Halichoeres chrysus: A Hardy Little “Banana with Fins” That’s Just Right for Beginners

Known by a variety of common names—banana wrasse, canary wrasse, golden wrasse, yellow coris, et al—Halichoeres chrysus is hardy, readily available, reasonably affordable, well suited to modest-sized systems, and among the better choices for beginners. Of course, owing to all these positive attributes, this wrasse is justifiably popular among many seasoned salties, as well. Physical … [Read More]

The Pacific Sailfin Tang: A Hardy, Bold Species Demanding Spacious Accommodations

The Pacific sailfin tang (Zebrasoma velifer), not to be confused with its Red Sea namesake (Zebrasoma desjardinii), is a fish with many attributes that make it desirable to marine aquarium hobbyists—it’s attractive, hardy, bold, easy to feed, etc. But don’t be deceived by that cute little specimen on display at your LFS. Z. velifer also … [Read More]

Nothing Mysterious about the Mystery Wrasse’s Charms

Pseudocheilinus ocellatus, the mystery wrasse (aka the tail-spot wrasse, white-barred wrasse, or five-barred wrasse), is somewhat uncommon in the hobby and usually priced accordingly. But if you can get past the sticker shock for such a modest-sized fish, you’ll find this species can be a worthy aquarium candidate. Physical traits Exhibiting the banana-with-fins morphology typical … [Read More]

Freckled Hawkfish: A Hardy, Hefty Option for the Rough-and-Tumble Tank

When it comes to keeping hawkfishes in aquaria, one of the more common admonitions is to avoid housing these predators with fish or crustaceans small enough to swallow. For most of the hawkfish species that grace our tanks, which generally have a maximum size somewhere between 3 and 5 inches, only very small tankmates are … [Read More]

Indigo Hamlet: A Comely Sea Bass Suited to Modest-Sized Systems

The family Serranidae, the sea basses (not to be confused with a certain film character portrayed by Cam Neely), is a diverse assemblage of fishes ranging in size from tank-busting “bruisers” to diminutive species that are well suited to life in home aquaria. Included among the aquarium-friendly types are the so-called hamlets of the genus … [Read More]

Threadfin Cardinalfish: Peaceful and Most Impressive in Numbers

Walk by an LFS sales tank containing a few specimens of threadfin cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacantha), and you might not give them a second glance. Chromatically speaking, this species isn’t exactly a showstopper compared to some, especially when viewed in your average LFS environment. But don’t let this cardinal’s unassuming appearance fool you; it can make … [Read More]

The Signal Goby: A Master Mimic with a Sketchy Captive Survival Record

The signal goby (Signigobius biocellatus), aka the twin-spot, two-spot, or crab-eye goby, is an appealing little sand sifter with fascinating behavior that, unfortunately, often adapts very poorly to aquarium life. Nonetheless, specimens still appear in the aquarium trade, so it’s worth discussing the species here—if only to understand why it’s probably best to pass it … [Read More]

The Petite but Somewhat Pugnacious Atlantic Pygmy Angelfish

Having very recently departed the state of Ohio and resettled his family down in the Florida Keys, Caribbean Chris has had to part with his beloved, long-established Caribbean-biotope tank. He’s also had to come to terms with the reality that the specimens he bequeathed to me are now gracelessly intermingled with my Indo-Pacific species. So, … [Read More]

The Yasha Shrimp Goby: A Hardy, Peaceful, Somewhat Rare Nano Reef Candidate

Certain marine fish pack a lot of visual and behavioral interest into a very small package. Such is the case with the yasha shrimp goby (Stonogobiops yasha), also sold under the common names whiteray shrimp goby, orange-striped shrimp goby, clown shrimp goby, and others. This little goby, hailing from the western Pacific, is strikingly colored … [Read More]

The Iconic Raccoon Butterflyfish

Some of the marine fish we like to keep are surprisingly recognizable to both hobbyists and non-hobbyists alike—probably because they’re frequently depicted in photographs and artwork. Among these iconic fishes is the raccoon butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula) of the Indo-Pacific and southeast Atlantic, a very hardy species that’s better than your average butterfly in terms of … [Read More]