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]

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]

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]

Rock Beauty Angelfish: a Finicky Feeder Best Left in the Sea

On one of my earliest dives down in the Florida Keys back in the 1990s, a gorgeous yellow and black angelfish caught my attention as I drifted over a section of reef. In my mind’s eye, I envision the angel hovering boldly above a large barrel sponge, but I can’t be sure whether that’s actually … [Read More]

Coral Catfish: Cute-Juvenile Syndrome with a Venomous Twist

A school of juvenile coral catfish (Plotosus lineatus) rolling and wriggling en masse along the ocean floor is among the more endearing sights one can behold in the marine realm. Not surprisingly, after seeing this phenomenon in nature or on video, many hobbyists are inspired to recreate it in their home aquaria. What’s more, individual … [Read More]

The Green Brittle Star: Little Fishy, Beware!

“Voracious predator” is not a term one commonly associates with brittle stars—that is, of course, unless the brittle star in question happens to be Ophiarachna incrassata, or the green brittle star (aka “the green death”). This bold species has a well-earned reputation for not merely scavenging deceased small fish and motile invertebrates, as one might … [Read More]

The Harlequin Bass: An Exceptionally Hardy, Beginner-Friendly Marine Fish

Prized for its striking patterning, modest adult size, exceptional hardiness, and overall adaptability, the harlequin bass (Serranus tigrinus), denizen of the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean, makes an excellent choice for the novice marine aquarist and experienced hobbyist alike. (In fact, just try to stop Caribbean Chris from keeping one!) Physical traits This fascinating dwarf … [Read More]

The Striated Frogfish: a Great Choice for the Oddball Fish Aficionado

Marine aquarists who are drawn to cryptic species with unusual morphology rather than bright colors might want to give the striated frogfish (Antennarius striatus) a second look. Actually, depending on the system it’s kept in, it may be necessary to give it a second (or third or fourth) look, as this angler is truly a … [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]