Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About Cardinalfish

Aquarium Size
Medium (30 gal)
Swimming Region
Fish Water Condition
Suitable Tank Mates
Clownfish, Dartfish, Hawkfish, Puffers and Tangs.
Difficulty Of Care
Weekly care
Cardinalfish General description

Cardinalfish are a large family of saltwater fish made up of over 200 sub-species. Most species are extremely colorful and grow to only a couple of inches in length. They are also an extremely peaceful species of fish and can exist in large groups, making them a popular choice amongst most beginner aquarists. They are also one of the hardier species of saltwater fish able to adapt quickly to life in an aquarium. Cardinalfishes are nocturnal and prefer to spend the daytime hiding in caves and crevices in the aquarium.

Cardinalfish are a large family of saltwater fish made up of over 200 sub-species.


Cardinalfishes originate in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.


Most species of cardinalfish are brightly colored and come in shades of red, yellow, orange, silver, brown and black.

Maintenance and care

Cardinalfishes are extremely peaceful and make excellent additions to most community aquariums. However, due to their small size, they should not be housed with larger predatory species of fish. Although cardinalfish develop complex social hierarchies they are not overly aggressive towards each other, and thrive when kept in large groups in the aquarium. The exception to this is the Banggai cardinalfish.

Cardinalfishes thrive when kept in aquariums with sufficient hiding spaces and their aquariums should be heavily decorated with rocks and coral. They are nocturnal and will retreat into the rockwork and caves in the aquarium during the daytime. They also form intimate relationships with invertebrates like sea urchins which they swim amongst for protection.


Cardinalfish thrive when fed on live foods such as shrimp, brine shrimp and other small crustaceans. They can also be trained to accept most varieties of processed frozen foods.

Cardinalfish are extremely peaceful and make excellent additions to most community aquariums.


Cardinalfishes are one of the easier species of saltwater fish to breed in captivity. They spawn in pairs and are mouthbrooders. Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, the male will carry them in his mouth for about a week until they hatch. In the wild, the fry intermingle with plankton for a couple of months while they develop.

Aquarium varieties

Five Lined Cardinalfishes, Flame Cardinalfishes, Longspine Cardinalfishes, Spotted Cardinalfishes, Yellowstriped Cardinalfishes, etc.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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