Male Banggai Cardinalfish Oral Incubation

September 29, 2012 by  

Male Banggai Cardinalfish Oral Incubation, Cardinalfishes, especially the Banggai Cardinalfishes, are some of the best marine fish for aquarists interested in captive breeding–here’s how to do it. Follow these simple steps for successful captive breeding of Banggai Cardinalfishes (Pterapogon kauderni)

Read the previous article on the Banggai Cardinalfish as great marine mouthbrooders, obtain a breeding pair, and wait for the magic to happen! Not only is breeding cardinalfish fun, but it is critical given the fact that the Bangaii Cardinalfish is listed on the IUCN Red List as an endangered species

Courtship rituals should be obvious. You will see lots of vibrating and quivering, and this may go on for up to several days and hopefully will result in successful spawning. During the time leading up to spawning, the male may be more protective of the female than usual.
You will know the spawn was successful if the male starts to refuse food after you have observed courtship behavior. The male will also have an obviously large mouth.

You may witness the female aggressively defend the male once he has started carrying the eggs.
If you are going to separate the fry into a breeder, do so while the eggs are still incubating in the male’s mouth by gently moving the male into the breeder.
At this point the male may be carrying enough eggs to yield a hatch size of 20 or more offspring. This is the reason he won’t feed—because he can’t.
The incubation of the eggs in the male’s mouth takes about three weeks, but unlike most other cardinalfish, male Banggai Cardinalfish will continue to care for their young for about another week.
If you have the male in a breeder, remove the male back to the main tank once the fry have been released. The fry will look almost identical to their parents—just way smaller.

Because the fry are immediately capable of eating, start an intensive feeding regimen of nauplii—the larval stage of brine shrimp (Artemia salina)—and microscopic aquatic animals known as Rotifera (more on these in a later article). Copepods make another good food source for the fry. Start with small amounts of prepared foods and frozen foods as soon as they will take them.

During this period, some of the fry will grow faster than others, and these larger fish will eat the majority of the food (to the point of chasing the smaller ones away). For this reason, some aquarists spilt the fry into separate like-sized groupings at this point.
Depending upon your tank inhabitants, reintroduce the surviving young Banggai Cardinalfish to your main tank. As juveniles that should form a tight protective grouping and there shouldn’t be undue interspecies aggression. As they get older, however, you will need to separate out the young adults—consider giving them to friends or even selling them back to the local fish store for store credit.

Remember, the only ethical way to keep these amazing marine fish in the aquarium trade is to increase the genetic diversity of captive bred specimens. Unless you are planning to seriously breed Banggai Cardinalfish and give away (or sell) many of the offspring, BUY CAPTIVE BRED SPECIMENS. Wild caught specimens should only be obtained for use as foundation broodstock.

“The Banggai Cardinalfish is a rare example of a marine fish with an extremely limited geographic range. This Endangered fish is endemic to the Banggai Archipelago in Indonesia; its total range area is around 5,500 km², however the maximum potential habitat available within this range is about 34 km². The Banggai Cardinalfish is highly prized in the aquarium trade and has been heavily exploited since 1994, resulting in an 89% reduction in population from the start of aquarium fishery in 1995-1996 to 2007.” – IUCN Red List

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