Pajama Cardinal (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
- Care Level: Easy
- Temperament: Peaceful
- Diet: Omnivore
- Reef Safe: Yes
- Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
- Max Size: 3 inches
- Water Parameters: pH 8.1-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025, Temperature 74-78°F
Pajama Cardinal (Sphaeramia nematoptera): A Comprehensive Guide
The Pajama Cardinal is native to the Indo-Pacific region. It can be found in lagoons and reef slopes, often in small groups near coral heads or rocky areas.
The Pajama Cardinal is considered reef safe as it does not typically bother corals or other invertebrates. However, caution should be exercised when introducing it to a reef tank with very small shrimp or other delicate invertebrates.
The Pajama Cardinal grows up to 3 inches in length.
This species is known for its peaceful nature. It is generally non-aggressive and can be kept in a community tank with other peaceful fish species.
The Pajama Cardinal does not exhibit any distinctive sexual dimorphism. Males and females look similar.
The average lifespan of a Pajama Cardinal in captivity is around 3 to 5 years.
Diet in Aquariums
The Pajama Cardinal is an omnivore and feeds on a variety of small crustaceans, zooplankton, and algae. In captivity, it can be fed a diet consisting of high-quality flake or pellet foods, supplemented with frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp and mysis shrimp.
Providing plenty of hiding places with live rock or coral formations is important for the Pajama Cardinal. They appreciate areas with caves or crevices where they can retreat and feel secure.
Captive Bred Availability
Yes, the Pajama Cardinal is commonly available as captive-bred specimens. Captive-bred fish are generally hardier, less stressed, and more adaptable to aquarium conditions compared to wild-caught counterparts.
Compatibility with Other Fish, Invertebrates, or Corals
The Pajama Cardinal is generally peaceful and can be kept with a variety of tankmates. Here are five popular choices:
- Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris): Both species have peaceful temperaments and can coexist without issues.
- Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni): These two cardinalfish species make great tankmates and can create a stunning display.
- Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto): The contrasting colors of the Pajama Cardinal and the Royal Gramma can add visual interest to the tank.
- Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica): Both species occupy different levels of the tank, reducing competition for resources.
- Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus): These fish share a similar temperament and can cohabitate peacefully.
Always monitor the compatibility and behavior of tankmates to ensure a harmonious community.
Other Common Names
The Pajama Cardinal is also known as the Spotted Cardinalfish or Polkadot Cardinalfish.
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Popular Questions and Answers
1. Can the Pajama Cardinal be kept in a reef tank?
Yes, the Pajama Cardinal is considered reef safe and can be kept in a reef tank without harming corals or other invertebrates.
2. What is the recommended tank size for a Pajama Cardinal?
A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is suitable for a single Pajama Cardinal. However, larger tanks provide more swimming space and are recommended for keeping a small group of these fish.
3. How often should I feed my Pajama Cardinal?
It is recommended to feed the Pajama Cardinal small amounts of food multiple times a day. This mimics their natural feeding behavior and helps maintain their overall health.
4. Can Pajama Cardinals be kept with aggressive fish species?
No, Pajama Cardinals are peaceful fish and should not be kept with aggressive or highly territorial tankmates. They are more suitable for community tanks with other peaceful species.
5. Are Pajama Cardinals prone to any specific diseases?
Like any fish, Pajama Cardinals can be susceptible to common marine diseases such as ich or marine velvet. Providing a properly maintained and clean environment, along with a balanced diet, will help reduce the risk of diseases.