Apogon nematopterus Bleeker, 1856
Sphaeramia nematoptera (the pajama cardinalfish, spotted cardinalfish, coral cardinalfish or polkadot cardinalfish) is a species of fish belonging to the family Apogonidae. It is a popular aquarium fish. It grows to a total length of about 8.5 centimetres (3.3 in) and features distinctive red eyes and a broad dark vertical 'waistband' with scattered red spots toward the tail. It is considered to be of low vulnerability, and is distributed throughout much of the western Pacific Ocean, from Java to Fiji, and from the Ryukyu Islands south to the Great Barrier Reef. The male pajama cardinalfish incubates the eggs in its mouth until they hatch.
The pajama cardinalfish is a rainbow of playful colors. It has a greenish-yellow face, bright orange eyes, and a silver-based body dressed with a bold black scalar margin and a posterior dotted with orange polka-dots. Though its bold coloration may stand out, Sphaeramia nematoptera has a peaceful nature that lets it blend perfectly into any community saltwater aquarium. For the best care, the pajama cardinalfish should be kept in small schools in suitably sized aquariums of at least 30 gallons. Because the pajama cardinalfish is a slow and methodical swimmer, it should be housed with peaceful tankmates and offered a plethora of hiding places amongst rockwork or plants. Most pajama cardinalfish will tend to hide in sea grass or other plants. Some may also camouflage themselves against long spined sea urchins.
Like many other schooling fish, the pajama cardinalfish will form a strict hierarchy when kept in small groups within the aquarium. However, unlike some social fish, this member of the family Apogonidae does not use aggression to exert dominance over other cardinalfish.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2008). "Sphaeramia nematoptera" in FishBase. October 2008 version.
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