Sphaeramia nematoptera
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Sphaeramia nematoptera

Common Names: Coral Cardinalfish
Pajama Cardinalfish
Spotted Cardinalfish
Family: Apogonidae
Category: Percoids
Distribution: Pacific - Western; Located around northeastern Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.
Main Ecosystem: Reef; They occupy rocky reef areas.
Temperament: Peaceful; These cardinalfish will not bother most tankmates or each other. Though they maintain a social hierarchy, they are not aggressive towards each other like the Banggai cardinalfish. Do not house pajama cardinals with large predators, as they are easy prey fish.

Small shrimp may be looked on as food items by larger cardinals.
Diet: Carnivore; Wild pajama cardinals feed on small crustaceans at night. In captivity they will accept most meaty frozen foods and sometimes even flakes or pellets, though live mysis shrimp and amphipods are preferred. As these fish are nocturnal, they are not always willing to accept food during the daytime. Housing them with diurnal tankmates who are aggressive feeders may mean that the cardinals have to be fed at night or during a "twilight" period.
Care: Pajama cardinals are easy fish to care for. They are hardy, handle transportation well, and will eat a variety of things. They will feel secure if provided with ample rockwork, and soon get used to aquarium life. It is best to keep these fish in groups of at least five, as they are social.
24°C - 28°C
75°F - 82°F
Specific Gravity:
1.022 - 1.026
Potential Size: Male: 8cm (3.1")
Female: 8cm (3.1")
Water Region: Middle; Normally found around the rockwork towards the middle of the tank, though they will venture away once they are settled in a tank.
Activity: Nocturnal; Nocturnal in the wild, they take shelter under ledges or in crevices during the day. In the absence of predators, they will be more active during daylight in captivity.
Gender: No external differences are known, though males are likely to have larger mouths.
Breeding: After a pair has formed and produced eggs, the male will store them in his mouth. They take about a week to hatch, after which the young fish will become planktonic larvae. Pajama cardinalfish fry have been successfully raised in captivity, though captive-bred fish are not readily available for sale.
Variants: No variants are known, though the appearance of juveniles is different than that of adults. Young fish have smaller spots and a lighter body color overall. Large adults exhibit a smudging of the body patterns, and their colors are fairly dull.
Comments: The second most popular species of cardinalfish (behind the Banggai cardinal), pajama cardinals are well-liked for their hardy nature and odd looks. Though during the day they spend a lot of time swimming in one spot, they do exhibit interesting behavior as well. If kept with a long-spined sea urchin, these cardinals will take shelter within the spines if they feel threatened.
Main Colours: Yellow, White, Brown
Markings: Spots Small
Mouth: Upturned
Tail: Concave
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Image Credit: sirbooks
Submitted By: sirbooks
Contributors: sirbooks
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