Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)

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Banggai Cardinalfish
Pterapogon kauderni
Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)
Name Banggai Cardinalfish
Name Lat. Pterapogon kauderni
Family Cardinalfishes
Family lat. Apogonidae
Order Nurseryfishes
Order lat. Kurtiformes
Origin Pacific
Habitat Lagoons, seagrass beds
Diet Carnivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-10 °KH
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Pair, group
Reef Compatible Yes
Care Level Easy
Life Span 5-6 years
Protection EC Annex D
Metric Units
Size 8 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 200 l
US Units
Size 3"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 50 gal

Distribution and habitat

The Pterapogon kauderni is only common in the area around the Banggai Islands (Indonesia). They live there in shallow, sandy lagoons with sea grass often together with diadem sea urchins, which offer protection to the young fish with their long spines.


They require a well-structured aquarium with swimming space and a reef structure (shelters, caves) with live stones that act like a biological filter, as well as sea grasses or seaweed. Only lime-rich, heavy metal-free sands, gravels, stones or sea sand of various grain sizes may be used as substrate

Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. Lighting must correspond to the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 8.1-8.4
Carbonate hardness: 8-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l

For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention must be paid to consistently good water quality and water values.


They are crepuscular lurkers that eat mainly planktonic small crustaceans, larvae and small fish. The change of food is unproblematic. The diet should consist of a combination of live and frozen foods, such as artemia, mysis, shrimp, and krill, with chopped fish, clam, and shrimp meat, and live feeder fish for adults, or a commercial vitamin-enriched frozen food mix. Dry food (flakes, granules) is hardly accepted. Food that has sunk to the bottom is disregarded.

It is recommended to feed small portions several times during the twilight phase

Regular and varied feeding promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

It is recommended to maintain them in a large group. Within the group there is a strict hierarchy. To avoid ranking fights, they should be placed in the aquarium at the same time, which must offer many hiding places. They can be socialized well with other peaceful fish.

Sex dimorphism

They are protogynous hermaphrodites, i.e. most males develop from functional females and are called "secondary males". The dominant, usually slightly larger animal always has male status. There are no known external distinguishing characteristics.

Reproduction and breeding

Breeding is relatively easy. After an extended courtship ritual, the male takes the egg package (20-40 eggs) into his mouth. After approx. 1 month the approx. 8 mm large fry are released from the mouth of the male. The fry immediately accept small food, such as Artemia nauplii.


They are free swimming, but quite stationary lurking hunters that make clearly audible growling sounds when excited. As coral reef dwellers, they should not be kept in a fish-only aquarium

If different species are kept together, care should be taken to ensure that the fish match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements and social behavior, and that the setup meets the needs of all species kept together. New fish to be introduced must be acclimated slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BAENSCH & PATZNER (1998): Meerwasser Atlas Bd. 7, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF