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]

Diodon holocanthus: an Endearing Puffer for Spacious Aquariums

Circumtropical in distribution and ascribed more common names than one can possibly keep straight (spiny puffer, porcupine puffer, porcupinefish, longspined porcupinefish, and balloon porcupinefish, to list but a few), Diodon holocanthus can be a worthy, very pet-like aquarium candidate. This species does, however, have certain non-negotiable needs to be met if it is to live … [Read More]

The Yellow Clown Goby: A Practically Perfect Nano Candidate

Nano marine aquarium enthusiasts must be very discerning in their livestock selections to ensure any specimens they choose won’t outgrow their systems. Reaching a maximum size that can best be described as miniscule, the yellow clown goby (Gobiodon okinawae) is a pretty safe bet in this regard. It’s also charming, attractively colored, relatively outgoing and … [Read More]

The Rockmover Wrasse: What a Difference Adulthood Can Make!

In a previous post titled “Marine Fish Bait and Switch—5 Adorable Juveniles that Blossom into Brutes,” I listed the rockmover wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus), aka the reindeer wrasse or the dragon wrasse, among four other species that are typically sold in the marine aquarium trade as cute little youngsters but mature into very different adults. However, … [Read More]

The French Angelfish: Pretty, Curious, and Well Worth the Tank Space!

One of my more enduring memories of diving in the Florida Keys was coming across a pair of French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) gliding in unison above the reef. Unlike so many other fishes that dashed into hiding as I approached, the angels actually swam right into touching distance and seemed to take an interest in … [Read More]

Quality Marine Receives Biota Marine’s Cultured Balistoides conspicillum

“Caribbean Chris” and I are proud to assert that promoting sustainability in the marine aquarium hobby is an important part of our mission. However, every now and again, we’re asked to clarify precisely what we mean by “sustainability” in this context. After all, we have no direct influence on livestock collection practices or the various … [Read More]

Naso lituratus: a Sleek, Striking, Outstanding Fish for Spacious Marine Aquariums

Certain marine fish really make me wish I could afford to set up and maintain a much larger aquarium. Among these is Naso lituratus, the lipstick tang, aka the naso tang, tricolor tang, or orangespine unicornfish. Alas, this hardy, attractive Pacific species (according to Fishbase, the very similar Indian Ocean and Red Sea populations once … [Read More]

A Hawkfish Even “Caribbean Chris” Could Love

Regular Saltwater Smarts visitors know that “Caribbean Chris” has an irrational (bordering on pathological) hatred of all marine life not connected in some way to the Caribbean Sea or tropical western Atlantic. By logical extension, most of the hawkfishes, being predominantly Indo-Pacific or Pacific species, are unwelcome in his aquarium. (He may even have a … [Read More]

Panther Grouper: The Tankbuster “Poster Fish”

Every time I need to make a point about marine fish that are sold as small, cute juveniles but grow into real behemoths, the panther grouper (Cromileptes altivelis according to Fishbase/Chromileptes altivelis according to ITIS) is one of several species that come to mind immediately. But despite its indisputable tankbusting tendencies, C. altivelis is very … [Read More]

Sweet Coral Hind! A Colorful, Aquarium-Sized Grouper

The name “grouper” conjures up images of underwater behemoths that no home aquarium can conceivably accommodate, such as the legendary goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara). Fortunately, marine aquarium hobbyists who have a yen for these hefty predators can find several attractive, aquarium-sized species in the genus Cephalopholis, including the justifiably popular miniata grouper (C. miniata), aka … [Read More]