Dorsal Fin Banggai

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Purple Dottyback Hierarchy Juvenile Group Home

Purple Dottyback ( Pseudochromis porphyreus)

Pseudochromis Porphyreus

Neon Dottyback (Pseudochromis aldabraensis)

Persian Dottybacks

Orchid Dottyback ( Pseudochromis frid man i)

Bicolor Anthias

Bicolor Dottyback CPseudochromis paccagnellae)

Neon Dottyback

Diadema Dottyback (Pseudochromis diadema)

Pseudochromis Flavivertex

Sunrise Dottyback (Pseudochromis flavivertex)

one of the bachelors will move to the "head of the class" with the best specimens coming from Hawaiian collectors, within a few days. The primary drawback to successful DOTTYBACKS. Among the Pseudochromidae, or dotty-aquarium husbandry of these fish is the space requirements backs, the Purple Dot-

dictated by their social pattern. Kept in schools in a suit- tyback (Pseudochromis ably large tank, however, they are spectacular creatures. Es- porphyreus), Diadema terbauer (1995) recommends stocking the tank with a group Dottyback [P. diadema), often or more 2-inch specimens, as these will be juvenile fe- and Bicolor Dottyback males and the school can develop its own social hierarchy [P. paccagnellae) are naturally, as the females mature. As the school develops, readily available and in-

new members, always smaller individuals, can be added. expensive aquarium in-

Solitary anthias often refuse to eat and will soon starve. habitants. These three

Feed them small living foods and gradually wean them to species come from the frozen substitutes. A smaller species, Pseudanthias hawai- Indo-Pacific. Several Coral Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys iensis, lives in deep water and makes a superb aquarium fish, other beautiful dotty- oxycephalus): caution advised.

Fish Reef Aquarium

Chapter leu 239

backs come from the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf From and is often imported from the Philippines. The so-called the former location, the Sunrise Dottyback, (P flavivertex) Banggai Cardinal, Pterapogon kauderni, recently rediscov-

and the Orchid Dottyback (P.fridmani) are the most at- ered by Dr. Gerald Allen and now available commercially tractive. The Neon Dottyback (P aldabraensis, often for the first time, is a strikingly beautiful silver and black misidentified as P dutoiti) comes from the Persian Gulf and species that makes an ideal reef-tank fish. Many cardinal-

is extraordinarily beautiful, with bright orange coloration fishes are nocturnal planktivores and should have a shady highlighted by stripes of intense blue.

ledge under which to spend the day. Both the Pajama and

All of these dottybacks are in commercial production in Banggai Cardinal often break this general rule in the aquar-Puerto Rico. Two males will not get along, but a mated pair, ium, spending their days in open water.Keeping them in or a male and several females, may share the same aquarium groups is most rewarding. They may, like the hawkfishes, if it is large and provided with ample live rock as shelter. feed on small shrimps, so caution is advised. All species are The Orchid Dottyback is an especially good choice for mouthbrooders, making captive propagation a likely grouping and breeding, as it is both beautiful and less fiesty prospect, since the young develop to a large size before be-than most other common dottyback species and will spawn ing spit out by the adult. This family has received insuffi-under good aquarium conditions. Many other fairy basslets, cient attention from aquarists. anthias, serranids, and pseudochromids will likely prove amenable to captive propagation, both by hobbyists and commercial breeders.

HAWKFISHES. Several of the hawkfishes are suited for the reef aquarium, although they have a reputation for prey ing on ornamental shrimp and herbivorous hermit crabs. Two popular and generally well-behaved species are the Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus) and the Flame Hawkfish {Neocirrkites armatus). The former is colored in a red and white checkerboard pattern and is often found associated with gorgonians and sea fans; the latter is bright red with a black stripe on the dorsal fin and a black ring around the eye and is often observed perched on a coral head. Neither of these fishes will do damage to corals. Mixing larger specimens of either species with smaller shrimp could be a recipe for trouble, however. Both are found on the outer Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens): the quintessential reef i

Yellow Eyed Tangs


CARDINALFISHES. Specimens of some of the many fish, grazing on algae and peaceful with all but other tangs.

species of cardinalfishes are available from time to time.

TANGS. The Yellow Tang, 'Zebrasoma flavescens, is one of

Among the most desirable is Sphaeramia nematoptera, usu- the ten most popular marine aquarium species and is a good ally called the Pajama Cardinal. It lives in shallow lagoons representative of the acanthurids, or tangs. This species is

240 Natural Reef Aquariums

Acanthurus Leucosternon

Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus): an electric blue, easy- Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon): strikingly beau-

going herbivore, too often the victim of cyanide collectors. tiful, but best reserved for more advanced aquarists.

found in Hawaii, Micronesia, and Japan, but most aquarium specimens come from the Hawaiian Islands. Bright color, hardiness, and low cost make this species a mainstay.

The Yellow Tang is lemon yellow in color, becoming paler with a distinctive mid-lateral white stripe at night. Members of the Zebrasoma genus live singly or in loose aggregations that are active by day, foraging along the reef crest for algae, which forms the bulk of their diet, with a small percentage of invertebrate organisms consumed incidentally. Providing appropriate plant foods in the aquarium is a simple matter. Some marine tanks, especially fish-only systems, grow abundant filamentous algae, often sufficient to meet the requirements of an adult Yellow Tang. Natural algae growth can be supplemented by a variety of frozen foods with seaweeds as their primary component, and both flake foods and fresh greens, such as romaine lettuce, will also be accepted. Ocean-derived foods are best, however.

The Yellow Tang has developed an undeserved reputation for susceptibility to infestations by Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium parasites. Most likely, this is due to a lack of understanding of this species' basic needs. Stress that can re sult from improper conditions typically results in an outbreak of parasites. Apart from water conditions appropriate to any tropical marine aquarium, the Yellow Tang should be given plenty of swimming space, tankmates of its own species, and adequate nourishment. An aquarium smaller than 4 feet in length is probably too confining for any tang species. Keeping five specimens together in a 6-foot-long aquarium would be an appropriate display. Yellow Tangs can be aggressive toward one another if not kept in a group. A lone individual may harass other species housed in the same tank. Similarly, if a pair is housed together, one may constantly pick on the other. These tangs often exhibit stubborn territorial instincts, and weaker or smaller specimens can easily be chased, abused, and driven to starvation. In my experience, keeping groups of five or more individuals together usually dissipates the sparring satisfactorily. It may help to start by purchasing younger fish of equal size.

As mentioned earlier, many tangs are vegetarian grazers. Their food is relatively low in nutrients, and the fish expends a lot of energy just moving around from place to place in search of it. This is why it is important to give the Yellow

Chapter Ten 241

Tang Fish Species

Tang ample algal fare and, ideally, to provide the fish with access to food all day long. Smaller individuals, especially, can suffer the effects of malnutrition in a surprisingly short time. It is wise to choose specimens that are at least 3 inches in diameter.

When provided with appropriate conditions, the Yellow Tang is rarely bothered by parasite infestations. If symptoms are detected, however, it is important to administer treatment promptly, as these fish may be rapidly killed by oxygen starvation if the gills are infested. Treatment with copper sulfate is effective outside the reef system. Another pest is common only on tangs. This is Black Spot, an infestation of dark-colored flatworms that burrow into the fish's skin. The condition is especially obvious against the bright background of the Yellow Tang's body and makes the infested in- The Flame Angel (Centropyge loriculus): highly desirable, but dividual look as if it has been sprinkled with pepper. Bathing a potential nibbler on corals and Tridacna clam mantles, the fish in a parasiticide is an effective remedy. Consult references for the appropriate procedure.

Public aquarium records indicate that tangs can live five to seven years. Given attention to their simple require ments, there is no reason why home hobbyists should not be able to maintain the Yellow Tang for a similar period.

Yellow Tangs sometimes spawn in huge aggregations that gather periodically at precise locations around their home reef. Thus, it may be unlikely that captive spawning of this species can be achieved. Fortunately, this colorful and hardy fish is abundant. Barring the imposition of collecting restrictions in Hawaii, the Yellow Tang should — popular for many years to come.

The Regal Tang, Paracanthurus hepatus, is a distinctive true-blue color with a yellow tail. A sickle-shaped black bar on the side completes the dramatic appearance of this Potter's Angel (Centropyge potteri)-. strikingly hued and best-handsome fish. It is found almost exclusively in association suited to established reefs with ample quantities of live rock, with the stony coral Pocillopora eydouxi on the seaward side of the reef. When disturbed, the fish has a habit of wedg- to do this in the aquarium has given pause to more than ing itself into the coral, lying flat on its side. Its propensity one novice aquarist. Unfortunately, too many of these fish remain

Pocillopora Eydouxis Blue Tang

242 Natural Reef Aquariums

Banngai Propagation

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  • karolin
    Why would the dorsal fin split on a powder blue tang?
    7 years ago
  • teodros
    What fish species are orange?
    3 years ago

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