Banggai Cardinal

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  • Regular price $40.00
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Tank raised Banggai.

Raised on flake food.

Approximately 40 cms long

SOURCE: Coral Magazine


The Banggai Cardinalfish is an excellent aquarium species, strikingly handsome and easy to keep, even for beginners. In smaller aquariums, it is best kept singly or in known pairs, as males will fight each other to the death if closely confined.

Mating pairs may become aggressive to tankmates, especially in smaller community settings. In a spacious community aquarium or a species tank, they are eyecatching and ideal reef fish.

Many reports suggest that wild-caught Banggai Cardinals are prone to dying within weeks of being imported. Some observers have blamed a "mystery virus" and/or a mycobacterium.

Additionally, collection pressures on wild populations may be putting this species at risk. It was listed as "endangered" on the IUCN Red List in 2007.

Captive-bred specimens are highly recommended. 


Family: Apogonidae 

Other common name(s):

Highfin Cardinal

Banggai Cardinal

Kaudern's Cardinalfish

Native range:

Banggai Islands, Indonesia (above, lower right quadrant of map)

Habitat: Open sandy bottom with seagrass beds, in bays or near reef. Associates with Long-spined Sea Urchins (Diadema setosum), sea anemones, and branching stony corals.

Maximum length: 3 inches (7.5 cm) 

Minimum aquarium size: 15 gallons (57 L) 

Water: Marine 76°F (24.4°C)–80°F (26.6°C)

General swimming level: Mid-level 


Carnivore. Offer meaty foods, including chopped seafood, adult brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and frozen preparations for carnivores. Live foods will help condition fish and stimulate breeding behaviors.

Aquarium compatibility:

Easy to keep, once acclimated and eating. Serious territorial squabbles may occur in groups of Banggai Cardinals if housed in smaller tanks. A shoal may require a large tank (100 gallons [379 L] or more).

Special care

New specimens, unless captive-bred, may refuse to eat, become emaciated, and perish. Feeding live adult brine shrimp for the first week is a good solution. Offer food at least twice a day. (If live mysid shrimps are available, they are a superior source of nutrition and few fish can resist them.) Some aquarists recommend feeding the fry of freshwater livebearers, such as Guppies or Mollies.

Live brine shrimp can be enriched by adding Selcon to their water for several hours before they are fed to fishes.

Gradually mix in frozen high-quality meaty foods at feeding times, such as Mysis shrimp, and they will be weaned off live food. High-protein enriched pellets can also be worked into the diet.


Mouthbrooder. Male carries eggs in his oral cavity and does not eat for a period of several weeks. Fry emerge fully pigmented and ready to eat baby brine shrimp (Artemia nauplii). Parents will eat young if they are not separated quickly.

See this article by Dr. Frank Marini for an account of early success breeding the Banggai Cardinal: Banggai Breeding I.

See also Matthew Wittenrich's Breeder's Guide to Marine Fishes (Microcosm/TFH, 2007) for a full account of how to breed this and other cardinalfishes. See also his opinion piece: Boycotting the Wild Banggai Cardinalfish.

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