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Everything you need to know about Banggai Cardinalfish care


Banggai Cardinalfish are a very popular Saltwater fish for sale. They have a small statue that makes them great additions to any peaceful aquarium. They adapt well to life in captivity, they are open swimmers that like to dwell at the front of tanks, providing them with lots of rockwork and ornamental coral helps them evade tankmates. With appropriate care, these fish can be successfully bred and raised in captivity.

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  • Scientific Name: Pterapogon kauderni
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Subfamily: Apogoninae
  • Genus: Pterapogon
  • Origin: Coral reefs and seagrass beds of the Banggai Archipelago/Banggai Islands, Indonesia.

According to Wikipedia

What is the recommended tank size for the Banggai Cardinal?

We recommend no less than 30 gallons for a single or bonded pair of Banggai Cardinalfish. Banggai Cardinalfish are well inept to captivity, so be prepared to upsize your tank if you have a bonded pair.


What are the water parameters fro the Banggai Cardinalfish?

  • Temperature: 73-84 degrees F
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Salinity: 35 g/L
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrites: 0 ppm

Are Banggai Cardinalfish reef safe?

Banggai Cardinalfish, a popular marine fish, are considered reef safe, they can peacefully co-exist with corals, inverts, and other tankmates.

Unlike a lot of other fish species, Banggai Cardinals are a grouping fish and will form schools. They can also co-exist with others of the same or similar species. For example, if you have Banggai Cardinals and PJ Cardinals, they will co-exist peacefully together.

Though we recommend having lots of rockwork and coral decorates as they may need to hide for comfort. They are open swimmers and will school near the front center of your aquarium.


How big are Banggai Cardinalfish?

Banggai Cardinal fish are often sold as juveniles, so you can expect them to be between 1 and 1.5 in.

As adults, they can reach a max size of 3 inches.


What do Banggai Cardinalfish eat?

Banggai Cardinals are considered Carnivores meaning they prefer meaty foods like krill, prawn, rotifers, copepods, spirulina, brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp.

How to tell the difference between genders?

Banggai Cardinals are gonochoric, meaning they don't switch genders like Clownfish or Diamondback Gobies. making this change is often irreversible.

The easiest way to tell the difference is by looking at their jaws, male Banggai Cardinalfish will have a more squared-off jaw, similar to a bulldog. The purpose of this, is to carry the eggs in their mouth. Males will also have larger dorsal fins, and ventral fins. Opposed to females who have a more angled jaw with a line from their bottom lip, down to their pelvic fins. This is not always the case, as females have been known to nip at the males dorsal fins during mating. This is a great method if you have 2 to compare to each other.

Another way to tell the difference is on their underbelly. Males have two little bumps near their pelvic region, while females have one. This is the easiest way to tell if you only have one Banggai Cardinal fish. If you are interested in breeding, buying a mated pair would save you a lot of hassle! Getting up close and personal is not of the best interest of the fish.



Once you have a pair of bonded Banggai's they will begin courtship. The first step is noticing they are spending more time together, they will then begin playfully chasing each other, flair their gills, twitch at each other, and shudder their heads. before returning to the open water. Expect the pair to become more frisky as they get closer to the spawning date. As they get closer to spawning time, the male will then start conditioning. As he hosts the eggs in his mouth for 20 days, he needs to load up on calories. So begins an 8-day period of binge eating in preparation for the 20-day fast while he hosts the eggs.

The male will also begin to secure an environment where he feels safe and regulate day and night cycles. Roughly only 50% make it through the incubation period and evaded accidental eating on the male's part. They will typically have a clutch of around 40, so you should expect close to 20 miniature Banggai Cardinals.


Conservation Status

Banggai Cardinals are considered Endangered, they face the threat of Commercial fishing and Habitat Destruction. As they are a popular fish in the Saltwater Ornamental Live reef trade, wild-caught Banggai Cardinals are sought after using harsh methods called fish bombs made with fertilizer and phosphorus and cyanide.

Habitat Destruction from human interference is a threat to our fish friends home as well. Agriculture and the increase in human population, waste, and pollution all contribute to the destruction of their home. Thankfully they have adapted well to life in captivity, and captive-bred Banggai Cardinals are a readily available alternative to wild-caught.

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“Sexing Bangaii Cardinals?? | Ultimate Reef.” Ultimate Reef, 16 Mar. 2012, www.ultimatereef.net/threads/sexing-bangaii-cardinals.543415. Accessed Sep 22nd 2022

“Banggai Cardinalfish | NOAA Fisheries.” NOAA, 4 Aug. 2021, www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/banggai-cardinalfish. Accessed Sep 22nd 2022

“Banggai Cardinalfish - Wikipedia.” Banggai Cardinalfish - Wikipedia, 19 Nov. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banggai_cardinalfish. Accessed Sep 22nd 2022