Sea are less spectacular; and that's not all. Along with geographic isolation, saltier water conditions and brighter color, the animals found in the Red Sea are decidedly hardier. The implications for marine aquarium keepers are clear. Here is a huge resource of beautiful and tough livestock like nowhere else on the planet.
With improved political relations amongst the eight countries that surround this NW extension of the Indian Ocean (Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Yemen), increasing development of their own infrastructures and economies (especially airline services), the ornamental aquatic interest can look forward to continuing lower price/greater availability of marine livestock from the Red Sea.
You can make my favorite pictograph of what the Red Sea looks like geographically by raising your right arm high up and making the peace sign. At the tip of your forefinger (through the Suez Canal) is the Mediterranean Sea, with the finger representing the Gulf of Suez. Your middle finger is the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel's Eilat at its terminus, the bit of Jordan that touches on the northern part of the Gulf, and Saudi Arabia all the way down a good part of the right side of your arm. Egypt's Sinai would lie between your extended fingers and down the left side of your arm with Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti below. Lastly North and South Yemen take their place below Saudi Arabia, and the rest of your body's right side can represent part of the East coast of Africa. Okay, you can put your arm down now.
The shape and space of the "map" you have just visualized is immense; some 170,000 square miles and 1,450 miles long. And get this; it's lined on either side by almost continuous, intact coral reefs. Snorkeling in year-round warm, clear and calm waters is just a brief walk and step off the Red Seas edge.
On seeing images of the land surrounding the Red Sea, and considering the brief headlines of news we get about the area in the west, I'm sure you're thinking, "What's this guy talking about; going to visit or get livestock out of a desert with terrorists all around?" Due to its distant remoteness to the United States, many don't realize that the Red Sea is
Due to it's geographical placement and isolation, the Red Sea has been a "hot bed" of species production; it vies with Hawai'i and the Sea of Cortez of Mexico's eastern Pacific coast for highest percentage of endemic shallow water fish species, with some twenty five percent of only found there. Don't feel cheated if you don't recognize many of the organisms listed below as available to you through your outlets; or that you can only currently get the same species from ranges closer to home. As time goes by, many more will be available, and at lower costs; particularly if you start requesting them.
Here is my account of the species of tropical fishes utilized in the hobby and trade of aquarium keeping that hail from the Red Sea and their scored survivability. Also listing some that should be left out, others that ought to be added and brief notes on their, range, feeding habits, ecotype, and other pertinent husbandry tidbits. My intent is obvious. To encourage you to witness the living world firsthand, to inform "all the players" especially collectors and "end-user" consumers (hobbyists) of the best livestock available, and reciprocally to discourage use of inappropriate species.
I've offered some broad strokes here in describing very generally where the various fish groups and species are typically found. Other authors have been much more specific in defining reef geographies and particular niches, but I'll assure you that duplicating biotopes is not essential. Indeed, almost all hobbyist arrangements are a mish-mash of mixed species that would never meet in the wild, and most get along just fine.
On the other hand, I cannot encourage you enough to go beyond the simple statements offered here in investigating and doing your best to mimic a physical and biological slice of the ocean (or any part of the "real" world you'd like to recreate in miniature). The printed works listed here, Internet, and actual travel to the area are the best means of gaining knowledge of what makes up a given habitat, living and physical.
Captive Suitability Scoring:
After long thought, investigation of others declared opinions, and handling tens of thousands of these species I've come to a set of "scores" for each on its likelihood of surviving the rigors of aquarium care. Yes, to some degree this information is necessarily historical (what has happened, may not be the general trend to come), and is subject to "improvement" on the keepers side as a consequence of providing larger, more stable quarters (like public aquariums), and more diligent husbandry. But, by and large a relative score of one (1) indicates the "highest and best" survivability under captive conditions; let's say most of the specimens of this species collected surviving more than three months. A two score (2) is indicative of mortality of more than fifty percent between one and three months. Lastly, and sufficient for our purposes, a three (3) is the worst score, with more than 50% of the species perishing before a months time of capture. I entreat you to leave the latter group to the sea, or at least to study about their care ardently and provide the best possible circumstances for these animals.
Family/Species Accounts of Fishes Suitable for Aquariums out of the Red Sea
Cartilaginous Fishes, Class Chondrichthyes
Sharks, Subclass Elasmobranchii. There are several species of sharks of medium to prodigious size in the Red Sea. Requiems (Family Carcharhinidae), Nurses (Orectolobidae), the Whale (Rhincodontidae), Threshers (Alopiidae), Mackerel Sharks (Isuridae), and more; all quite abundant. None are suitable for aquarium use.
Stingrays, Family Dasyatidae. Of the eight species of this family found within the Red Sea, only one, the Blue-Spotted or Reef Stingray, Taeniura lymna (3), is used in the trade. For the west, the same species is typically collected out of Indonesia, from where it also dies in short order. Please don't buy this fish.
Bony Fishes, Class Osteichthyes
Morays, family Muraenidae. Like the morays of most the places on the Earth, most of the Red Sea's get too big and mean for aquarium use, a few of the "world's bests" of these fierce-appearing eels are caught out of here for European markets. The Zebra Moray, Gymnomuraena zebra (1) and Snowflake Moray, Echidna nebulosa (1), are more crustacean than fish eaters, having crushing knob-like teeth. Another Pebblemouth Moray of many common names, Banded, Ringed or Barred, E. polyzona (1), is occasionally caught in the R.S. as well. The last two stay small, about 2', but the Zebra can get large (up to 5').
Ecotype: Shallow to mid-depth reefs to bays, rocky habitats. Hide in recesses by day, coming out at night to feed.
Other Eels: Unfortunately, as with the same families' members collected elsewhere, Snake Eels (family Ophichthidae), Conger Eels (family Congridae) and other species of families of true eels are caught out of the Red Sea. They should not be. Most require specialized care and die quickly (3).
Eel Catfishes, Family Plotosidae. Dangerously venomous and likely to swallow anything they can fit into their mouths, the Striped Eel Catfish, Plotosus lineatus (2) comes out of the Red Sea to European aquarists, as it does from the western Pacific to us in the West. Should be kept in small groups and always handled with extreme care.
Ecotype: On sand flats and gravel bottoms, searching in waves in medium to large schools on the bottom for food.
Pipefishes, Family Syngnathidae. In the same family as the Seahorses and sharing many of their odd structural and behavioral characteristics (like slow dorsal-movement locomotion, hard exoskeleton construction, male-pouch gestation, and tube-sucking feeding action and dying like proverbial flies in captivity), a few of the Pipefishes are utilized from the Red Sea as they are from elsewhere (disastrously). I'll just show the Yellow-Striped Pipefish, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus and Banded, Dunkerocampus dactyliophorus, though others are taken as well. All are (3's) that should only be attempted in peaceful, well-established reef systems, or best, left in the seas.
The Frogfishes or Anglers, Family Antennariidae. All I can tell from pouring over western European texts and perusing annualized availability (aka price lists) of collectors in the Red Sea, are that some number (maybe just one) of the eleven antennariids found in the Red Sea are found in the trade. The ones I've seen I'd mostly identify as as "plain" (brownish, mottled) or "colorful" (red, yellow, orange, black, gray) Commerson's Frogfish, Antennarius commersonii, though other species are no doubt mixed in. The globular, sedentary, cryptic Frogfishes rank a (2) for historical losses due to rough handling, and either starvation in captivity or for swallowing other fish in their system even larger than themselves. Despite these shortcomings, Anglers are popular reef tank fishes in Europe.
Ecotype: Hidden by shape, color, fleshy appendages, resting on rocky bottoms, "waiting" for a meal to come by or "fishing" for it.
Ecotype: Shallow to deep reefs, hiding under overhangs and in caves by day, foraging outside by night, mainly for crustaceans.
Scorpionfishes, Family Scorpaenidae:
The last "oddball" we'll mention (though there are others) from here is the Leaf Fish, Taenionotus triacanthus (1). It stays small (4") and beautiful, and alive. Also from the I.O.
Of the lionfishes, turkeyfishes part of the scorpaenid family (Subfamily Pteroinae), we have some aquarium standards out of the Red Sea; formerly recognized as the Volitans or Turkeyfish, Pterois volitans now a separate species, the Military Turkeyfish is acknowledged without overlapping the Volitans distribution, with the break occurring in Indonesia; the Radiata Lion or Clearfin Turkeyfish, P. radiata; and one of the "dwarf" lions of the trade, the Shortfin Lionfish, Dendrochirus brachypterus. All these Lions/Turkeyfishes make great fish-only system livestock (1's).
Ecotype: The non-lionfish species are found on the bottom, generally motionless amongst the rocks and sand, virtually undetectable to prey and divers. The Pteroinae skulk under rocks and in caves by day, coming out to feed singly or in association with others during crepuscular and night times.
Flatheads, Family Platycephalidae. What can you say? "To each their own?" "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?" Flatheads are large, predaceous and grotesquely ugly. You'd think, "three strikes, you're out!" But these fishes, particularly, the Crocodile Flathead, Cociella crocodilia is showing up in European markets from here, and the western Pacific for the U.S. Who can figure? To at least two feet; I've seen them at three in the wild. There are several other species (all 2's).
Ecotype: Setting on the sand or under a ledge in wait to inhale their next meal, or gross out underwater photographers.
Groupers & Basses- Family Serranidae. As far as serranids go, the Red Sea has something for everyone, and every type of marine set up. The three Basslets, two Liopropoma and one Serranus species are neither abundant nor that good looking, but there are plenty of "true" basses (23 groupers of the Subfamily Epiphelinae) and Delightful though aquarium-sensitive Subfamily Anthiinae (four species of Anthias and one Plectranthias hail from here)
Of the genus Epinephelus, the Red Sea has it's share of "large, ugly basses", like the Malabar, (E. malabaricus) and Smalltooth (E. microdon) Groupers (2's); these two foot plus "pugs" and a few others are bought in to the trade occasionally. Much more delightful (and smaller at a foot or so) are the Blacktip (E. fasciatus) and Honeycomb (E. merra) Groupers (both 1's).
More exotic in shape and coloration are the tropical Groupers of the genera Variola and Plectropomus. Most often offered is the Lyretail Grouper, V. louti (1) and Squaretail Grouper, P. truncatus (2); both get well over two feet long.
And let's not forget the bizillions of individuals of the Subfamily Anthiinae all over the reefs of the Red Sea. Most of these, and mostly imported are the hardy-for-the-genus Orange or Scalefin Anthias, Anthias squamipinnis (2).
Ecotype: Most found around rocky areas to deep reefs where they can skulk and dive into crevices. Some groupers above the reef searching for food, species-mates. The Anthiinae in mid water to just above reefs feeding on plankton.
Soapfishes, Family Grammistidae. Two species of these beautiful but suspect aquarium species occur in the Red Sea. Their common name belies the problem with this duo; the soapfishes produce copious amounts of mildly toxic mucus if disturbed. Not the sort of experience you'd like in a small volume of water like a home aquarium. Nonetheless, the Goldenstriped Soapfish, Grammistes sexlineatus and Yellowface Soapfish, Diploprion drachi are utilized in the trade (both 2's). The latter species is confined to the Red Sea, but more westerly members of this soapfish genus are imported to the west.
Ecotype: Near the reef bottom about holes and overhangs to slip into.
Ecotype: By day in reef crevices and caves, coming out at night to feed.
Hawkfishes, Family Cirrhitidae. All five of the Hawkfish species that come out of the Red Sea are utilized in the trade, though not often shipped all the way to the West. (Four of these species are available for less money coming from areas closer to us).
They include the rare Spottedtail Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys calliurus (1), a gorgeous orangish fish; the familiar Forster's or Blackside Hawkfish, P. forsteri (1); Longnose Hawks, Oxycirrhites typus (1); the more homely Stocky Hawkfish, Cirrhitus pinnulatus (2); and widest ranging Pixie Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (1), found throughout the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Ecotype: Coral reefs, resting on top of coral or rock, or hiding under it. The hawkfishes lack gas bladders.
Dottybacks, Family, Pseudochromidae. The Red Sea is the land of the Dottybacks. With three species of the genus Pseudoplesiops (formerly Chlidichthys) and eight species of Pseudochromis (of which many of the latters species are now commercially tank-bred) this family holds a handful of colorful, small, desirable (albeit feisty) of use to aquarists. All but one species are endemic.
The aquarium species of Pseudochromis are probably very familiar. Alphabetically they are the Sunrise Dottyback, P. flavivertex; Orchid Dottyback, P. fridmani; Striped Dottyback, P. sankeyi; Bluestriped Dottyback, P. springeri; and a few others more sporadically. All are 1's.
Longfins, Roundheads or Comets, Family Plesiopsidae. Of the three basslike Roundheads of the Red Sea, the favorite of the family from everywhere, the Comet, Calloplesiops altivelis (2), is solely collected. Also known as the Marine Betta in the West.
Ecotype: Hard to find, slow moving, secretive on bottom in hiding.
Cardinalfishes, Family Apogonidae. This group of small, reclusive, big-eyed and principally red fishes is much under-appreciated in the aquarium interest. Yes, they're odd-looking (never a deficiency) and secretive, but as individual species, many of the cardinals make excellent captives for peaceful fish-only, mixed invertebrate to full-blown reef set-ups.
Ecotype: Seemingly above and within most dark recesses of the reef; small members amongst sea urchin spines et al., venturing further afield at night to feed on plankton.
Jacks, Family Carangidae. Though all of these tuna cousins get too big for home-size systems, one is made use of and there's another we should mention as being just as worthwhile. The Pilot or Golden Pilot, Gnathanodon speciosus is a darling of public aquariums (2), growing quickly, being beautiful and schooling in fast ballet in gargantuan surroundings. At least the equally desirable Goldbody Trevally, Carangoides bajad stops at half the length (1 ?').
Snappers, Family Lutjanidae. Most of the snappers are more food and game, than ornamental tropical fishes. One of them though is an easy crossover; the (Black) Mojarra to the pet-fish world is the Black and White Snapper, Macolor niger (3) to the rod and reel crowd. To two feet, ugly and tough when large, but most die easily when young due to the vagaries of capture, handling and shipping stress. By the way, for whatever reasoning, the Mojarra is often sold as a grunt (Family Haemulidae) in the pet-fish trade. It is not.
A "plug" if you will, for a few colorful Red Sea snapper candidates that would make fine choices for fish-only systems. The Blueline Snapper, L. kasmira is just as attractive as the similar and popular L. quinquelineatus of the Indo-Pacific, L. viridis of the tropical eastern Pacific. Likewise, the Blackspot (L. ehrenbergi), Onespot (L. monostigma), and Red Mumea (L. bohar) are other good-looking fish-only system candidates.(all 2's)
Ecotype: Near rocky or reef bottoms as individuals or more often in schools.
Grunts, Family Haemulidae. Along with wild-caught clown-anemone fishes (as opposed to great tank-bred stock) this family is a real "heartbreaker" as aquarium fishes. The vast majority (much more than 90%) of individual grunts and clowns collected die within a few weeks of being taken out of the sea. In fact, the only species of Grunt that does at all well is the Blackspotted Grunt or Gaterin, Plectorhinchus gaterinus, and I rate it only a (2). If you try this fish, make sure it's eating and be aware that it changes into a somber 1 ?' foodfish.
Ecotype: Always near or under rocks, or moving inbetween.
Ecotype: In mid to upper waters, under pier pilings, following ships.
Spade or Batfishes, Family Ephippidae. Other authors have cited more than the Circular Spadefish, aka Orbic or Orbicularis Batfish, Platax orbicularis (1); but I have only seen the one species there. Of course, the Teira Bat, P. teira (1) is likewise a great aquarium centerpiece.
Ecotype: Above the reef, even following divers as adults, on the reef shallows and grass flats as juveniles.
Monos, Family Monodactylidae. Yes, Monos are really marines; they just venture into fresh (or tolerate it to degrees in aquariums). Of the two species found in the Red Sea, the Silver (with yellow) Mono, Monodactylus argenteus (2), is sometimes caught out of the Red Sea for European aquaristic markets. This fish rates a (3) coming from everywhere when kept in straight freshwater.
Ecotype: In estuaries, sewage and drainage outfalls, reef slopes in shallow water. Always seen in a group of several to hundreds of individuals.
While we're at it, let's mention another marine/brackish fish species used in the same way, the Targetfish, Therapon jarbua (2), also comes out of the same habitats, but goes around as feisty solos.
Goatfishes, Family Mullidae. There are several noteworthy Goatfishes that come out of the Red Sea, and more that could be used for aquariums. All of them rate a (2) rather than the (1) they deserve for dying due to "hobbyist failure". Most premature losses are due jumping out or starvation. These are very active, and powerful swimming fishes. Using their barbels all day long in search for crustacean and worm food in the substrate, they either expire due to a lack of nutrition, or launch themselves like Polaris missiles out of their tanks. Keep them fed and their tank covered and they live and live.
The Yellowfin (Mulloides vanicolensis)(2) and Yellowstripe, M. flavolineatus Goatfishes (2) are hard to tell apart. The Blue Goatfish (Parupeneus cyclostomus)(1) comes in two color morphs; a nice gold and blue and a gorgeous all-yellow color phase.
Ecotype: Goatfishes utilize their jaw barbels to root around in the bottom sand/gravel for food in rubble and shallow reef areas.
Sandperches, Family Pinquipedidae (Mugiloididae, Parapercidae). Confusing and hard to sound out current and old family names, and probably not a familiar common name either, you probably have seen the one species that's used out of here; the Spotted Sandperch, Parapercis hexophthalma (1) at a livestock dealers.
Ecotype: Found scooting around or resting on their pectoral fin spines in sandy and rock and gravel bottoms.
Butterflyfishes, Family Chaetodontidae. The Red Sea has the "usual mix" of good, medium and terrible choices of butterflyfishes as other places in the world.
The Best Butterflyfishes From the Red Sea (1's):
C. fasciatus, the Red Sea Raccoon B/F, an almost dead ringer for the wider spread Hawaii to Indo-Pacific C. lunula, the Raccoon B/F; the Red Sea form is much brighter yellow, and the wider-ranging Indo-Pacific form has a wider white face band.
C. melannotus, the Black-Backed B/F. Once acclimated, some folks swear by these; I'm one of them. From other than the Red Sea however, they're less hardy.
C. mesoleucos, the White-Face B/F. Unusual looking but tough. Can become a bully, but a good feeder when it settles in.
C. semilarvatus, the Golden, or Blue Mask butterfly; a fabulous fish for beauty, swimming grace and hardiness. Does grow to ten inches though.
Forcipiger flavissimus, the Longnose Butterflyfish, an aquarium standard over it broad collection range.
Heniochus intermedius and H. diphreutes, the Red Sea Bannerfish, and the Schooling Bannerfish; named banners for their long, trailing dorsal fins. What great aquarium species!
Medium Choices (2's): This category is not altogether doomed in captivity, but in my opinion is far and away less suitable for the home aquarist. Remember; most specimens live less than a month, very few more than three.
C. lineolatus, the Lined B/F. Dear Reader, I know I've written that this species doesn't make it when imported from elsewhere (Hawaii, Indo.), but it does better when from the Red Sea. Up to a foot long.
C. vagabundus, the Vagabond B/F. Doesn't live at all from elsewhere.
Butterflies From the Red Sea You Want To Avoid (3's): These species do poorly, the vast majority rarely living more than a month.
C. larvatus, the Redhead or Orange-Face B/F. Don't confuse this beautiful but difficult species with the other endemic with a similar name, C. semilarvatus which does well.
C. leucopleura, the Somali B/F. Allen gives this species higher marks than I do; I've yet to see any live very long.
C. melapterus, the Arabian Butterflyfish, another beauty that just doesn't live.
C. trifascialis the Chevroned Butterflyfish.
These are impossible aquarium species, most specimens refuse all food in captivity. To my consternation all are regrettably common imports that are offered for sale.
Ecotype: A mix of shallow to deepwater reefs and drop-offs, associated with corals and rocky areas.
Pomacanthidae, Marine Angelfishes. All but two of the nine species of Red Sea angelfishes are sure winners. Unfortunately, once again due to costs related to their distant shipping, only two make their way regularly into western markets
Apolemichthys xanthotis, the Red Sea Angelfish (1); an endemic. This fish is very similar to A. xanthurus from the Indian Ocean, but has more extensive black head coloring. Both species do well in captivity, but the Red Sea angel really thrives.
Centropyge multispinus, the Dusky Cherub Angel (1), is one of the hardiest of this "dwarf angel" genus. It is a look-alike for the Midnight Angel (C. nox) of the Indo-Pacific, but much more outgoing.
Genicanthus caudovittatus, the Zebra Lyretail Angel (1). Genicanthus pomacanthids are also often labeled as "dwarfs", all about 4-6 inches long. They are noted for their contrasting color and body shapes of males and females. These fishes are sex-reversers, being females that turn into males. Most often they are offered only as males and live well kept singly.
Pomacanthus: The largest, showiest angels are of the Red Sea are in the genus Pomacanthus. Red Sea species have little else going against their members other than attaining 12-20 inches in length. The species in this genus are also notable for forming long-term pair bonds and having striking color transformations from juvenile to sub-adult to adult size.
For most beautiful and expensive angelfish, two exemplary Red Sea candidates are the Maculosus or Yellow-Band, P. maculosus and Asfur, Arabian or Crescent P. asfur, Angelfishes (1's). Both are overall dark bluish purple in color with a bright golden yellow body band. You can tell them apart most easily by tail color; the Asfur's is deep yellow compared with the whitish blue caudal of the Maculosus. Both species are gorgeous, intelligent and fantastic for large aquariums.
Pomacanthus imperator, the Emperor angel, is truly well named. Granted you receive a healthy specimen (especially from the Red Sea)(1 from here, 2 from elsewhere) of "correct" size (3 1/2 to 5 inches or so) to start with, you may keep this fish for longer than the family dog.
A "questionable" Red Sea Angel is the dowager, or Old Woman, P. rhomboides (2). Though some folks report success with the more attractive juvenlies (about four inches) most perish "mysteriously" even coming from our favorite locality.
Pygoplites. The Regal Angel, P. diacanthus (2), rarely lives in captivity for very long; except for specimens from the Red Sea. No, I haven't slipped my nut; other friends and associates in the trade agree; Regals from elsewhere (3) don't make it in captivity, but those hailing from the Red Sea are exceedingly tough. Pablo and Ian Tepoot of the Cichlid Pictorial Guides'fame, have published two sets of images and information for the species, describing the Indo-Pacific "variety" as "difficult" and the Red Sea's as "easy or medium".
Ecotype: Definite territories on patch and contiguous reefs, defended against others of their kind and similar-appearing fishes.
The Damselfishes, Family Pomacentridae. The Red Sea has more than three dozen pomacentrids counting the one fabulous Twobar Anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus (1); one of the strongest "wild" species (as opposed to tank raised) around.
But due to the vagaries of economics few of the other damselfishes found here are collected for our use. For Europe several species are collected incidentally to fill out orders. These include the common Three-Spot or Domino Damsel, Dascyllus trimaculatus, the Three-Stripe or Banded Dascyllus, D. aruanus, and Bluegreen (or Blue or Green) Chromis, C. caerulea (all 1's); all cheaper from the Indo-Pacific.
More exotic Damsels that are seen from time to time include the Half-and-Half Chromis, Chromis dimidiata (2); the Sulphur Damselfish, Pomacentrus sulfureus (2); the Royal Damselfish, Neoglyphidodon melas (2) that turns all black with age; and the Whitebelly Damselfish, Amblyglyphidodon leucogaster (1).
Three species of Sergeant Majors also come out of here. The Scissortail Sergeant, Abudefduf sexfasciatus, the "dirty" Blackspot Sargeant, A. sordidus, and very wide-ranging (Oceania to Indo-Pacific to Indian Ocean and Red Sea), A. vaigensis (all 1's)(a distinct species from the Atlantic A. saxatilis.
Ecotype: Different species amongst, above and around all coral and rocky habitats.
Wrasses, Labridae. The most speciose family of fishes in the Red Sea is the likewise enormously diverse wrasses, here with some 80 species. Maybe with more study the gobiids will edge out the labrids in terms of numbers of species as they do in the wider Indo-Pacific. Taking a look around underwater in the Red Sea some wrasses are almost always in view. Though European markets aren't as keen for this family as the West, aquarists do use several Red Sea wrasse species. Counting down the ones that surface in the trade, though very infrequently in the U.S. from here by genera, these are:
Anampses as a group are medium-hardy (2's), and the ones coming from the Red Sea are about the same. These fishes need peaceful surroundings and tankmates. Nonetheless, the beautiful members of this genus continue to attract buyers for all types of systems. Especially attractive are males of the Bluespotted Wrasse, A. caeruleopunctatus; Yellowtail Wrasse, A. meleagrides; Yellow Tailband or Galaxy Wrasse, A. melanurus; and the Yellow Chest or Yellowbreasted Wrasse, A. twistii. All also occur in the Indo-Pacific.
The hogfishes of the genus Bodianus are excellent from the Red Sea (1's). As Hogs go, they're miniatures of the group, none getting over a foot long. The trade knows these three from other places for less money; they are the Axilspot Hogfish, B. axillaris; Lyretail Hogfish, B. anthioides; and (my wife Diana's fave) Diana's Hogfish, B. diana.
We don't see many species of the Maori wrasses, genus Cheilinus in the hobby, and that's a great shame. Though some get too large (one, the Humphead or Napoleon Wrasse, C. undulatus (3), is the world's largest wrasse at more than 2 meters and 190 kilos!); others are fine for large fish-only systems with other rough and tumble livestock. On the smaller side (about a foot) we have the Redbreasted Wrasse, C. fasciatus and Abudjubbe, C. abudjubbe. Larger, but thank goodness not as big as the Humphead are the Tripletail, C. trilobatum and Broomtail, C. lunulatus, at a foot and a half or so. These last four deserve a (2) due to losses from rough handling in the collection and transport processes.
There are two Fairy Wrasses (Cirrhilabrus spp.) that come out of the Red Sea, the Lancetail, C. blatteus and Social or Red-Bellied (C. rubriventralis) Fairy Wrasses. Both can be kept in reef tanks and peaceful all-fish systems. Both are (2's).
I continue with my love/hate relationship with the genus Coris here. There is a western Indian Ocean/RedSea version of Coris gaimard here that looks like a darker version of the yellow-tailed Pacific one. You may find this listed as a subspecies (C. gaimard africana)(1). This is a tough species that attains about a foot in length. Such cannot be said for the Clown Coris, C. aygula (2). Oh so cute with its two bright dorsal spots as a juvenile, this fish grows quickly to become a two-foot tank-rearranging monster.
A fish we're seeing more and more of, the Slingjaw Wrasse, Epibulus insidiator (1), comes out of the Red Sea and Indo-Pacific. Females are golden-yellow and males are colored a mix of brown, black, yellow and white.
You have to look carefully to distinguish males of the Indo-Pacific Bird Wrasse, Gomphosus varius, from the Red Sea Bird Wrasse, G. caeruleus (1)(also found in the Indian Ocean). Females are more easily distinguished and both species are great for rough fish-only systems.
The genus Halichoeres has a bunch of species in the Red Sea, but only one is used for aquariums in any numbers. The Checkerboard Wrasse, H. hortulanus (2) can be a hardy addition if you secure an initially healthy specimen.
The same applies to the two species of Hemigymnus from here (and the Indo-Pacific). The Barred Thicklip, and Half-and-Half Thicklip Wrasses (H. fasciatus and H. melapterus)(2's) are okay suitability wise if you can secure ones in good shape.
The most popular obligate Cleaner Wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus (3), comes out of the Red Sea; but doesn't live well from here either. This species must derive a good portion of its food intake from picking parasites and necrotic tissue from host fishes. In captive settings this drives tankmates batty and starves the Cleaner.
A similar appearing fish to the cleaners of the genus Labroides is the Fourline Wrasse, Larabicus quadrilineatus (3). Young of this species often function as cleaners, but adults feed primarily on coral polyps in the wild.
The Red Sea hosts a single species of Leopard Wrasse (genus Macropharyngodon); M. bipartitus, the Vermiculate Wrasse (3). This little beauty (to 5") is unfortunately just as touchy as are most members of its genus.
The Dragon Wrasse of the west, more often called the Rock Mover elsewhere, Novaculichthys (Hemipteronotus of older literature) taeniourus (1) is a good fish-only addition for an assemblage of aggressive cohorts. BTW, there are six other "Razorfish" wrasses (of the genus Xyrichtys) found here. These blandish wedge-head shaped fishes are unsuitable for aquarium use (3's).
Two members of the Lined Wrasses (genus Pseudocheilinus, the Sixstripe, P. hexataenia and Disappearing Wrasse, P. evanidus) occur in the Red Sea and are taken from here (and the Indo-Pacific) for the aquarium interest. Both are two's (2's) as well as "another" species of Eightline Wrasse (a "flasher", Paracheilinus octotaenia)(other than the Indo-Pacific fish species of the same common name, Pseudocheilinus octotaenia). All three of the species found in the Red Sea to about three inches total length.
Just a brief mention of two wrasse genera that sometimes get shipped, but whose members do poorly in captivity (3's). There are two species of Pteragogus and four Stethojulis in the Red Sea that should be left there.
Four of the six species of Thalassoma wrasses found in the Red Sea are collected for our use; and only two of these should be. The Goldbar Wrasse, T. hebraicum and the Lunar, Lyretail or Moon Wrasse, T. lunare (2's) are worthwhile. The same cannot be said for Klunzinger's (T. klunzingeri) and the Surge Wrasses (T. purpureum), both (3's).
Ecotype: Every possible habitat, sand flats, rocky reefs, depths and open waters; by species. Some require soft sand to burrow, sleep in, all need cover and tank tops.
Parrotfishes, Family Scaridae. None of the 13 species of these colorful Red Sea sand-factories live in captivity for very long. The only species that rates anything other than a (3) is the Bicolor Parrotfish, Cetoscarus bicolor, and the Bicolor Parrot only lives moderately well in captivity (2) as a juvenile. Don't buy these fishes!
Ecotype: Found swimming around rocks and the coral heads they scrape for food.
Blennies of all sorts, Suborder Blennioidea, Gobies, Family Gobiidae. There are many of these largely small and bottom dwelling tubular fishes out of the Red Sea that could be put to use in the aquarium trade. For the same economic reasons that they're cheaper from elsewhere, very few are captured on a regular basis. Undoubtedly with the continued growth of reef type systems and biotopic presentations this will change.
Of the fifty some species of blennioids here (Blenniidae and the Triplefin Blenny family Tripterygiidae), a few species should be familiar. The Shortbellied Blenny, Exallias brevis (3) is often sold out of the Indo-Pacific, though it subsists mainly on coral polyps. A few of the much tougher members of the genus Istiblennius are also found in the Red Sea. My favorite is the Rockskipper, I. edentula (1); so tough, it can jump between tidepools and withstand huge extremes in environmental fluctuation. The Jeweled Blenny of the tough genus Salarias (S. fasciatus) (1) can be collected here, as well as several species of Ecsenius; like the eminently popular Midas Blenny, E. midas (1). There are some "bad boy" blennies of the genera Aspidontus and Plagiotremus from here as well, but most all collectors avoid these opportunistic scale and fin biters.
Gobiids from the Red Sea include a number of attractive shrimp-goby species (Cryptocentrus, Ctenogobiops and Amblyeleotris spp.)(all presently 3's with or w/o their symbiotic shrimps). Much tougher and available are the small Clown or Citron Goby, Gobiodon citrinus (2); Diamond Watchman or Maiden Goby, Valenciennea puellaris (1); Tailspot Goby, Amblygobius albimaculatus (1)(other members of the genus from the Indo-Pacific are more and more common); and Hector's Goby, A. hectori (2).
All these easygoing gobies and blennies should be employed in very peaceful fish or reef settings.
Ecotype: On or around the bottom (except for mimic blennies that hang out with anthiines), in burrows alone or in mutualistic relationships with invertebrates.
The, Tangs, Surgeons, Family Acanthuridae, are both numerous and speciose in the Red Sea. About half of the eleven species found here are used in the aquarium trade; two are only found here on out to the Arabian Gulf.
Acanthurus nigrofuscus, the Brown or Spot-Cheeked Surgeonfish, (2) should be utilized more in the reef part of our interest. This is a pretty hardy algae scraper; on par with Zebrasomas for the purpose.
Acanthurus sohal, the Sohal or Arabian Tang (1); a great fish-only surgeon species, but aggressive toward similar-appearing fishes.
Ctenochaetus striatus, the Striated or Lined Bristletooth (Tang) (1); like all members of its genus, a good algae scraper, detritus feeder for peaceful fish and reef tanks.
Zebrasoma desjardinii, the Indian Sailfin or Desjardin's Surgeonfish (2); like the similar Indo-Pacific species, Z. veliferum, this fish dies mainly from being starved to death. Greens daily or better still continuously in a setting with plenty of live rock or even a reef for small specimens.
Z. xanthurum, the Purple or Yellowtail Tang (1) has to be seen to be believed. Healthy specimens are the deepest of purple, with brilliant gold tails.
Naso lituratus, the Naso, Lipstick Tang or Orangespine Unicornfish is great (1) coming out of the Red Sea; elsewhere its colors are less vibrant and aquarium success much lower (2).
N. unicornis, the Bluespine Unicornfish, or simply Unicornfish (2). Similar to the Naso, this is another hardy, but large (two feet plus) import.
Other genus Naso members are occasionally imported from the Red Sea; there are four more species, but you're most likely to just see juveniles of the Spotted Unicornfish, Naso brevirostris (3).
Ecotype: The near-shore genera roam shallow to mid-depth reefs searching for algal food; Naso species are more open ocean types, looking for floating macrophytes and zooplankton offshore.
The Rabbitfishes, Family Siganidae. According to Dor there are six species of siganids found in the Red Sea. I have seen five, and only one of these is pretty enough to be of aquarium interest. (Dor lists Siganus javus, the Java Rabbitfish which is a looker, but I've never encountered it in the Red Sea). I only know of the beautiful Stellate Rabbitfish, Siganus stellatus (2) being used in the trade.
Balistidae, the Triggerfishes. Triggers of the Red Sea follow the same general trends as the other fish families found here; they're more peaceful and appreciably more beautiful. Even the notoriously aggressive Undulated Trigger, Balistapus undulatus (1) is easygoing from this magical place. I have seen this ballistic balistid and other species from the Red Sea even kept in reef systems, though I urge caution with this family in toto.
The Stellate or Star Trigger, Abalistes stellatus, (2), though it's more of a pelagic than reef animal, occurs in the Red Sea, but is more often collected out of the Indian Ocean.
Guaranteed to get your attention underwater, a full-size Titan Trigger, Balistoides viridescens (1) looks a lot bigger than the two feet it supposedly grows to. Like all triggers, this one's males will bite if too closely approached while guarding their breeding nest.
One of the three "Niger" triggers, otherwise known as the Redtooth Triggerfish, Odonus niger (1) is incredibly gorgeous coming out of the Red Sea.
Most folks recognize and admire young Blue Triggerfish, Pseudobalistes fuscus (1), but don't realize this species gets a couple of feet long and turns all blue.
Also called the Picasso, the Assasi Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus assasi (1) comes in second place as most mellow trigger in the Red Sea. First place goes to the Whitetail or Bluethroat Triggerfish, Sufflamen albicaudata (1) that has a temperament more like a filefish than a balistid.
Ecotype: Sometimes around sandy bottoms, but mostly associated around and under rocks and corals where they feed on most types of invertebrates and sleep and hide when approached.
Filefishes, Family Monacanthidae. The filefishes in general do not make good aquarium additions; most are too shy and retiring to get their share of food in mixed company. Some have rare or unknown diets. Still others simply die without apparent cause overnight. There are thirteen filefishes in the Red Sea; only a few come into pet-fish markets, and those only sporadically.
The circumtropical Scrawled Filefish, Aluterus scriptus, (3) is occcasionally shipped out of the Red Sea. Small (about a foot) specimens are the only ones to adapt. They get to about a yard long.
The Broom, (Amanses scopas), and Wire-net, (Cantherhines pardalis) Filefishes, both (2's) do about the best that any member of the family does in captivity.
A ringer for the Orange-Spotted File (Oxymonacanthus longirostris) of the Indian Ocean out to Samoa and the Marshalls, the Harlequin File, O. halli (3) is another despicably poor aquarium candidate. Both live on coral polyps as food.
Ecotype: The Scrawled File lives above the reef to open oceans; the others are secretive, living in shallow to mid-depths amongst attached invertebrates and seagrass beds.
Puffers of all sorts.
Family Ostraciidae- Trunkfishes, Boxfishes; puffers that don't (i.e. don't blow up); are encased in a hard dermal shell and prone to secrete a toxic slime (killing other tankmates too) when stressed. All four of the Trunkfish species found in the Red Sea come into the trade, but generally from the Indian Ocean.
We'll mention the most popular member of the family, the Cowfish, Lactoria cornuta (3) even though only one specimen has been found in the Red Sea.
The Spotted or Bluetail Trunkfish, Ostracion cyanurus (2) is a real beauty, with about the most brilliant deep blue you can find in the living world.
You can call it the Cubicus or Cube, O. cubicus, Trunkfish (2); just don't over-stress it in captivity. To eighteen inches long.
The Thornback Trunkfish, Tetrasomus gibbosus (2), does fine if you can secure a specimen that's not been too beat up in collection and shipment. To a foot in length.
Ecotype: Reef bottoms when they are small; open sand and grass beds as adults.
Family Tetraodontidae- The real puffers (they blow up), with bodies that are either smooth or with small prickles. The real puffers include big fishes that consume most everything, and the delightful sharpnose puffers that just peck bits out of everything.
The Bristly Puffer, Arothron hispidus (2) is only occasionally imported, not being a great beauty and growing to twenty inches. About the same can be stated for the Blackspotted Puffer, A. stellatus (2), except it approaches three feet in length!
You better not mistake The Panda or Masked Puffer, Arothron diadematus for the much cheaper Dogface A. nigropunctatus; it's similar looking, but costs about ten times as much. Both (1's).
Ecotype: Shallows. Rubble, sand, sea grass beds with sand to dig in.
Subfamily Canthigastrinae. The Sharpnose Puffers or Tobies (1).
Of the three Canthigaster species found in the Red Sea, I've only seen C. coronata, the Crown or Saddle Toby or Sharpnose Puffer, (1) shipped out in any numbers. C. margaritata and C. pygmaea are much less common.
Ecotype: Reefs, rocky areas and grass beds.
Family Diodontidae- Puffers that blow up and have large spines that are either fixed or become erect when the fish engulfs water.
The two most common diodontids used in the trade are occasionally caught out of here. Both are circumtropical, found in tropical seas around the world, and so are less money from elsewhere.. The Spiny Balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus (1) can grow to more than a foot, but this is small compared with the Porcupinefish, D. hystrix (2), at more than twice that. Both species are fine for fish-only systems when small.
Ecotype: Reefs, rocky areas and grass beds.
Let's see, who have we forgotten? There are species, indeed whole families of Red Sea fishes that aren't utilized in our interest that might well be; being beautiful, staying suitably small, tough, catch-able and in good numbers in the wild. Even if the same species of life fare found elsewhere, like the Red Sea's other aquatics, they're more beautiful and tough from here.
The Fusiliers, Family Caesionidae are one such group. Small (up to several inches), tough, good-looking and plentiful, a small grouping of these fishes would make a spectacular sight in a large fish or reef set-up. Two of my favorites are the Striated Fusilier, Caesio striatus, and Goldband Fusilier, C. chrysozona. (2's). One of a few whole families of aquarium suitable fishes virtually unknown to the trade.
Still another unknown family, the Emperors (Lethrinidae) have some useful Red Sea members. Three species I'd import are the Yellowspot Emperor, Gnathodentax aureolineatus, the Bigeye Emperor, Monotaxis grandoculis, and Bluescaled Emperor, Lethrinus nebulosus. All are worthy of at least a rating of (2).
Ever hear of the Sea Breams, or maybe their other common name, the Porgies, Family Sparidae? You will if you ask for them. The Doublebar Bream, Acanthopagrus bifasciatus (2) looks a lot like the tropical West Atlantic Porkfish, doesn't it?
Or, how about the Threadfin Breams, aka Spinecheeks, Family Nemipteridae? Or...?
The vast majority of visitors to the Red Sea fly into Israel or Egypt, at Tel Aviv or Cairo. You should look into Passport and Visa questions well in advance of travel to the area. There are good roads, the locals accommodating, clean (bottled) water and plenty of food selection up and down the Sinai Peninsula, and the area is much safer than many American towns I have visited. The water and air temperatures are comfortable to hot year round, and there are lifetime's of other things to see and do in the area (Jerusalem, Haifa, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Galilee, Cairo, the Nile, Luxor, Aswan, St. Catherine, Alexandria).
Twenty years ago when I went to Eilat (where Israel has it's ten miles of Red Sea coastline) and down to Sharm el Sheik (down on the Sinai, part of Egypt's 800 miles of Red Sea), they were sleepy little fishing villages with minimal dive facilities. Now they sport multi-hundred room hotels and towns with all amenities. There's even a Hard Rock Cafe opening in Sharm! Do look into the resorts (and for diving fanatics, the live-aboards) catering principally to Germans and Italians. You don't have to "speak the language" to enjoy good food and good times at these facilities.
Allen, Gerald R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. MERGUS, Germany. 271pp.
Allen, Gerald R., Steene, Roger and Mark Allen. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publ. Calif. 250pp.
Burgess, Warren E., Herbert R. Axelrod & Raymond E. Hunziker. 1990. Atlas of Aquarium Fishes Reference Book, v. 1, Marine Fishes. T.F.H. Publ.s, NJ. 768pp.
Debelius, Helmut. 1993. Indian Ocean Tropical Fish Guide. IKAN, Frankfurt. 321pp.
Dor, Menahem. 1984. CLOFRES. Checklist of the Fishes of the Red Sea. Israel Academy of Science and History. Jerusalem.
Fenner, Robert M. 1998. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, A Commonsense Handbook for the Successful Saltwater Aquarist. Microcosm, VT. 432pp.
Fossa, Svein A. & Alf Jacob Nilsen. 1995. Korallenriff- Aquarium, Band 3, Fische im Korallenriff und fur das Korallenriff-Aquarium. Schmettkamp, Bornheim. 333pp.
Giovanetti, Thomas A. 1989. Getting acquainted with Red Sea fishes. TFH 9/89.
Hanauer, Eric. 1994. A Red Sea traveler's survival guide. Sport Diver 5-6/94.
Hough, Dennis. 1996. The Red Sea's Gulf of Eilat. TFH 6/96.
Mayland, Hans A. 1976. Some Red Sea fishes. Marine Aquarist 7:5, 76.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. Reef Fishes, v. 1. Microcosm, VT. 624pp.
Nelson, Joseph S. 1994. Fishes of the World. Wiley, NY. 600pp.
Randall, John E. 1983. Red Sea Reef Fishes. Immel Publishing, London.192pp.
Randall, John E. 1995.Coastal Fishes of Oman. U.of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu 439pp.
Rashad, Byron K. 1996. Red Sea fish for the reef aquarium; jewels of the desert sea. FAMA 5/96.
Tepoot, Pablo & Ian. 1996. Marine Aquarium Companion; Southeast Asia. New Life Publications, FL. 358pp.
Vine, Peter. 1986. Red Sea Invertebrates. Immel Publishing, London. 224pp.
Cartilaginous Fishes, Sharks and Rays
Debelius, Helmut. 1978. The blue-spotted ray, Taeniura lymna. TFH 10/78.
Edmonds, Les. 1989. Stingrays in the aquarium. TFH 6/89.
Fenner, Robert . 1996. Shark attack. TFH 5/96.
Hargrove, Maddy. 1998. Sharks; the ultimate challenge. TFH 6/98.
Michael, Scott W. 1986. Sharks for your saltwater tank. FAMA 10/86.
Michael, Scott W. 1996. Beware of bluespots; a bluespotted beauty that should be left on the
reef! AFM 1/96.
Stevens, Jane E. 1995. The delicate art of shark keeping. Sea Frontiers, Spr. 95.
Eels: Morays and More
Esterbauer, Hans. 1994. The ecology and behavior of moray eels. TFH 2/94.
Fenner, Robert. 1995. Morays; the family Muraenidae. TFH 3/95.
Michael, Scott. 1996. The morays- serpents of the sea, & Would you believe it- more morays. AFM 7,8/96.
Stratton, Richard F. 1997. The zebra moray. TFH 3/97.
Eel Catfishes, Plotosidae
Fenner, Robert. 1996. Look but don't touch! Marine catfishes of the family Plotosidae. TFH 7/96.
Tubemouth Fishes, Syngnathidae
Fenner, Bob. 1997. Pipes, seahorses and dragons; a real challenge. TFH 5/98.
Michael, Scott A. 1995. Frogfishes: anglers of the reef & The frogfishes: species in the marine trade. AFM 11,12/95.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. Reef Fishes, v. 1. Microcosm, VT. 624pp.
Pietsch, Theodore W. & David B. Grobecker. 1985. Frogfishes: aggressive mimics of the reef. FAMA 4/85.
Squirrelfishes and Soldierfishes, family Holocentridae:
Fenner, Robert. 1996. An introduction to squirrelfishes. TFH 6/96.
Michael, Scott W. The soldierfishes; fishes of the night. AFM 11/97.
Michael, Scott W. The squirrelfishes; can you say "red"? AFM 12/97.
Fenner, Robert 1997. Lionfishes; hear them roar. TFH 5/97.
Michael, Scott W. 1996. Scorpionfishes- ambushers of the reef. AFM 5/96.
Michael, Scott W. 1996. Scorpionfishes- many to choose from. AFM 6/96.
Basses & Groupers:
Esterbauer, Hans. 1995. Ecology and behavior of Pseudanthias squamipinnis. TFH 3,95.
Fenner, Bob. 1995. A diversity of aquatic life: The family Serranidae. FAMA 5/95.
Fenner, Bob. 1995. Fancy sea basses- the Anthiinae. FAMA 6/95.
Fenner, Robert. 1996. The lyretail grouper, Variola louti. SeaScope v. 13, Summer 96.
Fenner, Robert. 1996. Basses, groupers or hinds, the genus Cephalopholis. TFH 12/96.
Goldstein, Robert. 1992. Spectacular serranids. AFM 11/92.
Hunziker, Ray. 1988. Orange lightning- experiences with Cephalopholis miniatus. TFH 3/88.
Michael, Scott W. 1991. The Anthias: Jewels of the reef. AFM 12/91.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. Gorgeous groupers; one genus really does stand out (Cephalopholis). AFM 1/98.
Fenner, Bob & Cindi Camp. 1990. Diversity of aquatic life: the hawkfishes, Cirrhitidae. FAMA 4/90.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. Hawkfishes; small, aggressive predators of the coral reef. AFM 8/98.
Randall, John E. 1981. Longnose hawkfish, Oxycirrhites typus. FAMA 8/81.
Takeshita, Glenn Y. 1975. Long-snouted hawkfish. Marine Aquarist 6:6,75.
Moe, Martin A. 1997. The orchid dottyback breeding room. FAMA 11/97.
Paletta, Mike. 1993. The orchid dottyback, Pseudochromis fridmani. SeaScope v.10, Summer 93.
Michael, Scott W. 1990. An aquarist's guide to the dottybacks (Genus Pseudochromis), pt.s 1,2. FAMA 10&11/90 or AFM 8/95.
Longfins, Roundheads or Comets
Baez, Jacqueline. 1998. Breeding the marine comet: A challenge for the best. SeaScope v.15, Summer 98.
Hunziker, Ray. 1987. Majestic marines: Calloplesiops altivelis and C. argus. TFH 12/87.
Michael, Scott W. 1991. A guide to the comets (genus Calloplesiops). SeaScope, v.8, Spr. 91.
Michael, Scott W. 1996. Roundheads- dwellers of coral caverns. AFM 4/96.
Wassink, Herman & Rob Brons. 1990. A successful cultivation of the comet, Calloplesiops altivelis (Steindachner, 1903). SeaScope v.7, Spr. 90
Fenner, Robert. 1996. A diversity of aquatic life: Cardinalfish, familyApogonidae. SeaScope Spr. 96.
Howe, Jeffrey C. 1996. Original descriptions. Cheliodipterus pygmaios. FAMA 1/96.
Michael, Scott W. 1997. Cardinalfish; great for beginners and for small tanks.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. Put a tiger in your tank: keeping snappers. TFH 2/97.
Sea Chubs or Rudderfishes
Fenner, Robert. 1997. The chubs called rudderfishes. TFH 8/97.
Fenner, Bob. 1998. Going batty! Bats, but not spades. TFH 3/98.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. Marvelous monos. TFH 6/97.
Michael, Scott W. 1997. The goatfishes; put a goat in your tank! AFM 1/97.
Michael, Scott W. 1996. Sandperches; living in the rubble zone. AFM 9/96.
Butterflyfishes and Angelfishes
Allen, Gerald R., Roger Steene & Mark Allen. 1998. A Guide To Angelfishes &
Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research, Aust. 250pp.
Fenner, Bob. 1990. Bannerfish butterflies, the genus Heniochus. FAMA 6/90.
Fenner, Robert. 1995. The regal angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus; Tips for the conscientious aquarist. TFH 2/95.
Fenner, Bob. 1995. An emperor among angelfishes. Pomacanthus imperator (Bloch, 1787). FAMA 3/95.
Fenner, Bob. 1995. Expensive, gorgeous and hardy, the yellow-band angel, Pomacanthus maculosus. FAMA 4/95.
Fenner, Robert. 1995. The yellow longnose butterflyfishes. TFH 11/95.
Fenner, Robert. 1996. Butterflyfishes you don't want. TFH 9/96.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. Rating the Red Sea butterflyfishes. TFH 3/97.
Fenner, Robert. 1998. Perfect little angels. TFH 4/98.
Goldstein, Robert J. 1977. Angels and butterflies- Indian Ocean and Red Sea. Marine Aquarist 8:2, 77.
Mayland, Hans J. 1972. A portrait of two fishes (Chaetodon larvatus, C. semilarvatus). Marine Aquarist 3:5, 72,
Michael, Scott. 1994. Bad butterflies; there are lots of problems when keeping many species of butterflyfish. AFM 7/94.
Michael, Scott W. 1996. Pygmy angelfishes; diminutive, but beautiful. AFM 1/96.
Moenich, David R. 1988. Pygmy angelfishes: The genus Centropyge. TFH 1/88.
Walker, Randy J. 1993. The white face butterfly Chaetodon mesoleucos Forsskal. FAMA 2/93.
Allen, Gerald R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. MERGUS, Germany. 271pp.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. Dascyllus: damsels definitely not in distress. TFH 1/97.
Fenner, Robert. 1999. The best livestock for a marine aquarium. The indomitable damsels, Family Pomacentridae. TFH 1/99.
Michael, Scott W. Clownfish; Do we love these or what? & There are lots to choose from. AFM 4,5/98.
Wilkerson, Joyce D. 1998. Clownfishes; A Guide to Their Captive Care, Breeding & Natural History. Microcosm, VT. 240pp.
Chlupaty, Peter. 1989. The Aqaba red-bellied wrasse, Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis. TFH 4/89.
Esterbauer, Hans. 1992. The twinspot wrasse in nature and in the aquarium. TFH 7/92.
Fenner, Robert, 1995. The conscientious marine aquarist; with notes on cleaner wrasses. TFH 5/95.
Fenner, Robert. 1996. The wrasses we call hogfishes. TFH 10/96.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. The razorfish, family Labridae. SeaScope v.14, Fall 97.
Michael, Scott W. 1990. An aquarist's guide to the wrasses of the genus Pseudocheilinus. FAMA 9/90.
Michael, Scott W., 1992. A guide to the leopard wrasses (Genus Macropharyngodon). SeaScope v. 9, Spr. 92.
Michael, Scott W. 1995. Be on the lookout for fairies and flashers. AFM 6/95.
Michael, Scott W. 1995. More wrasses- flashers, lined and Maori. AFM 7/95.
Michael, Scott W. 1997. Beautiful wrasses; the unique species of the genus Halichoeres. AFM 3/97.
Michael, Scott W. 1997. Hogfish; a mysterious common name. AFM 5/97.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. Wrasses; the good, the bad and lovely. AFM 6/98.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. Coris wrasses; Hardy, but not for reef tanks. AFM 7/98.
Scheimer, Gregory. 1997. Wrasses for the reef aquarium, pts 1,2. FAMA 11,12/97.
Stratton, Richard F. 1989. The red wrasse: Coris gaimard. TFH 11/89.
Stratton, Richard F. 1996. The broomtail wrasse. TFH 7/96.
Stratton, Richard F. 1997. The twinspot Maori wrasse. TFH 7/97.
Burgess, Warren E. 1981-82. Parrots of the sea. Pts I,II. TFH 12/81, 1/82.
Fenner, Robert. 1996. Parrotfish pitfalls. TFH 1/96.
Spies, Gunther. 1990. Sand factories- the parrotfishes. TFH 4/90.
Gobies & Blennies
Esterbauer, Hans. 1995. The citron goby, Gobiodon citrinus; a sprite with personality. TFH 12/95.
Frische, Joachim. 1996. The brown rockhopper. TFH 4/96.
Hunt, Philip. 1993. The Midas touch. TFH 2/93.
Michael, Scott W. 1995. An aquarist's guide to shrimp-gobies. AFM 5/95.
Pyle, Richard L. and Lisa A. Privitera. 1990. The Midas blenny Ecsenius midas Starck. FAMA 1/90.
Ranta, Jeffrey A. 1996. Bicolor blennies. TFH 12/96.
Stratton, Richard F. 1998. Watch out for watchman gobies. TFH 6/98.
Zoffer, David J. 1994. The shrimp gobies. TFH 10/94.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. Unicorn tangs, genus Naso, Family Acanthuridae. SeaScope v. 14, Spring 97.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. Acanthurus sohal: The best tang? TFH 7/97.
Michael, Scott W. 1995. Tangs of the genus Zebrasoma. AFM 4/95 and SeaScope Fall 92.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. Surgeonfishes; meet their strict care requirements, or else... AFM 9/98.
Michael, Scott W. 1998. The Surgeonfishes; getting to the point- the species. AFM 10/98.
Chlupaty, Peter. 1991. The blue-and-gold triggerfish, Pseudobalistes fuscus. 4/91.
Fenner, Robert. 1997. Rating the triggerfishes of the Red Sea. 10/97.
Flood, Andrew Colin. 1997. The trouble with triggers. 2/97.
Krechmer, Michael. 1995. The labyrinth triggerfish, Pseudobalistes fuscus. TFH 5/95.
Michael, Scott. 1995. Bad beauty. A triggerfish that is bad to the bone (B. undulatus) AFM 12/95.
Michael, Scott W. 1997. Triggerfishes; a great reason for having a saltwater tank. AFM 2/97.
Pemberton, Jennifer Anne. 1993. The Tetraodontiformes: a little-understood group. TFH 4/93.
Stratton, Richard F. 1989. The enchanting rogue (B. undulatus). TFH 10/90.
Stratton, Richard F. 1995. The triggerfish mystique. TFH 11/95.
Fenner, Bob 1995. A diversity of aquatic life: filefishes, the Monacanthidae. FAMA 7/95.
Quinn, John R. 1990. Fooling around with filefish. TFH 10/90.
Fong, Jack. 1994. The ten most amusing boxfishes. TFH 9/94.
Lobel, Phillip S. 1985. Spawning behavior of the spotted trunkfish Ostracion meleagris. FAMA 8/85.
Michael, Scott W. 1995. Get to know the tobies (sharpnose puffers). AFM 10/95.
Michael, Scott W. 1997. The puffers; unique in many ways. AFM 8/97.
Michael, Scott. 1998. Swimming boxes; boxfish are interesting to keep, but choose their
tankmates carefully to avoid disaster. AFM 3/98.
Quinn, John R. 1986. Puffers and friends; a look at the pros and cons of keeping the popular puffers. TFH 5/86.
Graphics Notes/Clever Captioning:
About Labels on slides: AQ, aquarium; RS, Red Sea, FP, French Polynesia; Sey, Seychelles; HI, Hawai'i.
Above the Water
AA) Here's a sight across the Gulf of Aqaba, between Egypt's Sinai and Saudi Arabia. The site is called Taba, and that's a Crusader castle on the small island (yep, that old). You can easily swim out and around it. Most of the Red Sea is this calm and beautiful year round.
1,2) The Blue-Spotted or Reef Stingray, Taeniura lymna (3), in the wild and a few at a wholesalers. Also collected and doomed from elsewhere. Should not be.
3,4) The Zebra Moray, Gymnomuraena zebra (1) and Snowflake Moray, Echidna nebulosa (1), two of the three best eels coming out of the Red Sea.(among other collection sites). Both adapt well to captivity and generally leave (non-crustacean) tankmates alone. Even kept in reef systems.
5-8) Some of the less-desirable Red Sea Moray Eels, that also hail and are collected from elsewhere; the Yellowmargin Moray, G. flavimarginalis, gigantic Javanese Moray, G. javanicus (to over 150 pounds!), Whitemouth Moray, Gymnothorax meleagris, and Gray Moray, Siderea grisea. All get big, nasty, and jump or push their way out of aquariums, and therefore rate a (3).
9) A jab from their pectoral fins of spiny dorsal will never be forgotten, the Striped Eel Catfish, Plotosus lineatus (2), is an eater-upper, not a cleaner-upper for marine tanks.
Pipefishes, Family Syngnathidae
10,11) The Yellow-Striped Pipefish, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus and Banded, Dunkerocampus dactyliophorus, (3's). Die easily like pipefishes collected everywhere.
Squirrelfishes and Soldierfishes, family Holocentridae:
12) The Sabre Squirrelfish, Sargocentron (formerly Adioryx) spinifer (2). A beauty, but grows large, to 18".
12.5) The Tailspot Squirrelfish, S. caudimaculatum (1); to ten inches.
13) Though not a gorgeous species, the Spotfin Squirrelfish, Neoniphon sammara (1), makes a hardy and practically small aquarium addition.
14) The Blotcheye Soldierfish, Myripristis murdjan (2), "standing guard" at its daytime hiding place. Scorpionfishes, Family Scorpaenidae:
15) The Bearded Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis barbatus (1). Here lying in wait for an unsuspecting mouth-size to happen by.
16) The virulently venomous Stonefish, Synanceia verrucosa (2), at a wholesalers.
17) Leaf Scorpionfish (1), Taenionotus triacanthus, a popular, small (to 4") Indo-Pacific, I.O. (including Red Sea) species for reef and marine fish-only systems.
18-20) The two full-size Lionfish-Turkeyfish found and used in/from the Red Sea; the Volitans or Turkeyfish, Pterois volitans is now recognized as a separate though similar species, these are two photos of the Military Turkeyfish, P. miles, that occurs west of Indonesia (See Eric Schultz, Copeia, 1986, v.3) ; and the Radiata Lion or Clearfin Turkeyfish, P. radiata.
Flatheads, Family Platycephalidae
21,22) The Crocodile Flathead, Cociella crocodilia; in the wild, and so you'd believe me that these beasts are imported, at a wholesalers. UGLY!
Basses, Family Serranidae
23-26) Red Sea members of the genus Cephalopholis used in the aquarium trade. The Blue Dot, Argus or Peacock Grouper, Cephalopholis argus (1), and the ever-popular Miniata or Coral Grouper, C. miniata (1). Both to more than two feet in length. And two smaller and gorgeous species, the Halfspotted Grouper, C. hemistiktos, and Boenack's or the Blue-Stripe Grouper, C. boenack;
27-30) The genus Epinephelus in the Red Sea. Large and largely unattractive, the Malabar, (E. malabaricus) and Smalltooth (E. microdon) Groupers (2's).Much more aquarium-useful are the Blacktip (E. fasciatus) and Honeycomb (E. merra) Groupers (1's). The fortunate Blacktip photo shows two color phases; a juvenile passing below a sub-adult.
31,32) A juvenile Lyretail or Skunk Grouper, Variola louti (1) awaiting sale in a wholesalers cubicle and an adult scouting the bottom in the wild.
33) More attractive when small, Groupers of the genus Plectropomus grow into more than two foot predators only suitable for huge (public aquarium size) systems. This is the Squaretail Grouper, P. truncatus (2).
34,35) The ubiquitous Red Sea reef fish, the Orange or Scalefin Anthias, Anthias squamipinnis (2). One of the hardier Anthias for aquarium use. The soft coral photo shows some of the males (that used to be females) toward the top.
Soapfishes, Family Grammistidae.
36) A Yellowface Soapfish, Diploprion drachi (2). Despite lightly toxic "soapiness", this family's attractive members are utilized in the trade from here and the Indo-Pacific.
Bigeyes, Family Priacanthidae
37) The Goggle-Eye, or Crescent-tail Bigeye, Priacanthus hamrur (2). A "creature of the night" that needs a dark cave to feel at home.
Hawkfishes, Family Cirrhitidae
38) A Forster's or Blackside (P. forsteri) (1) Hawkfish sitting out watching the world (and hopefully a meal) go by.
39) The Longnose Hawk, Oxycirrhites typus (1) is a great aquarium species wherever it comes from.
40) The family's widest ranging species, the Pixie Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (1).
41) Least attractive and largest (at a foot long) of the Red Sea cirrhitids, the Stocky Hawkfish, Cirrhitus pinnulatus (2).
Dottybacks, Family Pseudochromidae
42-44) Three of the aquarium species of Pseudochromis out of the Red Sea; Orchid Dottyback, P. fridmani; Striped Dottyback, P. sankeyi; and the Bluestriped Dottyback, P. springeri; now available tank bred and raised as well as from the wild. All are 1's.
Longfins, Roundheads or Comets, Family Plesiopsidae
45) The Comet, Calloplesiops altivelis (2). A shy species that does well in a peaceful, cave-filled environment if you pick out an initially healthy specimen.
Cardinalfishes, Family Apogonidae
46, 47) The Fiveline Cardinalfish, Apogon quiquelineatus (2), a trio and a single, mouth-brooding male.
48) The bluish Longspine Cardinalfish, Apogon leptacanthus, (1) here as they should be presented, in a group, at Long Beach, California's new Aquarium of the Pacific.
49, 50) And two shots of the wide-ranging Bridled Cardinalfish, A. fraenatus. (1) A full size (2 ?" adult) and some tiny young amongst sea urchin spines.
Jacks, Family Carangidae
i) Oh so cute when sold as ? to a couple of inches in length, the Pilot or Golden Pilot, Gnathanodon speciosus has the potential to quickly grow to more than a meter long.
ii) The equally desirable Goldbody Trevally, Carangoides bajad, stops at half that.
Snappers, Family Lutjanidae.
51,52) The (Black) Mojarra, Macolor niger (3). One still alive as a juvenile in captivity, and a six inch specimen in the wild turning into a big pug. This fish is often sold as a grunt in the trade, though it is obviously not a member of that Family (Haemulidae).
53-56) Four other RS lutjanid possibilities: The Blueline Snapper, L. kasmira, the Blackspot (L. ehrenbergi), Onespot (L. monostigma), and Red Mumea (L. bohar) all good fish-system candidates. (all 2's)
Grunts, Family Haemulidae.
57) The only member of its family that typically lives in captivity, the Blackspotted Grunt or Gaterin, Plectorhinchus gaterinus, (2).
Sea Chubs or Rudderfishes, Family Kyphosidae
58,59) The ever-active Snubnose and Brassy Rudderfishes (Kyphosus cinerascens and K. vaigensis) (2). The latter here mixed in with Sargeant Majors.
Spade or Batfishes, Family Ephippidae
60-61) Two aquarium shots of juveniles of the Circular Spadefish, aka Orbic or Orbicularis Batfish, Platax orbicularis (1) and the Teira Bat, P. teira (1); and an adult of the most common Red Sea Spade, the Orbic Bat. The adult Teira has a pronounced head "bump" and a dark spot below its pectoral fins.
Monos, Family Monodactylidae and Tiger Perches, Teraponidae.
62,63) Monos and what we call Targetfishes are really marines but more often sold in freshwater in the West (where they generally don't live for long). Here is a typical school of Silver (with yellow) Monos, Monodactylus argenteus (2), and a Targetfish, Therapon jarbua (2), showing why it gets its name.
Goatfishes, Family Mullidae.
64,65) TheYellowfin (Mulloidichthys vanicolensis)(2) and similar Yellowstripe, M. flavolineatus Goatfishes (2).
66,67) The Blue Goatfish (Parupeneus cyclostomus)(1) comes in two color morphs; a nice gold and blue and a gorgeous all-yellow color phase.
Sandperches, Family Pinquipedidae
68) Have you seen this fish? The Spotted Sandperch, Parapercis hexophthalma (1).
Butterflyfishes, family Chaetodontidae.
The Best Butterflyfishes From the Red Sea (1's):
69,70) Chaetodon auriga, the Auriga or Threadfin Butterflyfish. Some writers recognize a subspecies, C. auriga auriga confined to the Red Sea; this form lacks the "regular" auriga's dark spot on the soft dorsal fin. Here is a picture of both sub-species of Aurigas for comparison.
71,72) C. fasciatus, the Red Sea Raccoon B/F, an almost dead ringer for the wider spread Hawaii to Indo-Pacific C. lunula, the Raccoon B/F; the Red Sea form is much brighter yellow, and the wider-ranging Indo-Pacific form has a wider white face band. Here are both.
73) A trio of fat and sassy C. melannotus, the Black-Backed B/Fs on the reef. From other than the Red Sea they're not nearly as hardy.
74) C. mesoleucos, the White-Face B/F. Unusual looking but tough.
75) C. paucifasciatus, the Red-Back or Crown B/F, a Red Sea endemic.
76) A pair of C. semilarvatus, the Golden or Blue-Mask butterfly; a fabulous fish for beauty, swimming grace and hardiness. Gets plate size.
77) Forcipiger flavissimus, the Longnose Butterflyfish, an aquarium standard over it broad collection range.
78,79) Heniochus intermedius and H. diphreutes, the Red Sea Bannerfish, and the Schooling Bannerfish; a pair of the former in the wild, and a whole batch of the latter at a U.S. wholesalers.
Medium Choices (2's): This species in this category are not altogether doomed in captivity, but in my opinion is far and away less suitable for the home aquarist. Most specimens live less than a month, very few more than three.
80) C. lineolatus, the Lined B/F; better from the Red Sea than anywhere else, but still...
81) C. vagabundus, the Vagabond B/F. Does not live at all from elsewhere.
Butterflies From the Red Sea You Want To Avoid (3's): These species do poorly, the vast majority rarely living more than a month.
82) C. austriacus, the Exquisite B/F. A coral eating endemic; leave it in the Red Sea.
83) C. trifascialis the Chevroned Butterflyfish.
Pomacanthidae, Marine Angelfishes.
84) Apolemichthys xanthotis, the Red Sea Angelfish (1); an endemic. Here I was chasing a little stinker around at Eilat in the northern Gulf of Aqaba. Snorkeling at 20 feet.
85) Centropyge multispinus, the Dusky Cherub Angel (1), is one of the hardiest of this "dwarf angel" genus. Here's a "bummed-out" specimen in a wholesalers cubicle.
86,87) Two exemplary Red Sea pomacanthids; the Maculosus or Yellow-Band, P. maculosus and Asfur, Arabian or Crescent P. asfur, Angelfishes (1's). Both are overall dark bluish purple in color with a bright golden yellow body band. You can tell them apart most easily by tail color; the Asfur's is deep yellow compared with the whitish blue caudal of the Maculosus. Both species are great for large aquariums.
88-90) Pomacanthus imperator, the Emperor angel. Here are images of a juvenile, a 4 inch sub-adult undergoing "the change", and a full size adult (about ten inches) in the wild.
91) The only place to get a Pygoplites from. The Regal Angel, P. diacanthus (2), rarely lives in captivity for very long; except for specimens from the Red Sea.
The Damselfishes, Family Pomacentridae.
92) The sole member of the subfamily of Clownfishes, Amphiprionae, found in the Red Sea, the Twobar Anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus (1); a sturdy aquarium species.
93) One of the common "bread and butter" damsels found in the Red Sea, the Bluegreen (or Blue or Green) Chromis, C. caerulea.
94-97) Some of the more exotic Damsels that are seen from time to time include the Half-and-Half Chromis, Chromis dimidiata (2); the Sulphur Damselfish, Pomacentrus sulfureus (2); the Royal Damselfish, Neoglyphidodon melas (2) that turns all black with age; and the Whitebelly Damselfish, Amblyglyphidodon leucogaster (1).
98-100) Three species of Sergeant Majors also come out of here. The Scissortail Sergeant, Abudefduf sexfasciatus, the "dirty" Blackspot Sargeant, A. sordidus, and very wide-ranging (Oceania to Indo-Pacific to Indian Ocean and Red Sea), A. vaigensis (all 1's)(a distinct species from the Atlantic A. saxatilis.
101-104) Anampses (2's) wrasses that come out of the Red Sea, but are much more likely to be imported from the Indo-Pacific into Western markets. The Bluespotted Wrasse, A. caeruleopunctatus; Yellowtail Wrasse, A. meleagrides; Yellow Tailband or Galaxy Wrasse, A. melanurus; and the Yellow Chest or Yellowbreasted Wrasse, A. twistii.
105-108) The hogfishes of the genus Bodianus are excellent from the Red Sea (1's). A juvenile Axilspot Hogfish, B. axillaris, at a wholesalers. The Lyretail Hogfish, B. anthioides at Eilat. And a juvenile and adult Diana's Hogfish, B. diana. (109-114) Cheilinus in the hobby from the Red Sea. A juvenile (at a mere couple of feet) and a five foot Humphead or Napoleon Wrasse, C. undulatus (3). For public aquariums only.
The smaller Redbreasted Wrasse, C. fasciatus and Abudjubbe, C. abudjubbe. Larger at about one and a half to two feet maximum are the Tripletail, C. trilobatum and Broomtail, C. lunulatus, (2's).
115-117) The Clown Coris, C. aygula (2); a cute 3" juvenile, seven inch female, and two foot male.
118-120) A picture of a female and two of males of the Slingjaw Wrasse, Epibulus insidiator (1). Females are golden-yellow and males are a mix of brown, black, yellow and white.
121,122) Gomphosus varius, from the Red Sea Bird Wrasse, G. caeruleus (1)(also found in the Indian Ocean). A female and male in the wild.
123,124) The Checkerboard Wrasse, Halichoeres hortulanus (2), in the wild and captivity.
125,126) The Barred Thicklip, and Half and Half Thicklip Wrasses (Hemigymnus
fasciatus and H. melapterus)(2's).
127,128) The most popular obligate Cleaner Wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus (3), an individual in captivity and a pair working over a parrotfish customer in the Red Sea.
129) The Fourline Wrasse, Larabicus quadrilineatus (3). Most commonly offered are females (pictured); males are dark blue with a lighter blue band under their eye.
130) The Dragon Wrasse or Rock Mover, Novaculichthys (Hemipteronotus of older literature) taeniourus (1); here an eight inch adult. They are rambunctious diggers.
131) Pseudocheilinus . hexataenia, the Sixstripe Wrasse (2).
132-135) Thalassoma wrasses found in the Red Sea that are used in the aquarium trade. The Goldbar Wrasse, T. hebraicum and the Lunar, Lyretail or Moon Wrasse, T. lunare (2's) are worthwhile. The same cannot be said for Klunzinger's (T. klunzingeri) and the Surge Wrasses (T. purpureum), both (3's).
136-138) The Bicolor Parrotfish, Cetoscarus bicolor, as an oh-so-cute juvenile (2) of a few inches, and the initial (female)(3) and terminal male (3) of up to two feet that it turns into. Best left on the reef.
Blennies & Gobies
139) A Midas Blenny, Ecsenius midas (1); showing one of a few color phases at a wholesalers.
There are some "bad boy" blennies of the genera Aspidontus and Plagiotremus from here as well, but most all collectors avoid these opportunistic scale and fin biters.
140) The diminutive Clown or Citron Goby, Gobiodon citrinus (2).
141) A great sand-sifter, the Diamond Watchman or Maiden Goby, Valenciennea puellaris (1)
142) No, this isn't a washed-out Rainford's; it's Hector's Goby, Amblygobius hectori (2).
143) Acanthurus nigrofuscus, the Brown or Spot-Cheeked Surgeonfish, (2). Not tremendously good looking, but a hardy cleaner upper for reef tanks.
144) Acanthurus sohal, the Sohal or Arabian Tang (1); a great fish-only surgeon species. One to a tank.
145) Ctenochaetus striatus, the Striated or Lined Bristletooth (Tang) (1); like all members of its genus, a good algae scraper, detritus feeder for peaceful fish and reef tanks.
146) Zebrasoma desjardinii, the Indian Sailfin or Desjardin's Surgeonfish (2); To 15" in the wild.
147) Z. xanthurum, the Purple or Yellowtail Tang (1). Gorgeous and hardy.
148) Naso lituratus, the Naso, Lipstick Tang or Orangespine Unicornfish is great (1) coming out of the Red Sea; elsewhere its colors are less vibrant and aquarium success much lower (2).
149) N. unicornis, the Bluespine Unicornfish, or simply Unicornfish (2).
150) In the same family as the Foxfaces, genus Lo, this is the Stellate Rabbitfish, Siganus stellatus (2).
151) The undulated Trigger, Balistapus undulatus (1) look different in the Red Sea, and they are different behaviorally; much more easygoing from here.
152) Hey big boy! Here's a full-size Titan Trigger, Balistoides viridescens (1) doing what most triggers do when approached underwater; hide!
153) So you know the other two "Niger" triggers? This is Redtooth Triggerfish, Odonus niger (1) of about six inches length. To twenty.
154.155) A young Blue Triggerfish, Pseudobalistes fuscus (1) swimming in an aquarium and a two foot adult in the Red Sea.
156) The Assasi Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus assasi (1).
157) You can see where the Whitetail or Bluethroat Triggerfish, Sufflamen albicaudata (1) gets both its common names.
158) The circumtropical Scrawled Filefish, Aluterus scriptus, (3) is occcasionally shipped out of the Red Sea.
159) The Broom Filefish, (Amanses scopas), (2) stops at about eight inches.
Family Ostraciidae- Trunkfishes, Boxfishes
160) Exceedingly rare in the Red Sea, the Cowfish, Lactoria cornuta (3).
161) The Cubicus or Cube, O. cubicus, Trunkfish (2). After the Cowfish and Blue/Black
Trunkfish, the third most common ostraciid in the trade. Here an adult female.n
162) Not an outstanding beauty, the Thornback Trunkfish, Tetrasomus gibbosus (2).
Family Tetraodontidae- Puffers
163) The Bristly Puffer, Arothron hispidus (2), aka the Stripebelly Puffer elsewhere.
164) The Blackspotted Puffer, A. stellatus (2). To three feet in length!
165) The Panda or Masked Puffer, Arothron diadematus (1).
Subfamily Canthigastrinae. The Sharpnose Puffers or Tobies (1).
166) Canthigaster coronata, the Crown or Saddle Toby or Sharpnose Puffer, (1).
Family Diodontidae- Puffers
167,168) The Spiny Balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus (1) and Porcupinefish, D. hystrix (2).
The Fusiliers, Family Caesionidae
A,B) The Striated Fusilier, Caesio striatus, and Goldband Fusilier, C. chrysozona. (2's). One of a few whole families of aquarium suitable fishes virtually unknown to the trade.
C,D,E) Three species the trade has never seen, but I'd import: the Yellowspot Emperor, Gnathodentax aureolineatus, the Bigeye Emperor, Monotaxis grandoculis, and Bluescaled Emperor, Lethrinus nebulosus. All (2's).
Porgies, Family Sparidae
F) The Doublebar Bream, Acanthopagrus bifasciatus (2)