Salty Q&A: Harlequin Tuskfish Ate My Cleaner Shrimp!

Question Two weeks ago, I added a harlequin tuskfish to my 90-gallon reef tank with the understanding that it’s a peaceful fish. Then this morning, the stupid thing ate my skunk cleaner shrimp right in front of me! Was I misinformed about this fish’s temperament? Eating tankmates whole seems like pretty aggressive behavior to me. … [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 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 Pyramid Butterflyfish: A Hardy, Reef-Safe Chaetodontid

While many of the butterflyfishes are challenging—if not outright impossible—to maintain in captivity for one reason or another, there are various species that go against the grain and make excellent or reasonably solid aquarium candidates. Among the “reasonably solid” species is the pyramid butterflyfish (Hemitaurichthys polylepis)—a generally hardy, adaptable, not-too-difficult-to-feed, and beautiful chaetodontid from the … [Read More]

5 Traits of a “Beginner” Marine Fish

What exactly does it mean when we say that a marine fish is “good for beginners”? After all, it’s not like certain fish species come with training wheels or have a set of care instructions tattooed on their dorsal fins (though I may just have to patent that idea). So what sets a “beginner fish” … [Read More]

The Lawnmower Blenny: a Funny, Fascinating Fish of Unpredictable Utility

The lawnmower blenny, aka the jeweled blenny, jeweled rockskipper, or sailfin blenny (Salarias fasciatus), is commonly purchased not just for its comical behavior and only-a-mother-could-love looks, but also for the utilitarian purpose of controlling algae in marine tanks. While you can pretty much count on this droll little fish to provide interest and entertainment, its … [Read More]

Gymnomuraena zebra: Another Moray You Just Might Love!

On various occasions, I’ve written about my fondness for the snowflake moray eel (Echidna nebulosa), in one post even going so far as to claim there may be no better eel for the marine aquarium. My biases notwithstanding, I can’t deny that certain other morays make excellent aquarium candidates as well. Among them is the … [Read More]

The Horned Bannerfish: Little Color but Lots of Character

When choosing fish species for our marine aquariums, bright coloration is often a highly sought-after characteristic. But there’s also something to be said for species with more subdued coloration that just happen to have really interesting morphology. One such species that comes to mind is Heniochus varius, the horned bannerfish, aka the humphead or brown … [Read More]

3 Misconceptions About Small Marine Fish

As human beings, it’s in our nature to assign certain traits to small animals—cute, dependent, harmless, defenseless, etc. Perhaps we think this way because when it comes to animals, people included, smallness is usually correlated with infancy. However, if applied to marine fish, this type of anthropomorphic thinking can lead to some rather significant compatibility … [Read More]