It's been 2.5 months since I introduced the Ghost Cardinals and I am so glad that I did. They are all round lovely fish. Totally peaceful towards each other and the rest of the livestock, shoal together most of the time and eat frozen food with enthusiasm. They are also really, really pretty fish, my photos don't do them justice at all. The icing on the cake for me however, is that they've now started spawning.
On the 4th December 2020 I noticed that one of the cardinals had stopped feeding, his jaw looked distended and a different shape to the remaining four fish. I hoped that this was an indication that he was carrying eggs rather than being sick. He resumed feeding again after about 5 days I think, there was some disruption to the tank at the time so maybe he was too stressed or inexperienced to carry them to full term.
On the 18th December, during a water change, I happened to notice two of the fish were separate from the rest. I glanced away for a moment and when I looked back again I caught one of them in the act of taking up an egg mass in to his mouth. I have previously observed Red Spot Cardinalfish spawning during a water change (in the Reefer 170), I wonder if the pumps being switched off is a trigger for the female to release eggs, perhaps it's easier (safer?) for the male to pick them up when he's not blasted by flow?
I am yet to witness any babies. Perhaps the fry are released late at night or maybe he hasn't reached the point where he's felt confident/happy enough to carry them to full term.
This week that he's carrying once again, maybe I'll be lucky enough to spot some babies this time...
In a further attempt to raise my nitrate levels I decided to add a few more fish to the tank. I was watching a video posted on social media by my LFS and spotted that they had some Ghost Cardinalfish (Zoramia leptacantha) in stock. I have rather fancied trying these fish ever since I saw a large group of them in a tank at the Horniman Museum in 2019, whilst they are not really showy, they do have the most incredible blue eyes. I checked that they were still available and the shop kindly allowed me to pay for them over the phone and pick them up outside which was perfect for me.
The recommended minimum number of Cardinals to add to any tank is five so that's what I purchased. On introduction it didn't take long for Sunny the Sunburst Anthias to decide that he did not like these fish at all (there's always someone/something that has to play up whenever I add something new!). One of the new fish became separated from the rest and ended up trapped in the top right hand corner of the tank where it was repeatedly harassed by the Anthias. The rest were chased as well but they had safety in numbers. I kept mentally willing the solitary fish to go and join his brothers and sisters but he just couldn't pluck up the courage to move. After a while, when I could bear it no longer, and I shooed the solitary fish over to the others with a net. Now it was five against one, much better odds. The Anthias continued to chase the group but they just scattered briefly before shoaling together again so no damage was done.
Here they are sticking together on the day of introduction.
They didn't eat anything on the first day and didn't seem keen to eat on the second day either so I tried adding some live copepods. They loved these and that seemed to give them the boost to try frozen food later on and they haven't looked back since. In fact I have since discovered that these fish love to eat, they love to eat a LOT! In fact they are like little piranhas. I use a pipette to target feed some of my fish and they very quickly learnt to associate that with food and crowd around it whenever it enters the water. It's refreshing to have some fish that are not finicky with food but the downside is it's made it trickier to feed some of the more shy fish. I can't really win, lol.
It's been just over a week now since they were added and they don't tend to keep together as much any more. Three of them swim together in front of the big gorgonian, one hangs out above the A. hyacinthus and the last one swims round the back. They all come together however when it's feeding time. They look fantastic under the LED lights, the blue around the eyes really seems to light up and the scales look like they have been dipped in silver. Sunny the Anthias still chases them every now and again especially at feeding time but the Cardinals don't seem to care one bit, they just dart out of the way and resume whatever they were doing two seconds later.
All in all I've been very pleased to add these fish, in hindsight I wish I'd added more than five now. I hope that I have a mix of males and females and they settle enough to start breeding. Fingers crossed.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!