I Spy a Recluse
There are a few ways you can spy on your secretive saltwater fish.
Scott W. Michael
A coral reef is a calcareous maze riddled with holes, interstices and caverns. This subterranean world is home to a number of invertebrates and fish, some of which come out from hiding at night to feed; others rarely, if ever, emerge from these reef passages. Because divers rarely see many of the fish that live in these natural labyrinths, most would still be unknown to science if it were not for special collecting techniques used by ichthyologists to flush them out of their hiding places.
In the past decade, more of these reclusive fish have been making their way into the aquarium trade. Because of their secretive natures, most do not make interesting aquarium inhabitants in larger aquariums replete with crevices. But they can make interesting charges in special captive venues.
Secretive Fish Setups
Small aquariums. One of the first things I learned about keeping reclusive fish is that they are not well-suited to larger aquariums, full of live rock, where they can disappear within the reef structure. It’s not that a covert fish will not thrive in this type of tank setting — some certainly do. For example, I had a thriving Swale’s reef basslet (Liopropoma swalesi) that I would only see about every three or four months.
Want to read the full story? Pick up the September 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.