Posts filed under Saltwater Fish

Yellow Boxfish

Scientific NameOstracion cubicus
Common Name(s)Yellow boxfish, Polka-dot Box Fish, Blue-Spotted Boxfish, Cubed Boxfish, Yellow Trunkfish, White Cubicus, Cube Boxfish
OriginRed Sea/ Indo-West Pacific
Temperature Range72°F - 78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size15”-18”, 1’6” max size
DietOmnivore – krill, shrimp, mollusks and sometimes algae. Dried, frozen or flaked fish

Yellow Boxfish Facts:

  • Although they release a deadly toxin, boxfish are actually very peaceful.

  • It is similar to a Longhorn Cowfish, but these have horns while the Boxfish does not.

  • They are found in rocky and coral reefs in Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the south eastern Atlantic Ocean. Adults can sometimes be located in a lagoon.

Species Overview:

As a juvenile, this fish really is shaped as a box with large black spots on a bright yellow body. When reaching adult size the yellow turns into more of a brownish color/greenish color and their spots decrease. Sometimes the dots can become almost a white color outlined in black. A large boxfish has dots that appear blue and yellowish seams in between plates.  There is a slight distinction between males and females (only the adults) with the males being a little larger with a more purple/brown color and lighter colored dots.


Although this is very rare, if a boxfish is stressed it can release a very deadly toxin called “ostracitoxin” that could even end up killing itself along with everyone else in the tank. This can also happen if it dies. You can tell if it is going to die because it becomes even slower and the colors rapidly fade.  You can tell if there is a toxin in the water because you will see foam on the surface of the water, and other fish will be noticeably inactive. Once this happens it is important to remove the fish immediately and clean the tank.  The toxin can even embed itself into rocks and filters so you must clean it well.  Along with the toxin as a defensive measure, they also have armor plating.

Boxfish are a little slow moving and if put with other aggressive fish and the other fish will get all the food first. If you feed the other fish before the boxfish this can be avoided.  You need to have a very large tank (about 125 gallons) with normal water parameters (salt water), but it must be kept just right; with too much flow they can get blown around a little. Don’t forget that they like live rock so that they can eat the algae, but they also like tubeworms. Boxfish do like to eat coral so they are not considered “reef compatible”, but as long as they are well fed (they like to eat a lot) they will leave the coral alone.  Yellow Boxfish also like to have a place to hide, in addition to open area to swim.

Posted on September 28, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Clown Triggerfish

Scientific NameBalistoides conspicillum
Common Name(s)Clown Triggerfish, Bigspotted Triggerfish
OriginIndian and Pacific Oceans
Temperature Range75-82°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size20in
DietFish, shrimp, squid

Clown Triggerfish Facts:

1. Females blow water across their eggs to keep them with plenty of oxygen

2. Known to attack divers

3. Can rotate each one of its eyeballs independently


Clown Triggerfish

The Triggerfish are the silent hunters of the aquarium world.  Their sleek, oval shape with large head and protruding teeth make these guys a favorite fish to own.  These Triggers can be difficult to keep for the beginner but worth the effort for as established tank.

Physical characteristics

The Clown Triggerfish has bold and contrasting colors making it a prized fish for aquariums.  The background is black with white circles and yellow coloration around its eyes and dorsal fin.  These fish can grow to be up to 20” as adults.  They are usually found hiding in the corals and rocks amid the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  They use their strong teeth to break apart crustaceans such as shrimps and clams. 


Clown Triggerfish like to eat different types of meats including shrimp, squid, clams, and other fish.  If you are keeping them in a tank, then you can also provide fortified algae as well as frozen shrimp.  Triggers like to hide in the rocks and crevices so make sure to put food where they feel comfortable getting to it.  If not, you can have a sick Triggerfish on your hands real fast.

Clown Triggerfish in Aquariums

First and foremost, juvenile Triggerfish do not do well in captivity.  That’s why you don’t see many in stores.  So if you find one, don’t give in to the temptation.  Stick to the adults.  As mentioned before, they like to hide.  So make sure to have plenty of nooks and crannies for your Triggerfish to call his home.  The most foreboding aspect of the Clown Triggerfish is their temperament.  They can be quite aggressive, especially to smaller fish. This includes aggression to the point of eating smaller fish and shrimp in the tank.  Do not put a Triggerfish if you have a shrimp in your tank.  And beware if you have smaller fish like Damsels, you might be missing one or two if your Triggerfish gets hungry.  These fish are better suited for tanks over 100 gallons to have plenty of space to hide and maneuver. 

The Clown Triggerfish can be a hardy aquarium fish as an adult.  They would best be left to experienced tank owners due to their aggressive behavior towards other fish.  Not only will they eat smaller marine life in the tank, but they can cause, obviously, a great deal of stress within the aquarium.  In this stressful environment, all of the fish are susceptible to ick and other diseases that can wipe out an entire aquarium within days.

While beautiful to behold, beware the Clown Triggerfish.  If you have a large tank with no other fish, perhaps this animal would be a good choice if just to highlight his beautiful markings.  But if other fish are involved, it may be best to enjoy a more docile fish for your tank.

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Emperor Angelfish

Scientific NamePomacanthus imperator
Common Name(s)Emperor Angelfish, Imperator Angelfish, Imperial Angelfish
OriginMaldives, Indonesia ,New Caledonia, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, Africa, Fiji
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water ParameterspH: 8.2 – 8.4, Specific Gravity: 1.021 – 1.025, dKH: 8 – 12
Adult SizeAdult Small: 2-1/2" to 3-1/2"; Adult Medium: 3-1/2" to 5"; Adult Large: 5" to 6" XLarge: 6" to 7" XXLarge: 7" to 9
DietThis angelfish are omnivorous and enjoys eating various kinds of food such as, flake and pellet food, frozen shrimp, fresh seafood, marine algae

Emperor Angelfish Facts:

1. Angelfish are some of the most beautiful fish in the ocean. There are over 85 various kinds of angelfish. An angelfish are in various colors which are mostly  red, blue, green, yellow or any other bright color.

2. Angelfish likes to live in the warm waters near coral reefs. Its bright colors help it hide among the coral  reefs.

3. One incredible fact about the female angelfish is its ability to produce hundreds of eggs at once. These newly reproduced eggs float in the water until they are fit and ready to hatch.  Young angelfish are always different than adult angelfish. One of the impressive changes in young angelfish is the change of their body colors as they grow older.

Species Overview:

Juvenile Emperor Angelfish

Juvenile Emperor Angelfish

This angelfish variety is actually found in the Indo-Pacific region. It is usually found near reefs. The juveniles tend to stay in protected lagoon waters, while the adults will certainly journey a bit more seaward. They are usually discovered grazing upon algae associated to reef rock. The depth range for this species in the wild is 5-200 feet.

The Emperor Angelfish is a striking fish in its juvenile and adult form with beautiful coloration and markings. One of its tough qualities is the aggressiveness towards other angelfish and smaller tank mates.

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Achiles Tang

Scientific NameAcanthurus achilles
Common Name(s)Achilles tang
OriginIndian and Pacific Oceans
Temperature Range78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size10in

Achilles Tang Facts:

1.  Named after the Greek hero.

2.  Tang means knife or dagger.

3.  The spike of the fish was made for fishing lures.


Species Overview:

Tangs are almost always a much sought after fish for the home aquarium.  Usually they are quite docile and make good tankmates.  Then Achilles Tang is no different and is quite striking in appearance.

Physical Characteristics

The Achilles Tang as a full adult can grow to about 10 inches.  They are quite beautiful with a black background lined with orange and white around the fins as a juvenile.  As an adult they grow a large teardrop shape near their tail.  When agitated, they will raise their dorsal fins to give the appearance of being larger.  They also have a barb on either side of their spine near the tail that will protrude and be used as a weapon.  They are found in the waters of the Pacific from Oceana to Hawaii. 


Tangs are herbivores and the Achilles loves their algae.  A single Achilles Tang can devour a 5x5 sheet of algae in a day.  But when in captivity, they will eat meaty shrimps.  But they will remain happier and healthier with a robust diet of algae.  As a substitute, you can use romaine lettuce as they will nibble on the leafy part.  A veggie clip is an essential tool to have in your tank if you are going to keep Tangs.  Tangs have hardy appetites so if you notice one in your tank that isn’t eating, something is wrong.  Juveniles are known to be finicky eaters, and therefore, hard to keep.  So best stick with adults when populating a tank.

Achilles Tang in Aquariums

Overall, the Achilles Tang has a poor survival rate in aquariums.  The water quality has to be spot on before the Tang will be happy.  Usually, the water needs to be a few degrees cooler than normal, about 78 degrees, is where the Achilles Tang will thrive.  There also needs to be a turbulent water flow so that the oxygen level will be increased.

Overall the Achilles, like most Tangs, is docile and makes a good tankmate.  However, keep them away from other Tangs because they will become aggressive and can cause injury with their barbs.  In addition to the barbs, aggression in the tank can cause stress and lack of appetite which can lead to disease and death. 

The Achilles Tang is most likely left for the experience aquarist.  With demanding water quality and finicky eating habits, the beginner may be endangering their entire tank if the Tang should become sick or infected.  But if you have pristine water quality, a strong circulation of water, no other Tangs in the tank, and plenty of algae sheets, I would feel confident that I could make my Achilles Tang a happy Tang. 

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Longnose Hawkfish

A Longnose Hawkfish of the family Cirrhitidae is easy to recognize because of the very elongated nose that looks similar to needle-nose pliers. This fish has 10 spines on the dorsal fin and both hard and soft dorsal rays with “cirri” at the tips. “Cirri” are very thin appendages that resemble tufts of hair. These fish are also easy to see with a white body and red stripes that run both horizontal and vertical. They have large jaws and sharp teeth that they might use to attack invertebrate or smaller fish. They live deep down in the ocean at about 100 feet, some travel all the way down to 300 feet. These fish do not have a swim bladder which means that they tend to settle near the bottom of an aquarium.

Scientific NameOxycirrhites typus
Common Name(s)Longnose hawkfish
OriginIndo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult SizeUp to 4in (5in in the wild)
DietCarnivores - Crustaceans, shrimp, small fish

Longnose Hawkfish Facts:

1. They like to sit on coral reefs, especially black coral and gorgonians.

2. They like to jump (place egg carton or canopy over top to keep them in and still let light in)

3. All Hawkfish begin as a female, and then they can actually change into a male which is more dominant, slightly brighter and a little larger.


Species Overview:

One Longnose Hawkfish requires at the very minimum 25 gallons of water. If you want to add more fish, it really needs to be 50 gallons. Otherwise, these fish are adaptable and a standard aquarium works fine.  The Longnose Hawkfish is a little territorial and might chase after other fish a little bit, but won’t bother fish that are the same size or larger than themselves. Introduce the Hawkfish to the tank last in order to reduce aggressiveness. Only keep one male in the same tank, and make sure you don’t have any coral that can sting, but they really like to perch on things. If you put any crustaceans or small fish in the tank, they will get eaten. It can be difficult to get Hawkfish to eat dry food so you are better off with fresh or frozen seafood like krill, roe, or brine shrimp. Don’t be dissuaded by a Longnose Hawkfishes aggression because these are still great fish to have; they are entertaining to watch and see, they are extremely hardy, they are very easy to take care of, and they are the only Hawkfish species that can be bred in an aquarium.

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Maroon Clownfish

Scientific NamePremnas biaculeatus
Common Name(s)Maroon clownfish, Spike-cheeked clownfish
OriginPacific ocean and Eastern Indian Ocean
Temperature Range75-82°F
Water Parameters8-12°C, salinity- 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
Adult Size6in
DietAlgae and zooplankton

Maroon Clownfish Facts:

  • The maroon clownfish must be kept single or mated. However, these fishes when kept in mated pairs become quite unruly in defending their mates and the nests.

  • These fishes are responsive to humans and will try to be intimidating with people that they are not familiar with.

  • These fishes can live up to 20 years in internment- which is a very long time when compared to all the other species of fishes.

Species Overview:

Maroon clownfish is also known as the “Spike-cheeked clownfish” as spines stick out from their cheeks. They are one of the biggest and the most gorgeous clown fish species that can be found. The flourish a maroonish red body with three tapered gold stripes. The females are usually longer about 6.3 inches in length and may grow up to 8 inches, while the males are usually one-third the size of the female; however, they can grow up to 6 inches in length. They have a similar shape to the Ocellaris clownfish nevertheless; they have a number of color variations that include purplish brown, red or maroon and brilliant orange. These fishes can be quite aggressive and territorial with the smaller fishes and will chase around them. So inorder to avoid their aggressive nature, these fishes are usually kept single, the only exception is having a mated pair. They are not kept to exist with the other clownfish as they are known to be extremely ferocious. The maroon clownfish will inhabit the bubble tip anemones (entacmaea quadricolor), carpet anemones, long tentacle anemones and sebae anemones.  These fishes eat anything from brine shrimps to frozen diets; however, a meaty fare is always preferred. As juveniles, they eat up to 4 times per day and as adults their diet goes down to 2-3 times a day. The maroon clownfish are basically two types- white striped which is mainly seen in the Indo-Pacific area and yellow striped which has wide stripes on its body.

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Pink Skunk Clownfish

Scientific NameAmphiprion perideraion
Common Name(s)Pink Skunk Clownfish
OriginPacific ocean and Eastern Indian Ocean
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water Parameters22-27°c, pH- 8.1-8.4, Salinity- 1.020-1.025
Adult Size4in
DietMacro-algae, diatoms, tubeworms, snails, krill, shrimps, chopped clams, mysis shrimps, ghost shrimps, bloodworms, mussels, snails, silver slides, and quality based flake food for omnivores.

Pink Skunk Clownfish Facts:

1.  The pink skunk clownfish will get aggressive as they get older and bigger. A host anemone will then get rid of their violence by making them spend much time in their nests breeding.

2. Mostly the pink skunk juvenile and adult fishes subsist with a single anemone.

3.  These clownfish are a protandeous hermaphrodite.  The female pink skunk clownfish grows up to 4 inch in length; on the other hand the males grow up to 6 to 7 inches, so the biggest one amongst the males will change into a female.

Species Overview:

The pink skunk clownfish is an unusual looking clownfish with a peachy orange colored body and one single white stripe on the head and the cheek.  The stripe runs down up to the entire length of the back of the fish. A contradicting stripe is located at behind the eye. These fishes may be pretty aggressive with the smaller fishes nevertheless; they may be browbeaten by many energetic fellow fishes in the tank.  The anemones compatible with the pink skunk clownfish are Heteractis crispa and stichodactyla mertensii. These fishes however do not require an anemone for breeding; they can breed with or without the presence of the anemone in the aquarium. The eggs of these fishes are laid near their anemones on rubble and rocks, the average number of eggs laid by these fishes are 2,000 to 4,000. These fishes are known to spawn all year round and lay eggs once per month approximately. Frozen herbivore food and chopped shrimps are consumed by these fishes. They feed usually one to two times per day. These fishes are dwellers of the coral reefs. They are usually found in Micronesia from Australia to Samoa and tropical western pacific from Philippines to Japan.

Posted on September 1, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Ocellaris Clownfish

Scientific NameAmphiprion ocellaris
Common Name(s)ocellaris clownfish, false percula clownfish , common clownfish
OriginPacific ocean and Eastern Indian Ocean
Temperature Range75-82°F
Water ParametersSalinity- 1.020-1.025, pH- 8.0-8.4
Adult Size3in
DietMarine flake food complemented with live and frozen foods, algae, vegetable matter and meaty food.

Ocellaris Clownfish Facts:

1. About 28 species of clownfish exist at the foot of the sea in the midst of the coral reefs. There are just a few fishes which can survive with anemones.

2. Clownfish is not just orange and white in color, they are found in different colors like black, red, maroon and yellow.

3. These fish are omnivores and eat small invertebrates which may be harmful to the anemones. They can also survive on leftovers of the anemones, algae, mollusks and plankton.

Species Overview:

The Ocellaris clownfish is one of the most famous marine fish in the aquarium industry. It flaunts a beautiful orange colored body with white stripes that are outlined with black. It is known as the perfect beginner fish. They have 10 dorsal spines and their eye color is black around the pupil. These fishes can be easily found in oceans and can be tank raised as well. It is very resilient and not very violent and basically very easy to take care off.  When talking about clownfish, how can we forget “Nemo” from the animated movie “Finding Nemo”? That is when this species of fish actually gained a lot of popularity. A black mutate of the clownfish species does exist as well. The Ocellaris clownfish can co-exist with almost all the saltwater species which are not very violent and the ones which are not big enough to eat the clownfish up. Also, they shall not be kept with small shrimps as they may consider them food and eat them up.  The anemones compatible with these fishes are heteractis magnifica, stichodactyla mertensil and stichodactyla gigantea. They breed in tropical waters and reproduce by means of external fertilization. The Ocellaris clownfish has originated from the western part of Pacific Ocean to Australia and the eastern part of the Indian Ocean.

Posted on August 25, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Queen Angelfish

Scientific NameHolacanthus ciliaris
Common Name(s)Queen Angelfish, Blue Angelfish or Yellow Angelfish
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size1ft 6in

Queen Anelfish Facts:

1. Sometimes these fish mate with Blue Angelfish creating a hybrid, though this is quite rare.

2. Unlike other species of angels, there’s evidence that these fish mate for life. They will swim to the surface as a pair and release their eggs and sperm instead of laying eggs on the ocean floor like some other species of angelfish.

3. Queen angelfish start out as extremely undeveloped larvae that float near the surface. After absorbing the yoke sac, they feed on plankton.

Species Overview:

The Queen Angelfish has an absolutely striking color profile with a vibrant yellow background and fluorescent violet accents. It’s very loosely related to the Blue Angelfish and they’ve even been known to mate in the wild.

Though they are quite beautiful and an extremely popular aquarium angel, these fish are a fair bit more difficult to keep than their relatives. They require specific water conditions and a specific diet, and can easily fall ill. They’re notoriously aggressive, but unlike other angels, there’s evidence that they mate for life, so it is possible to keep two of the same species as long as they’re of the opposite sex. Their mating cycle is interesting, and it’d be easy to cull offspring if needed since this particular species spawns at the surface rather than laying eggs on the seafloor. The offspring start out as extremely underdeveloped larvae, lacking any real anatomical structures like fins and even a gut. The offspring exist on a diet of plankton and algae after absorbing their yolk sac. After about 4 or 5 weeks, they begin to develop into juveniles and act as cleaners. These fish are incredibly fragile though, so overpopulation is not a problem.  

Since they can grow to be quite large, these fish require a tank of at least 150 gallons. It is highly recommended that they be added last to an already well-established aquarium as they can be aggressive. The adults do eat reef, so they are absolutely not compatible with reef systems. They shouldn’t be kept with other species of angel either, though they might be compatible with the Blue Angelfish with which they’ve been known to mate. Provide adequate shelter and cover so they have somewhere to hide. The juveniles will eat algae and parasites, but they do still require a meaty diet, like frozen shrimp, spirulina, and plenty of sea sponges. They should be fed at least three times a day.

These are beautiful fish but they are considerably fragile when compared to other angels. They’re not recommended for the casual or inexperienced aquarist. Their specific diet and water conditions do require a fair amount of upkeep and attention, so beware when purchasing juveniles. It’s best to start out with a less aggressive angel, in order to have some experience before attempting to keep these wonderful fish.

Posted on August 19, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

French Angelfish

Scientific NamePomacanthus paru
Common Name(s)French Angelfish, Black Angelfish
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size24in
DietOmnivorous, Sponges

French Angelfish Facts:

1. Juveniles run “cleaning stations” at sea fans, cleaning other fish with their pelvic fins. They attract potential fish by fluttering their striking bodies. They’re so specialized that fish will line up for their services!

2. French Angels are fished for consumption, and said to be quite delicious.

3. They can live up to 15 years.

Species Overview:

The French Angel is a semi-aggressive species that hails from the Caribbean. This is a particularly striking angel with its stark contrast of yellow on black, and it makes for a wonderful ornamental fish.  Its diet is composed primarily of sea sponges as an adult, but they also enjoy parasites, and nibbling at reef in the wild. The juveniles are especially interesting, running symbiotic cleaning stations where they clean and eat parasites off of other fish.

Because these fish can grow to be quite large, it’s important to start out with a large tank. They need at least 250 gallons to begin with, but if you are planning to have a large community, keep in mind that they’re somewhat aggressive so the more space they have, the better. They can become territorial when kept with smaller species, so it’s recommended to keep them with larger species of fish, or alone. In the wild, they can be found in pairs, but not all species of angels will get along, so keep that in mind when building a community.

Juveniles and adults have different habits but both are active during the day looking for food. These make excellent community fish, provided they aren’t the largest species, and will help keep other fish clean of parasites. The juveniles in the wild are highly specialized and spend their days staking out the perfect location for some parasitic delights, making them excellent maintenance fish. As they grow older, they will need to be fed a varied diet of angel food, spirulina, and frozen meaty morsels like shrimp three times a day. However, unlike other angels, their adult diet will need to contain a significant amount of sea sponge or equivalent. In the wild, sponges make up 70% of what they eat as adults.

Though the juveniles are somewhat more interesting than the adults in behavior, these fish do have quite a long lifespan if properly cared for. When building a habitat, be sure to include large covered spaces where they can stake their claim because they do eventually grow to be quite large and prefer to sleep under cover. As juveniles they also need open spaces where they can interact with other fish, so sprawling fan-like structures are a must. Because they’re active during the day, there’s plenty of opportunity to watch them at work. French Angels are a fantastic species if you want to create an active, diverse community at home. Keep in mind though, as they get older, their behavior does change, and they may be a little less cute, but they’re no less beautiful.

Posted on August 19, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Blueface Angelfish

Scientific NameEuxiphipops xanthometopon
Common Name(s)Blueface Angelfish, Yellowface Angelfish
OriginCoral Sea, Indonesia, Sri Lanka
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size1ft 3in

Bluefish Angelfish Facts:

1. The Blueface Angelfish gradually changes color as it grows older, swapping its blue, black, and white stripes for its distinctive checked pattern and distinctive blue and yellow face.

2. Though it’s native to Indonesia, it’s been spotted as far as the coasts of Florida.

3. In the wild, the adolescents prefer to live in deep caves.

Species Overview:

The Blueface Angelfish is an interesting species to raise, as they change so much throughout their lifetimes. Typically, the young on offer are about one inch long, but can grow to be over one foot as adults.

When considering raising this fish, keep in mind that because of their size, they require a tank of at least 220 gallons to be comfortable. They can also be quite aggressive and territorial. In the wild, often they’re found alone or in pairs, but in captivity, it’s strongly recommended that they be the sole angelfish in the aquarium. They can be kept with other species of fish, but they should never be the largest in the tank. They can become territorial and aggressive without larger species to keep them docile. Moreover, they aren’t compatible with fragile reef systems and will tend to try to eat them.

Feeding them is a fairly interactive activity. They are omnivorous and will eat meatier frozen food, such as shrimp, but should be given angelfish feed and spirulina as well. It’s important to encourage moderate algae growth in your tank to supplement their diet. You can purchase algae tablets or wafers for them, but they will eat whatever grows naturally in the tank as well. They do need to be fed quite often – as much as three times a day – in order to stay healthy, but that just provides more opportunity for interaction since they do hide.

These fish prefer greater depth than some others and do like to find hiding spots. The younger ones especially tend to prefer the dark, and so don’t expect to see them too frequently outside of feeding until they’re comfortable. When setting up their habitat, it’s best to avoid live plants and reef, and instead opt for rocks, driftwood, and high quality fake plants that they can’t destroy. The juveniles tend to do better, but be cautious. As they get older, they do tend to eat more, and can be very destructive even if they seemed compatible at first. They will nip at their surroundings if they think they’re edible – which is good if you’re tank is prone to algae growth. More hiding places can also help keep them happier in communal environments. They are territorial, so giving them enough room to claim a hiding spot can help keep them happy. 

Posted on August 19, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Fangtooth Moray Eel

Scientific NameEnchelycore anatina
Common Name(s)Fangtooth moray eel, Tiger moray eel
OriginMediterranean, East Atlantic
Temperature Range15-28°C
Water Parametersapproximately 10-200 feet
Adult Size110-120cm
DietShrimp and other small crustaceans, fish that are smaller in size

Fangtooth Moray Facts:

  • The Fangtooth Moray Eel is named for its mouthful of fang-like teeth which happen to be semi-transparent.

  • This creature is sometimes known as the Tiger Moray Eel because of its yellow and black coloration.

  • The Fangtooth Moray has frequently been photographed with a White Striped Cleaner Shrimp hard at work in its mouth. The two species appear to have a working relationship where the shrimp cleans the eel’s mouth of food scraps and parasites.

Fangtooth Moray Overview:

The fearsome looking Fangtooth Moray is really not much of a threat to humans. There are certainly cases of humans receiving a nasty bite from these eels but those were usually incidents when it was provoked. Like most eels, the Fangtooth Moray is generally peaceful when humans are around so long as it is not startled or made to feel threatened.

The Fangtooth Moray prefers to spend most of its time hiding among rocks and waiting for some tasty small fish or crustaceans to swim by. Considered to be fairly common in the Atlantic Ocean, one Fangtooth Moray was captured in the south-eastern Agean Sea, leading researchers to wonder if these eels are expanding their territory.

This eel’s namesake feature, the teeth, is arranged in two rows within the mouth. The outer row contains the larger teeth which can grow to be about an inch long. These teeth are spaced between several slightly smaller teeth. The inner row of teeth are very sharp which is necessary with a diet of crustaceans.

Posted on August 19, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Sword Fish - Facts

Sword Fish Facts

Swordfish, otherwise known as Xiphias Gladius is a species of bill fish. They are known for their easily identifiable sword like protrusion from their faces, which is used to slice at prey and make them easier to catch. 

They are the only member of the Xiphiidae family - although they do seem superficially similar to fish such as Marlin, sailfish they are in fact a different species. The difference between marlin, other billfish and Swordfish is the shape and texture of their bill. Marlins have a rougher rounded, shorter bill, and they also come in a variety of species.

The swordfish’s closest relative is Chinese sword fish or Psephurus Gladius (a sturgeon) which lives in fresh water and not salt water and has a much longer life-span.
The sword like protrusion of this species allows them makes short work of their favorite prey – squid, octopus & smaller pelagic fish, such as bluefish and mackerel - even in large numbers. Swordfish prefer 'pelagic' fish as they are the type of fish which are normally found in the upper region of the sea - not to close to reefs, or the ocean floor. Sword fish tend to swim in water depths of up to 2,100 feet, much deeper than other billfish such as Marlin.

The sword fish’s unique bill also puts it at a very high position on the food chain, with its only predators being killer whales, tuna, sharks and man.

At birth, the sword is not present, but rather a set of teeth are. Over time the teeth are lost and the 'sword' grows as the fish matures. They are also born with scales, which disappear by the time full maturity has been reached. Swordfish are considered fully mature at 4-5 years old. This is when they can begin reproduction. Mature females are considerably larger than males.

Swordfish reproduce by laying eggs, that is to say that they are oviparous. Female swordfish can lay anywhere between 1,000,000 and 30,000,000 eggs at one time and fertilization is internal. The mother lays zygote eggs and allows them to develop externally from her body.  It is a common method of reproduction for many fish.
Swordfish usually grow to be up to 10ft long and weigh 150-200lbs on average, although they have been noted to have grown to be up to 16ft long and weigh an incredible 1000+ lbs in rare cases.

Swordfish can be found slicing through the warmer waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans at high speeds. It's possible for them to reach high speeds when swimming as their sword can both help in swimming function and it breaks up the water around the fish allowing it to propel itself forward faster.

The reason that sword fish tend to stick to the warmer regions of water is a nearly negligible source of inner body heat regulation, meaning they can't keep themselves at the optimum temperature they need to survive naturally. They are ectothermic animals, which rely almost entirely on the environmental heat to stay alive.

This species prefers to be in water which is around 18-22 Celsius or the mid 60s to 70s Fahrenheit. Although they can and have ventured into colder waters as they can withstand a somewhat varied temperature range as they are a highly migratory species and they do not stay in a given area for particularly long. Unfortunately these mostly nocturnal fish do not tend to live for much longer than 10 years.

They are a commercially sought 'food fish' all over the world; the USA, Canada, Portugal, Brazil, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, and Uruguay all indulge in Sword fishing. Harpoons or fishing rods are prevalent tools used to catch sword fish as they are adept at using their 'swords' to cut through nets when trapped. Even when the harpoon method is used Swordfish are still extremely dangerous and put up fierce resistance. They often end up impaling their swords in the ocean floor or causing extreme damage to the boats with their swords.

It is commonly grilled and served with lemon as a dish and is very high in potassium, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and many minerals.


The Encyclopedia of Animals; A Complete Visual Guide by Drs. Fred Cooke, Hugh Dingle, Stephen Hutchinson, George McKay, Richard Schodde, Noel Tait and Richard Vogt.

Weldon Owens Pty Ltd.

Posted on August 11, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.

Flying Fish - Facts

flying fish.jpg

The World of Flying Fish

One of the most unusual species of fish in the ocean is the Exocoetidae, of flying fish.  This animal is unlike any other fish in that it is able to literally fly through the air.  In certain parts of the world, the flying fish is a special part of the culture through heritage, providing food, and through culture.

The flying fish generally grows up to 18 inches in maturity and never weighs more than two pounds.  The modern flying fish is thought to have evolved some 66 million years ago according to fossils.  There are 40 known species of flying fish in the world. The ability to fly is thought to have evolved from the need to escape predators in the sea.  Swordfish, Tuna, and Marlin are known to feed on flying fish. 

The flying fish has unusually large pectoral fins and a forked tail.  To launch itself into the air, the fish angles itself at a trajectory to reach the surface, beating its tail up to 70 times per second. As it breaks the surface of the water, it spreads its large pectoral fins and glides.  As it loses momentum, it puts its fins down and re-enters the water.  Sometimes it can just touch the surface of the water and regain altitude for another glide.  The typical length of the flight is about 150 feet and lasts 15-20 seconds.  In 2008, a Japanese film crew just happened to catch a flying fish catch flight for 45 seconds which is the longest recorded flight.  Flying fish have been reported found on decks of ships which indicate that they are capable of reaching altitudes of up to 20 feet.  Most flights are typically four to five feet in height. 

Flying fish are found in all oceans but are especially common in warmer, tropical climates.  They feed on smaller fish and plankton.  While their numbers are not known, they are thought to be relatively common and without risk of extinction.  They are attracted to light, which is why they are found at the surfaces of the water.  This also is a downfall as they are easily caught by fishing nets.  Flying fish are heavily fished in Asia and are a delicacy in Taiwan and Japanese cuisine.

Because of the unusual flying characteristics, the flying fish is revered in several cultures all over the world.   The island of Barbados is known as “the land of the flying fish.”  At one time, flying fish were very common here because of an unusual amount of plankton in the waters here.  Until recently, when boats from other nearby islands began trade with Barbados, they were a staple of society. But as more boats came to the island, overfishing occurred and the flying fish were pushed farther out into the ocean.  Today, there are laws in place that protect the flying fish from being overfished as island nations near Barbados respect and honor an agreement to allow enough fish to survive to ensure future generations of the animal.  Imagery of the flying fish are found on Barbados currency, in the national seal, and on passports.  And it is considered a staple of the diet in Barbados.

Similar to Barbados, Taiwan and other Asian cultures place high value on the flying fish.  Not only is the fish considered a delicacy and heavily fished in Asian waters, but it is also revered in culture with festivals and celebrations.  Taiwan calls their island the home of the flying fish.  Each year in Spring, the fish migrate into the warmer waters of Taiwan.  In March, a giant festival is held to celebrate the arrival of the fish.  However, the Taiwanese culture acknowledges to species of flying fish.  The first to arrive is the species Cheilopogon Unicolor.  The Taiwan fishermen have a unique way to catch these fish.  They will go out into the water at night in small boats similar to canoes and wave fire torches above the water.  As we know, the fish are attracted to light and will take flight at the sight of the fire.  And, unwittingly, they take flight into the boats where they are returned to the island to be shared in many delicacies of the region.

However, the main species of flying fish doesn’t appear until April when the Cheilopogon Cyanopterus makes its appearance in Taiwanese waters.  The people believe that this species is the “soul and chief” of the flying fish and, therefore, most revered.  So important is the flying fish to the Taiwan culture that even the calendar seasons revolve around the migration of the flying fish.  The spring season is called ‘rajun,' or the flying fish season. Summer and autumn are known as 'teteka,’ or when the flying fish season ends.   Winter is called ‘aminon,’ or when there are no flying fish. 

There is a cluster of small islands of the main island of Taiwan where the flying fish takes an especially important role.  Each season, they have a flying fish festival where the young men of the islands perform ceremonial rituals in homage to the fish.  The flying fish are considered a gift from Heaven and are cooked in a special way.  No salt is used while cooking the fish.  Instead, they soak the fish in seawater and then hang it up to dry in the sun. Then they store the fish in special homemade containers to last during the seasons of no flying fish.  Another tradition unique to this area of Taiwan is that men are only to eat one species of flying fish while the women eat another.  The elderly have a third species just for them.  It is stated in their culture that if an elderly person eats a species reserved for a younger man or woman, they will fall ill.

While the flying fish may be seen only as a curiosity to many, it is seen as a way of life to others.  This unique fish with the ability to soar above its predators has a special place in many cultures seemingly worlds apart.  As cruises become more popular as a means of vacation and travel, more people are taking notice of these little animals jumping out of the water. Take heed the next time you see one, and pay a little respect to one of nature’s most unusual gifts.

Posted on August 10, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.


by Allan Riverstone McCulloch

by Allan Riverstone McCulloch

The Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus, is a rare deep sea fish found mainly off the coast of Australia and Tasmania. Many unique features of the Blobfish is a result of adaptation to their specialized habitat. Residing in deep depths of the sea of 600 – 1200 meters, Blobfish have adapted to a habitat with continuous pressure of 80 times higher than normal sea level. In such conditions, bones of a normal creature would be crushed and gas bladders would prove inefficient. Thus, the Blobfish have adapted with a body structure consisting of mainly gelatinous mass and very little muscle density. In fact, this unique body structure allows Blobfish to float in the depths of the sea with very little energy expenditure since its flesh is only slightly denser than water. An average size of an adult Blobfish is approximately 30 cm in length. They are characterized by a large head and the body tapers back into a small flat tail. As a predator of the deep sea, the Blobfish prey on other invertebrates by ambush and foraging. Their diet includes sea crabs, sea urchins, shrimp, shellfish and mollusks. Blobfish reproduction was first recorded in 2000 on the Gorda Escarpment near the coast of California. Reproductive activity consisted of groups of Blobfish nests with approximately 100,000 eggs in each nest. These pink colored eggs in the nest were tended by brooding Blobfish. 

Unfortunately, Blobfish are endangered and is facing near extinction. Real threats to the Blobfish include deep-sea fishing and bottom trawling in their specialized habitat. When exposed to air for a period of time, Blobfish will shrivel up and die. Although the Blobfish is not edible, they are still being caught and dragged up with other marketable fish and invertebrates. Scientists are aware of the endangered state of the Blobfish along with other deep sea creatures. Thus, conservationists are showing efforts to save the Blobfish and other saltwater fish by proposing restrictions on bottom trawling in certain areas.

Kerryn Parkinson © NORFANZ Founding Parties

Kerryn Parkinson © NORFANZ Founding Parties

Posted on May 1, 2013 and filed under Saltwater Fish.