Halichoeres chrysus: A Hardy Little “Banana with Fins” That’s Just Right for Beginners

Yellow coris wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) Known by a variety of common names—banana wrasse, canary wrasse, golden wrasse, yellow coris, et al—Halichoeres chrysus is hardy, readily available, reasonably affordable, well suited to modest-sized systems, and among the better choices for beginners. Of course, owing to all these positive attributes, this wrasse is justifiably popular among many seasoned salties, as well. Physical traits I like to describe the typical wrasse body shape as akin to a banana with fins, which is especially apt for H. chrysus given its coloration. That color, as most of its common names imply, is bright yellow to orange-yellow overall with one to several dark ocelli, or eyespots, in the dorsal fin. Faint green streaks may also be visible on the head. Maximum length is around 4½ inches. Feeding In nature, H.

Nothing Mysterious about the Mystery Wrasse’s Charms

Mystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus)Pseudocheilinus ocellatus, the mystery wrasse (aka the tail-spot wrasse, white-barred wrasse, or five-barred wrasse), is somewhat uncommon in the hobby and usually priced accordingly. But if you can get past the sticker shock for such a modest-sized fish, you’ll find this species can be a worthy aquarium candidate. Physical traitsExhibiting the banana-with-fins morphology typical of so many wrasses, this denizen of the western central Pacific reaches around 4 inches in length. Its yellow-rimmed eyes move independently and seem to be constantly appraising the goings on both inside and outside the tank. Base coloration is quite variable, commonly lavender to pinkish/purplish, while the face is yellow with purple/pink lines. The caudal peduncle is yellow and adorned with a prominent ocellus, or eyespot.

Freckled Hawkfish: A Hardy, Hefty Option for the Rough-and-Tumble Tank

Freckled hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri)When it comes to keeping hawkfishes in aquaria, one of the more common admonitions is to avoid housing these predators with fish or crustaceans small enough to swallow. For most of the hawkfish species that grace our tanks, which generally have a maximum size somewhere between 3 and 5 inches, only very small tankmates are truly at risk. A noteworthy exception is the freckled hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri), which can reach a rather prodigious size and has a mouth to match. You really have to take that warning seriously with this species! That said, P. forsteri is a hardy, easy-to-care-for hawk that makes a worthy aquarium candidate provided tankmates and housing are chosen judiciously.Physical traits P. forsteri has the deep, stout body and high-set eyes, typical of the hawkfishes. Its maximum size is approximately 8½ inches.

Threadfin Cardinalfish: Peaceful and Most Impressive in Numbers

Threadfin Cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacantha)Walk by an LFS sales tank containing a few specimens of threadfin cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacantha), and you might not give them a second glance. Chromatically speaking, this species isn’t exactly a showstopper compared to some, especially when viewed in your average LFS environment. But don’t let this cardinal’s unassuming appearance fool you; it can make for an impressive display species when kept in groups. Physical traitsZ. leptacantha is a diminutive fish, reaching only about 2.5 inches in total length. It’s laterally compressed and has two dorsal fins, the first fairly elongated relative to the second. As mentioned, this species’ color is nothing to write home about (in case you’re one of those types who like to write home about the colors of fish). It’s semi-transparent to yellowish-silver overall with iridescent blue around the eyes as well as blue and yellow accents on the anterior portion of the body.

The Signal Goby: A Master Mimic with a Sketchy Captive Survival Record

Signal goby (Signigobius biocellatus)The signal goby (Signigobius biocellatus), aka the twin-spot, two-spot, or crab-eye goby, is an appealing little sand sifter with fascinating behavior that, unfortunately, often adapts very poorly to aquarium life. Nonetheless, specimens still appear in the aquarium trade, so it’s worth discussing the species here—if only to understand why it’s probably best to pass it by if you should happen to come across one at your LFS. Physical traitsS. biocellatus has a torpedo-like body shape, high-set, bulbous eyes, a comically frowning mouth, and two prominent dorsal fins. In coloration, it’s grayish overall with orange-brown mottling. Each dorsal fin features a large, distinct eyespot, and the pelvic and anal fins are black with blue dots. The maximum size of this goby is around 4 inches. A crabby mimic When you view this fish in profile as it hovers just above the substrate, the twin eyespots create the impression that you’re looking at a crab scuttling sideways along the ocean floor, which might give would-be predators pause.
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