News / Species Spotlight / Highly Underrated Fish - MAC Orangetail Filefish (12/12/12)

Highly Underrated Fish - MAC Orangetail Filefish

In The Wild

Pervagor melanocephalus is a member of the "filefish family" and is common all over the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. Usually reef associated, and found at depths from 40 to 120 feet, these fish generally prefer secluded and more protected reef settings. They are most often found at the deep end of the range. Juvenile fish are mostly commonly found singly. Adults can reach sizes of up to 6 inches and are generally found in pairs.

They consume a wide range of invertebrates in the wild, both benthic and pelagic. They are also harvested as a food fish, but not on a noticeable commercial scale. This fish has a short population doubling time, making them pretty resilient to harvest as a species.

In the Aquarium

The MAC Orangetail Filefish is one of the best Filefish in the trade. We have very good luck getting them onto prepared foods quickly. We segue them onto frozen foods by using Nutramar's OVA product, which they take greedily.

We recommend that hobbyists put them in a quarantine tank with very little cover initially, so that the fish has a chance to start associating people with food. In an aquarium with a lot of cover, they can hide so well that they may never notice food coming into the tank. Hobbyists should avoid housing them with other rambunctious or aggressive fish because they might get dominated into hiding through feedings as well.

They can be tricky to acclimate, and so this process must be done slowly and carefully, but after passing this test, we have almost no issues with them. We do not recommend placing them in Reef Aquariums as this is a fish with a wide variety of preferred foods, which does often include aiptasia, but also includes just about anything else.

Scott W. Michael, Reef Aquarium Fishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2005).

Quality Marine Internal References:
Michael Yaguchi, Eli Fleishauer