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Saltwaterfish

Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)

Pajama or PJ Cardinalfish CSphaeramia nematoptera)

204 Natural Reef Aquariums east of Sulawesi in Indonesia, created a sensation at the Seventh Marine Aquarium Conference of North America in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1995, when Dr. Gerald Allen unveiled stunning photographs — the first ever presented of a species previously unknown to aquarists and modern ichthyologists. (Allen at first assumed it to be a new species, but eventually learned that it had been identified decades earlier and promptly forgotten.)

The specimens found by Allen happened to lie directly beneath a rustic outhouse on the end of a wooden dock, a fact that produced guffaws from the assembled multitude of marine enthusiasts. Never deterred in the pursuit of a beautiful fish, no matter how inglorious its habitat, aquarists thronged the podium at the end of Allen's talk, anxious to learn of a source for specimens. Now regularly available to hobbyists, the Banggai Cardinal has proved to be a bold, hardy aquarium fish, with striking black and silver coloration and a propensity to breed in captivity. It is a mouth-brooder. Larvae mature in the male parent s mouth; when released, they are developed enough to feed on newly hatched brine shrimp. The young are reported to be simple to keep, even fed solely on frozen foods, and can thus be raised even by the aquarist with limited facilities. Given its apparently limited range in the wild and fears that its native stocks could become depleted, this species could quickly become a captive-bred standard of the aquarium hobby. In all, this is a fascinating species and ideal for anyone eager to try his or her hand at captive breeding. (An appropriate habitat, sans privy, would be a sandy lagoon bottom with Turtle Grass and iong-spined sea urchins.)

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