There’s so many species of cardinalfish in the sea it’s a pity that only a a fraction of them are represented in decent number in the marine and reef aquarium. Seems like banggais, pyjamas and longspine cardinalfish represent the lion’s share of the Apogonidae in marine aquariums but there’s more than 300 species of cardinalfish and over 200 in Apogon alone. As you’d imagine with such species richness there are scores of unknown cardinalfish waiting to be discovered and appreciated by marine aquarists. We came across this sweet webpage on Blue Animal Bio with the best gallery we’ve seen yet of dozens of species that are shown in the most flattering pictures.
We’ve always kind of considered the marine cardinalfish the equivalent of a freshwater tetra – small, affordable and likely to school – yet very few aquarists are taking advantage of these unique qualities to create more impressive aquarium displays. Sure the glass cardinalfish Apogon parvulus has received some attention for this but their attrition rate is high and they don’t even live that long with the best of care but other species do; We’ve seen a toothed cardinalfish living at Greenwich Aquaria for over five years and it’s still there! So the next time you’re in a the fish store and you see some unusual and muted colored cardinalfish but you don’t know exactly what it is, if it’s healthy give it a shot because it could turn up to a diamond in the rough.