Scientific Name: Pterapogon kauderni
Family: Apogonidae (cardinalfish)
Temperature: 24 to 26 degrees Celsius
Origin: Banggai islands of Indonesia
Aquarium conditions: Banggai cardinal fish are best kept in either small or large reef aquariums. They are not highly dependent on crevices but prefer long-spined sea urchins and even faux sea urchins for refuge. Acceptable water conditions are a pH of between 8.1 and 8.4 with a temperature of between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius.
Diet: Banggai cardinal fish are very easy to feed as they will pretty much eat any kind of meaty food, such as Mysis shrimp or brine shrimp and will also eat good quality, high protein marine fish food and seaweed. Feeding should occur once or twice a day depending on the number of fish in the tank.
Difficulty to keep: The Banggai cardinal fish will do very well in a home reef aquarium as long as they have been captive-raised, these fish will feed on most marine fish foods and require finely cut frozen seafood, Mysis shrimp or fish eggs at least once a day. Wild-caught Banggai cardinal fish often die within weeks or a few months.
Physical Description: Banggai cardinal fish have a unique colour and pattern than is very appealing to marine enthusiasts. These fish are greyish-silver overall with white-trimmed black stripes on the head and body and a scattering of white spots on the body and fins and the second dorsal and pelvic fins are very large. These fish generally reach a length of between 5 and 7cm.
Range: The Banggai cardinal fish is mostly found around certain islands in Indonesia, and resides on shallow fringing reefs and lagoon sea grass meadows. Regularly these fish live in and amongst the spines of the long-spined sea urchin as well as large sea anemones such as leathery sea anemones, long-tenticled sea anemone and even large carpet anemones. The Banggai cardinal fish can even come into contact with the stinging tentacles of the anemones with no ill-effects what so ever. This fish typically stays at depths of less than 6 meters.
Compatibility: The Banggai cardinal fish is not a very aggressive fish species, but does not do well in a school if space is limited. Adults will begin “pairing up” and they will start attacking the other tank mates of the same species, if the tank is big enough the unpaired cardinals might be able to avoid the bully pair. This fish will ignore tank mates of a different species but may be picked on by more the more aggressive types, such as Dottybacks, large Damsels, Pygmy Angelfish, more aggressive Wrasses and Triggerfish.
Care considerations: The Banggai cardinal fish is a pretty hardy fish so there are not many health issues to worry about, but u need to look out for fish that exhibit redness at the base of the fins, are constantly breathing heavily and stringy feces that is white in colour, as these fish will often die an early death. These problems can be treated using Praziquantel and Fenbendazole but is not always fully effective.
Breeding: The Banggai cardinal fish has a very peculiar reproductive model. A pair of Banggai cardinal fish will break off from a group to begin spawning. The male will orally incubate the eggs witch are passed over to him by the female once the male has fertilised them, the male will hold these eggs for up to 20 days. The females egg mass consists on average of about 45 eggs. The male will then brood the newly hatched young in his mouth for another 6 to 10 days and spawning can occur every 25 days, so this can get a little out of hand so make sure you have room for the babies. The male will not feed during the entire incubation period so it is a good idea to separate brooding males from the rest of the aquarium fish. The female will sometimes become aggressive after passing her eggs over to her mate, and will not only chase other fish but will also attack her mate.
Banggai cardinal fish are one of the easiest marine aquarium fish to breed, and the babies are a fairly easy task to. When the babies are released by the male, they are perfect replicas of the parents, and are ready to take enriched brine shrimp. In the wild the babies are released into the spines of the long-spined sea urchin for protection, so providing them with the same cover in your aquarium will increase their chances of survival.
Overall: The Banggai cardinal fish is a very attractive fish and is great for reef aquariums and are very hardy so do well in new aquariums and are easy enough to keep for the more novice aquarists. Banggai cardinals are very peaceful fish and therefore need to be kept with other non-aggressive fish, they will do great with invertebrates and corals and can be kept in groups if the aquarium is large enough.