Bamboo Shark (Hemiscylliidae)
Range: They often live in coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean. White-spotted bamboo sharks prefer inshore, shallow, tropical reefs. They have such slender bodies that they are able to glide between coral branches and hide in the crevices of reefs. Bamboo sharks, like most sharks, have electroreceptors on their snouts that help them locate prey that is buried in sand or mud.
Description: The Bamboo Shark is known as one of the Cat Sharks because the barbels at the mouth look like cat whiskers. It is also referred to as the Black Banded Bamboo Shark, and has a cream-colored body with broad dark brown or black stripes. There may be large, muted brown spots between the stripes. They are a rare shark with a long tail. They have extremely long tails which are longer than the length of the rest of their body. Bamboo sharks eat other invertebrates and small fish that also live in the warm, shallow waters they enjoy. They only grow to about 37 inches in length, and are harmless to humans.
Diet: Their diet consists of crab, shrimp and small fish. They are nocturnal predators and will scour the bottom for food, sucking in what they find. Like other sharks, they also have electroreceptors (ampulae of lorenzini) along their snout to help them locate prey that is buried in the sand and mud.
Lifespan: The life expectancy of the bamboo shark is approximately 25 years.
Blue Spotted Grouper (Cephalopholis argus)
Range: Blue spotted Groupers are found living near coral reefs throughout the Indo-pacific where they hunt for small fish or invertebrates to consume. Blue spotted Groupers are found living near coral reefs throughout the Indo-pacific where they hunt for small fish or invertebrates to consume.
Description: The Blue Spotted Grouper or Peacock Hind Grouper has a brown body color with iridescent blue dots that cover his body. They can turn partially white and have brown vertical bands depending on their mood. The Blue Spotted Grouper will eat anything that will fit into their mouth including smaller fish and crustaceans.
Diet: Blue spotted Groupers are pure carnivores, thus there diet is made up entirely of meaty items ranging from live fish, shrimp, mussels, krill or other marine meaty items. They should be fed larger meaty items twice a day, as much as they will consume with in a 3 to 5 minutes.
Lifespan: These fish should enjoy a lifespan of at least 12 to 15 years in captivity.
Cownose Ray (Rhinoptera bonasus)
Range: Found in the Atlantic Ocean along western Africa, the eastern United States, the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. They prefer warm temperate and tropical waters to depths of 72 feet.
Description: Cownose stingrays have long, pointed pectoral fins that separate into two lobes in front of their high-domed heads.
Diet: Feed mostly on clams, oysters, hard clams and other invertebrates. They use their front side fins to produce suction to draw food into its mouth, where it crushes its food with its dental plates.
Lifespan: In the Gulf of Mexico, females live up to 18 years while males live to 16 years. In the Atlantic Ocean, females live up to 13 years, and males to 8 years.
Dogface Puffer Fish (Arothron nigropunctatus)
Range: The dogface puffer fish, a scaleless, inflatable species found in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including off the north and east coasts of Australia. This species is found in tropical waters from the Indian Ocean to the central islands of the Pacific Ocean, roughly equalling the Indo-Pacific, except the Red Sea. It lives close to external reef slopes and lagoons from the surface to 82 feet depth.
Description: The Dogface Puffer, also known as the Blackspotted Puffer, gets its name from its resemblance to canines. It changes appearance during different stages of life. While in the gray phase, it is gray with black markings around the mouth, eyes, and dorsal fin. The pectoral fins have a yellow appearance.
Diet: The dogface puffer will eat most meaty foods like krill or silversides. However, he needs crunchy, hard-shelled invertebrates like coralline algae and stony corals to blunt his beak. The dogface puffer's beaks grow continually, and he needs hard invertebrates to chew on to keep the beak from overgrowing his mouth.
Lifespan: A puffer fish, if kept in an ideal environment, can live up to ten years.
Emperor Snapper (Lutjanus sebae)
Range: They are found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Emperor snappers inhabit a wide range of habitats. Juveniles tend to be found in either shallow coastal bays and lagoons, or on coral reefs. Occasionally, juveniles or sub-adults can be found in brackish conditions.
Description: The Red Emperor Snapper is a compact and powerful fish with a large head. With its rusty red body color and three thick broad white vertical bands, it makes a beautiful fish in the home aquarium. The Red Emperor Snapper has a total of 11 dorsal spines and 15 dorsal soft rays.
Diet: It should come as no surprise that the emperor snapper is a strict carnivore. A diet of rich, meaty foods such as shrimp, clam, fish (whole and/or chunked), squid, and other seafood should constitute the bulk of the diet.
Lifespan: A puffer fish, if kept in an ideal environment, can live up to 20-35 years.
Fiddler Ray (Trygonorrhina)
Range: Fiddler rays or banjo rays, is a genus of guitarfish, family Rhinobatidae. The two species are found along the eastern and southern coasts of Australia. They are benthic in nature, favoring shallow, sandy bays, rocky reefs, and seagrass beds. The eastern fiddler is found to a depth of 120 m and the southern fiddler to a depth of 180 m. The flattened pectoral fin discs of fiddler rays are shorter and more rounded than those of other guitarfishes.
Description: A medium-sized shovelnose ray, the southern fiddler has an oval disc that measures less than the tail length. The translucent snout is semi-circular, relatively short and broadly rounded with nostrils partly covered by a fleshy internasal flap. The lower lobe of the caudal fin is poorly defined in this species. This oval shaped ray has a very rounded pectoral disc that is dark yellow-brown on top with irregular grayish bands outlined in darker brown. The long tail has two small dorsal fins and an asymmetrical caudal fin, and the total length of this ray, including tail, can be as much as 50 inches.
Diet: Fiddler rays feed on bottoms shellfish, crabs, and worms, which they crush between their jaws. The eastern fiddler ray is known to scavenge from fish traps.
Lifespan: It gives birth to litters of four to six young per breeding cycle. Fiddler rays are part of a group of rays that are fished by humans; however, in captivity, they can live up to 15-20 years.
Guineafowl Puffer Fish (Arothron meleagris)
Range: The guineafowl puffer is a relatively large puffer – growing to lengths of at least 20 inches – that lives on rocky and coral reefs in the Indo Pacific area, excluding the Red Sea. Guineafowl puffers are foraging predators that eat a variety of sessile invertebrates. They live close to the reef and in lagoons to a depth of 25 meters. Because of their coral diet they are usually found on reef tops.
Description: A large and distinctive Puffer which changes appearance during different stages of its life. While in the black phase, it is black with white spots over the entire body. It's this coloration that gives it its common name as it resembles the colors of a Guinea Fowl bird. The golden phase is denoted by its rich burgundy to golden tan coloring with smaller white spots covering its body. It also has a yellow phase, during which, it is lacking the white spots. It very rarely changes phases while living in an aquarium. Like all puffers, this species is known for its ability to “puff up” when threatened. The guineafowl puffer gets its common name from its resemblance to guineafowl birds. It is typically black and covered with small white spots. The guineafowl puffer, like all puffers, has powerful jaws and beak-like teeth.
Diet: Guineafowl puffers are foraging predators that eat a variety of sessile invertebrates. Their preferred prey is branching coral (including lobe coral), but they also occasionally eat sponges, soft corals, and other reef organisms.
Lifespan: 5-8 years.
Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta)
Range: The Longhorn Cowfish is found naturally in the Indo-Pacific region, Red Sea and East Africa eastward through Indonesia to Marquesas including Tuamotus, southern Korea, north to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan, south to Australia and Lord Howe Island, and off southern Africa in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Longhorn cowfishes' primary habitat in the Indo-Pacific region are coral reefs in lagoons, on reef flats, protected seaward reefs and in coastal muddy or sandy habitats in still bays, and in harbors and estuaries. Adults are often solitary and territorial.
Description: Longhorn Cowfish are yellow to tan colored with white spots. The longhorn cowfish is a variety of Boxfish from the Ostraciidi family, It is recognizable by its long horns that protrude from the front of its head, rather like those of a cow or bull. Longhorn Cowfish are usually around 4 inches in length.
Diet: Being omnivores longhorn cowfish will eat a variety of meat and vegetable-based foods. In their natural habitat, this would consist of polychaete worms, mollusks, small crustaceans, small fish, benthic algae and various microorganisms. In the aquarium, a diet of chopped meaty foods and marine algae is recommended.
Lifespan: Out in the deep blue ocean, longhorn cowfish typically live around 8 years.
Miniatus Grouper (Cephalopholis miniata)
Range: The Miniatus Grouper, also commonly referred to as the Coral Grouper, is a hardy and vividly colorful species endemic to the coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. They inhabit coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to Durban, South Africa and eastward to the Line Islands; including most islands in the Indian and west-central Pacific oceans.
Description: With its vivid color, the Miniatus Grouper makes a gorgeous addition to any tank. It features a large mouth full of small teeth, which are mainly used to prevent escape as the Miniatus Grouper swallows its prey whole, crushingit's prey with the powerful, pharyngeal teeth that line their throats. The Miniatus Grouper is bright red with iridescent blue spots on the body and head. Juveniles may lack spots or have fewer, larger spots. The Miniatus Grouper is not as frequently available as the similar Lyretail Grouper.
Diet: The Miniatus Grouper is carnivores and should be fed with a wide variety of meaty foods such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, and vitamin-enriched brine shrimp (as juveniles), mysis shrimp, or even larger chunk foods.
Lifespan: Since these fish are harvested in commercial fishing, it is very difficult to determine a true life expectancy; however, in captivity, grouper have lived 20 plus years.
Red Tail Triggerfish (Xanthichthys ringens)
Range: A highly underrated fish - Red Tail Triggerfish is a species endemic to the Tropical and Subtropical Western Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean. At depth, in some locations, they are the most common fish. Often marked by lines and spots, they inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world, with the greatest species richness in the Indo-Pacific. Most are found in relatively shallow, coastal habitats, especially at coral reefs, but a few, such as the oceanic triggerfish, are pelagic.
Description: Most Triggerfishes are brightly colored and marked with patterns of lines and spots. They are easily recognized by their deep flat bodies, small pectoral fins, small eyes placed high upon the head, and rough rhomboid-shaped scales that form a tough covering on their body. The Red Tail Triggerfish, also known as the Sargassum Triggerfish, comes from the Caribbean Ocean and is mostly purple in color. The sides are marked with evenly spaced spots that are darker than the rest of the body.
Diet: The Red Tail Triggerfish needs a well-balanced diet of vitamin-enriched herbivore preparations, marine algae, and meaty foods such as small invertebrates, shrimp, squid, and clams.
Lifespan: Since these fish are harvested in commercial fishing due to their clean, white meat and sweet flavor and their abundance throughout the ocean, it is very difficult to determine a true life expectancy; however, in captivity, healthy triggerfish have lived 15-20 years.
Spiny Box Puffer Fish (Chilomycterus antillarum)
Range: The web burrfish, spiny box puffer, bridled burrfish or striped burrfish, is a species of fish in the genus Chilomycterus native to the Western Atlantic Ocean, southern Florida, and the Bahamas to Brazil. This fish is found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.
Description: The Spiny Box Puffer is an oddly shaped fish. It has a tan to yellow body with dark spots, and short, fixed spines which help protect it from larger, more aggressive fish. Its teeth are actually a fused beak-like structure. The Spiny Box Puffer often lingers around coral reefs as they prefer shallow inland waters with depths ranging from 5-30 feet. Maximum size, the Spiny Box Puffer Fish grows up to 6 inches long. The spines on puffers are much smaller than that of the Porcupine fish and are known to be poisonous if consumed, though the toxin is generally highest in ovaries and liver, but may be present in skin and muscle as well. Puffer fish are extremely poisonous.
Diet: It will eat invertebrates found in a reef tank. The Spiny Box Puffer needs a varied diet of meaty foods including; squid, krill, clams, and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth.
Lifespan: If properly cared for, their life span is closer to 12-15 years. They are, sadly, highly prone to lock jaw. Treatment can often be successful however.
Tiger Cowrie Snail (Chilomycterus antillarum)
Range: The tiger cowrie is found on the ocean floor in the Indo-Pacific region, from the eastern coast of Africa to the waters of Micronesia and Polynesia, the Coral Sea and around the Philippines.
Description: The Tiger Cowrie has an egg-shaped, spotted, glossy shell and is in high demand for the rock aquarium. It differs in color depending upon geographical location. While it does not have an operculum to shut when it retracts its mantle into its shell, the opening is lined with "threatening" tooth-like structures.
Diet: Carnivorous, the adult tiger cowrie eats coral and various invertebrates, while juveniles eat algae.
Lifespan: The life history of cowries can be split into three stages: the first being the juvenile larva stage where shell volume increases, secondly the callus-building bulla stage whereby the shell is thickened and lastly the adult stage where no further growth occurs and sexual maturity is reached. Some large cowries can live for 10 years, while smaller one for 2-3 years.