Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about the Flatfishes in General

Related Articles: Giving your aquarium some sole: Success with fresh and brackish water flatfish by Neale Monks, Flatfishes, Paralichthyidae, Bothidae, Achiridae,

Related FAQs: Right "hand" Flounder,

Bothus lunatus tooling around in Bonaire waters.

Figure 8 puffer and sole; incomp.       2/23/16
Is a sole safe to keep with figure 8 puffers (ignoring the problem of food competition)?
<Not ideal, no. Figure-8s will nibble at anything. A flounder hiding under the sand with its eyes poking out might be an easy target for a pufferfish... with the result that the flounder could lose its eyes. I would be very wary about combining them. As a reminder, Puffers are best kept alone. They barely tolerate one another, and tend to view other fish as either a threat or potential prey. If you accept that, your pufferfish experience will be much better.>
I used to have a tank with dwarf puffers that ignored a pair of some fish sold as flounders. I don't know if figure 8 puffers are much more dangerous or if it's common for them to bite soles.
<Hard to say. Soles and flounders are mostly nocturnal, so feeding them is tricky, but since puffers are diurnal, you can work around the needs of both in the one tank. On the other hand, because the soles and flounders are inactive fish that rely on camouflage, they're easy targets for aggressive tankmates within the confines of the aquarium.>
Which common soles are best for 1.005 sg brackish, and is there any sole from Cynoglossidae that is best for this sg, or they're all unidentifiable and treated the same?
<It's incredibly hard to identify "freshwater" flounders and soles, with the exception, perhaps, of Brachirus harmandi. Let me direct you to some notes I wrote a few years ago that may be helpful.
To be clear, some of the names offered by wholesalers and retailers, such as Brachirus pan, are used so loosely as to be worthless. There are some very nice photos in the Aqualog brackish water fishes book, but even with these you'd be hard pressed to positively identify any "freshwater" sole or flounder. Much better to treat them all as low-end brackish, as they'll all thrive at, say, SG 1.005, even if that species should be marine or even freshwater. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Figure 8 puffer and sole; now stkg.      2/24/16

How many figure 8 puffers should be kept in a 36 x 18 x 24 65 gallon with heavy planting and strong flow?
<Oh, a fair few! Allow 15 gallons for the first one, then 5-10 gallons for each additional one. So at least six, perhaps a couple more. For some weird reason, this species cohabits well with Bumblebee Gobies, so if you must have a tankmate species, that might be worth thinking about. Tricky to feed though. Cheers, Neale.>

Fish anatomy; eating flatties!      7/22/14
So I went fishing yesterday and caught halibut. I found this meaty piece of tissue right on the belly near where the ribs come together by the guts.
The rest if the halibut is white meat and this piece looks like raw chicken. We want to cook and eat it but need to know what it is and if it is safe first. Can let us know what it is? I can send pictures if you
<Have eaten many flatfishes... and esp. like the California halibut... am now salivating. Don't know what part of the muscle you're referring to, but am very sure it is fine to ingest>
Jesse Sheppard
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Thank you for the reply. It's appreciated. Have a nice day.
<You as well. BobF>
Jesse Sheppard

Unidentified flat fish   4/1/13
I know what your going to think before i even ask the question...... So here it goes.  I just purchased a flat fish of some sort in which i have never seen before and i know little about it (no information for this particular fish).  I know its related to the flounder, but it does not have the exact shape or mouth.  The fish is currently about 2.5". The mouth is very small next to the eyes and is not on the edge of the body like a flounder (the mouth is smaller than its gill plate).  I took a shot on this animal because its unusual and it has such a small mouth i do not think it will be a threat to anything anytime soon.  Enclosed is the picture.  If you are familiar with this fish, please let me know.  Based on its size and mouth proportionate to its body, i think it will be no bigger than 4-5" fully grown.  Thank you!
<Very difficult to be sure, but I do believe a Cynoglossus species of some sort; do read here:
Best kept in low-end brackish conditions (around SG 1.003) until you're absolutely sure what it is. A few flatfish species are true freshwater fish, but these won't be harmed by low-end brackish; most are brackish to marine, so adding some salinity makes a huge difference to long term success, especially with the many Brachirus species exported from Asia that are all very similar but occupy a range of niches, from freshwater to offshore marine. Cheers, Neale.>

Ah yes. A cynoglossid

Soleichthys heterorhinos... Substrate... commercial prompting for "muck"   12/15/08 Hello Crew, I wrote in several days ago about a Soleichthys heterorhinos that I recently acquired but didn't get a response back, so I'm assuming the email got lost in the cracks somewhere. <Mmm, didn't see this email... but did see this delightful flatfish last month in Indo. Here on Fishbase: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=22544> While I understand that these interesting little fish aren't regularly traded in the hobby, <Mmm, nope... Have never seen it offered> what information I've been able to find about them made me think that they might be an interesting species to try. I do know some of their requirements for care such as large open areas of sugar fine substrate, they feed on benthic inverts and small fish, found both in lagoons and seaward reefs, are more active at night, can reach roughly 18cm, etc. What I don't know, and am asking for your assistance with is whether or not there are any special care requirements for these neat little guys (other than getting them to eat initially which has presented some challenges, but he/she's been starting to eat more lately)? Any additional information you guys can provide would be tremendously appreciated. Sincerely, Jeremy Johnson <This gives me just the impetus I was looking for to write Tony Wagner at CaribSea and prompt him in turn to suggest adding "muck" to their line of substrates... Really this is the best for this sort of animal... it lives under, in most of the time... and consumes animals associated with it... Needs a large area... not too overlit... Bob Fenner>

Re: Brackish water pipefish... Now Hogchokers, fdg.   2-14-08 I did keep my Hogchoakers in brackish water, and I currently have one in a saltwater aquarium with a deep-bed of sand. I haven't seen it for about a month now, so I don't know if it's dead or alive. What is the best food to feed them? <Insect larvae and small benthic crustaceans, either frozen or live.> In about a month (when it warms up a little outside) I'll have the ability to collect daphnia from about three small ponds, however, once it starts getting really warm outside the daphnia all die off, so that won't be a permanent food source. I will have fairy shrimp, but like you said, they aren't very nutritious. <Indeed; but with any luck if you've settled them down for a month or two on the live foods, you can then afford to wean them off that and onto frozen foods. They WILL take frozen foods -- that's how they're maintained in public aquaria. But you do need to train them. Where people go wrong is buying them and expecting them to take frozen food from Day 1. They won't.> Thanks for all your help, Brandon <You're welcome. Neale.>

Big flounder, small tank, what to do, comp. fdg. 22 Feb 2007 Hi <Hi Heather. Marco here> My fianc?unknowingly bought a peacock flounder from our local fish store... <Don't buy a fish, which you do not know.> as I live in a small town in British Columbia, Canada this was a surprise to me when I researched it and found out what it was.. it appears to be about 3 inches long and its eyes are still centre of its head so I'm assuming it is a juvenile of its kind...my problem is this...I have a candy striped cleaner shrimp, a blue legged hermit crab and 2 pajama cardinalfish, and a green Chromis in the tank with it. Our tank is only a 29 gallon tank so we are a little concerned whether it is going to survive. We only have brine shrimp to feed it right at the moment and not sure if the fish store carries any other kind of live meat for this fish...my other concern are the fish and shrimp and crab we have inhabiting the tank with this flounder. I do not want to take it back to the fish store because they don't know what it is as they told us it was an algae eater. I as well do not want this fish to eat my other fish.  Nearest large sea world aquarium is in Vancouver, British Columbia which is  7 hours from us. Any info or tips you can give us as to how to keep this unique fish alive and happy and full would be much appreciated. <Your new fish will get up to 45 cm (18 inches) and eat smaller fishes and crustaceans. Try frozen krill or frozen squid as food. If it only eats live food, try ghost shrimp. Possibly it will only eat in the dark. The flounder will need a tank of at least 100 gallons with a large footprint. Get such a tank and set it up properly or find someone who has such a tank and is willing to take your fish. Have a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatfshfaqs.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bothidae.htm, also try fishbase to confirm the ID.> Heather

Re: Big flounder, small tank, what to do #2, 22 Feb 2007 Thanks for your reply <welcome>, we are wondering if frozen seafood from the stores are ok or if it has to be from the fish store <uncooked and unseasoned seafood especially small prawns and mixed frutti di mare are fine> <<Heeee! Marco is a native German speaker/writer... helping us in excellent English... though some terminology/colloquialisms are bound to be different. RMF>> ...we have no access to frozen krill or squid in our local stores.. and also if he is kept well fed will he leave the inhabitants of the tank alone <possible, since it is small now, but be aware that flatfish are predators.>...we understand we must get a larger tank if we are to keep him, but can we use a separator for now and how long will it take for him to grow this large? <Make a big tank available in the next few months or find someone, who can keep it for you. The sooner, the better and the safer everyone will be. A separator is for emergencies, not for long time care, especially in a small tank.>  If we have to buy this food online which is the best site to get it from? <Please use Google. Your local fish store should be able to order live ghost shrimp for you if necessary. Marco.>Heather.

Peacock flounder comp. - 26 Feb 2007 Hi, Just an update on my flounder, we have gotten a 55 gallon tank to hold him for now and have found the frozen squid and octopus you suggested...he appears to enjoy it...<good to hear.> has not eaten the other inhabitants of the tank, so hopefully all will be well till we get the bigger tank established for him...we are planning to have a custom tank built for him in the near future and would like to know what fish would be compatible to have in the tank with him? <Perhaps it would do best just by itself, but tank mates may be possible if chosen carefully. They need to get large enough to avoid that they become flounder food. Also read if any of the tank mates you want to have are known to pick on invertebrates or on the substrate, because such fishes (e.g. many triggers, angels, puffers) might pick at the eyes of your flounder. With another flounder species marine halfbeaks worked.> Thanks so much for all your help...great site you have. Heather <You are welcome. Cheers, Marco.>

Flounder Questions - Bothidae... sys.    2/20/07 Hello, <Katie.> I recently had the pleasure of observing a peacock flounder at an aquarium. <Neat.> I would absolutely love to add one to my tank, however, it is only 55 gallons. <Yes at a potential 18" a 55 gallon tank cannot support this Bothidae long term.> I searched for information on these fish and read that a minimum tank size of 100 gallons is recommended. <Yes but not the 100 gallon standard that is seen in aquarium stores but one that is not as tall with more surface area.> Are there other types of flounder that perhaps do not grow so big? <Most available to aquarists attain at least 12".> If not, is there another fish that you could recommend? <Many….what do you like?> I enjoy this fish particularly for its camouflage ability. <Many fish have this ability to some degree….many gobies, blennies, hawkfish…even anglers.> I found it absolutely fascinating and loved watching it "re-blend" into the sand after repositioning.  Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks. <Anytime.> Katie <Adam J.>

Flounders and Puffers, not  9/28/06 Crew,    <Ben>   I have a question concerning with flounders. Will puffers pick at them like they do with stingrays? <Yes> And do they need a sugar-fined sand bottom? <Is best for most captive species, yes> They need the requirements like stingrays do right?    <Similar, yes. BobF>   Ben


Flounder (Or Sole) ID - 11/25/05 Hello, and may I first say what a great site you have. <<You may...and thank you.>> However, I cannot find any information on this type of flounder on WWM or the net. <<Hmm...hard to tell from the pic, but it looks more like a Sole than a Flounder to me...perhaps Zebrias synapturoides, the Indian Zebra Sole...though it still doesn't quite have the same markings as the adult pictures here: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=14397  Though maybe you have a specimen in juvenile coloration?  But honestly, this is all speculation on my part.>> I was told by a friend of mine (the one that gave me the fish) it is a zebra flounder.  The eyes are very close together and has what looks like a horn in front of them (can't really see in this picture.) Could you Identify this fish for me and possibly tell me some types of food it will eat. <<Will likely feed on bits of table shrimp/fish flesh.>> Many great thanks in advance. Karl <<Regards, EricR>>

Saltwater flounder/peacock, WWM??? Hi, all I went to a local fish store tonight, they have had what I think to be a peacock flounder, but I haven't done my home work, it has been there for a yr., eats well.... but in a very small tank he can barely move around, he is about 10 inches long and 4 wide, so being stupid and out of pity for him, I bought him, I did find out that he will eat small fish, and what he does eat, but I would like to find out more about him so I can take good care of him, I did learn how to tell the sex, he has a long fin on him back, or at least that's what I got told, not 100 percent what kind of flounder he is, but I have been searching for hours trying to I d him, and find any info, if you could point me in the right direction it would be a great help thanks <Go to www.WetWebMedia.com, see the Google search tool... and put in the words "Peacock Flounder" and read on! Bob Fenner> Finding flounders 6/12/04 Do you know if there are flounders off the coast of Venezuela - particularly in the Eastern area around Puerto Ayacucho? I've run thru bunches of web sites and can't find an answer.  I'm writing a book and want to use this for an illustration.   Can you help?????  Please!!!! jd <let me introduce you to a wonderful resource in the database www.fishbase.org here you will find a wealth of information on most any conceivable species you can think of. Do a search for species in the family and from the overview page (of species) you can immediately see their geographic distribution. Click on any entry for even more detailed information/data. Best regards, Anthony><<And you can search by country as well... and resort the scan by family... and look for the family/ies you're interested, click on those species in turn. RMF>> Peacock flounder Hi, I have looked every where and can not find any info on peacock flounders. Can you help. Thanks Monica <Try our root web: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ the Google search tool at the bottom with the term "Peacock Flounder"... with the scientific name, plug into your search engines. Bob Fenner>

Photograph of Samaris cristatus Hello Bob, I am a systematic ichthyologist specializing in taxonomic studies on flatfishes.  I came across your website today while looking for photos depicting live coloration of flatfishes.  I was amazed at the photo of Samaris cristatus I encountered there on your site.  It was included in the covers section, cover images #9, row 1, column 1. Is it possible to get a copy of this picture?  I use slides of unusual flatfishes in lectures and talks I present to a variety of audiences and would like to add this to my collection of noteworthy flatfishes. I look forward to hearing from you regarding this request. Yours in fishes, Dr. Thomas A. Munroe National Systematics Laboratory, NMFS/NOAA Smithsonian Institution Post Office Box 37012 NHB, WC 57, MRC-153 Washington, DC   20013-7012 <Mmm, you're welcome to the use of this image (our work is gratis to all non-commercial users). Would you care for a TIFF scan? Or a copy of the original... Bob Fenner>

Re: photograph of Samaris cristatus Bob, Thanks for your quick response to my inquiry for a copy of the Samaris cristatus picture and for agreeing to allow me to use this slide.  I would guess that a copy of the original might have better resolution than a tiff scan.  If not, then a tiff scan would be sufficient. <Mmm, the TIFF is easier for us to send along (and this can in turn be rendered into a transparency). Please make known if this is what you want (otherwise we can/will have a dupe made of the original slide (will take about a week turnaround time)> In the written account under S. cristatus, it is mentioned that they use these elongated dorsal fin rays to startle predators.  Have you or your staff observed them to do this?  I was wondering if they might also use these in courtship displays. <I "lifted" this notion from a work ("Realm of the Pygmy Seahorse") by Constantinos Petrinos (re the Lembeh Strait, NE Sulawesi... But had occasion to speak with him (in Dave Behrens <SeaChallengers.com/CAS> booth at the DEMA (Dive Equipment Manufacturer's Association) in Vegas a few months back and actually mentioned my speculation that this Pleuronectiform was perhaps mimicking a Scorpaeniform/Pteroinae (Lionfish) which are common there... instead. Have not occasioned seeing more than one individual of this species in one place/time... and always see this "dorsal display" in response to perceived threats... divers swimming about, poking at individuals.> I have published several papers on systematics of Tonguefishes and would be happy to make reprints of these available to you, if desired. <Appreciate this. Have collected cynoglossids for bioassay work in southern California in the past> I know that most Tonguefishes are unattractive (as far as the aquarium trade goes), and may not be of interest to you.  But if you want this info for your reference files, I would be happy to send some along to you.  If this interests you, please supply me with a mailing address. Thanks again. Tom. <Very well. Bob Fenner, 8586 Menkar Rd., San Diego, CA 92126. Please make it known if you prefer the slide dupe (can/will ask Jason.C here to look through our files for other Samaris images of worth, or to skip waiting on the slide and (specify output size, resolution) of the tiffs instead. Bob Fenner> Dr. Thomas A. Munroe

Peacock Flounder Hi all, <cheers, mate> I've been trying to find information on the Peacock Flounder I've been eyeing at my LFS. Info seems to be sparse or I'm not being diligent enough in my search.  <flounders are challenging to keep and need species specific tanks. If you are prepared to leave out most or all other fishes... proceed my friend. Many reasons not the least of which is common community fishes like angels picking sores on the poor flounders from above!> I did search WWM but didn't find much. Do you have any links to info in it? Wesley Sonner <there are quite a few species of flounders from across the world that go by this name. Please go to www.fishbase.org and type this name in to the common name field for a keyword search. Then browse the data to find your species. Best regards, Anthony>

Freshwater Flounders In actual fact, I have consulted my records, and I have the Pleuronectidae species. Any information on these? <What little we have is retrievable on our sites through this homepage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ Please see the search tool at the bottom, insert the terms, freshwater flounder, Pleuronectidae... Bob Fenner>

Samariscus triocellatus Hello, I live in France and a new breeding company offers a fish called Samariscus triocellatus which is very amazing and very nice. I'm looking for some information about this fish but I've just find the one of fishbase.org ...do you know where I could find some others ?? Thanks Herv?br><Hmm, interesting: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=8568&genusname=Samariscus I wonder how they're producing, growing out this little flounder? Haven't seen it in markets ever. My small bit (presently) on flatfishes is posted under the brackish and marine indexes on WetWebMedia.com Don't know of other sources. Bob Fenner>

Re: samariscus triocellatus You can visit the homepage of the breeding company : http://www.aqua-fish.com/ Thanks for answer ! Herv?br><Ah yes. Merci. Have seen these folks post-larval collected and raised fishes in many places. Will post this link for others perusal. Robare Fenner>

Flatfish faq AH! There are no FAQs on them funky flatfish. I saw what looked to be a small Atlantic flounder at the LFS - about 1-1.5" - do these work in a fish-only type scenario when my goatfish is slacking on the sand cleaning duty...  <No... eat-em uppers, not cleaner uppers... more likely to get eaten by the goatfish> noticed the octopus diet item on one of the pages you prepared. Curious. Thanks. J -- <No worries, lest you're a reading cat. Bob Fenner>

Note to Self - Jason starts to crack... You're an idiot... there is a Freshwater Flounder link on the WWM site. <<Indeed you are right, you are both stupid and there is a Link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/achiridae.htm >> Editor's Note: This proof that Jason is losing it - email he sent to Bob to remind himself that he missed something. He then mumbled something about actinic fish and a power-compact skimmer and then ran away screaming. Let's all hope he finds professional help.

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: