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Banggai Cardinalfish


Banggai Cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni

The Banggai Cardinalfish is also known as the Kaudem's Cardinal and the Longfin Cardinal. It comes from the shallow waters of the Banggai Islands in Indonesia. Unfortunately, it is so popular that it is near extinction in the wild from over collection. Most cardinalfish are red but the Banggai is an exception. It has a colorless/white base with black stripes, many white spots and elongated fins.

Banggais are an excellent choice for the beginning saltwater aquarist and they are slightly more popular than the Pajama Cardinal. They transport well, are inexpensive and adapt well to aquarium life. They are also easy to breed, so tank raised specimens may be available. They should have a tank of at least 40 gallons with rocky areas. Banggais swim slowly and usually do not shy away from spectators. They tend to hover in one place and like to remain stationary under rock ledges. In the wild they hide among sea urchin spines when they are threatened. Anything that simulates this arrangement is a useful addition to the tank.

Wild caught Banggais should be started off on live shrimp and introduced to flake foods gradually. They can be fed chopped shrimp, chopped fish, chopped clams, brine shrimp, ghost shrimp, bloodworms and flake foods. The Banggai may attack very small crustaceans in a tank, but will not disturb corals. They tend to feed at night in the wild. 

Banggai Cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni

Banggai Cardinals are easy to breed in an aquarium and they tend to do so once a month. Females can be distinguished at breeding time by their broader width and extension in the gravid area. Separating the male and ensuring he is well fed can help ensure success. Males will take the 10 - 40 fertilized eggs into their mouth until they hatch. The young are released within about three weeks. If the male has bred in the main tank, it should be moved to a separate raising tank just before the release of the young. Males will also take the juveniles back into their mouth for a day or two after hatching, as a security measure. After the young are released, the male should be removed, though there is no danger of the male eating the young for several days. The fry are ready for frequent feedings of small amounts of live brine shrimp within 24 hours. Young Banggais easily die from stress, including being moved, scared by humans or overfed. Hiding places that mimic a sea urchin are helpful. The young can all be raised together, as groups don't become incompatible until adulthood at an age of about 1 year. Once pairs form, Banggais become very aggressive and the pairs must be isolated.  Banggai Cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni

Scientific Name: Pterapogon kauderni
Family: Apogonidae
Care: Easy
Temperature: 22 - 26 C; 72 - 79 F
pH: 8.1 - 8.4
dH: 8 - 12
Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.025
Size: 8 cm; 3 inches
Breeding: Mouth Brooder
Life Span: years
Crustacean Safe: Yes
Coral Safe: Yes


Best kept singly or in a pair. Suitable tank mates include Blennies, Clowns, Damsels, Small Angels, Gobies, Hawkfish and Tangs. Cardinals are prey for larger species.