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Banggai Cardinalfish Care Guide (Pterapogon Kauderni)

Banggai Cardinalfish Care Guide

Banggai Cardinalfish Care Guide (Pterapogon Kauderni) – If you are a saltwater tank lover, you must be familiar with this cardinalfish. Banggai cardinalfish, beautiful fish but easy to care for.

Banggai cardinalfish come from the sea of Sulawesi, Indonesia. This fish belongs to the Apogonidae family. However, for the cardinalfish species themselves, they are spread in almost all Indonesian seas.

So, if you visit Indonesia, it is not difficult to find this beautiful fish. In fact, because it is easy to breed in captivity, banggai cardinalfish has now spread all over the world.

Unfortunately, in natural habitat they are endangered due to overfishing. So, it’s a good idea if you plan to buy, ask the seller first, whether they are fished, or bred in captivity.

In terms of price, at several online stores, we found banggai cardinalfish ranging from $30 to $50. But in their home country, they are not even one dollar.

In the ocean, there are various types of cardinalfish, but the most commonly kept is the type of banggai (banggai cardinalfish or Pterapogon Kauderni).

Let’s get to know banggai cardinalfish more deeply, and how to care for them.


Cardinalfish have a small body with a silver base. There is a vertical black stripe on the body, and has dots all over its fins.

This fish has a slightly tapered upper and lower fins, as well as the tail.

In some species such as the Red Spotted Pajama Cardinals, this fish has a richer color scheme on its body.

In the ocean, they can grow up to 4 inches, but if raised in a tank, maybe only about 1-2 inches.

What makes them unique, male banggai cardinalfish incubate the eggs in their mouths (Mouth brooders). It looks like their mouth is full of food, but it’s the eggs themselves.

It is quite difficult to find out the sex of the banggai cardinalfish. So the most effective way of breeding is to mix them in one place. They will find their own mate.

They are also not hermaphrodites like most other easy-to-breed saltwater fish.

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Fish Habitat

This fish is found in almost every ocean around the world, such as the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Most species live in tropical and sub-tropical waters.

Banggai cardinalfish like to live in reefs, lagoons and other shallow waters at a depth of 1.5 to 2.5 m. So, if you want to care for them, they will be happy to be in the reef tank type

They are endemic to the waters of the Banggai archipelago, Central Sulawesi. That’s why they are called “Banggai” cardinalfish.

Water Parameters

In the oceans, they live in tropical and sub-tropical waters. Ideally the water temperature is 75°F – 82°F.

The salinity level is between 1.020 – 1.025. You can measure it with a refractometer.

The acidity of the water is at pH 8.1 – 8.4. Alkalinity 8 – 12 dkh.

If you want to keep banggai cardinalfish in a tank, follow the water parameters as above. The parameters are close to their natural habitat in the ocean.

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Banggai Cardinalfish Care Guide

Actually, banggai cardinalfish care is not difficult in the fish tank, so they are suitable for beginners. Care level between easy to moderate.

However, even though fish are hardy and easy to care for, you still need to meet their needs. One of them is by providing water parameters as above.

Once you are familiar with cardinalfish, if you want to have one at home then you will need at least a 30 gallon fish tank. But if you want to have more, provide a bigger tank.

In addition, cardinalfish need liverock or crevices to protect themselves. Why do you need it? They are more active at night, so they need shelter for the day.

The good news is, they are reef-safe! They won’t spoil your reef paradise view!

You can make groups of 3-4 cardinalfish. They look very elegant when grouped. Don’t worry, they won’t fight each other.

However, you should be wary of large fish, or fish with a semi-aggressive or aggressive temperament, they may intimidate cardinalfish.

“Continued bullying from other tank mates will stress the fish and end up fatal.”

By nature, cardinalfish have a peaceful temperament and do not like to intimidate other fish. Thus, these fish will be suitable for community tanks.

Some tank mates for banggai cardinal fish such as ocellaris clownfish, coral beauty angelfish, royal gramma and lawnmower blenny. You can also improvise by adding other fish, noting that they are peaceful.

But to be clear, you can ask the seller in detail. This is very important, considering that mixing saltwater fish is not as easy as freshwater fish.

Their natural predators are moray, lionfish, and stonefish. It’s a good idea to keep predatory fish out of your tank if your cardinal fish want to live in peace!

Other support systems that need attention, such as lights, filtration, and skimmers.

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Banggai cardinalfish is an omnivorous fish. So it is not difficult to find the right food for them. In the oceans, they feed on both plankton and copepods.

This fish is not very picky. But what you need to pay attention to is the nutrients in these foods.

Some common foods for banggai cardinalfish such as:

  • Flakes
  • Pellet
  • Shrimp (frozen/live)
  • Bloodworms (frozen)
  • Fish meat
  • Live blackworms

For artificial feeds such as flakes and pellets, make sure the protein content is high enough. In addition, make sure the nutrition is complete.

If you are feeding shrimp or fish meat, cut them into small pieces. At least the size of a fish’s mouth.

Feed the fish two to three times per day in small amounts first. Look, will the food run out in 2-3 minutes? If there are still left, next time you can feed them less. If they eat up the food quickly (only a few seconds), you can feed them more next time.

Water quality determines the life of marine biota, especially if they live in fish tanks. Therefore, do not let anything destabilize the parameters of the water, including contaminating it with leftover food.

In general, saltwater fish are more susceptible to stress or disease when water conditions are unstable, compared to freshwater fish. This should be the main focus in keeping saltwater fish in the tank. Keep water parameters stable!

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That’s all about the banggai cardinalfish care guide. Hope it can inspire you!