Black Cardinal

Apogon melas

(1 Reviews)

Black Cardinal

Black Cardinal

Apogon melas

(1 Reviews)

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Care Facts

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Carnivore
Reef Safe: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Max Size: 3 inches
The Black Cardinal, Apogon melas, has large black eyes that are complimented by spots on the fins of similar size. They hardy and a great choice for a beginner. Since they are very peaceful, they are best kept in a peaceful reef tank and can even be kept in schools if the tank is large enough.

Cardinals are reef safe and will not bother any corals or inverts present in the tank. Though they are slower swimmers which makes them slower eaters as well. Diet should include a variety of live or frozen mysis or vitamin enriched brine shrimp, 2-3 times daily.


The Black Cardinal (Apogon melas) - A Captivating Addition to Saltwater Aquariums


The Black Cardinal (Apogon melas), a captivating marine fish species hailing from the expansive depths of the ocean, is an excellent addition to saltwater aquariums. This educational and formal product description will guide enthusiasts through the essentials of keeping the Black Cardinal, covering various aspects such as habitat, reef safety, size, lifespan, diet in captivity, aquaculture availability, compatibility with other aquatic organisms, sexual dimorphism, coloration changes, temperament, tank requirements, and water conditions.


Habitat of the Black Cardinal


The Black Cardinal is predominantly found in the Indo-Pacific region, inhabiting coral reefs and rocky areas at depths ranging from 15 to 60 meters. This species thrives in environments rich in hiding spots, such as crevices and overhangs, making them well-suited for aquariums with ample rock structures.


Reef Safety of the Black Cardinal


Black Cardinals are generally considered reef-safe, as they exhibit minimal interest in coral polyps and other invertebrates. However, caution is advised with small ornamental shrimp, as they may become potential prey.


Size and Lifespan of the Black Cardinal


Typically reaching around 2 to 3 inches in captivity, the Black Cardinal boasts a moderate lifespan of 5 to 8 years when provided with optimal care and conditions.


Diet of the Black Cardinal in Captivity:


These fish are omnivores who prefer small crustaceans and zooplankton. In captivity, they readily accept high-quality flake and pellet foods supplemented with frozen or live offerings such as brine and mysis shrimp.


Aquaculture and Availability of the Black Cardinal


Black Cardinals are being successfully aquacultured, contributing to their availability in the hobbyist market. This sustainable practice ensures healthier specimens and reduces the impact on wild populations.


Compatibility with Other Fish and Invertebrates


Black Cardinals are generally peaceful but can be territorial, especially during breeding. Compatible tank mates include temperate species such as gobies, dartfish, and smaller wrasses. Avoid aggressive or overly territorial species to prevent conflicts in the aquarium.


Sexual Dimorphism of the Black Cardinal


Distinguishing between male and female Black Cardinals can be challenging. Males may exhibit slightly brighter colors, especially during breeding conditions, but the differences are subtle.


Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes in the Black Cardinal:


As juveniles, Black Cardinals display a muted coloration, primarily shades of brown and black. With proper care and a suitable environment, they develop striking black coloration with subtle iridescence as they mature.


Temperament of the Black Cardinal


Black Cardinals are known for their calm and non-aggressive nature, making them suitable for community aquariums. However, territorial behavior may surface, particularly during breeding periods.


Tank Requirements for the Black Cardinal


To ensure the well-being of Black Cardinals, provide a minimum aquarium size of 30 gallons. Create a habitat with plenty of live rock formations for hiding spaces and establish a stable environment.


Water Conditions for the Black Cardinal


Maintain specific water parameters to support the health of Black Cardinals:     

  • pH: 8.1 to 8.4
  • Salinity: 1.020 to 1.025
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 80°F
  • Water Flow: Moderate


Other Common Names for the Black Cardinal:


The Black Cardinal may be known by alternative names such as Black Apogon and Black Cardinalfish.


Five Compatible Tank Mates for the Black Cardinal:


Why Choose the Black Cardinal from stands out as a reputable source for acquiring Black Cardinals due to their commitment to providing healthy and well-acclimated specimens. With a focus on sustainable practices and a diverse selection of marine life, ensures a positive and reliable purchasing experience for aquarium enthusiasts.


In conclusion, the Black Cardinal is a remarkable addition to saltwater aquariums, allowing enthusiasts to observe this species's captivating beauty in a controlled environment. With proper care and attention to detail, the Black Cardinal can thrive and contribute to your aquarium's vibrant diversity of marine life.

Very good Black Cardinal for your tank. I have lost this species and don't know why. Purchased a new one which just arrived.

Reviewed by: Brian Dogith on Sept. 11, 2021

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