Size: 6 inches (16 cm)
Natural Environment: Inhabits inner and outer coral reefs and usually found in shallow waters from 10 – 50 feet (3 – 15 m) where it feeds on soft and stony coral polyps, fanworms, and algae.
General Husbandry: Quite attractive, as it has a brownish-yellow body with its lighter scales giving it a motted appearance, a vertical white band behind the eyes, and another white thinner band in front of the eyes. The base of the tail is bright red, hence one of its common names, and edged in white.
Should be housed in larger peaceful fish-only aquariums, especially those with lots of open swimming space, live rock hiding places, and having micro and macroalgae growths. As to diet, since this is known to often be a difficult species to get feeding, a meaty diet of live fortified brine shrimp and/or black worms (Lumbriculus variegatus) is a good beginning. Once feeding regularly, various frozen meaty foods such as mysis, can be offered several times daily.
Note, even though this species is technically listed as a carnivore, its also known to injest algae in the wild when more preferred foods are not plentiful, therefore flake foods, especially those containing Spirulina and/or Nori should also be occasionally offered.
Should there be a problem getting this species to feed, small human consumption clams/black mussels purchased in local grocery stores and placed on the half-shell in the aquarium may also help entice it to begin feeding. Over time, frozen foods like mysis and brine shrimp may be more readily accepted.
FYI: Juveniles acclimate more easily to aquarium life than do adults.
Preferably maintained without others in the same genus or having similar coloration.
Pressing some soft foods into openings/crevices on a piece of old dead coral skeleton can sometimes encourage finicky eaters to begin feeding.
Experience Level: Intermediate
Coral Safe: No
Invertebrate Safe: No
Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+
Aquarium Environment: Fish-only aquarium
Tankmates: Peaceful or non-aggressive
Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons
Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 – 28°C)
Specific Gravity: 1.020 -1.026
pH: 8.0 - 8.5