The eibli angelfish, Centropyge eibli, is a very common and widespread aquarium fish. You can therefore imagine the disconnect we felt when we saw that LiveAquaria is offering an eibli angelfish for the princely sum of $279, but then we saw what makes this fish special. This tailless eibli was photographed with a patch of black in the background which somewhat hides the fact that this Centropyge eibli is missing its tail.
There is something about tail-less reef fish that is fascinating and somewhat grotesque. On the one hand you want to feel bad for the fish with no tail but when you observe these fish in a captive aquarium environment, they act and behave just like regular fish, as if they don’t even know that something is missing.
We used to be completely turned off by reef fish that were born without a tail, until we adopted the tailless tomato clownfish from the Philippines and now we have cultivated a special fascination for them. In some cases tailless fish appear more interesting like the tail-less bandit angelfish whose color and pattern seem to go hand in hand with their missing appendage.
If tailless fish were a product of artificial breeding or worse, intentional mutilation, we’d be all up in arms about them. While a certain number of tailless marine fish are produced through captive rearing, mostly clownfish, the majority of the tailless fish we see are actually defects, captured on the reef and saved from a certain early death, and it’s a minor miracle that these fish get the opportunity to live to old age in the safety of someone’s home aquarium. [LiveAquaria]