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FAQs about Banggai Cardinalfish Behavior

Related Articles: Cardinalfishes

Related FAQs:  Cardinals, Banggai Cardinals, Banggai ID, Banggai Compatibility, Banggai Selection, Banggai Systems, Banggai Feeding, Banggai Disease, Banggai Reproduction,

Presence of other life affects...

Banggai Cardinal, reading... beh. f' let's place   9/11/08 Dear Crew, <C> I need your help. I have a 55 gallon FO (50lbs of LR and 100lbs of LS) tank since February. I added a yellow tang, 2 ocellaris fish, 1 Banggai Cardinal, <Mmm, are social animals> 1 Singapore angelfish <Needs more room than this> (a birthday gift my sister gave me), and a cleaner shrimp - all added in March and all getting along. All Juvenile in size. Up to date all my live stock were doing well, healthy appetite and all. My tank gets a 20 gallon water change every two weeks. Two weeks ago, I purchased a Longnose Hawkfish <Also...> and a royal Gramma. I was told by one of the employees at a reputable aquaria shop that these two fish would do well in my tank. At first the royal Gramma was a bit shy, but after 3 days it was swimming out in the open and eating. "Mysteriously" it has disappeared. <Mmm... perhaps "jumped out"... most likely> Aside from the disappearance of the Gramma fish, I noticed that my cleaner shrimp who use to crawl all over the tank, is now recluse in a cave like entry to one of the rocks. <Or the Gramma may have perished, this Lysmata consumed it> I thought nothing of it and suspected he was molting and on this past Sunday, I found his molten shell. <Typical behavior... again, perhaps coupled with the big feeding> I was about to do a water change and I noticed that my Singapore angelfish was lying on its side breathing heavy at the bottom of the tank. <Very bad> I couldn't understand why, he was swimming strong and eating well the night before, I didn't notice anything strange on him the night before. I checked my levels and all was clear except for my PH which was at 7.7 or 8.0 (seemed a little low). <Mmm, this is a logarithmic scale... the diff. you state is HUGE> In any case, I made a water change to see if my angelfish would perk up, but that didn't happen, he died later that afternoon. Needless to say, I was really saddened, and perplexed as I don't know what caused his death. <At least too much stress... again, these Angelfish species need much more room than this> Since then I've been keeping an even closer eye on my tank. Today, Wednesday, I noticed that my Banggai Cardinal has this stringy transparent film like substance hanging from his side fin, and around the top fin as well. He seems lethargic, and his eyes, there is something about his eyes that I can't seem to explain, but they look different almost plastic. I fed the tank and as food went by him, he paid it no mind. Usually he's the first to go for the food. <Mmmm> I know that Banggai Cardinals tend to stay in one spot of the tank or another, but my cardinal swam openly everywhere, <Looking for others of its own kind... please, read before writing us... This information is all archived> he would see me come close to the tank and he would swim to the top because he knew it was feeding time. Today he didn't do such thing. He's just floating right above the sand. Is there anything I give him that my heal him? <...> As for the cleaner shrimp, when the food made its way down to the bottom of the tank, he came out of hiding to eat, but as soon as he saw the Longnose Hawkfish come near he retreated into that hiding place. I am going to return that fish tomorrow. <A good start> I searched the site for the Banggai Cardinal Diseases but I didn't see what I'm describing on there. Your feedback as always is appreciated. ~C from the Bronx <Please: http://wetwebmedia.com/banggaicomp.htm Your system may have other issues... water quality definitely, perhaps some sort of pathogenic involvement... Do you know of an "advanced aquarist" who might come by, give your set-up a look-see? Bob Fenner>

Re: Banggai Cardinal, reading... beh. f' let's place 9/12/08 Good Morning Bob, <Cielo> Thank you for responding. I'm sad to say that my Banggai passed away yesterday afternoon. I returned the Lysmata back to the aquarium store and explained what has been going on in my tank. Like you, they suspect it's a pathogenic situation going on in my tank. Last night when I returned from the store, I sat in front of my tank to observe my 3 remaining fish. I noticed that one of my Ocellaris has a something fuzzy or white on the first white stripe on his face (forehead). Also its poop is white and stringy. It might be Brooklynella or Lymphocystis. <Mmmm> I've been told once, twice, thrice, about setting up a quarantine tank and like a fool I chose to ignore such sound advice. I played roulette and now I'm paying the very expensive consequences for not having this set up. I believe this pathogen or parasite was introduced into my tank when I purchased and introduced the Lysmata and the royal Gramma into the system. It was after introduced them into the tank that my live stock started dying. I'm going to purchase at least a 10 gallon tank so that I can transfer the remaining fish and quarantine them. I have 2 clown fish, a yellow tang, <Will need more room...> and a cleaner shrimp left. From what I've read on this site it looks like a freshwater dip is in order and then return them to the quarantine tank. <Should be dipped/bathed enroute to the isolation... Otherwise you'll be contaminating it as well> But what do I do about my main tank where the parasite/pathogen is residing? How do I get rid of it. I read somewhere that perhaps leaving the fish in the quarantine tank for about a month, might kill off the thing if it doesn't find a host. But I'm wondering if there is something else I need to be doing? Thanks for such a great and informative site. Any further feedback is greatly appreciated. Gone are the days of no quarantine. ~Cielo <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm and the linked files above, until you understand your situation, options... there's a bunch to know that's pertinent. Bob Fenner>

Banggai cardinals, beh.  05/02/2008 Dear WetWeb crew, <<Hello, Andrew today>> Thank you for all of the great information on your website. <<Thanks for the nice comments>> I have a simple question (I hope), but first I know you will probably want to know about the tank and need this information to give me a good answer so here goes: the aquarium is 110 gallons, 30" tall. There is a rock structure on each side, made of egg crate, tufa and lace rock, zip ties and some pond foam to hide the frame and there's some rock stacked in the middle on the tank bottom. There is a power head with pre-filter filter pads zip tied over intakes in each structure to prevent water from getting stagnant under the rocks. The filter pads over the intakes are to spare shrimp and small fish that hide in those areas. We have an oversized filter, rated for tanks up to 250 gallons, because we are at a high elevation (+6000' above sea level) and need the extra oxygenation. It's one of those new hybrid filters that resembles both canister and trickle type filters and has an integrated protein skimmer and pre-filter. The temperature is currently 76 degrees. There is 125 lbs. of tufa and 40 lbs. of live rock. Ammonia is 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates <10 (10 is the lowest color band on the indicator I have & it's lighter than 10), pH is 8.2, I did not check Carbonate hardness this time, but it is usually in the acceptable range. Specific gravity around 1.023. The tank has been running about 10 weeks <<Sounds good>> Occupants: 40 lbs. live rock, live sand, numerous copepods and amphipods, 6 peppermint shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, 6 emerald crabs, 1 purple urchin (med. spine length), 1 mushroom coral cluster, 1 button polyp cluster, maybe 75 dwarf hermits crabs (scarlet, blue leg & jade-yellow tip), 1 lettuce slug, Astrea and Nassarius snails (about 2 dozen), 2 Ocellaris clowns, 1 Jawfish, 2 cardinals. <<Its a high amount of hermits you have in there, ensure extra algal matter is available to them for food. Same goes for the lettuce slug>> On Friday (It is now Monday) I added the two Banggai cardinals and the Jawfish to the aquarium. I had read that Jawfishes often go on a hunger strike for up to a week in a new tank and that I should offer live brine shrimp to encourage it to start feeding. <<Usually correct, yes>> So before the fish arrived, I had set up a continuous hatch and feed brine shrimp system. When the fish arrived I drip acclimated the cardinals for three hours and gave them a bath of Methylene blue for 15+ minutes. The Jawfish still looked stressed after three hours so I allowed another hour of drip for him. The cardinals were actually eating brine shrimp while still in the acclimation box which got siphoned out of the main tank! So, I figured they would give me no trouble at all. That night all was well, the cardinals had eaten frozen Cyclops and live brine shrimp and the Jawfish had found a rock to hide beneath. The next morning, I could only see one cardinal. I then found the cardinal at the side of the tank between the rock work frame and the glass. (We have the rocks zip-tied to eggcrate to prevent rock falls and the frame is camouflaged with waterfall pond foam, which is supposed to be fish safe. Fingers crossed...) So I gently pulled the rock frame away from the glass and he swam out, but he hung around the shrimp hatcher all day looking stressed. <<Seems natural, can be timid and is looking/seeking protective cover>> That was Saturday. On Sunday, yesterday, he looked much improved. He did not look stressed. He was not gulping. Respiration looked normal. He was venturing away from the hatchery a bit. Then I noticed that whenever he came out to pursue a swimming brine shrimp, the other cardinal would go after him and nip him back into hiding. This morning when I got up, the same cardinal was wedged between the glass and the rock frame again. <<This is obviously the chosen place where it feels best protected. Some aggression is commonly seen between two of these when the pairing is starting to form. You could target feed into the cardinals protected area with a turkey baster to ensure that food is received by the hiding fish>> So finally I come to my questions; is the fish wedging itself into a hiding place to escape the dominant cardinal? <<I would say so, yes>> Is a school of two fish just too small? <<Two of these are quite fine and after the initial spats between them, normality should resume. Another factor is if there is a male and male together in your tank, rather than a male and female>> In a normal school of fish, would one fish be the dominant fish with aggression divided among all the others, and being divided, less severe? <<Dominance will ensue through the chain>> Do I need to add more cardinals to lessen the stress on the one fish? What other reason would there be for a fish to wedge itself somewhere.? <<Its possible two males are together here, and not a male and female. Please do read more here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cardinal.htm and linked articles and FAQ's reference sexing / behavior>> Should I add a spacer of some kind between the rocks and glass, so the fish can hide without getting wedged in? <<I would ensure that the fish cannot actually get trapped here, yes>> Your help is much appreciated, Sherry <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Banggai's come out at night, 1/15/08 Hi Crew, <Hello> I purchased two Banggai cardinals which I have had now for six days. I understand they do not travel well so I made sure to turn all lights off and acclimatised them over a period of several hours to my tank. <Best to QT these like all fish, plus gives you time to try to get them feeding on prepared foods and establish themselves after shipping without competing with tankmates.> Even although I have 20 kilos of live rock in a 180 litre tank, they both seem to huddle together at the water surface during the day. <They do tend to prefer subdued lighting, and are nocturnal hunters in the wild.> I have not seen them eating even although I watch carefully at feeding times. <If these are wild caught they can be difficult to feed initially, requiring live food often and need to be taught to accept prepared/frozen food.> The only tankmate who has taken an interest in them is my strawberry basslet who has taken a few runs at them if they get to near 'his' rocks. Other than that they are left to their own devices by the other fish in the tank (1 clown, 1 blue spotted puffer, 1 yellow wrasse, 1 strawberry basslet, 1 Tailspot blenny). I have been keeping a close eye on them and they do not appear to be labouring for breath or showing signs of illness. The strange this is that when I turn the lights on in the morning (the blue light goes on for 15 minutes before the other T5's are turned on) they appear to have been swimming around during the night. <Their preferred foraging time.> They are usually in the water column in the lower half of the tank looking alert and active with their fins erect, but when the lights go on they huddle together at the surface again and they appear to pull their dorsal fins in. I'm worried that they are not eating as I obviously don't feed through the night, and also if this behaviour is normal for these fish? <Is normal, those big eyes are designed for nocturnal hunting/foraging, and they generally hide out during the day. May want to try feeding a little after lights out and see if they will accept the food.> Are they nocturnal / diurnal in the wild? <Yes> Also how am I supposed to feed them if they won't eat during the day? <Time and patience, feeding is one of the most difficult parts of keeping these fish, which otherwise make excellent aquarium residents. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/banggaifdg.htm .> All tank parameters are stable (temp 80f, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, ph 8.2, nitrate 10ppm) <Ok> Thanks for any help you can give, Mark W <I encourage you to move these fish to a QT tank where it is easier to train them to accept non-live prepared foods.> <Chris>

Banggai Highfin cardinal sucking air Hello, I have a Banggai Highfin cardinal that is at the top of the tank acting like he needs air. He has appeared to be happy for the last month since I added him. everyone else seems happy. Its a 55 gal. tank with 60 lbs. of live rock, a dual regent filter and a power skimmer. This is my first salt water tank (3 mo.s since start). If you need more info let me know. Thank You Mike Snow >>>Hello Mike, What other fish are in the tank along with the cardinal? It sounds to me like he may be stressed, perhaps from being harassed by another fish. Have you noticed any aggressive interactions in the tank? Cheers Jim<<<

Missing Banggai Cardinalfish Hey there again, just trying to keep my queries separated. <Appreciate this> OK, new issue. My Banggai Cardinal simply vanished!! I've been looking all over the tank for him and he is gone. He stopped eating for a while but this was following what appeared to be a mating ritual with (what I thought was) his partner. The larger one, I think to be the male, is the one that is missing. Is this guy really missing, or just hiding out before he "belches" out a bunch of fry from his mouth?  <Don't usually hide that much... Very likely either jumped out (any smiling cat cats about?), or died and was quickly consumed or decomposed...> I'm scared that he may be lost and can potentially foul the tank. How long should I wait to not see him before I panic?  <No panic necessary, warranted. Look about the outside of the tank, amongst the decor/rock... keep an eye on your tests for ammonia...> And when I say panic, I'll take apart the reef in an attempt to find him if it means keeping the rest of the stock. In other strange disappearance news, my Scott's Wrasse that I told you about earlier has been acting strange. Is it possible that he is being bullied by my two tangs? (Kole and Indian Ocean Hippo)  <Maybe> Every time that he goes to settle to hide out (if he is spooked) one of the tangs will rush to the area behind the rock and flush him out.  <You likely need more "caves", nooks and crannies... some "blind" (with no opening in their back> I like it because it keeps him into he open. But now, after he's been in the tank for about a week, he is GONE about 3 hours before the lights turn off. Also, Recently I caught him belching out brown material, he looked not so good. . . Like the Cardinal, we have searched everywhere and cannot find him every three hours before the lights go off. . . What gives? <Hiding... probably in the substrate/gravel... to avoid the Tangs, possibly you... No worries though... will learn to come out in time> For your reference our light cycle is as follows: ON --> Actinic 2:30 PM Daylight 3:30 PM Off --> Daylight 11:30 Actinic 12:30 AM Thanks so much, Separate query on the way! <Can't wait. Bob Fenner>

Stocking questions Hello Bob, It's been a while since I've written. Your advice is always great, so I haven't had any problems to write about! But I do have some questions I hope you can help me on again. I have a 125 gal with 160 lbs live rock. My current inhabitants include a blue damsel, percula clown, coral beauty, 2 Banggai cardinals, yellow tang, purple tang, and a few cleaner shrimp, snails, scarlet crabs, and a brittle star. All my fish are happy and eat well. The 2 tangs tussle from time to time, but are usually fine with each other. My first question is about one of the cardinals. I checked the FAQs and couldn't find anything there. One of them always looks great. Nice colors and eats well. The other one looks a bit different, though. The parts of his/her body that are normally white/silver (on these cardinals) always appear to be a very dark gray, almost black sometimes. However, at feeding time, he darts around for food, and his color comes back. You can't even tell the two apart when they're eating. But, when the food is gone, the one turns dark again. I keep thinking he is sick, but he's been this way for about a month. Isn't breathing heavy, always eats, never gets picked on (that I can see). Any ideas? <Yes, one is sub-dominant, likely both are males, and the smaller, weaker one is signaling its subdominance by changing its color, and likely by its behavior> Like I mentioned earlier, everyone else in the tank looks great. I soak all food in vitamins at least 3 times a week. I also wanted to ask your opinion on my stocking options. There are three more fish I would love to have in this tank: a Naso tang, a bi-color blenny, and a flame angel. Do you think that three tangs in a 125 is too many?  <The Naso will get quite large here, in time. The Blenny and Angel are better choices, s/b fine> I think the Naso is the only one I have worries about adding. Please let me know what you think. It is always good to hear your thoughts. Thanks much in advance! <You're welcome my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Jason

Banggai Cardinal Hi Crew <Howdy> I have a beautiful Banggai Cardinalfish, in a 200 gallon marine reef  tank in the UK. I have no problem with him, other than he makes a 'clicking sound'.  I  have read your articles on the Banggai cardinal fish and I cannot see anywhere,   where is says a clicking noise is made.  Is this usual? <Mmm, no... just requires that folks listen carefully> Perhaps, he/she is asking me to feed him/her? <Maybe... or communicating with other life in the system> I wonder if you could tell me about the clicking noise they make, and what it indicates? I have had the fish for almost 7 months now and he is a very happy fish,  not at all shy.  He has plenty of live rock and places to hide around, but  he is always on display and chases around his smaller Pyjama fish, tank  mates.  He also like to go inside the Malu anemone and plays with the clowns. Thanks for an awesome website. <Welcome> Could you reply to me by email if possible, as I have just had spinal surgery and cannot sit for long at the PC at the moment. Linda <We reply directly to all, as well as post on WWM... Sorry to read of your surgery, Bob Fenner, who tweaked his lumbar area a few weeks back in HI pulling weeds and is still mal-affected> Banggai Cardinal  - 03/09/2006 We have 2 Banggai Cardinals.  The very tip of their front dorsal fins (approx.1/16")has turned white and appears to just wave around  with movement.  They have been this way for about 3-4 weeks and the white area seems to be getting larger, but very very slowly.  Any idea what it is and what we should do about it? Bob & Jinni Horn Tank info: Tank size in Gallons?:...75................ Age of tank :..6 months................. Total amount of liverock aprox..60 lbs............. Substrate 3" of live sand............. Temp.....78 degrees Sump  12 gallon............ Prefilter Yes.............. Wooden hood over the light........... Aprox amount of evaporation per day:.1 gallon............ Frequency of water changes &amount changed: 5 gallons Bi weekly Salt mix:.."Red Sea.".......... Additives used:. Kent Marine Concentrated Iodine, Reef Success Coral Grow............... test kit:. Saltwater Master Liquid Test Kit................. adding calcium:. Manual as needed................ Aprox water turnover X times (filter) per hour:....7............ Lighting:. HO Fluorescent........... Bulbs:..2 white 2 blue............... Total watts of lighting (all lamps):...440............ Timers ...Yes......on 12 hours per day Water:.. RO/DI............. Protein skimmer .Venturi.......... Tank parameters.........   -Calcium...................320 mg/L   -Magnesium.........Unknown   -Alkalinity........................12 dKH   -Ammonia..........................0 mg/L   -Nitrites..............................0 mg/L   -Nitrates.............................0 mg/L   -Phosphates.....................  .5 PPM   -Specific Gravity.............1.023   -Water Temp..........................78f    Water Flow > 7 times tank volume per hour <I suspect there is nothing awry with your cardinals here... "just" normal color/growth. Your set-up and water quality looks to be acceptable to fine. Bob Fenner> Question on Banggai Cardinalfish  - 04/22/2006 Greetings!  I have a Banggai Cardinalfish who recently has stopped eating (at least while I'm watching the tank).  I purchased the Banggai several  months ago, after several failures with them -- previous Banggais did not feed very well, then stopped feeding, then started breathing heavily, and then died.  The current Banggai, though, has been doing great for months. Eats regularly, remains active, and has grown quite large.  But this past week, he's stopped eating, and now his breathing appears heavy -- behavior I'm familiar with, unfortunately. <Disturbing...> The tank is a 30-gallon reef tank; the readings on temperature, salinity, and so forth are all in the normal range.  The Banggai shares the tank with a yellowtail damsel, two firefish gobies, and a blenny, as well as a few invertebrates (shrimps, crabs, snails).  There doesn't seem to be excessive competition among the fish -- I'm feeding them brine shrimp (not live) <Mmm, hopefully not exclusively> , and up until early last week the Banggai as well as the others have liked the food and have seemingly been able to get enough of it.  But now, the shrimp float up in front of the Banggai, and he ignores it completely.  Not good. I've been reading readers questions on the FAQ page about Banggai Cardinalfish, and it seems that most of the problems that develop do so shortly after purchase -- not several months down the road.  Is my Banggai just old, or is this normal, or ... what? <Don't know here... perhaps a crowding component... definitely nutritional deficiency possibility...> I think they're one of the most beautiful fish I've ever seen, and I would love to continue to have one (or two, or three) in my tank -- but not if something I'm doing or not doing is killing them.  Any thoughts? <A comment... am out at the Western Marine Conference and some of the speakers and attendees have mentioned the lesser hardiness of this aquarium species in recent years... Given the size of your system, the presence of the damsel... I would hold off on keeping Banggais here... and a last note... I would only feed frozen/defrosted Artemia occasionally... perhaps every few days. Bob Fenner> --Eric Scott

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