Algae Blenny (Salarias fasciatus)
Range: Algae Blenny is native to the tropical marine environments of the central Atlantic Ocean. Its range extends to the eastern Atlantic from Senegal to Angola, including offshore islands, in the northeastern Atlantic it is confined to the Macaronesian archipelagos of the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. In the western Atlantic it is found off Bermuda and off the shores of North Carolina south through the West Indies to Brazil. The typical Lawnmower Blenny habitat consists of corals, rubble and/or sand. Lawnmower blennies stay fairly close to the surface where the sunlight is strong enough for rich algae growth and they are rarely encountered below 26 feet. The Salarias species are residents of tropical, shallow coastal habitats. They typically are found on fringing reefs or on lagoon patch reefs and rubble patches. These blennies regularly live among coral rubble, macroalgae, or branching stony corals or at the base of sponges.
Description: The Sailfin/Algae Blenny is notable for its unique looks and winning personality. With a mottled tan color, oversized eyes, and typical body shape of the Blenniidae family, Salarias fasciatus adds visual appeal to any marine aquarium. It needs a 30-gallon tank, at the minimum, to provide the best opportunity for plenty of algae. If the tank is larger, it will grow to its maximum length.
Diet: They incidentally ingest tiny invertebrates; including filamentous algae, diatoms, foraminiferans (shelled protozoa), tiny crustaceans, detritus, and sand. On occasion, this species will also consume fish eggs, sponges, and small snails.
Lifespan: A blenny will usually mature between 4 and 6 inches in length. It tends to live for two to four years, or maybe longer.
Babylonia Snail (Babylonia areolata)
Range: Currently, wild spotted babylon is rare and then is being promoted to culture in commercial farm. There are many cultural snail-farms along the gulf and southern part of Thailand. Babylon Snails are also referred to as Leopard or Tiger Nassarius snail. These larger snails make a great addition to the fish only or reef aquarium that utilizes a sand bed. Babylon Snails are nocturnal animals and normally are visible later in the day or evening after the lights go out on the display. These beneficial snails help clean and aerate sandy substrate and scavenge for uneaten food and decaying organics in a similar manner to Nassarius snails.
Description: Shell color and pattern variable, from plain brown to white with orange or brown spots. There is notch at the tip of the shell where the long siphon emerges. Operculum thin and flexible, made of a horn-like material. Body pale, with a long muscular foot that is dark with an orange rim, short tentacles and long siphon. The Babylon Snail can grow to about 3" and do well in all sizes aquariums that contain fish or other animals that require supplemental feedings of meaty foods. It has been reported that these snails prey on gastropods (Snails) but we have not experienced this behavior in our Aquaculture Coral and Aquatic life facility as we maintain them in a variety of aquariums that contain sandy substrate and have never observed this behavior first hand. They will however prey on bivalves such as small clams so avoid this snail if housing Tridacna spp clams in the home aquarium.
Diet: Babylon Snails are scavenging omnivores, and will uneaten food, decaying organics and detritus. Offer small pieces of minced fresh fish or krill, and high quality meaty frozen foods to supplement what they will feed on from the bottom of the tank.
Lifespan: Spotted babylone is an edible sea-snail. Its taste and texture are acceptable among gourmets. The life expectancy of snails depends on their habitat and the species. Some of them only live for about five years. However, others in captivity can live up to 25 years old.
Banded Cat Shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum)
Range: The Banded Cat Shark originates in the Indo-West Pacific. It may be found from Japan to northern Australia and prefers depths of about 275 feet. They frequent coral reefs where they find plentiful prey. This small tropical shark is commonly found on inshore coral reefs and over sandy and muddy bottom habitats from very shallow to deep waters. Most species of catshark are found from the continental shelf to deep-water slope regions. Catsharks are found in all the world's oceans, except for the Antarctic. It is a generally solitary animal with small individuals hiding in crevices of the reefs, well camouflaged with their banding pattern.
Description: The Black Banded Cat Shark is known as a Cat Shark because the barbels at the mouth look like cat whiskers. It is also referred to as the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark, and has a cream-colored body with broad dark black stripes. There may be large, muted brown spots between the stripes when the fish gets larger. Very slender, narrow-headed catshark with variegated color pattern, grey saddle markings obsolete, black spots enlarged and merging together to form dash and bar marks that bridge saddle areas, large white spots scattered on sides and back, anterior nasal flaps greatly expanded and extending to mouth, nasoral grooves.
Diet: Born able to eat and hunt, they grow quickly and both sharks eat silverside, shrimp and squid. They also eat small fish and invertebrates.
Lifespan: The lifespan of these fish is very dependent on how good their living conditions are. Under well-monitored water parameters, a healthy shark can live up to 20 years.
Bubble-tip Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)
Range: Found in two locations, Bubble tip anemone is found in the Indo-Pacific region and on the Tanzanian coast. Large specimens, with tentacles that are more streaming or stringy, are often found in deeper waters with more dimly lit conditions. Large colonies of the smaller Bubble-Tip Anemone are found in shallow waters while the larger specimens are solitary and found in deeper waters. Each type also hosts the specific species of clownfish living within the same area, and that inhabits the same depth. They are more often in small holes or crevices on the reef. On the Tanzanian coast we have seen them between one meter and forty meters although they are often more common in the one to 25-30 foot range.
Description: Bubble Tip Anemones can grow up to 12 inches. The color is generally brown, tan, green, or bluish greens, but can also be cream pink, red, and brick red. There is also a delicate rosy hue that has led to the common name Rose Bubble-Tip Anemone. They have been bred in captivity, but it is unknown how long they live.
Diet: Bubble tip anemones obtain much of the energy they need from light. To really flourish, Bubble tip anemones need a regular source or protein in the form of small meaty morsels of seafood. Luckily, Bubble tip anemones are not particularly fussy eaters, and will almost eat anything they can consume.
Lifespan: Some anemones have been known to live 80 years or more, in captivity. It has been reported they can live up to 100+ years in the wild.
Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa)
Range: Coral Beauty Angelfish, also known as Dusky Angelfish or Two-Spine Angelfish, the Coral Beauty Angelfish is commonly found in shallow reefs that are rich in corals, like the Great Barrier Reef and reef areas in Tahiti, Australia and East of Africa (Tuamoto Island). They thrive at a depth ranging from about 30 to 148 feet.
Description: The coral beauty adults may reach up to 4 inches in length. Their coloration is a dark blue along the outline of their body, orange in the center, and yellow on their pectoral fins.
Diet: In the wild, the Coral Beauty angelfish has a varied diet consisting of algae and crustaceans and will easily adapt to captive foods and feed frozen mysis shrimp, amd meaty crustaceans such as shrimp and clam as well as spirulina, flake and other prepared foods.
Lifespan: They can live 10 -15 years in captivity; however, they are subject to live longer in the wild.
Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)
Range: Emperor Angelfish are found throughout the Indo-Pacific regions, including the Red Sea, Eastern Africa, Japan, the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia. Sightings have also been reported in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Florida, most likely from inappropriate captive release. Emperor Angelfish inhabit reef areas of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Juveniles live alone and are mostly found hiding out in rockwork around the outer edges of the reef whereas sub-adults venture further out to reef's front holes surge channels. The emperor angelfish dwells in reef-associated areas at depths ranging from 1–100 m. Juveniles live alone and inhabit outer lagoon patch reefs or semi-protected exposed channels and reef flats.
Description: Juvenile Emperor Angelfish have a black body with light blue and white vertical lines on their face. Their body is made up of three wide white curved bands. The first runs from the dorsal fin to the anal fin, the second creates a 'C' shape and the third is a white circle close to the tail fin. Adults are brightly colored with yellow and dark blue stripes horizontally across the body. The mouth will be white or light grey with the forehead and operculum a dark blue to black. Although it may not look like it, this pattern is excellent for blending in with a colorful reef background.
Diet: Emperor Angelfish are omnivores, in the wild they eat a wide variety of sponges and encrusting organisms along with small amounts of algae, tunicates, hydroids, and bryozoans.
Lifespan: Their lifespan is reported to be at least 15 years.
Feather Dusters (Bispira brunnea)
Range: Feather duster worms are found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide, in depths of 7- 165 feet, among stones or built on rock crevices. Feather duster worms live in the ocean, often along the rocky shores, on coral reefs or on the pilings of piers. They inhabit a wide range and can be found in the shallow, intertidal areas where they are out of the water at low tide or living at a depth of almost 150 feet, or anywhere in between.
Description: The Feather Duster, also known as Giant Feather Duster, has a fan-shaped crown (radiole) that is tan or orange with brown band colorations. The radiole of some species from certain locales may be up to seven inches in diameter, or of brighter colors. When it is disturbed, it can quickly pull in its radiole into the tube. The umbrella-like crown, consisting of roughly 30 feathery radioles, or gills, of the Hawaiian feather duster can reach seven to eight inches in diameter, when extended fully outward. The individual feathers are tan, white, orange, brown, purple and other colors, with alternating brown bands.
Diet: Emperor Feather duster worms open their feathery plumage to filter plankton and other microscopic nourishment from the ocean.
Lifespan: Feather duster worms reproduce both sexually and asexually. Sexual reproduction involves the release of gametes into the water where the fertilized eggs develop into free-swimming larvae that eventually settle in an appropriate habitat. These worms can live one to 2 years in captivity but lifespan in the wild is not well known.
Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus)
Range: The horseshoe crab species found around the United States lives in the Atlantic Ocean along the North American coastline. Horseshoe crabs can also be seen along the East and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico. They are mainly found in shallow waters with soft ocean floors. The habitat for horseshoe crabs depends on what stage it is in, whether the horseshoe crab is spawning, breeding, or just growing to maturity.
Description: They look like prehistoric crabs, but are actually more closely related to scorpions and spiders. The horseshoe crab has a hard exoskeleton and 10 legs, which it uses for walking along the seafloor. Horseshoe crabs have nine eyes scattered throughout the body and several more light receptors near the tail. Adults horseshoe crabs range in length from 3.5 to 33.5 inches. The females are larger than the males. Horseshoe crabs have a large, arched forebody covered by a horseshoe-shaped carapace (KARE-a-pays), or upper shell, followed by a smooth abdomen with spines on the sides, and a thin tail.
Diet: The horseshoe crab eats what it can find along the ocean floor. Its main diet consists of worms as well as mollusks, which are animals with a soft body, no spine, and a hard protective shell. Clams are the most common mollusk in the horseshoe crab's diet.
Lifespan: At around 10 years of age, horseshoe crabs reach adulthood. They are ready to start breeding and will migrate to coastal beaches in the spring. A horseshoe crab can live for more than 20 years. Threats to horseshoe crabs include habitat loss and overharvesting.
Leather Corals (Sinularia)
Range: Leather Corals are members in the Family Alcyoniidae. They form the largest group of Octocorals found throughout the world. The Alcyoniidae family is found just about everywhere except the Atlantic Ocean, which has only a few deep-water species in the Alcyonium Genus. These are found in a number of habitats, but primarily reef flats. They are also found in shallow waters close to shore where they may be exposed during low tide. These species are also found on reef flats, well as in lagoons. This is one of the most predominant of all the soft corals.
Description: Leather Corals can have a wide range in color from browns, to reds, purple, and almost blue like colors. The polyps will be a little different in color than the base. These leathers can get up to 8 inches in height and around 12 inch wide along the base. This coral will need anywhere from 10 to 14 inches of space in an aquarium. There will be a short base with a head structure on top that will make it look a lot like a mushroom or a toadstool. They commonly range in color from brown to yellow and less commonly in shades of green. The polyps will range in color from white to gold and less commonly in green.
Diet: Leather Corals live in symbiosis with the marine algae, zooxanthellae, and derive the majority of their nutrition from it. Yet in captivity, they usually will eagerly accept small foods like brine shrimp and plankton as well. They will also benefit from occasionally soaking the food in vitamins.
Lifespan: While ancestors of today's coral date back 240 million years, today's reefs began growing more than 50 million years ago, although most reefs are about 5,000 to 10,000 years old. While entire reefs may grow this old, each coral colony has a significantly smaller lifespan of hundreds of years.
Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus)
Range: Their natural geographic location, Longnose Hawkfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and South Africa to the Hawaiian Islands, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to northern Colombia and the Galapagos Islands. On the eastern Pacific region, the fish is found between the Gulf of California to the northern coast of Colombia as well as the Galapagos Islands. In the waters, the fish is usually found in depths of from 10 meters to 100 meters.
Description: The Longnose Hawkfish has a white body with red striping that runs both horizontally and vertically. They have great personalities and are very interesting to watch. The primary colors of the Longnose Hawkfish are white and red with mottled markings and a concave tail. The adult males have black fringing on their pelvic and caudal fins; however, all Longnose Hawkfishes begin life as females and become males later on.
Diet: Although it eats small fish and shrimp, it makes an excellent reef inhabitant under the proper conditions. It likes to be perch on and be camouflaged by the Red Gorgonian Sea Fan or other similar decor. The Longnose Hawkfish diet should include a variety of marine meats, frozen preparations, and live feeder shrimp.
Lifespan: Reportedly, Longnose Hawkfish have only spawned in captivity, so there is no conclusive data to support their lifespan in the wild. In captivity, they live 6-8 years.
Kenya Tree Coral (Capnella)
The Kenya Tree Coral, also referred to as a Cauliflower Soft Coral. It lives in a wide range of the Indo-Pacific. It has a thick trunk, like a tree, and many branches giving it an arboreal appearance. It is not normally considered a threat to hard corals, but may itself be disturbed by their presence. In terms of color, this rapidly growing soft corals species is somewhat drab and is generally available as a brown/pink frag or colony.
Type of coral: The Kenya Tree coral is a hardy soft coral species that is tolerant of a range of living conditions, which makes it great for beginner aquarists. In terms of color, this rapidly growing soft corals species is somewhat drab and is generally available as a brown/pink frag or colony.
Growth rate: Different species will grow from 6 inches to 16 inches. In tanks, The Kenya Tree Coral can be easy to moderate to care for and thrive.
Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
Range: This species is found in the Eastern Indian Ocean and in the western Pacific Ocean. As mentioned earlier, they can also be found in Northern Australia, Southeast Asia and Japan. They typically live in small groups on outer reef slopes or in sheltered lagoons at a maximal depth of 15 meters.
Description: Clownfish are typically very bright, orange fish that have three white stripes, one at the head, middle and tail. If you look really closely, you may notice that there are thin black lines around the white stripes. They are the only fish that are able to live in sea anemones and not get stung by their tentacles. The Ocellaris Clownfish is the most familiar species of clownfish and was made famous in the Disney movie “Finding Nemo”. It is bright orange with three white stripes. All white stripes are outlined with a narrow black edging and the fins typically have a thicker black edging.
Diet: In nature the diet of clownfish consists of crustaceans (such as copepods and amphipods), algae, polychaete worms and leftovers from the anemone's meal. Our captive bred fish are conditioned to eat a variety of aquarium diets including pellets, flake food, frozen Mysis shrimp, and frozen brine shrimp.
Lifespan: 3 - 6 years generally, but there are reports of a pair of percula clownfish that have been alive for 27 years.
Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
Range: The Pajama Cardinalfish is a schooling species found living near coral reefs throughout the Coral Sea, Fiji and large areas of the western Indo-Pacific.
Description: The Pajama Cardinalfish is a rainbow of playful colors. It has a greenish-yellow face, bright orange eyes, and a silver-based body dressed with a bold black scalar margin and a posterior dotted with orange polka-dots. The Pajama Cardinal is a slower swimmer, and extremely peaceful in nature, and should be housed with other reef safe, and peaceful tank mates. Because of their timid nature, they are a great choice to house with Seahorses and Pipefish.
Diet: Pajama Cardinalfish will consume a variety of different food types. In nature their diet consists of small crustaceans, which they hunt at night. In the aquarium they prefer a meaty diet of frozen food such as mysis shrimp and brine shrimp. However, they will also eat pellets and flake food.
Lifespan: Unlike many other species of marine fish, the cardinalfish lacks a planktonic stage in its life history. The species has a short lifespan, reaching around 4 years in optimal conditions in captivity, and perhaps one to two years in the wild.
Pink Skunk Clownfish (Amphiprion perideraion)
Range: Amphiprion perideraion also known as the pink skunk clownfish or pink anemonefish, is a species of anemonefish from the skunk complex that is widespread from northern Australia through the Malay Archipelago and Melanesia. In the wild the Pink Skunk Clownfish are generally found in lagoons and shallow reef areas on the fore reef slopes, and reef faces. They prefer calmer waters so stay below the surge zones at depths of 10 feet to 98 feet.
Description: The captive-bred Pink Skunk Clownfish, also known as the Pink Skunk Anemonefish or False Skunk-striped Anemonefish, has a peach-orange base color with one white stripe behind the head that runs from the nose and down the entire length of the back. Another contrasting white stripe is located just behind the eyes.
Diet: The Pink Skunk Clownfish are omnivores. In the wild they feed on algae, worms, amphipods, tunicate and crustacean larvae, very small crabs, barnacle appendages, isopods, gastropod fragments, and spoiled eggs from their clutch. They tend to consume more algae than most clownfish.
Lifespan: In the wild, Pink Skunk Clownfish are known to hybridize with the Skunk Clownfish. These are long lived anemonefish, known to have a lifespan of over 21 years in captivity.
Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon)
Range: Acanthurus leucosternon is found in tropical waters from the Indian Ocean. The species inhabits shallow and clear coastal waters always associated with a reef. It prefers flat top reefs and areas along seaward slopes.
Description: The Powder Blue Tang, also known as the Powder Blue Surgeonfish, has a disk shaped body, featuring a bright light blue body with a yellow dorsal fin and caudal peduncle, and a darker face outlined in white. Making it a real eye catcher in your aquarium.
Diet: The diet of the Powder Blue Tang should consist of freeze-dried worms, brine shrimp, algae, and vegetarian items such as Spirulina, zucchini, broccoli, leaf lettuce, and dried seaweed.
Lifespan: In the wild, the Powder Blue Tang lives 30 to 45 years. However, in captivity their lifespan can be drastically reduced to only 30 years, possibly less.
Purple Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani)
Range: In the wild, these mostly shy fishes are found on coral or rocky reefs, where they prefer to hide in reef holes or crevices and feed upon small crustaceans, polychaete worms, and plankton. Generally found at depths of 1-60 m, making its home in small holes or crevices. They prefer vertical rock faces or overhangs. Generally peaceful, but can be territorial toward similar species. Pairs have been known to breed in captivity.
Description: The color of the Purple Dottyback, also known as the Magenta Dottyback or Purple Pseudochromis, is best described as magenta. A 30 gallon or larger aquarium should be provided. It may become aggressive towards other Pseudochromis or fish with similar body shapes.
Diet: Purple Dottyback will consume a wide range of meaty foods including flake, freeze-dried, frozen and fresh varieties. It is best to feed them a mixed diet of meaty foods including a high quality flake food, quality frozen foods and possibly live meaty foods like brine shrimp or copepods and amphipods if available.
Lifespan: On average five to seven years.
Regal Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
Range: The regal blue tang can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific. It is seen in the reefs of the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, New Caledonia, Samoa, East Africa, and Sri Lanka. The regal blue tang is one of the most common and most popular marine aquarium fish all over the world. As one name implies, these fish live in the Pacific Ocean, but they are also found in the Indian Ocean, from East Africa to Micronesia, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their homes are the coral reefs that grow along the shores.
Description: Regal Tangs are very distinctive due to their unique pattern and bright coloration. They have a vibrant blue color covering their body, with black markings that extend from their eyes to their tail. Their tail fin is outlined in black and colored a bright yellow in the middle. An adult regal blue tang is a flat-bodied, round-shaped fish with a royal blue body, black "palette" design, and a yellow tail. It reaches 12 inches in length and weighs around 1.3 pounds, with males typically growing larger than females.
Diet: Regal tangs have an omnivorous diet, with an emphasis on algae. On the reef, they browse for algae throughout the day. They also eat small invertebrates, such as tiny crustaceans and worms.
Lifespan: Males, since they are bigger than females will reach about 12.5 inches by the time they are four years old and these tangs will live 30 to 45 years.
Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)
Range: The sailfin tang is mostly found in seaward reefs and lagoons along the waters of the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania. The young ones are solitary by nature and like to spend their time mostly hidden behind rocks, corals, and turbid reefs. They prefer coral areas having strong water currents. In the Pacific, these fish are found in places like Indonesia, northern and southern Japan, the Hawaiian Islands, the Tuamoto islands, Rapa Island, southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef, and New Caledonia. They can live in waters to a depth of three feet to 200 feet.
Description: The sailfin tang has a disc-shaped body comprised of a huge anal fin, an elevated dorsal fin, and an extended snout. In the juvenile stage, the body is a medium brown color, it has bright yellow stripes with some of the bright yellow color distributed through its fins, tail, and nose. The pharyngeal teeth are fewer in number and larger in size compared to some of the other species in the Zebrasoma genus.
Diet: The Sailfin Tangs are primarily herbivores. In the wild they feed primarily on leafy macroalgae algae. This genus can store fat in their body cavities so may go through periods of non-feeding.
Lifespan: Males, since they are bigger than females will reach about 12.5 inches by the time they are 4 years old and these tangs will live 30 to 45 years.
Tiger Brittle Starfish (Ophiuroidea)
Range: Two of the best-known shallow species are the green brittle star, found from Massachusetts to Brazil, and the common European brittle star. Compared to sea stars, brittle stars' arms and central disk are much more distinctly separated, and their arms allow them to move gracefully and purposefully in a rowing movement. They reside in all of the oceans of the world and are found in all marine environments, from polar to tropical. Brittle stars are mainly detrivores (detritus-eaters); they eat decaying matter and plankton. Some brittle stars can also kill small animals. They push their stomach out through their mouth (which is located on the underside of the disk of the brittle stars) and digest the prey (there is no anus).
Description: Some are quite cool looking, including the Tiger Striped Brittle Star varieties. Colors vary quite a bit with some being light brown with darker stripes and some are dark brown with even darker stripes. They are called "brittle stars" because there arms are easily broken off as some sort of defensive mechanism.
Diet: Brittle stars feed on detritus and small oceanic organisms such as plankton, small mollusks, and even fish. Some brittle stars will raise themselves on their arms, and when fish get close enough, they wrap them in a spiral and eat them.
Lifespan: Brittle stars reach sexual maturity at about 2 years of age and become full grown by 3 or 4 years of age; their lifespans are about 5 years.
Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
Range: Yellow tang are mainly found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The yellow tang prefers subtropical waters but is not commonly found in oceans. They are reef-associated fish and inhabit the sub-surge zone of coral reefs. The yellow tang is one of the most popular fish in a saltwater aquarium. It's important to be aware, however, that yellow tang can be aggressive, are prone to the fish disease called "ich," and may damage coral in your reef tank.
Description: A bright and slimy yellow body with a white horizontal band, that's how a yellow tang looks. These yellow-colored fish grow up to 8 inches in length and half an inch thick. They get their name due to the presence of a white-colored, razor-shaped scalpel (also called tang) near the tail. Bright yellow fins and body are the trademarks of the yellow tang. Small, tightly packed scales on the body give the fish a velvetly appearance. The sharp spines near the tail are used for defense and as an anchor in the rocks when sleeping.
Diet: In the wild, yellow tang feed on benthic turf algae and other marine plant material. In captivity they are commonly fed meat/fish based aquarium food, but the long term health effects of this diet are questionable.
Lifespan: They can grow up to 8 inches in the wild, but are introduced to aquariums in the two inch to four inch range. Some specimens as large as six inches are occasionally available. Life expectancy in the wild can exceed 30 years.