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Banggai Cardinal – Complete Care Guide

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banggai cardinal

Banggai Cardinalfish Information

Banggai Cardinals also known as the Kaudern’s Cardinalfish are fairly common saltwater fish with a very unique body shape and color pattern. These hardy fish are usually some of the first fish purchased for a saltwater aquarium because they are fairly inexpensive and not too finicky. They will grow to be around 3 inches in length when they are fully grown but should be kept alone or in pairs when keeping them in smaller aquariums. This guide will go into detail about the needs of this fish.

Aquarium Requirements

Kaudern’s Cardinalfish do not require an incredible amount of space and a pair (male/female) will do well in saltwater fish tanks that are 30 gallons or larger. They may become aggressive if two males are kept together. It is possible to keep them in small groups when the aquarium is 100 gallons or larger but be mindful of potential aggression. The Banggai Cardinal has similar water parameter requirements to most other saltwater fish which are:

  • Temperatures (72-78 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • dKH levels between 8 and 12
  • salinity levels between 1.020 and 1.025 sg
  • pH levels between 8.1 and 8.4

Just like most other fish in an aquarium, the Kaudern’s Cardinal prefers having quite a bit of live rock with holes and caves of varying size. This will give the fish spots to hide when it stressed and also a place to go when the lights are off. More hiding spaces will help settle some territorial disputes as well.

Food & Diet

The Banggai Cardinalfish is a carnivore so providing meaty food such as mysis shrimp is a must. There are many other feeding options such as, spirulina brine shrimp, pellet food and flake food. This fish may be a little picky when it comes to feeding on pellets and flakes so pay close attention to what the Banggai Cardinal eats.

Tank Mates

Banggai Cardinals are fairly peaceful and will primarily fight over territories with others of its species or similarly shaped fish like pajama cardinals. They are slow moving fish so sharing a tank with other peaceful fish is the best route to successfully keep this fish. They normally do well with:

  • Clownfish
  • Dwarf Angels
  • Anthias
  • Basslets
  • Blennies
  • Gobies
  • Tangs

The Kaudern’s Cardinalfish is completely reef safe. It should not bother any coral or invertebrate in the aquarium. Also, like stated earlier, they will do well as a male and female pair in smaller fish tanks but should be fine in small groups when fish tanks become 100 gallons or larger.


Banggai Cardinalfish are fairly easy to breed but some work must be done in order to keep the fry alive. To begin, a pair must be found in order to breed successfully. It is hard to find the sex of males and females because they look very similar. When hunting for a pair of cardinals, observe their behavior in the fish tank. In a group, the dominant male will push away any competition and spend a lot of time with one other fish, the female. Keep an eye out for that when looking for a pair.

Once paired, keeping the male and female happy and fed will increase your chances of acquiring babies. Providing an urchin in the aquarium is not mandatory but it is beneficial to giving them the feeling of being in the wild.

The male will hold the babies in his mouth so making sure the male is well fed before holding the brood in his mouth is very important. The male will not eat as it is holding the offspring. The female will be the primary defense for the male when he is in this vulnerable state.

Once the fry leave the male they may spend their time in-between an urchin’s spines. They will most likely perish if there are other fish in the aquarium. Also, it is very important to have live baby brine shrimp ready to feed the offspring once they leave the males mouth. It is important to feed the babies multiple times a day.

Final Notes

Banggai Cardinalfish are very interesting and easy to care for fish. They may not be for everyone but they’re fantastic for anyone who loves their unique shape and color pattern. It is one of the few fish in the saltwater hobby that can quite easily breed in captivity and growing a brood to adulthood is always exciting!