Saltwater Fish for beginners

Saltwater fish are the most colourful fish you can buy for your home aquarium. Here are pictures and advice for all beginner saltwater fish.

 

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Angelfish (Dwarf)

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

coral-beauty Coral Beauty Angelfish 4 inch Omnivore Provide plenty of live rock.Peaceful fish. May occasionally nip at corals.
cherub-angelfish Cherub Angelfish 3 inch Omnivore. Feeds on Algae in wild. Very active fish. Can be bred in the aquarium. Males will fight each other, sometimes to the death.
eibls-angelfish Eibli’s Angelfish 6 inch Omnivore A peaceful fish that may bully smaller fish. Provide plenty of live rock. May nip at corals.
Fisher's Angelfish Fisher’s Angelfish 2.5 inch Omnivore Needs a varied diet that includes vegetable matter such as spirulina as well as live food or fresh prawns or fish. Feed 3 times a day. Needs plenty of live rock to graze from.
Flame angelfish Flame Angelfish 4 inch Omnivore Needs a varied diet that includes vegetable matter such as spirulina as well as live food or fresh prawns or fish. Feed 3 times a day. Needs plenty of live rock to graze from.
Potters Angelfish Potter’s Angelfish 5 inch Omnivore Needs a varied diet that includes vegetable matter such as spirulina as well as live food or fresh prawns or fish. Feed 3 times a day. Needs plenty of live rock to graze from.
Keyhole Angelfish Keyhole Angelfish 7.5 inch Omnivore Needs a varied diet that includes vegetable matter such as spirulina and algae as well as live food or fresh prawns or fish. Feed 3 times a day. Needs plenty of live rock to graze from.
flameback-angelfish-centropyge-aurantonotus Flameback Angelfish 2.8 inch Omnivore This would be a good fish for a nano aquarium. It is also a beginners fish but should be kept singly except for a mated pair. They need spirulina and marina algae as well as shrimp in their diet. Provide plenty of live rock.
Whitetail Angelfish Whitetail Pygmy Angelfish 3 inch Omnivore This would be a good fish for a nano aquarium. It is also a beginners fish but avoid putting 2 males in the same aquarium. They need spirulina and marina algae as well as shrimp in their diet. Provide plenty of live rock.
Shepard's angelfish Shepard’s Pygmy Angelfish 3 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and less aggressive than other angelfish. Also it prefers algae to coral browsing. Feed on spirulina, sea algae and tasty shrimp and fishy bits. Provide plenty of live rock.
Halfblack Angelfish Halfblack Angelfish 3 inch Omnivore Hardy and but can be aggressive with its own kind. Feed on spirulina, sea algae and tasty shrimp and fishy bits. If well fed it should leave soft corals alone. Provide plenty of live rock.

 

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Assessors & Grammas

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

blue-assessor Blue Assessor 3 inch Carnivore Provide plenty of caves and hiding places. Can be a little aggressive. Likes to swim upside down.
Yellow assessor Yellow Assessor 3 inch Carnivore Provide plenty of caves and hiding places. Can be a little aggressive. Likes to swim upside down.
Randall's Assessor Randall’s Assessor 3 inch Carnivore Provide plenty of caves and hiding places. Can be a little aggressive. Likes to swim upside down.
Royal gramma Royal Gramma 2 inch Carnivore Provide plenty of caves and hiding places. Can be a little aggressive. Likes to swim upside down.
Brazilian Gramma Brazilian Gramma 2.5 inch Carnivore Provide plenty of caves and hiding places. Can be a little aggressive. Likes to swim upside down.

 

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Dottybacks

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

Oblique lined Dottyback Oblique Lined Dottyback Cypho purpurascens 3 inch Carnivore Aggressive and will attack smaller or more docile tank mates. Provide plenty of hiding places within live rock. Do not keep with similarly coloured or shaped fish. They can be bred in captivity.
Australian Dottyback Ogilbyina novaehollandiae Australian dottyback Ogilbyina novaehollandiae 4 inch Carnivore Will eat or attack smaller fish. Eats pests such as bristleworms and mantis shrimps. Keep with larger fish.
Arbabian bluelined dottyback Arabian Bluelined Dottyback Pseudochromis aldabraensis 3.5 inch Carnivore A bit aggressive but can be kept with larger damselfish, larger angels, surgeon fish and hawkfish and the like. Can be bred in captivity. Needs a varied diet to colour up well.
Blue Bar Dottyback Blue Bar Dottyback Pseudochromis cyanotaenia 2.5 inch Carnivore May eat snails and ornamental shrimps. Should be easy to breed compared to other species. Unlike other dottybacks they are peaceful and retiring so don’t keep with aggressive fish. Provide lots of hiding spaces. Same sex fish might fight but a male and a female should be okay.
Pseudochromis diadema Diadem Dottyback Pseudochromis diadema 2.5 inch Carnivore Small but feisty. Should be kept with larger or aggressive fish. This is a hardy fish but may lose its colour unless fed a varied diet and vitamin enrichment. Provide plenty of live rock and coral in a large aquarium.
Sunrise Dottyback Pseudochromis flavivertex Sunrise Dottyback Pseudochromis flavivertex 3 inch Carnivore May eat smaller crustaceans. One of the most peaceful dottybacks. It makes a good community saltwater fish. It does get intimidated by larger or aggressive fish. Feed a varied diet. Can be bred in captivity.
Orchid Dottyback Orchid Dottyback Pseudochromis fridmani 3 inch Carnivore May eat bristleworms but generall reef friendly. Good saltwater community fish. Provide plenty of hiding places by using live rock and coral. It is very hardy and easy to feed. Great beginners fish.
Pseudochromis fuscus Dusky Dottyback Pseudochromis fuscus 4 inch Carnivore Will eat ornamental shrimps. Comes in various colour form such as yellow through to a purplish brown. It doesn’t hide as much as other dottybacks. Do not keep it with its own kind. It is aggressive to smaller or quiet fish.
Pseudochromis splendens Allen’s Dottyback Pseudochromis splendens 5 inch Carnivore Will eat small tubeworms and ornamental shrimps. It is not an aggressive species but may bother smaller or quiter fish. Provide plenty of live rock and coral. Keep only one per tank except for a mated pair.
Pseudochromis springeri Springer’s Dottyback Pseudochromis springeri 1.5 inch Carnivore Reef friendly but may eat small shrimps. This species is very active. It is a hardy species and can be bred in the aquarium. It is slightly aggressive so keep it with larger or other boisterous fish. It is easy to feed. Keep singly except for a mated pair. It likes branching stony corals.

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Clownfish & Chromis

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

Clarke's Clownfish Clarke’s Clownfish Amphiprion clarkii 5.5 inch Omnivore Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Great beginners fish. Very hardy and will adopt almost all common sea anemones as home.
Red Saddleback Clownfish Amphiprion ephippium Red Saddleback Clownfish Amphiprion ephippium 4.5 inch Omnivore Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Very hardy and will adopt almost all common sea anemones as home. This is aggressive to other quiet or small fish. Prefers Bubbletip and Leathery sea anemones.
Tomato Clownfish Tomato Clownfish Amphiprion frenatus 5.5 inch Omnivore Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Extremely hardy and will adopt almost all common sea anemones as home. This is aggressive to other quiet or small fish. Prefers Bubbletip and Leathery sea anemones.
Cinnamon Clownfish Amphiprion melanopus Cinnamon Clownfish Amphiprion melanopus 4.7 inch Omnivore Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Extremely hardy and will adopt almost all common sea anemones as home. This is aggressive to other quiet or small fish. Prefers Bubbletip and Leathery sea anemones. A larger tank will reduce aggression.
False Percula Clownfish False Percula Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris 3.5 inch Omnivore Vivid colours and a lively personality makes this the most popular clownfish. Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Extremely hardy and will adopt almost all common sea anemones as home. But can live without a host. Less aggressive than other clownfish.
Percula Clownfish Percula Clownfish Amphiprion percula 3 inch Omnivore Vivid colours and a lively personality makes this a popular clownfish. Looks very similar to the False Percula Clownfish except for the black edges around the white bars. Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Hardy and will adopt Heteractis magnifica, Heteractis crispa, or Stichodactylia mertensii anemones as home.
Blackaxil Chromis Blackaxil Chromis Chromis atripectoralis 4.5 inch Omnivore Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Keep in groups of five or more or they won’t thrive. They swim in the upper levels of the aquarium. It is distinguished from the Blue Green Chromis by having black patches at the base of its pectoral fins.
chromis-cyanea-blue-chromis Blue Chromis Chromis cyanea 5 inch Omnivore Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Keep in groups of five or more or they won’t thrive. They swim in the upper levels of the aquarium. This is a good beginners fish being lively and active.
Blackbar Damselfish Blackbar Damselfish Chromis retrofasciata 2.5 inch Omnivore Good beginners fish being hardy and attractive, lively but not aggressive and small. Again should be kept in groups of 5 or more. Should be fed both live food, vegetable matter and flake food.
Purple Chromis Purple Chromis Chromis scotti 4 inch Carnivore Feed on frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and frozen food for herbivores such as spirulina. Easy to feed. Keep in groups of five or more or they won’t thrive. This is a good beginners fish being lively and active.
Vanderbilt's Chromis Vanderbilt’s Chromis Chromis vanderbilti 2.5 inch Omnivore A hardy and small fish so is ideal for beginners. Feed with vitamin enriched food to maintain excellent coloration. Keep in groups of 5 or more. This is a peaceful fish.
Blue Green Chromis Blue Green Chromis Chromis viridis 3.5 inch Omnivore A small fish but not as hardy as other Chromis. Feed with vitamin enriched food, live food and flake food as well as spirulina and algae . Keep in groups of 5 or more. This is a peaceful fish.

 

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Damselfish

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

Blue Damselfish Blue Damselfish Chrysiptera cyanea 3 inch Omnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp and vegetable matter such as spirulina and sea algae. Will eat frozen and flake food too. This is a hardy species that readily breeds in captivity. Larger males might become aggressive as they mature. Prove plenty of live rock and hiding places. The males have a coloured tail; while the females have clear tails.
Yellowtail Blue Damselfish Yellowtail Blue Damselfish Chrysiptera parasema 3 inch Omnivore. This is the least aggressive of the damselfishes making it an ideal beginners fish being hardy as well. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. Yellowtail Damselfish feeds on zooplankton and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food.
Talbot's Damselfish Talbot’s Damselfish Chrysiptera talboti 2.5 inch Omnivore This is the least aggressive of the damselfishes making it an ideal beginners fish being hardy as well. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. Yellowtail Damselfish feeds on zooplankton and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food.
Allen's Damselfish Allen’s Damselfish Pomacentrus alleni 2.5 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and peaceful. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. It feeds on small tidbits and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food. Another damsel that is ideal for the reef aquarium
Goldbelly Damselfish Goldbelly Damselfish Pomacentrus auriventris 3 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and peaceful. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. It feeds on small tidbits and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food. Another damsel that is ideal for the reef aquarium
Caerulean Damselfish Caerulean Damselfish Pomacentrus caeruleus 3 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and peaceful. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. It feeds on small tidbits and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food. Another damsel that is ideal for the reef aquarium
Neon Damselfish Neon Damselfish Pomacentrus coelestis 3.5 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and peaceful. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. It feeds on small tidbits and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food. Another damsel that is ideal for the reef aquarium
Lemon Damselfish Lemon Damselfish Pomacentrus moluccensis 3 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and peaceful. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. It feeds on small tidbits and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food. Another damsel that is ideal for the reef aquarium
Pavo Damselfish Pavo Damselfish Pomacentrus pavo 4.5 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and peaceful. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. It feeds on small tidbits and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food. Another damsel that is ideal for the reef aquarium
Princess Damselfish Princess Damselfish Pomacentrus vaiuli 3.5 inch Omnivore This is a good beginners fish being hardy and peaceful. It needs to be kept in a peaceful community or species tank because it will get bullied by more boisterous fish. It feeds on small tidbits and algae so provide plenty of live rock and algae. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food. Another damsel that is ideal for the reef aquarium

 

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Wrasses

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

Yellow Hogfish Twinspot Hogfish Bodianus bimaculatus 4 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Peaceful when young but may become boisterous as they grow.
Bluehead fairy wrasse Bluehead fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura 5 inch Carnivore. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Peaceful fish. Keep one male with several females. May be agressive to other fairy wrasses.
Longfin Fairy Wrasse Longfin Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis 3 inch Carnivore This is a beautiful and hardy wrasse that is popular with marine aquarists. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least three times a day. May become aggressive as they age.
Scott's Fairy Wrasse Scott’s Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus scottorum 5 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least three times a day. Scott’s fairy wrasse is a colourful and hardy fish. Scott’s fairy wrasses are jumpers, so close off any holes in the aquarium hood.
cirrhilabrus-lubbocki Lubbock’s Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus lubbocki 3 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least three times a day. Scott’s fairy wrasse is a colourful and hardy fish.
Redhead Fairy Wrasse Redhead Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis 5 inch Omnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least three times a day. The redhead fairy wrasse is a colourful and hardy fish.
Golden Wrasse Golden Wrasse Halichoeres chrysus 4.5 inch Carnivore Good peaceful beginners fish. It will eat fireworms and pyramidellid snails, protecting corals and clams. In addition, it may eat feather dusters, wild shrimp, tubeworms, and flatworms. It may also eat parasites off of tank mates. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Needs a 2 inch layer of sand to hide in.
Orangehead Wrasse Orangehead Wrasse Halichoeres iridis 4.5 inch Carnivore Good peaceful beginners fish. It will eat fireworms and pyramidellid snails, protecting corals and clams. In addition, it may eat feather dusters, wild shrimp, tubeworms, and flatworms. It may also eat parasites off of tank mates. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Needs a 2 inch layer of sand to hide in.
Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse Carpenter’s Flasher Wrasse Paracheilinus carpenteri 3 inch Carnivore Good beginners fish. Keep in small groups. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Include colour enhancing vitamins. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least three times a day. Carpenter’s flasher wrasse is a colourful and hardy fish.
filamented-flasher-wrasse-paracheilinus-filamentosus Filamented Flasher Wrasse Paracheilinus filamentosus 4 inch Carnivore Good beginners fish. Keep in small groups. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Include colour enhancing vitamins. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least three times a day. Carpenter’s flasher wrasse is a colourful and hardy fish.
Dot and Dash Flasher Wrasse Dot and Dash Flasher Wrasse Paracheilinus lineopunctatus 2.5 inch Carnivore Good beginners fish. Keep in small groups. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Include colour enhancing vitamins. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least three times a day.
Sixline Wrasse Sixline Wrasse Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 3 inch Carnivore Good beginners fish. Keep in small groups. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Include colour enhancing vitamins. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least 2 times a day. Provide plenty of live rock. May be aggressive to passive fish.
Fourline Wrasse Fourline Wrasse Pseudocheilinus tetrataenia 3 inch Carnivore Good beginners fish. Keep in small groups. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Include colour enhancing vitamins. Will eat frozen food too. Feed at least 2 times a day. Provide plenty of live rock. May be aggressive to passive fish.

 

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Gobies

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

orange spotted goby Orangespotted Shrimp Goby Amblyeleotris guttata 3.5 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Peaceful when young but may become boisterous as they grow. Partner with a suitable shrimp species.
Yellow Clown Goby Yellow Clown Goby   Gobiodon okinawae 1.5 inch Carnivore. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Ideal fish for a nano marine aquarium. Will spawn in captivity. Best in corals.
Yellow Shrimp Goby Yellow Shrimp Goby Cryptocentrus cinctus 3 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Provide coral sand and live coral. Can be spawned.
Sharknose Goby Sharknose Goby Gobiosoma evelynae 1.5 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items, live food and protein rich dried foods. Great fish for a nano aquarium. Provide plenty of live rock and live sand. Reef friendly A good beginners fish and can be spawned.
Randalls Shrimp Goby Amblyeleotris randalli Randalls Shrimp Goby 3.5 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen food too. Provide plenty of live rock and live sand. Reef friendly Can be spawned.
Neon Goby Neon Goby Gobiosoma oceanops 2 inch Carnivore Perfect nano marine fish. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brine shrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Will readily spawn in captivity. Best in corals.

 

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Blennies

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

Red Spotted Sandperch Red spotted sandperch Parapercis schauinslandi 5 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Very hardy. Provide plenty of live rock and live sand. Generally peaceful.
Bicolor Blenny Bicolor Blenny 4 inch Herbivore. Ideal fish for a nano marine aquarium.Feed on algae and spirulina and vegetable based flake food. Easy to keep when algae is present in the aquarium.Occasionally aggressive.
Convict Blenny Convict Blenny Pholidichthys leucotaenia 5.5 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. A very hardy fish that likes to dig. It is generally reef safe. It readily breeds in captivity.
Midas Blenny Midas Blenny Ecsenius midas 4.5 inch Omnivore Great beginner’s fish and very hardy with a great yellow colour. Feed with crushed shrimp and baby brine shrimp as well as vegetable matter and flake food.

 

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Cardinalfish

Size

Feeding

Aquarium Care

Pajama Cardinalfish Sphaeramia nematoptera Pajama Cardinalfish Sphaeramia nematoptera 3 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. A good beginners fish being hardy.
Orangestriped Cardinalfish Ostorhinch cyanosoma Orangestriped Cardinalfish Ostorhinch cyanosoma 3 inch Carnivore. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Ideal fish for a nano marine aquarium. Hardy. Difficult to breed in captivity, but is a mouthbreeder so if spawned chances would be good.
Banggai Cardinalfish Banggai Cardinalfish Pterapogon kauderni 3 inch Carnivore Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. A good beginners fish being hardy. It has been bred often with the male being a mouthbreeder.
Threadfin Cardinalfish-Apogon leptacanthus Threadfin Cardinalfish Apogon leptacanthus 2.5 inch Carnivore Great fish for a nano aquarium. Feed meaty items such as frozen shrimp, vitamin enriched brineshrimp. Will eat frozen and flake food too. Feed at least three times a day. Reasonably hardy. Difficult to breed in captivity.
Flame Cardinalfish Apogon maculatus Flame Cardinalfish Apogon maculatus 4 inch Carnivore Great fish for a nano aquarium. Very hardy. Nice colour that tends to fade with time unless a vitamin rich diet can be provided. Keep singly as it will fight with other cardinalfish in small aquaria.