Pterapogon kauderni - The Banggai or Kaudern's Cardinalfish is a highly unusual fish in appearance, behavior, reproductive strategy, lifestyle, and history.
Feel good about where your fish come from when you choose these captive bred specimens. The Banggai Cardinalfish is unique in that it is endangered on the IUCN Red List, however, it is also invasive in some areas. Because it's so easy to capture, its native population continues to dwindle, and unfortunately, the populations that are invasive outside its native range lack the genetic diversity of its native population.
Although it doesn't require them for survival in captivity, the Banggai Cardinalfish lives among venomous long spined urchins and long tentacle anemones in the wild. This relationship with venomous animals allows it to conserve energy by spending most of its time hovering near its hosts. As a result, it's not a very strong swimmer. These characteristics make it visible and bold in home aquariums once acclimated to proper environments, which is part of its pet-appeal.
Wild Banggai Cardinalfish are picky eaters in home tanks, but captive bred Banggais are easier to feed. Currently, these are feeding on 0.8mm DKI pellets and frozen brine shrimp. We recommend frequent feedings of a varied diet of frozen meaty foods and Easy Reefs DKI pellets and Masstick.
If you are interested in breeding marine fish, Banggai Cardinals are arguably the easiest saltwater species to breed in captivity - even easier than clownfish! The male broods the fertilized eggs in his mouth, and then spits out a small number of [relatively] large fry. The fry can be started on newly hatched, enriched Artemia. Many breeders fashion fake urchins using black zip ties for their Banggai fry to feel safe.
The ideal tank size for a single or pair is 30 gallons or larger, though bigger shoals can be kept in larger tanks with plenty of space and territory. It may seem counterintuitive, but offering plenty of safe hiding places encourages these outgoing fish to spend their time in the water column where they are nearly always visible to observers. Their very peaceful nature puts them at risk of bullying from more aggressive species, so they do best with only other peaceful fish.
They are reef safe; only the smallest shrimp (like young sexy shrimp) are at risk of being eaten by large adults, which typically grow to 3" in captivity.