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Book Excerpt: Reef Aquarium Fishes

Posted by TFH Magazine in Tropical Fish Hobbyist Blog on September 28, 2012 at 7:42 am

Organized by family for easy reference, each profile in Reef Aquarium Fishes includes all essential care, feeding and husbandry advice. The species profiled include all available reef aquarium choices, with scores of seldom seen, rare and recently discovered species. Written by the worlds most-read, most respected expert on marine fishes for the home aquarium, The PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes is a must-read for any fish enthusiasts.

About the Author

Scott W. Michael is an internationally recognized writer, underwater photographer, and marine biology researcher specializing in reef fishes. He is the author of the Pocket Expert Guide to Marine Fishes (Microcosm/TFH), the Reef Fishes  series (Microcosm/TFH), and Reef Sharks and Rays of the World (Microcosm/TFH).

Having studied biology and the University of Nebraska, he has been involved in research projects on sharks, rays, frogfishes, and the behavior of reef fishes. He has also served as a scientific consultant for National Geographic Explorer and the Discovery Channel. His work has led him from Cocos Island in the Eastern Pacific to various points in the Indo-Pacific as well as the Red Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and many Caribbean reefs.

A marine aquarist since boyhood, he has kept tropical fishes for more than 30 years, with many years of involvement in the aquarium world, including a period of retail store ownership. He is a partner in an extensive educational website on the coral reef environment, www.coralrealm.com.

Scott lives with his wife, underwater photographer Janine Cairns-Michael, and their Golden Retriever, Ruby, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Excerpt from Hogfishes (Genus Bodianus)

The hogfishes are some of the hardiest members of the wrasse family. As a whole, they are durable aquarium fish that readily accept most aquarium fare, while ignoring all live corals. Most can be kept in reef aquariums as juveniles, but as they grow they will eat worms, snails, small clams, and crustaceans. The size of the aquarium needed to harbor a hogfish will depend on the species—most small to medium-sized members of the family (i.e., those species that attain a maximum length of less than 10 in. [25 cm]) can be kept in tanks ranging from 20 to 75 gallons (76 to 285 L), while more robust species require a tank of 135 gallons (513 L) or larger once they reach adult size. They need hiding places as well as ample swimming room.

Hogfishes, unlike certain other wrasses, do not bury in the substrate, so the depth of sand in your tank is of little concern. However, several of these fishes will hunt buried prey items by blowing jets of water at the finer substrate. This predatory behavior is fascinating to watch and will also stir the upper layers of the substrate.

Spanish Hogfish (Bodianus rufus): a graphic warning about hogfish feeding habits—motile invertebrates, such as brittle stars, are likely to meet this fate. Photograph by Scott W. Michael.

Many hogfishes will not tolerate the presence of members of their own species in the same tank, but they can be kept with other members of their genus. One caution: avoid placing two similarly colored species in the same tank.
As far as unrelated species are concerned, hogfishes can be belligerent toward smaller fishes, more docile species, or those fishes introduced after the hogfish has become an established resident of the tank. The moderate- to large-sized hogfishes should be kept with fish species that can hold their own, like lionfishes, squirrelfishes, soldierfishes, smaller groupers, goatfishes, angelfishes, hawkfishes, medium-sized damselfishes, sand perches, and less aggressive triggerfishes. Adding a hogfish to an established community of aggressive fishes, however, can cause the hogfish to remain hidden most of the time and never acclimate. Of course, large frogfishes, scorpionfishes, and groupers will eat any hogfish that they can swallow whole. While the larger hogfish species simply won’t fit into the average reef tank community, some of the smaller members of this group are worthy of consideration. Choose carefully, based on size and feeding habits.

Bodianus mesothorax. Photograph by Scott W. Michael.

Bodianus mesothorax
Mesothorax Hogfish
Maximum Length: 7.5 in. (19 cm).
Aquarium Suitability: This species is generally durable and hardy, with most individuals acclimating to the home aquarium.
Reef Compatibility: Safe with stony corals. Safe with soft corals. Threat to ornamental crustaceans. Threat to other invertebrates.

Bodianus mesothorax juvenile. Photograph by Scott W. Michael.

Bodianus diana. Photograph by Scott W. Michael.

Bodianus diana
Diana’s Hogfish
Maximum Length: 9.8 in. (25 cm).
Aquarium Suitability: This species is generally durable and hardy, with most individuals acclimating to the home aquarium.
Reef Compatibility: Safe with stony corals. Safe with soft corals. Threat to ornamental crustaceans. Threat to other invertebrates.

Bodianus perditio. Photograph by Scott W. Michael.

Bodianus perditio
Goldspot Hogfish
Maximum Length: 31.5 in. (80 cm).
Aquarium Suitability: This species is generally durable and hardy, with most individuals acclimating to the home aquarium.
Reef Compatibility: Safe with stony corals. Safe with soft corals. Threat to ornamental crustaceans. Threat to other invertebrates.

Bodianus izuensis. Photograph by Scott W. Michael.

Bodianus izuensis
Izu Hogfish
Maximum Length: 4.3 in. (11 cm).
Aquarium Suitability: This species is generally durable and hardy, with most individuals acclimating to the home aquarium.
Reef Compatibility: Safe with stony corals. Safe with soft corals. Threat to ornamental crustaceans. Occasional threat to some other invertebrates.

Excerpted from the PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes by Scott W. Michael. ©Microcosm/ TFH Publications. Used by permission.

Posted in Aquatic Books by TFH Magazine on September 28th, 2012 at 7:42 am.

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