News / Species Spotlight / Species Spotlight - Its Too Darn Hot: Ten Species That Are Burning Up (07/22/16)

Species Spotlight - Its Too Darn Hot: Ten Species That Are Burning Up

Its Too Darn Hot: Ten Species That Are Burning Up

Its July, which means the air conditioner is humming and sweat starts to drip down your fore-head if you so much as look outside. It turns out things are just as hot in the ocean, so join along as we count down ten species that are absolutely on fire

#10) Tailspot Flame Cardinalfish (Apogon dovii)

There are quite a few species of cardinalfishes that sport a red coloration. For this nocturnal group, their reddish hue works as excellent camouflage, rendering them nearly invisible in the dark of night. The Caribbean is particularly rich in these fiery fishes, but the species shown here, the Tailspot Flame Cardinalfish (Apogon dovii) is a relatively uncommon example in the aqua-rium trade that is collected in the Eastern Pacific. Cardinalfishes are wonderful fishes for the reef aquarium, being docile and coral safe, and, like others in this group, this is a mouthbrooding species that should be relatively easy to breed for those aquarists wishing to try their luck.

#9) Flame Clownfish (Amphiprion melanopus)

One of the brightest species of clownfish out there is Amphiprion melanopus. With its vivid orange-red body, this species has earned its common name as the Flame Clownfish. In the wild, this species occurs from Bali to the Great Barrier Reef and throughout Micronesia. It belongs to a distinctive group of species that usually possess a single stripe through the head, a bulky body profile and which almost always occur in Bubbletip Anemonesthis includes the familiar Tomato Clownfish (A. frenatus) of the Philippines, the Red Saddle Clownfish (A. ephippium) of the Andaman Sea, the Fijian A. barberi and the rarely seen A. rubrocinctus of Northwestern Australia. The population found in the Coral Sea (shown in the photograph) is particularly vibrant in appearance, and often has a reduced amount of black on the sides, giving this fish an especially hot look.

#8) Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius)

One of the elite crustaceans of the aquarium world, it is hard to argue with this big and beautiful shrimp. Lysmata debelius is a widespread species in the Indo-Pacific which tends to be a bit more secretive than its better-known cousin, the Cleaner Shrimp. Theres certainly no mistaking the two, as the Fire Shrimp burns with a deep reddish hue. The white legs and antennae make for a beautiful display which alerts passing fishes to the cleaning services this species provides. While they typically make a living plucking parasitic worms and pods, theyre just as happy to clean the hand of an aquarist if its held still in front of them.

#7) The Flameback Angelfish (Centropyge acanthops)

This East African species, which also goes by the name Orangeback Angelfish, is one of the smallest members of the hugely popular angelfish family, growing to little more than three inches in length. While wee in stature, this fish can cause a disproportionate amount of damage to corals if placed into a reef aquarium, so be careful when mixing the two. Avoid fleshy LPS spe-cies (Bubble Coral, Scolys, Acans, and Open Brains), which apparently taste quite nice if youre an angelfish. Closely related is a Brazilian beauty, the Fireball Angelfish (Centropyge auranto-notus). Its easy to confuse the two, as, apart from where they are found, the only obvious dif-ference is the color of the tail, which is a transparent blue in the Brazilian species and yellowish in the African C. acanthops. Its hard to choose a favorite here, as both are quite lovely.

#6) Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)

Obviously, we couldnt make a list like this without including THE Firefish. This sprightly fellow is understandably beloved for its stunning looks and endearing swimming style, complete with comical little flicks of its dorsal fin that it uses to communicate with others of its kind. While its often said that this species lives in groups, it is actually usually encountered in pairs which reside together in a burrow dug into sandy substrates. Keeping more than two in an aquarium is often a recipe for disaster, as the odd man out will often get bullied into a corner once a pair becomes established. This peaceful fish is also a common recipient of aggression from other tankmates, which can result in torn fins or worse. Be careful to avoid aggressive wrasses, anthias, blennies or anything else that casts a leery eye towards this wimpy species. Other than that, the Firefish is about as lovable of a fish as youll find, and one which is at its best in a reef aquarium.

#5) Fire & Ice Zoas (Zoanthus sp)

Its time to cool off from all this heat with a little ice Fire & Ice Zoas! This colorful strainnamed for its distinctive orange and blue polypshas been a mainstay for years, being one of the first named varieties to go mainstream. Part of its appeal comes from the way this coral looks under actinic lights, as the orange of the tentacles fluoresces brightly. While wild colonies can be found now and then, Quality Marine is fortunate to be able to source aquacultured colo-nies of this fantastic coral, providing a sustainable and environmentally friendly option that allows what was once an uncommon and expensive coral to be widely available at a far lower cost. As with any zoa, there is relatively little difficulty in successfully keeping and growing this species. Good lighting and water flow are important for accelerating growth, but even in stagnant, low-light aquariums this coral will usually make due.

#4) Flame Scallop (Lima sp.)

Little known fact: the Flame Scallops (Lima spp.) are not actually scallops. They belongs to a group of bivalves known as Fire Shells or Fire Clams that is only distantly related to the true scallops. These filter-feeders make a living by tucking themselves into crevices (often in groups), straining their diet from the water column. What precisely this diet entails is hard to say for sure, and they do have a reputation for being short-lived in aquariums (especially in smaller tanks), so it is highly recommended that Lima are only added to larger, mature systems and to feed a variety of foods designed for filter-feeders. At least three distinct types of Lima can be seen on occasion. The most common is a solid red species (Lima scabra), while another less-common variety has white tentacles. Perhaps the most alluring is the Electric Flame Scallop, which appears to pulse with arcs of electricity. Recently, it was shown that this unusual display it thanks to a small flap filled with silica crystals which is quickly exposed to reflect light though why it is that these clams do so is not yet understood.

#3) Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus)

Theres something about the waters of the Central Pacific Ocean that seems to encourage fish to turn red, as the last three species on this list all hail from this part of the world. As one of the smallest and most colorful members of the hawkfish family, who doesnt love the Flame Hawk-fish? This charismatic creature is one of the more entertaining and personable fishes for the home aquarium, always perching front and center in the hope of gaining our attention (or, more likely, hoping for some food to be added). Aside from their propensity for eating small shrimps, Neocirrhites armatus makes for an ideal reef aquarium species, getting along with most other tankmates, and, for those who especially enjoy this fish, its possible to keep mated pairs together.

#2) Flame Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani)

There is a lot of competition among the fifty or so species of fairy wrasse when it comes to which is the nicest, but you wont find any argument here that the Flame Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani) belongs near the top of the list. With its intense orange and red body and its large, sail-like fins, this is a real showstopper and can make for a centerpiece in most any reef aquarium. Found only in Hawaii and the nearby Johnston Atoll, this is also one of the most sustainably col-lected and reliably hearty of the Cirrhilabrus wrasses. Females are colored solidly red, but, as they mature into males, the body lightens, like an underwater sunrise, to a beautiful yellow, with a characteristic red dorsal fin and stripe. When fully grown and in the heights of its nuptial display, its hard to match the splendor of the Flame Wrasse and we can only imagine that the other species of Hawaii must feel a little bit jealous and inadequate.

#1) Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Weve saved the best for last. One of the most iconic species for the marine aquarium is a small angelfish thats big on color. Its hard to beat the Flame Angelfish when it comes to adding a splash of bright red to a fish tank. This beauty abounds throughout the oceanic islands of the Central Pacific, where it can be found alone or in small groups in a wide range of habitats from shallow water to hundreds of feet deep. The brightest specimens are said to come from Hawaii, while those from further south in the Marquesas and French Polynesia often lack most of the black bars typical of this species. The one-of-a-kind individual shown here was a super rare ab-erration lacking black entirely, which we dubbed the Solar Flare. It doesnt get much hotter than that!

Bonus Fish! White Barred Flame Trunkfish (Anoplocapros lenticularis)

We couldnt leave this one off the list. Rarely seen in the aquarium trade, the males of A. lenti-cularis are unmistakable and one of the holy grails for those keeping subtropical or temperate aquariums. Hailing from the southwest of Australia, this species has a broad temperature range, but only rarely does it occur in the type of tropical temps that the average aquarium is kept at, meaning a chiller is a necessary piece of equipment to house this one long-term. Like the closely related boxfishes, the Flame Trunkfish is thought to be toxic, so avoiding stress is critical. Overly aggressive tankmates (think big, mean triggerfishes and the like) are a no, but this still leaves a large variety of species that can be successfully kept with this awesome Aussie. As you might have guessed, this is a fish that loves to pick at benthic invertebrates, so corals and clams are likely to make for an expensive lunch. Females (which are a bit more orange and have dark spots and stripes) and multiple males can be kept together, making for a particularly colorful display.