Banggai Cardinalfish Demolishing Live Brine Shrimp

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As some of you may recall from our Facebook updates, we recently decided to try our hand at breeding Banggai cardinalfish. Because the fish is fairly easy to breed in captivity, from most accounts, and a very important species to the aquarium trade, we figured our efforts would see the most traction with this particular species when compared to most others. Unfortunately, our project has encounted some setbacks, mostly in the form of broken aquariums and a lack of equipment space, but thankfully we’ve had a lot of success getting the fish acclimated to life in captivity thanks to the use of live brine shrimp.

When we first acquired the Banggai cardinals, they appeared to be very healthy but wouldn’t readily take prepared foods. We pretty much tried everything from frozen brine and mysis shrimp to a wide variety of flake foods. The cardinalfish would show interested and even appeared to consume the frozen foods at one point, but it got to a point where they’d just keep spitting out the food items. So, we broke out the most enticing food we could think of, choosing to go with live brine shrimp becaue they were just so easy to grow.

After the shrimp got to a decent size, we began to feed the cardinals. All of the water pumps were turned off so that the shrimp’s natural movements could elicit a feeding response, andd we were honestly quite surprised at how voracious the cardinalfish were. Instead of passively waiting for food to drift by, the small shoal rushed forwared and attacked the loose ball of shrimp.

To date, we have feed our cardinalfish in this manner every single day just prior to the main lights on the aquarium shutting off. We fould the fish to be quite active at this time anyways, and the shrimp just send them into a feeding frenzy. And because the fish are eating so well and are getting used to our presence in the room, they are also becomming more curious about the frozen brine and mysis. One individual in particular will eat just about anything, and it would appear that the others are starting to come around.

I can’t give enough of the credit of our successes to the use of live brine shrimp. Without them, the cardinalfish would probably just have withered away. To close, we highly recommend any form of live food if you have them available. Live bloodworms, amphipods/copepods, and brine shrimp should all be available at the local fish stores, but if you can’t find them there, several online vendors will carry them.

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  • I’ve been working on my own breeding project which includes Banggai (you can read more at aquabelk.blogspot.com). I’ve found with my own bangaii that they won’t eat flake (so far) as well as any nori in my homemade fish food makes them turn their nose up at the food. Another batch of homemade food which has only meat items they seem to like. My female began to eat small pellets with the rest of the fish when they were still in my display tank. The male never touched them. Other than that, the happily gulp down frozen brine and frozen mysis.

    As for the breeding portion, they spawn about once a month but any drastic change in water parameters seems to make the male want to abort the clutch. This includes a water change and even a large water top off (5 gallons for about 70 gallons of total water volume).